• Published by, 19th Aug 2016 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    LafargeHolcim Ltd., the world’s largest cement maker, agreed to sell some plants to Huaxin Cement Co. for CHF 208 million (USD 215 million), the company’s second asset sale in China this week as Chief Executive Officer Eric Olsen cuts debt and tries to boost profitability. The transaction with Huaxin includes most of the non-listed Chinese cement assets held by LafargeHolcim’s Lafarge China Cement Ltd. unit, the Jona, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Lafarge on Monday also agreed to sell a 56% stake in publicly traded Sichuan Shuangma Cement Co. to Tianjin Circle Enterprise for CHF 507 million. More than a year after the cement maker was forged from France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim, Olsen is trying to deliver on profitability that was the underlying rationale for the merger after a global recession curbed demand for building materials. Delays in asset disposals and high-profile executive departures have eroded investor confidence at a time when competitors such as Heidelberg Cement AG are benefiting from improved demand in North America and Europe.

  • Published by, 17th Aug 2016 in category Business in English

    Is China still an attractive export destination? Yes, according to most Swiss companies. The slower economic growth in "new normal" mode is practically no problem for them. Euphoria about the Chinese economic wonder has settled down. A certain disillusionment has taken place, but this is still far removed from downheartedness, according to the current "Swiss Business in China" report. More than half of the companies surveyed intend to continue to expand their China exposure. Although the "new normal" this year indicates there will once again be modest growth for the Chinese economy of about 6.5%, most companies assume that they will maintain or even increase turnover and profits. Apart from the "new normality", another phenomenon is drawing attention: the competitive pressure of local companies is growing, although it is not yet critical. Thanks to their good reputation, high quality and the great trust they enjoy, Swiss companies remain well-positioned. This is especially the case since the general conditions continue to represent great challenges, but in the "new normal" mode and a more sober market environment, Swiss providers can bring their advantages and merits even better to bear.

  • Published by, 12th Aug 2016 in category Culture & Society in French

    Recently, Dr. Fabrice Jordan confesses to having seen many pairs of eyes widen at the mention of his project, unique in Switzerland, the Taoist Ming Shan center which will soon be ready to break ground in Bullet. Mainly made of wood and according to the feng shui, the U-shaped building, close to the mountain and overlooking the lake, will include three practice rooms for body art. It will also be a library, a medical office, a temple, a shop, and dormitory rooms for about thirty people, and an internal restaurant with 60 seats. The center will accommodate anyone Ming Shan caress the desire for a spiritual retreat and will be an important component of the project relates to health prevention. The center Ming Shan is supported by local and regional authorities, but also by the tourism authorities. The opening is planned after 18 months of work for the second half of 2018. Eight working places will be created at first.

  • Published by, 10th Aug 2016 in category Business in English

    The EurAsia Info Summit 2016 in Davos (Switzerland), focusing on B2B Precision Manufacturing Matchmaking, will take place in Technopark Zürich from 30 October to 1 November 2016. It is supported by many officials, Chinese municipal governments and several associations. The summit has been initiated by EurAsia Info in Switzerland and will be hosted jointly with the World Association of Chinese Mass Media , Your Travel China Connect AG , Brugger und Partner AG and others. The meetings in Technopark Zürich are organized in cooperation with the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Switzerland is a unique country famous for its economy and financial industry as well as its natural beauty. Innovation and pragmatism enable this tiny European country to be at the forefront of developed countries worldwide and to maintain its strong stable economical and financial position. Swiss precision manufacturing industry is perceived as “superior quality” by Chinese consumers. The production scale of these top brand companies is not large, however, their products are irreplaceable. As Chinese people have a strong preference for Swiss quality,  the industrial and trade structures of the two countries can complement each other. Our summit will help the two sides to realize further mutual benefits and a win-win cooperation.

  • Published by, 08th Aug 2016 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    HNA Group, China's fourth-biggest airline, announced on Wednesday it had secured acceptances for 96.1% of the shares in its bid for Gategroup Holding AG, the Switzerland-based in-flight catering provider. Gategroup said in a statement that payment for the shares was expected to be made towards the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter. After the settlement of the offer, HNA intends to submit an application for the delisting of the Gategroup shares and for an exemption from certain disclosure and publicity obligations in accordance with the listing rules of SIX Swiss Exchange, the principal stock exchange in Switzerland. Zurich-headquartered Gategroup is an independent provider of products, services and solutions relating to passenger's onboard service. It specializes in catering and hospitality, provisioning and logistics, onboard products and services to companies that serve people on the move.

  • Published by, 05th Aug 2016 in category Bank / Finance / Insurance in English

    China's companies with going-global strategies are likely to present good investment opportunities and will be one of the major investment themes in the second half of 2016, according to Gao Ting, head of China strategy at UBS Securities. Sharing his outlook for the second half of 2016 on Wednesday, Gao said: "Generally speaking foreign investments in China and China's investments in other countries are at a similar level, which shows that the size of China's overseas investments is getting greater." Differing from previous investments of Chinese enterprises that focused on resources and energies, recent programs by private enterprises mainly focus on consumption-driven sectors, such as tourism, which will meet the demands of fast-growing numbers of outbound tourists. They also now emphasize internet-based technologies with a great number of domestic users, according to research data of UBS Securities.

  • Published by, 02nd Aug 2016 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    More than half of an estimated 60 million Chinese people with hearing problems are inclined to use aids as long as they are "invisible"-that is, not easily noticeable, something that can fit snugly into an ear, like in the case of television news reporters and anchors. Led by Albert Lim, a Singaporean, Sonova's Asia-Pacific, the world's leading provider of hearing solutions, has taken upon itself the challenge of meeting this need. As senior vice-president of Sonova's Asia-Pacific region, Lim travels to China frequently, and has been overseeing the company's efforts to develop and produce customized "made-in-China" products for Chinese customers. What's more, Sonova's new products will also make it easier to hear and understand the Chinese tonal language. Switzerland-based technicians of Sonova are burning the midnight oil towards this goal within a year. Their customized designs will factor in the customer's ear shape and its peculiar parts. Using 3D printing technology, hearing aids will then be created at Sonova's factory in Shanghai with high precision, delivering better hearing quality.

  • Published by, 29th Jul 2016 in category Business in English

    The Asia-Pacific region is soon set to overtake North America with regard to online trade, and China stands out in particular. The size of the population, rising incomes and growing IT knowledge, as well as promotional programs run by the government are all contributing to high demand. Even back in 2012 around 90% of electronic products in China were procured via purchase sales platforms. Over the past year online sales have amounted to approximately 2.9 billion US dollars. The government is fostering the development of e-commerce through various programs, but in doing so they are focusing primarily on the promotion of their own export industry (around 83% of sales are down to online export, with 17% online import) and aiming to press ahead with cross-border e-commerce. Chinese consumers have enormous trust in Swiss products in particular, which stand for quality and safety. Food producers in particular are able to benefit from this, as the example of baby food shows. In 2008 the share of baby food in Chinese online retail was 0.2%, but that was before the milk scandal. In 2014 the share had already increased to 12%.

  • Published by, 25th Jul 2016 in category General Interest in English

    In 2015, 70 shawls made from the wool of the protected Tibetan antelope (shahtoosh shawls) were seized in Switzerland. Trade in these luxury products is prohibited. To combat this illegal trade, INTERPOL and Switzerland invited countries to a workshop to define measures for a coordinated international approach.

    In the workshop, held in Lyon in early July 2016, Switzerland and INTERPOL created an international network to strengthen the fight against the poaching of the Tibetan antelope as well as the smuggling of and trade in shahtoosh shawls. Representatives from ten countries of origin as well as transit, processing and consumer countries discussed causes and enforcement strategies. Among them were India, Kuwait, Nepal, China, Pakistan, Italy, the UK, Spain and Germany. Representatives from the CITES Secretariat (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) as well as from INTERPOL also participated.

    Specialists in the identification of these shawls coming from forensic institutes in India and the USA also attended the workshop. By exchanging relevant information, next steps were identified and country-specific objectives defined. In the future, the network will enable a coordinated international approach to this illegal trade.

  • Published by, 22nd Jul 2016 in category Business in English

    According to a survey carried out by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) among around 200 small and medium-sized exporting companies, Swiss SMEs see major potential in the Chinese market. Exports to China are accordingly set to gain importance in the next five years. Companies from the MEM industry are particularly active. Credit Suisse sees good sales prospects for Swiss SMEs in China. Chinese growth and the Chinese currency are set to develop in favor of Swiss exporters in the next six months. Export sentiment among Swiss SMEs has improved further and is more positive than at any time since the abandonment of the minimum euro exchange rate by the SNB in January 2015. As Bettina Rutschi, Senior Economist at Credit Suisse, explains: “The most important driver of Chinese economic growth at present is consumer spending. Although we expect this to rise less sharply in the second half of 2016 due to the slight deterioration of the labor market situation, altogether economic growth in China is also set to remain high in 2016 at 6.5% so that there are good export prospects for Swiss SMEs particularly since according to our forecasts the Swiss franc should depreciate against the Chinese yuan by 1.5% in the next six months.