Reader's Digest > 24 January - 13 February

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Reader's Digest, 24 January - 13 February

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


65th Anniversary of Bilateral Relations: Cooperation to Reach New High Point
Published by SinOptic, 6th February 2015
Within the framework of the 65th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China, a busy agenda is set to honor the longstanding partnership. High-level bilateral meetings, regular dialogues, intensive economic and scientific cooperation and finally a rich cultural program will characterize what already looks like a breakthrough year. The Swiss diplomatic missions in China aim to celebrate this year’s jubilee by commemorating the past, showcase the diversity and maturity of the relations that have been built, and further deepen ties. On 6 February the Swiss Minister of Finance, Ms. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, speaking from the residence of the Swiss Ambassador in Beijing, stated that following the farsighted decision of the Swiss diplomacy to recognize - only a few months from its inception - the People’s Republic of China, mutual contacts have been consistent and proactive, resulting in the setting up of many milestones.

Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf Visits China
Published by, 6th February 2015
From 4 to 6 February, Federal Councillor Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf was in Beijing. She held talks with Finance Minister Lou Jiwei as well as with Zhou Xiaochuan, the Governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC). The talks allowed the Head of the FDF reaffirm Switzerland's interest in establishing a renminbi hub. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) and China's central bank, the PBOC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 21 January while in Davos. Moreover, China granted Switzerland a quota of RMB 50 billion under the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) programme. Federal Councillor Widmer-Schlumpf thanked the Chinese for the efforts already made to strengthen financial relations. She also welcomed the annual financial dialogue between Switzerland and China. This was agreed upon in December 2013 and a third round should take place in mid-2015. 2015 also marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the People's Republic of China. A ceremony took place at the Swiss embassy in Beijing, which made it possible for the Federal Councillor to talk with local representatives of the Swiss financial centre as well as with Chinese representatives from the areas of culture, academia and business.. 

Bilateral Agreement Relating to Foodstuffs, Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Cosmetics
Published by, 23th January 2015
On the margins of the World Economic Forum, Federal Councillor Alain Berset and Zhang Yong, the minister responsible for the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), signed a bilateral agreement relating to foodstuffs, medicinal products, medical devices and cosmetics on 21 January 2015. The bilateral agreement intends to institutionalize a dialogue between the competent government authorities in the aforementioned areas and deepen the exchange in these mutually beneficial areas relevant to health. Regular exchanges shall increase each other's understanding for the respective regulatory systems and legal frameworks in the two countries as well as build mutual trust.

Working Meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Davos
Published by SinOptic, 21st January 2015
President Simonetta Sommaruga, Federal Councillor Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Federal Councillor Alain Berset today met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Talks focused on cooperation in the business and finance sector. President Simonetta Sommaruga played host to Li Keqiang in the Town Hall in Davos. In her welcoming address, President Sommaruga recognized the excellent relationship that the two countries have enjoyed for many years and praised the bilateral relations which this year mark their 65th anniversary. She also stressed the importance of the free trade agreement between China and Switzerland, which came into force in July 2014, and underlined the importance of the dialogue on cooperation in various sectors, such as the environment, finance, migration and education.
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China's Wanda Buys Swiss Sports Marketer Infront for USD 1.2 Billion
Published by, 10th February 2015
Chinese real estate giant Wanda Group said Tuesday it's buying Swiss sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media for EUR 1.05 billion (USD 1.2 billion). Wanda said the acquisition of Infront, which is the latest addition to its stable of entertainment and leisure businesses, will help support China's efforts in bidding for major sports events. "This acquisition of Infront will significantly increase the future impact of the Wanda Group in the culture and entertainment industry," said founder and chairman Wang Jianlin, a billionaire who is one of China's richest people. The deal "will also drive the development of Chinese sports industry and its interest around the globe," he said. Infront's businesses include producing the World Cup television broadcasts for FIFA through its subsidiary HBS. Infront's president and CEO is Philippe Blatter, whose uncle Sepp Blatter is the soccer federation's president.

Swiss Exports Hit Record High in 2014
Published by, 3rd February 2015
Global demand for Swiss-made goods surged 3.5% last year as the value of exports reached CHF 208.3 billion (USD 224 billion), beating the previous record set in 2008. The rise in exports was led by pharmaceuticals, chemicals and watches. By contrast, imports into Switzerland stagnated in 2014 leading to a record annual trade surplus of CHF 30 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Customs Administration. The figures arrive with the Swiss export industry bracing itself for the negative impact of the soaring franc this year. The trade in pharmaceutical and chemical products, which account for CHF 85.3 billion or 41% of all Swiss exports, soared 5% last year while watches continued their inexorable rise in sales by 1.9%.

China Launches New Law Regarding Foreign Investment
Published by, 30th January 2015
Investing in China should be easier in future. At least that is the hope following the recent publication by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce of the draft of a new Foreign Investment Law. The most important changes at a glance: The new Foreign Investment Law replaces the existing laws on equity joint ventures and contractual joint ventures between Chinese and foreign partners and the law on companies which are wholly foreign-owned. Most foreign direct investment will no longer need pre-approval from the State Council. The only exceptions are where a foreign party intends to invest in one of the still restricted industries or the investment amount exceeds a level which has still to be set by the State Council.

China's Signal of Innovation Detected in Davos
Published by China Daily, 25th January 2015
As a major partner of Swiss Telecom and a provider of networking service to local people, Huawei's growth and expansion in Switzerland is an epitome of China's influence in the global economic arena. At Davos, a small Swiss town located 150 km away from Zurich, China's global economic influence was further illustrated in late January when the World Economic Forum (WEF) kicked off in the ski resort. Led by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, an 80-plus-strong Chinese delegation comprising high-ranking government officials, business elites and prominent academicians drew unparalleled attention, as shown in a Reuters report entitled "China's Li to headline Davos in year of destiny."

Sino-Swiss Park Boosts Cooperation
Published by China Daily, 23rd January 2015
The Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park aims to serve Swiss and Chinese companies and promote cooperation between the two nations. The industrial park in East China's Zhenjiang city is expected to receive over USD 300 million in investments from nine Swiss organizations by July 2014, according to media reports. The nine investors include Clariant, a specialty chemicals company, and Keller Technologies AG Switzerland, which solves technical problems for modern buildings with low energy consumption. On 9 July, 2012, Chen Deming, former head of the Ministry of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Beijing to build the park with Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Swiss Federal Councilor and head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs.
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A Confectioner Plans to Conquer China with his Pralines
Published by, 8th February 2015
The Solothurn Entrepreneurship Award is being awarded to a chocolate confectioner. The company Suteria is being rewarded for taking the risk of not only doing business in Olten and Solothurn, but also in Harbin, in northeastern China. On 25 September 2014, the CEO of Suteria Chocolata AG from Solothurn, Michael Brüderli, inaugurated a new confectionary shop in a prime location in Harbin. This opening occurred in the presence of FHNW-staff of the Swiss SME Research Center China SSRCC.

East Meets West - Building Bridges, Swiss Tradition & Folklore China 2015
Published by, 21st January 2015
The Swiss Globetrotters traveled around China in the summer of 2014 and arranged Swiss folklore workshops in rural areas in Hebei and Hunan provinces, taught kids at primary and dance schools. It was a great success and helped to build goodwill for more cultural and commercial exchange between China and Switzerland! They will return to China this year in April. One of their first performances will be at the grand opening of the new shop of SWISSMOOH in Qingdao. Followed by a trip to the Art District 798 in Beijing, they will give a traditional Swiss Folklore concert. On top of that they will visit primary and dance schools in the south of China again, for example in Yongzhou, Hunan. Like their last journey, this one is only possible with generous sponsors like Walter Kamm, the founder and majority shareholder of Globetrotter Travel Service Zurich, who financed the flights.
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A Miss for Swiss?
Published by China Daily, 30th January 2015
The impending rise of the Swiss franc has not caused a rush among Chinese to buy luxury watches, Sun Yuanqing reports. Swiss watch sellers in mainland China say there has not been much difference in sales so far since the Swiss franc's sudden surge on 15 January, although dealers in Hong Kong and Singapore have reported a rush of business. Swiss watchmakers have been planning price hikes to counter the ascent of the Swiss franc since the Swiss National Bank decided to remove the cap on the franc-euro exchange rate.

Piaget Unveils Sheep Watch for Chinese New Year
Published by China Daily, 26th January 2015
Swiss luxury watchmaker Piaget, who has been designing commemorative items for the Chinese New Year since 2012, has presented a sheep-themed watch for this season. The watch is designed by renowned enamelist Anita Porchet in tones of gray, black and white. Only 38 were made, and they will be exclusively sold in Piaget stores.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

ABB Wins Milestone Contract With China’s Leading LNG Shipyard
Published by, 2nd February 2015
ABB announced that it will deliver advanced electrical propulsion systems for four LNG carriers under construction by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding. The LNG vessels are a joint venture between China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China LNG Shipping (CLNG) and Teekay, and will operate under 20-year time-charter contracts with Methane Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BG. LNG carriers are highly sophisticated in terms of technology and are specially designed to transport LNG at a low temperature of minus 162 degrees Celsius. They are regarded as the “super freezer cars of the sea” and “the pearl on the crown” in the world shipbuilding industry. According to a research report released by Clarkson Research Services Limited in the UK, an authoritative consultancy in the global shipbuilding industry, more than 80 LNG carriers will be needed annually in the world by 2022.

Electronics Giant Considers Factory in Europe to Boost International Sales
Published by China Daily, 30th January 2015
Gree Electric Appliances Inc, China's largest manufacturer of air conditioners, may establish a factory in Europe to boost its sales overseas, according to chairwoman Dong Mingzhu. "We already sell our products in many overseas markets so it would make sense to open factories there to supply locally," Dong said in an interview during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We are looking at options in Europe." Gree, which competes against GD Midea Holding Co and Haier Group Corp in the world's most-populous nation, has looked to expand in emerging markets since 2011 and already has factories in Brazil and Pakistan.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Swiss to Welcome Chinese Bank by Year's End
Published by, 6th February 2015
A Chinese bank is set to open operations in Switzerland by the end of this year, according to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. The move would complete all the pieces of the jigsaw for Switzerland to become a renminbi trading hub. Widmer-Schlumpf confirmed intense media speculation about the imminent arrival of the China Construction Bank (CCB) during a visit to China on Friday. At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last month, she had hinted that China’s third-largest commercial bank was interested in a Swiss banking licence. Once established, CCB could process the RMB 150 billion (CHF 22.5 billion) trading allocation that Swiss companies have been granted to trade in China by an agreement signed between the two countries at the WEF.

UBS: Chinese Monetary Policy Likely to Take Wait-and-See Mode
Published by China Daily, 3rd February 2015
China is likely to hold off major monetary policy decisions before more complete economic data indicates growth momentum, said Switzerland's largest bank UBS on Tuesday. Economic data in January and February is likely to be distorted by low season activity and the shifting timing of Chinese New Year, which will fall on 19 February this year. Thus, credible assessment of the underlying growth momentum is impeded, said Wang Tao, chief China economist with UBS. March data will be the best touchstone and could set the direction of macro policies for the next couple of quarters, according to UBS. China's central bank has taken a neutral stance to ensure adequate liquidity and to stabilize the fixing price of the yuan in the foreign exchange market, UBS said.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Nestle Scholarships Help Boost the Coffee Industry in Yunnan
Published by, 12th February 2015
Nestle SA, the global food retailer, has awarded scholarships to 38 college students from families of coffee growers in Yunnan province, under its scheme to encourage higher levels of professional education. The scholarships were given this year and last, to those majoring in agriculture-related subjects in order to boost the long-term prospects of the province's coffee industry. Each award is worth RMB 5,000 (USD 801) per year, and those considered outstanding can earn up to four years of funding until they graduate. As one of the leading multinational companies investing in Southwest China's coffee sector, Nestle launched the scholarships last year. Students can register as applicants through the company's agricultural services department.

Auris Medical Announces Granted Patent in China for the Treatment of Tinnitus
Published by, 11th February 2015
Auris Medical Holding AG, a clinical-stage company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs in otolaryngology, today announced that it has recently been granted a patent by the Chinese patent office covering the use of its investigational tinnitus treatment AM-101. China patent No. 2014092201088240 describes methods for the treatment of tinnitus induced by cochlear excitotoxicity, and notably the use of Ketamine and related compounds for that purpose. Auris Medical is a Swiss biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing therapeutics that address important unmet medical needs in otolaryngology. The company is currently focusing on the development of treatments for acute inner ear tinnitus and for acute inner ear hearing loss by way of intratympanic injection with biocompatible gel formulations. In addition, Auris Medical is pursuing early-stage research and development projects. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Chinese Companies Set to Invest in More Sectors Overseas
Published by, 2nd February 2015
Today KPMG’s Global China Practice released “China Outlook 2015”, its annual review of and outlook for the Chinese economy. The report makes the following predictions for 2015: GDP growth is likely to slow down further in 2015, but not dramatically; Having likely overtaken FDI in 2014, ODI should see continued double-digit growth in 2015, which will widen the gap further; FDI is likely to remain at the 2014 level of around USD 120 billion. Chinese outbound direct investment is set to see steady growth off what is now already a high base; with more companies – especially private owned enterprises, investing in more sectors across more countries; in targets that enable Chinese companies to move up the value chain and improve their core competitive advantages in terms of technology, product development, branding and quality. That is why outbound investment will make an important contribution to the transformation of China’s economy, and the advancement of quality economic development. And that is also why we expect to continue to see more investments in new markets, particularly in developed economies.
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