Reader's Digest > 20 December 2014 - 9 January 2015

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Reader's Digest, 20 December 2014 - 9 January 2015

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015
Published by weforum.org, 5th January 2015
Complexity, fragility and uncertainty are potentially ending an era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989. What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely “new global context” for decision-making. Leaders are looking to strengthen their situation awareness and contextual intelligence. The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting convenes global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society in Davos for strategic dialogues which map the key transformations reshaping the world. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit Switzerland in late January 2015 and attend the 45th World Economic Forum in Davos.

Statue Confiscated by Swiss Customs Returned to China
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 20th 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.
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BUSINESS NEWS

Economic Report: China – December 2014
Published by SinOptic.ch, 5th January 2015
The Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing updated its annual report on the evolution of the Chinese economy: the appreciation of the economic situation, international and regional economic agreements, foreign and bilateral trade, direct investments, Swiss economic promotion are the main topics of the reports. After decades of rapid growth based on an economic model driven largely by exports and investments, China intends to more evenly share the benefits of its expansion among the population in the long run, filling the wealth gap created by rampant urbanization between rural and urban areas, raising living standards for the masses and lowering poverty and disparity within China. In opting for a more sustainable model led by consumption, innovation and quality, China’s leadership is embarking on a new round of reform which is setting new standards through a significant push towards a more market-based approach, streamlining administration, and delegating power.

Swiss Fall Behind in Race to Become Chinese Currency Hub
Published by Matthew Allen, swissinfo.ch, 24th December 2014
At first glance, Switzerland’s financial and commodity trading expertise plus strong political and economic ties to China make it an ideal trading hub for the renminbi. Yet it is losing out to competing countries such as Luxembourg. Despite making some headway in the past 12 months, Switzerland’s relative lack of progress has caused frustration in some quarters. ”In Switzerland, there is a lot of talk about the renminbi, but nothing happens,” Michel Wohl, former head of Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, complained at a recent Foreign Banks in Switzerland Association (AFBS) press meeting. Wohl said the Swiss finance sector was living in the past and accused of it of “arrogance”. He specifically pointed to a disagreement between the Bank of China and Swiss regulators that led to the Chinese bank withdrawing its subsidiary from Switzerland two years ago.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Swiss among Most Prepared to Defend their Country
Published by swissinfo.ch, 5th January 2015
The Swiss are more prepared to defend their homeland than citizens in neighbouring countries like France, Italy, Austria or Germany, according to polls in 65 countries. As many as 39% of the Swiss population is ready to take up arms for their country compared with 29% in France, 21% in Austria and Spain, 20% in Italy and 18% in Germany. That’s according to an online poll conducted by Leger Switzerland, formerly known as Isopublic, which asked 1,000 people older than 18 in the German and French-speaking regions of Switzerland about their readiness for defence. Similar surveys were conducted by different polling institutes in other countries, and Gallup International compiled an international comparison. Worldwide, the readiness for defence is highest in countries like Morocco and the Fiji Islands with 94% each, as well as in Afghanistan and Georgia with 76%. In China, 71% of citizens say they’re ready to defend their country, as are 59% in Russia and 44% in the United States. The lowest rates are 11% in Japan and 15% in the Netherlands, according to Gallup.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Sino-Swiss Summer University
Published by heig-vd.ch, 5th January 2015
With the financial support from Direction générale de l'enseignement supérieur, Sino-Swiss Summer University is launched to develop leaders possessing competencies to work in Swiss and Chinese companies. Objective is to provide students with both insights into internationalization processes of Western and Eastern multinational corporations (MNCs) and into challenges faced in multicultural teams. This will be achieved through: 1. Connecting globally: Chinese future leaders are put in touch with Swiss “hidden national champions”; Swiss future leaders are put in touch with Chinese national champions. 2. Connecting academia: courses co-taught by Swiss and Chinese lecturers; exchange of teaching and research. 3. Connecting Chinese and Swiss students: group project and extracurricular activities.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

China Gives Thumbs up to Syngenta's Biotech Corn
Published by m.startribune.com, 22th December 2014
China has approved the import of biotech corn manufactured by Syngenta AG that sparked a flurry of recent lawsuits by Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. and farmers across the country. China refused to accept shipments of the corn from Cargill in late 2013, prompting shippers, farmers and others in the corn industry to sue Syngenta for losses caused by promoting and selling the corn in the marketplace too early — before China, a major importer, had approved it. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters Wednesday that Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang informed him of the approval at a meeting this week in Chicago. Vilsack said the Chinese ministry of agriculture will now allow imports of the genetically modified corn, called Viptera, and two biotech soybean varieties made by Bayer AG and DuPont Co.

Nestlé Bets on Chinese Dairy Farmers
Published by Rémi Quesnel, swissinfo.ch, 21st December 2014
As the fresh milk market in China booms and local competition increases, Swiss multinational Nestlé has inaugurated a training institute for Chinese dairy farmers in a bid to hold its position as market leader. Located in Shuangcheng in the rural state of Xinfu, the new training facility is housed in a large, futuristic, cylindrical building where some two dozen students from various provinces have since October each paid CNY 2,000 (CHF318) for a three-day course in modern farming methods. The training model used is based on one employed by Swiss agricultural institutes.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Radojewski to Bring Swiss Francs to Asia
Published by mobile.reuters.com, 6th January 2015
Nils Radojewski, a vice president at Credit Suisse in Zurich on the Swiss franc DCM Origination desk, is moving to Hong Kong at the end of January 2015 to promote the Swiss franc market to issuers in the region. Radojewski will continue to report to Dominique Kunz, head of Swiss debt capital markets in Zurich. Asia is seen as one of the best growth markets for Swiss franc bond issuance, with a raft of Double A and Single A rated names to choose from, a popular demographic with the Swiss investor community. Hong Kong and China are the obvious main contenders, having debuted in Swiss francs in 2014, but issuers from around the whole region, including Australia and New Zealand, would be of interest to the Swiss. Meanwhile, South Korean issuers have long been a favourite of Swiss investors, and raised around CHF 1 billion in 2014.

Swiss Gold Exports to China Fall to 34 tonnes in November
Published by bulliondesk.com, 18th December 2014
Switzerland exported 232.2 tonnes of gold in November, according to official Swiss Customs Administration statistics, an increase of 16% on the October total and the highest volume this year. Of those exports, 34.7 tonnes of gold, including gold plated with platinum, in unwrought forms or for non-monetary purposes, was exported to China, down from 42.5 tonnes in the previous month. Swiss statistics are a good indicator of the volume of metal being shipped into China, which does not publish official figures gold imports. “As expected, shipments from Switzerland to China were not exceptional. To be sure, the 34.7-tonne flow is decent and in fact is equivalent to about twice the average monthly Swiss shipment to China, but it still reflects an 18% decline from October inflows,” UBS Edel Tully said. Easing demand for physical metal in China has been widely reported in recent weeks, with Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) premiums at USD 1-2 over spot for 1kg bars, down from USD 6 in October.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Migros Sets Up Office in the Shanghai FTZ
Published by swisscenters.org, 28th December 2014
Migros (Hong Kong) Ltd., the buying office of Switzerland’s largest retailer in charge of direct purchasing of hard goods, textile and food products from Asia, recently became a member of the Swiss Center Shanghai. Migros opened an office in the new SCS Pilot Free Trade Zone Branch in Waigaoqiao. Including Migros, there are now 10 Swiss companies in the 4,400 sqm pre-installed space.

Traditional retailers see slow growth in 2014
Published by globaltimes.cn, 22th December 2014
Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers in China are expected to continue suffering slow growth in revenue and profit for the entire year of 2014, said a partner with a global leading accounting firm PwC China on Thursday. At the release of a research report on the performance of retailers in China, Kevin Wang, a retail specialist at PwC China, said that China's retailing industry in 2014 is still undergoing adjustment, a reflection of the nation's tepid economy, copying the stagnant performance in the second half of 2013. According to the report, which is based on the financial results of 110 China-listed retailers and 29 overseas Fortune 500 retailers between 2008 and 2013, retailers' year-on-year revenue growth dropped to 2.4% in the second half of 2013 from 12.3% in the first half due to factors like slower economic recovery and lack of consumer incentives.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

China Likely to See 60% More IPOs in 2015
Published by ecns.cn, 6th January 2015
China is likely to see 60% more initial public offerings in 2015 as the securities regulator improves capital market operations, said international auditor PwC on Monday. Lin Yizhong, managing partner of PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, said around 200 Chinese companies are forecast to raise RMB 130 billion (USD 21 billion) on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses this year. In 2014, the two handled 125 IPOs with a combined value of RMB 78.6 billion. The Shanghai stock exchange is likely to deal with 60 IPOs with a value of RMB 48 billion and the smaller Shenzhen bourse will host the remainder. Sun Jin, another PwC partner, said a new IPO registration system likely to be rolled out this year to replace the existing approval-based system will likely trigger an IPO boom.

Data Analytics is a Key Strategic Priority for Senior China Executives
Published by kpmg.com, 20th December 2014
Senior executives in China increasingly see Data Analytics (D&A) as a key priority and indicate that it is crucially important to their growth strategy, according to a recent KPMG survey. The survey, titled A Single View: Putting customers at the heart of the D&A strategy highlights key findings from over 210 senior executives in China, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. It found that 72% of all respondents from China say that D&A is either very or crucially important to their growth strategy, slightly lower than ASEAN (77%) and Australia (74%). Meanwhile, 86% say they are currently either effective or very effective at leveraging analytics in their decision making, higher than the average 82% for ASPAC and 73% for ASEAN; slightly lower than the 89% in Australia.
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