Reader's Digest > 10 January - 23 January

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Reader's Digest, 10 - 23 January 2015

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


65th Anniversary of Relations Highlights Deepening Ties and Greater Integration
Published by China Daily, 21st January 2014
As dignitaries and business leaders from around the world converge in Davos, Switzerland for this year's World Economic Forum, they will discuss the "New Global Context" - defined as the complexity, fragility and uncertainty that is challenging progress at global, regional and national levels - while the relationship between China and Switzerland is in fact headed towards greater integration. "In 2014, Switzerland became the first and so far only continental European country to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, our third largest trading partner" said Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Switzerland's ambassador to China. "We expect trade volume and direct investments to increase substantially in the following years." Trade between the two countries is mainly in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machines, precision equipment, watches, jewelry, textile and clothing. Switzerland's services sector should also benefit from enhanced framework conditions.

Swiss Minister Expects Talk of Market Reforms
Published by, 21st January 2014
Premier Li Keqiang is likely to raise China's market reforms at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, according to Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann. "I can imagine that Premier Li will mention the ambitious market reform program, which will also strengthen the competitiveness of Chinese firms by allowing more domestic and global competition," Schneider-Ammann told China Daily. "As the world's second-largest economy, China also plays an important role in the further development of the global trade system," he said. "For a country with countless exporting businesses, a rules-based order, as provided by the WTO, is crucial, and China assumes its multinational responsibilities very judiciously." He was speaking as Premier Li was set to attend the Davos forum on Wednesday. The forum, from 21 to 24 January, will explore solutions to major global challenges under the theme "The New Global Context". According to the World Economic Forum, more than 40 heads of state and governments will participate in the 280 sessions and workshops.

Chinese Premier Arrives in Switzerland for Davos Forum
Published by, 20th January 2014
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived here on 20 January to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos and pay a working visit to Switzerland. Li, who is visiting at the invitation of the WEF founder and chairman Klaus Schwab and the Federal Council of Switzerland, will deliver a key-note speech at the meeting and meet representatives of the International Business Council of the forum during his three-day trip. Li will also meet with President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga during his second visit to the Alpine country as Chinese premier. The visit comes as China and Switzerland are set to celebrate the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. The two-way trade volume between the two countries grew by 126% year on year to hit nearly USD 60 billion in 2013, when they inked a free trade agreement (FTA), the first between China and a country in continental Europe.

Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann Meets Chinese Trade Minister Gao Hucheng
Published by, 19th January 2014
The head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, met on 20 January his Chinese counterpart, Gao Hucheng, in the run-up to the WEF Annual Meeting. A good six months after the free trade agreement came into effect, the two ministers noted during their talks in Zurich that exporters were making good use of the new arrangement. Other subjects addressed included the appreciation of the franc following the lifting of the minimum exchange rate against the euro, and the future of World Trade Organization WTO negotiations.
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China Offers Switzerland USD 8 Billion QFII Quota
Published by, 22nd January 2014
China has agreed to give Switzerland an USD 8 billion investment quota under its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program. The agreement is part of a memorandum of understanding signed by the central banks of the two countries here on 21 January, which also includes a plan -- pending regulators' approval -- to set up the first branch of a Chinese bank in the Swiss financial hub of Zurich for future RMB clearance. The deal is set to materialize Beijing and Bern's pledge for closer financial ties and accelerate the establishment of a Zurich offshore RMB market. The signing came after visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in this ski resort with President Simonetta Sommaruga of the Swiss Confederation on the sidelines of the 2015 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

China, Switzerland to Sign Financial Deal on Offshore RMB Market in Zurich
Published by, 21st January 2014
China and Switzerland are poised to sign a financial deal on Wednesday to pave the way for the establishment of an offshore renminbi market in Zurich. "A memorandum of understanding will be signed between the central banks of the two countries during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Switzerland," a government official told Xinhua. "It is an important step in the internationalization of the renminbi, especially in Europe." Li arrived in Zurich Tuesday to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort of Davos and pay a short working visit to Switzerland. He is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech on China's economy and reform efforts to the participants of the forum and meet with Swiss leaders on Wednesday. "Financial cooperation will be the brightest spot of Premier Li's visit to Switzerland," the official said. "The two countries will announce the plan to set up an offshore renminbi market in Zurich."

Life Science Partner Targets a Giant Market
Published by China Daily, 19th January 2014
Swiss life science enterprises lead the market globally at the cutting edge of R&D and innovation. The Swiss service provider CARBOGEN AMCIS offers drug development and commercialization services to innovative pharma and biopharma companies at all stages of drug development. "We are dedicated to helping companies reduce the cost, risks and time associated with taking a drug to market by offering integrated services and solutions for drug substances and drug products," said Alan Fischer, CIO of CARBOGEN AMCIS. "We are engaged in all areas of development including conjugation of small and large molecules, development and manufacture of highly potent drug substances, chromatography and drug products applying state-of-the-art containment technologies."

Iconic Toolmaker Grows in Quality-Conscious China
Published by China Daily, 18th January 2014
Chocolate, watches and cheese may be quintessentially Swiss, but there is still one iconic object used by millions around the world (and in outer space) for over a century that still says "Switzerland" like no other - the Swiss Army Knife. "The values the Swiss Army Knife represents are the essence of Switzerland itself: design, quality, innovation and functionality," said Carl Elsener, CEO of Victorinox and a fourth-generation descendent of the company's founder. "Having celebrated our 130th anniversary as a company last year, we value our tradition and recognize how our brand has been very much associated with our country." Today the ubiquitous tool remains Victorinox' crown jewel, but the rest of its product portfolio - including cutlery, watches, travel gear, apparel and fragrances - also complement its corporate motto of "Companion for life".
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Swiss Business Education Strengthens Links
Published by China Daily, 17th January 2014
As Switzerland and China celebrate their 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, student exchanges and management programs for high officials and executives continue to play an instrumental role in strengthening the partnership. The School of Business of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), the largest Swiss business school engaged in China, is leading the way. "We've been active in China for over 20 years, and in the process have developed strong relations with universities, local governments and the private sector," said Professor Ruedi Nuetzi, director of the School of Business and a recipient of the Chinese Friendship Award, the highest award given to foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China's progress.

Premium Hospitality Education for The Future Hoteliers of China
Published by China Daily, 15th January 2014
Swiss hospitality and hotel management expertise are world-renowned. In fact, most of the best hotels in the world are run by people educated in Switzerland. It is a combination of Swiss efficiency with French savoir faire that has positioned Swiss hotel management schools at the top of any list. Vatel Switzerland, recently awarded the "Best Educational Innovation" award at the annual gathering of international hospitality specialists, is an international business school for hotel and tourism management in a class of its own. "One of our competitive advantages is that we are the only school in Switzerland with a four-star hotel where students can experience real-life situations and the functions of each department firsthand," said Eric Gregoire, general manager of Vatel Switzerland, and himself a Vatel alumnus.
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Swiss-Made Solar Plane Plans Stops in India, China, US in Circumnavigation Bid
Published by, 21st January 2014
The team behind a Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft that is attempting to fly around the world said on 20 January the clean-energy plane will stop in India, China and the United States in a historic journey set to begin as early as next month. The lightweight Solar Impulse 2, a larger version of a single-seat prototype that first flew five years ago, is aiming to become the first plane ever to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun to drive its four propellers. Project founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, plan to start and finish their round-the-world bid from Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, over the course of about five months. They laid out their planned route for the first time on 20 January at a private jet airport in Abu Dhabi where the plane is being housed.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

Cladding Tomorrow's Buildings, Today
Published by China Daily, 14th January 2014
The innovative new buildings that have risen in China in the past decade and pushed the limits of engineering and architectural design have paralleled the country's emergence as the world's second-largest economy. The materials used in their distinctive facades are essential elements of these modern landmarks. "We have a degree of parallelism with the textile industry because we are in the business of dressing up buildings," said Urs Lehner, CEO of Swisspearl. "With a large selection of premium panels used in facades, we consider ourselves more 'pret-a-porter' rather than haute couture because we offer a very simple system of installation." Swisspearl is a leading Swiss manufacturer of cement composite facade systems for high-end architecture. It works closely with renowned international firms on projects that use the company's long-lasting facade solutions through a wide range of conceptual possibilities. Two major projects in China have showcased its products.

Swiss Die-Cast Specialist Seeking Key Personnel in China As Demand Grows
Published by China Daily, 21st January 2014
DGS Druckguss Systeme, a leading Swiss producer of die-casting parts in various alloys, has gone from strength to strength in China. In 2013, it expanded its manufacturing facility in Nansha district, Guangzhou to accommodate demand generated by its status as the supplier of choice for systems and components in automotive light metal designs using aluminum and magnesium die-casting. "I think that it is remarkable to mention that we were the first supplier in China to produce high-end structural parts when none of the other manufacturers were willing to do so," said Andreas Mueller, CEO of DGS.

Medical Care with a Cutting Edge
Published by China Daily, 16th January 2014
Swiss companies helping supply China with healthcare as sharp as the famous army pocket knife. Great demand in China's medical sector has created extensive business opportunities for Switzerland's medical industry, renowned as one of the world's best. Swiss pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Roche and other medical firms are long established in China, as is the reinsurance company Swiss Re, which plays a significant role in spreading risk in China's medical insurance market. Also, Switzerland's availability of reputable and professional hospitals has made it a great destination for medical tourism, which is increasingly popular among Chinese travelers. "There are still huge unmet needs in healthcare in China," says Jia Xu, China consulting partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who is based in Beijing. "China will remain among the world's most attractive markets in the next few years."
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBP Strengthens Asian Capabilities with a New Chinese Asset Management Company
Published by, 21st January 2014
Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA (“UBP”) announced on 21 January it has entered into a partnership agreement with a leading asset management team to strengthen its Asian capabilities, and established a new company in Shanghai, “UBP Investment Management (Shanghai) Limited”. Mr. Hong Chen, a leading figure in the Chinese asset management industry and most recently Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of HFT Investment Management, will be the CIO of the new company which aims to provide domestic and international investors with best-in-class Chinese equity and fixed income investment solutions. With over 15 years’ experience managing Chinese equities; he has one of the strongest performance track records in the field. Nicolas Faller, CEO of UBP’s Institutional Clients division, said: “We are delighted to announce the creation of this new company, which reflects our ability to partner with the best asset managers in order to deliver high-quality investment solutions to our clients. Mr. Hong Chen has found in UBP a solid international business partner and we are convinced that, in turn, our global network of clients will benefit greatly from his in-depth expertise.”
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Lush 'Mooh' Echoes from Swiss Alps to Qingdao
Published by China Daily, 13th January 2014
Rolling hills, lush green meadows, crystal clear lakes, snow-capped mountains and crisp clean air frame the land where the happiest cows in the world graze. Switzerland is world renowned for its dairy industry. In fact, Swiss cows have the highest grass-to-feed ratio in all of Europe, and typically live three times longer than cows in the US. Furthermore, the use of hormones is strictly banned in the country. Recognizing growing demand in China that goes hand in hand with Swiss products' solid reputation in the country, the association of Swiss dairy farmers (Nordostmilch) - through its dedicated brand for international products "Swissmooh" - identified Qingdao as the starting point for its brand awareness campaign and expansion. In May 2013 Swissmooh launched its first flagship store in the country at Marina City Shopping Mall, a high-end shopping complex in Qingdao. A second store in Qingdao was launched in January this year and premium Swissmooh dairy products can also be purchased throughout China through the online Tmall flagship store and on other Chinese e-commerce websites.

Strong Franc Brings New Risk for Swiss Watch Exports
Published by, 20th January 2014
Last year was difficult for Switzerland’s watchmakers. The lingering impact of China’s clampdown on corporate gift-giving, civil unrest in Hong Kong — the world’s biggest market for Swiss watches — and the gyrations of the rouble combined to slow growth in exports to 2.3 % in the first 11 months of the year. Protests in Hong Kong are over for now, and the main impact of Beijing’s anti-graft drive has faded. But market conditions in Russia remain volatile. On top of this, Swiss watchmakers will now have to cope with a stronger currency in 2015, after the Swiss National Bank stunned markets by scrapping its policy of preventing the Swiss franc appreciating beyond CHF .20 to the euro last week. “A strong Swiss franc has historically been bad for Richemont’s profit and loss account and even more so for Swatch Group,” says Thomas Chauvet, an analyst at Citigroup.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

EY Estimate a Fiscal Surplus Of HKD 39 billion for 2014-15
Published by, 20th January 2014
EY estimate that instead of the originally budgeted surplus of HKD 9.1 billion, the final result for the year 2014-15 will be a surplus of HKD 39 billion. The much higher surplus is mainly due to larger revenues from stamp duties and tax receipts. Based on EY’s figures, the estimated surplus would raise Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves to HKD 794.7 billion by the end of 31 March 2015. Agnes Chan, Managing Partner, Hong Kong and Macau at EY, says: “When the Government prepared the budget forecast in early 2014, it did not take into account the effects of the double stamp duty payable on certain instruments dealing with immovable properties, the relevant law only being enacted in July 2014. Coupled with the robust performance of the property and stock markets in 2014, EY estimate that revenue receipts from stamp duties would reach a record level of HKD 77.8 billion, exceeding the original estimate by HKD 34 billion. In addition, tax revenues collected are expected to exceed the original forecast by HKD 15 billion owing to a steadily improving business environment and a nearly full employment labor market in Hong Kong.”
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