Reader's Digest > 6 December - 19 December

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Reader's Digest, 6 December - 19 December 2014

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

State Secretary of Swiss Confederation Jacques de Watteville Met Chinese Vice Minister Xie Xuezhi
Published by admin.ch, 5th December 2014
State Secretary for International Financial Matters Mr. Jean-Jacques de Watteville met China's Vice Minister of State Administration of Taxation Mr. Xie Xuezhi, as well as met few days later, Mr. Chen Gaihu, Vice-Minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission to Bern and to the Interjurassian Assembly in Moutier. They officially discussed the situation and rights of minorities in both countries and contributed to strengthen the longstanding human rights dialogue between Switzerland and China. In addition, they exchanged views in Bern on bilateral, financial and tax issues, the themes of the G20, as well as the bilateral issues such as the taxation of multinationals, and benefits of the establishment of a renminbi trading platform in Switzerland.
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BUSINESS NEWS

2014/15 Swiss Business in China Survey
Published by admin.ch, 10th December 2014
At the Swiss Center Shanghai, Swiss Embassy in China, Swiss Business Hubs, swissnex China, and SwissCham China, we are committed to continuously examine business issues of importance for Swiss managers and investors in China, with the objective to provide decision makers with benchmarks and the trends that drive China.To achieve this, we kindly invite you to give your input by participating in the 2014/15 Swiss Business in China Survey, in collaboration with CEIBS (China Europe International Business School). In addition the survey results will also allow you to provide your headquarters an objective picture of the factors of successes, challenges and concerns of Swiss, other foreign and Chinese companies in China! To start the survey, please click on the above link. The survey remains open until the 20th of December 2014.

Under Pressure Swiss Banks Eye China
Published by yahoo.com, 4th December 2014
Switzerland's banking sector, facing the end of the secrecy that was once the bedrock of its business, is turning to China as it seeks new markets for the future. "One of the first ports that the Swiss financial centre is steering for... is the port of China," Claude-Alain Margelisch, chief executive of the Swiss Bankers Association, told reporters in Geneva last week. "Together with our member banks, we want to make Switzerland an international hub for the renminbi," also known as the yuan. Switzerland will abandon its long-prized banking secrecy in 2017 when it starts automatically exchanging account details with other countries, and with it goes one of the main attractions of placing money in its banks. For generations, investors have paid Swiss banks high fees to hide their money from tax authorities around the world, providing a lucrative stream of revenue for them.

Swiss Machinery Exports to China Gaining Momentum
Published by SinOptic, 4th December 2014
Swiss machinery exports to China are picking up: From January to October 2014, machinery in the value of CHF 2.3 billion has been exported to China (incl. Hong Kong) – an increase by 9.1% year-on-year.” This is the highest growth rate of all the main markets for Swiss machinery exports. In comparison, exports to Germany (-0.4%), France (+1%) and Italy (-1.6%) remained static, whereas the US (+8.1%) is the second strong growth market”, analyzes Nicolas Musy, Managing Director of the non-profit Swiss Center Shanghai (SCS), the largest cluster of Swiss enterprises in Asia. Over the past decade, the Chinese market continuously got more important for the Swiss machinery industry, step by step overtaking other main markets like Italy, France and in 2010 and 2011 also the US.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Statue Confiscated by Swiss Customs Returned to China
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 15th December 2014
A terracotta statue dating back to about 200 BC has been returned to the Chinese authorities after being intercepted by customs in Switzerland, the Swiss government said Friday. The statue from the Han dynasty measures about 47 centimeters (18.5 inches) and is thought to be of a servant, the culture ministry said in a statement. It was recovered by customs officers at Basel Mulhouse airport in a package originating from Britain and bound for an address in the canton of Vaud, near Geneva. "In Switzerland, cultural items must be declared," said the ministry, adding that because the parcel was not declared as such, it was confiscated. The Chinese Ambassador in Switzerland H.E. Ms. XU attended the ceremony in Bern.

A Peek into China's Biggest Christmas Market
Published by China Daily, 15th December 2014
European style Christmas markets have become a part of the holiday tradition in China, with both expats and locals mingling in to buy gifts and taste special Christmas delicacies. China's biggest Christmas market is in Shanghai's Xuhui district, along the banks of the Huagpu river. It features more than 100 different stalls offering an array of handmade toys, Christmas decorations and traditional Christmas delicacies. The market opened up on Nov 29 and will go on till Christmas Eve. Christmas markets are a unique Christmas tradition mainly in the German speaking parts of Europe like Austria, Switzerland, Germany and even parts of France and Italy. Their history dates back to the Late Middle Ages. One of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, Dresden's Strietzelmarkt was first held in 1434.

Escalade Shanghai, a Joyful Celebration of a Swiss Tradition
Published by swissnexchina.org, 11th December 2014
On the 11 December 2014, for the second consecutive year, swissnex China, the General Consulate of Switzerland and Swiss Learning organized the celebration of the Escalade in Shanghai. The Escalade is the most important cultural event of the city of Geneva each year. With this yearly celebration, the people of Geneva celebrate the victory of their army against the army of the Duke of Savoy who attempted to conquer the city in 1602. Woken up in the middle of the night, Genevans successfully defended their city and their right to freedom. This year, the event was separated into two parts: afternoon and evening. The afternoon part was a Toy Hack workshop for kids and families, conducted by Leigh-Anne Russell, from Nestworks. The second part of the evening started at 6:30pm.

Concert by China National Opera House Held in Palais des Nations
Published by china-un.ch, 9th December 2014
On November 27th, a concert co-organized by the Permanent Mission of China, United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and China National Opera House was held in the Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations. More than 1700 guests, including diplomats from other permanent missions, staff from international organizations and citizens of Geneva were present. The concert is composed of four pieces of Chinese and foreign music: Yellow River Piano Concerto, The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, Torch Festival and the Fourth Movement of Beethoven's Symphony Nr. 9. Impressed by professional and amazing performance of the Chinese musicians, all the audience stood up and applauded for a long time at the end of the concert.
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GENERAL INTEREST

China Elite Taught Global View in USD 103,000-a-Year Swiss Schools
Published by bloomberg.com, 18th December 2014
Not all students take immediately to the afternoon skiing lessons at Switzerland’s oldest boarding school. “Some of the Asian students don’t know how to ski when they arrive -- they do have a few tough first weeks -- but most of them end up liking it quite a bit,” said Christophe Gudin, deputy director-general of Institut Le Rosey, which decamps from Lake Geneva to the ski resort of Gstaad from January to March. “Essentially if you don’t like skiing, you’ll have to learn to like it or go somewhere else.” Swiss boarding schools, which groomed North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un, can cost about 100,000 francs (USD 103,000) a year, making them the most expensive in the world. They are attracting record numbers of Chinese students as the geographical balance of the world’s wealthy shifts East.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

China Approves Syngenta Biotech Corn
Published by wsj.com, 17th December 2014
China’s Ministry of Agriculture has approved a controversial biotech corn product that has been blamed for the collapse of U.S. corn exports to the big Asian market, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday. China began late last year rejecting corn shipments from the U.S. after it found some containing the biotech corn, developed by Swiss seed maker Syngenta AG . Syngenta had been selling the corn to U.S. farmers since 2011, though it was still awaiting approval for the product from Beijing. Grain-trading firms and farmers have sued Syngenta over what they claim are tens of millions of dollars in lost sales and depressed corn prices after China began turning away vessels loaded with American corn.

Ypsomed is Expanding to China
Published by SinOptic, 16th December 2014
The Ypsomed Group is well-positioned in the burgeoning Chinese diabetes market. With its newly founded subsidiary in Beijing, Ypsomed is investing in the future and, in so doing, intends to acquire new business in the area of injection systems. In addition, in early 2014, the Burgdorf, Switzerland, based diabetes specialist started commissioning the manufacturing of injection systems for the Chinese market in China itself. The decision to have systems manufactured in China will not decrease the existing production capacities in Switzerland. On the contrary, Ypsomed is currently investing in additional production plants in Switzerland, which will continue to be the company’s main manufacturing location with a focus on highly automated processes.

ABB and Guiyang sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation
Published by abb.com.cn, 9th December 2014
ABB signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Strategic Cooperation with the Guiyang municipal government and the Guiyang Free Trade Zone days ago to explore full-scale in-depth strategic cooperation in areas such as energy, industry, transportation and infrastructure. With the opportunities brought in recent years by China’s Go West strategy as well as its own resources and ecology, Guizhou Province has experienced robust economic development. As the capital of Guizhou, Guiyang is an important hub of transportation and communication, an industrial base, and a commercial center in southwest China. According to the MOU, ABB will use its advanced power and automation products and solutions to support Guiyang’s sustainable development. ABB has green and efficient technologies in three major areas – smart grid and city, smart manufacturing and production, and smart home and building – that can help customers from utility, industry, transportation and infrastructure to reduce energy consumption, improve productivity and product quality and lower environmental impact, thus achieving industrial upgrading.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Disasters Cost USD 113 Billion Damage in 2014
Published by economictimes.com, 17th December 2014
Extreme weather and other natural and man-made disasters caused USD 113 billion (EUR 90.6 billion) in economic losses in 2014, reinsurer Swiss Re said Wednesday. This is 16% less than the USD135 billion in losses recorded in 2013 and significantly below the average annual figure of USD 188 billion for the previous 10 years. Insurers covered USD 34 billion of the damage, down 24 per cent from USD 45 billion in 2013, the company said. The storms in the United States in early 2014 alone caused insured losses of USD1.7 billion, while a spate of storms across the country in May cost another USD 2.9 billion. Strong winds and heavy rains in Mexico brought by Hurricane Odile caused insured losses of USD 1.6 billion, while a wind and hail storm that struck parts of France, Germany and Belgium in June cost USD 2.7 billion. Swiss Re said it was too early to assess the losses caused by the dry summer in parts of China, which have affected agricultural output.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Nestlé Launches First Coffee Center in SW China
Published by wantchinatimes.com, 14th December 2014
Global food giant Nestlé opened its first coffee center on Friday in southwestern China's Yunnan province, which will train local farmers and boost coffee consumption in a nation of tea lovers. The center, located in Pu'er, is expected to be the largest training base in China for coffee farmers, agronomists and business professionals. It will have a quality assurance coffee laboratory and an integrated handling and storage facility, said Christian Schmid, executive vice president of the Nestlé Greater China region. Nestle will buy about 10,000 tonnes of coffee beans from Pu'er during the 2014-2015 season, he said. Yunnan is the largest center for coffee plantations in China, its bean output accounts for over 98% of the national total. The province produced nearly 100,000 tonnes of coffee in 2013.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

EY 2014 China Tax Year End Road Show
Published by ey.com, 18th December 2014
The annual China Tax Year End seminars provide our clients with updates on China tax and advice on adjustment measures to cope with the changes. Seminars were held in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Qingdao, Dalian and Nanjing this month, attracting over 1400 participants. This year, participants were very interested in tax policies in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, anti-avoidance tax investigations on cross-border payments and the broader action plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Other widely discussed topics included the latest development of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Pilot program, global compliance reporting and tax incentives.

KPMG Forecasts Hong Kong IPOS to Continue To Raise over HKD 200 Billion in 2015
Published by kpmg.com, 17th December 2014
Funds raised via initial public offerings in Hong Kong are likely to exceed HKD 200 billion in 2015, with sizeable deals from financial services, and additionally deals in pharmaceutical and environment-related sectors, according to KPMG analysis. KPMG forecasts 110 companies with fund raised will list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2015. Listing candidates from the financial services sector will be a key focus, including Chinese banks and insurers. By end-2014, KPMG expects to see 109 companies listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange – the highest in a decade – with IPO proceeds reaching HKD 225 billion. This is 33% higher than the HKD 169 billion proceeds recorded in 2013 when 97 IPOs with fund raised were completed.
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