Reader's Digest > 7 March - 20 March

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Reader's Digest, 7 March - 20 March

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Swiss Ambassador Interviewed by Xinhuanet
Published by xinhuanet.com, 16th March, 2015
Not only Chinese people keep an eye on the National People's Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference, but also foreign Ambassadors are quite interested in NPC & CPPCC. On 12 March, Swiss Ambassador H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel was interviewed by Xinhuanet and he shared his own opinion on the NPC & CPPCC, especially on the “new normality” of China’s economy. He has read Premier LI’s “Report on the Work of the Government” twice and deeply felt full of confidence of Chinese government. H.E. de Dardel paid more attention to the topics, such as intellectual property protection, business start-up, innovation, etc. Switzerland is willing to continuously cooperate with Chinese innovative people, enterprises and trade organizations to enhance the innovation capability. “In 2014, Switzerland became the first and so far only continental European country to conclude a free trade agreement with China" said H.E de Dardel, "this year is the 65th anniversary of China and Switzerland relations, the Embassy will host several events to celebrate the 65th anniversary of our diplomatic relations”.

Counselor of Education Attend the 2nd “KMU-Forum China”
Published by cnedu-ch.org, 15th March 2015
On 11 March, the Counselor Ms. XI Ru from the Education Section of the China Embassy in Switzerland was invited to attend the second annual "KMU-Forum China" and addressed a speech. Ms. XI introduced the vocational education situation and development in recent years and future plan in China. She was looking forward to have closer cooperation between China and Switzerland in vocational education, in order to meet the demand in the process of globalization. The forum was hosted by the School of Economics and the University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and Swiss SMEs Research Center in China (SSRCC). The center, established in August 2013, set up service centers in Olten, Switzerland and in Harbin, China, mainly focusing on the bilateral cooperation in training programs, information services, organizing forums and other activities, in order to promote Swiss SMEs to invest in China. More than 70 attendees from local government, enterprises and university attended the forum.
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BUSINESS NEWS

More European Countries to Join AIIB
Published by bjd.com.cn, 17th March 2015
The membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is set to expand further, with France, Germany and Italy reported to have all agreed to join the China-proposed institution. The decision of the three European countries, which was revealed by British newspaper The Financial Times and yet to be officially announced, came in the wake of Britain's application last week to be a founding member of the USD 50 billion bank. Meanwhile, Australian leaders have been lining up in the past few days to voice support for joining the AIIB, which marks a conspicuous U-turn from the cabinet's previous stance. "Our position all along has been that we are happy to be part of something which is a genuine multilateral institution such as the World Bank, such as the Asia Development Bank," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said during an interview with Sky News over the weekend. In addition, South Korea, Switzerland and Luxembourg have reportedly been pondering whether to join the new international initiative.

Innovation in China: Fast Times and Faster Companies
Published by swissnexchinanews.org, 9th March 2015
On 4 March, the swissnex China Beijing office within the Embassy of Switzerland co-organized a panel discussion on Innovation in China with the title Fast Times and Faster Companies, hosted by Swiss Ambassador H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel. The exclusive event, which generated a huge interest among the Beijing start-up community – exceeding the seating capacity by six fold – has welcomed distinguished speakers and tech-savvy guests for a lively exchange on the latest developments within China’s start-up and technology scene. The panel discussion highlighted that innovation is a term, which continuously innovates itself. It strongly relies on social structures, educational institutions, government policies, technologies and their accessibility.

Guizhou Eco Forum Invites Multinational Corporations
Published by China Daily, 8th March 2015
Over a hundred global corporations from the United States, Switzerland and Britain took part in a conference in Beijing on 5 March to promote the 2015 Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang. The Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang, held in the capital city of southwest China's Guizhou province, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization supported by a number of foundations. It is the first and only national level global conference themed on eco civilization under the approval of the State. In 2014, experts attended the three-day conference which hosted hundreds of forums, including Sino-Swiss dialogues, eco civilization and sustainable tourism.

Swiss Foreign Trade in January: Sluggish Start to the Year
Published by s-ge.com, 24th February 2015
Swiss foreign trade did not make a good start to the New Year, with both exports and imports declining in January. However, this was not just due to the strong Swiss franc. Exports fell by 4.4% in January (compared to the same month last year) to CHF 16.4 billion (in real terms: - 6.2%). The start of the year was also made more difficult by the abolition of the minimum exchange rate against the euro on 15 January. In numerical terms, however, the fact that January 2015 was one working day shorter than the same month last year was more important. When adjusted for working days, the exports did at least show a slight increase of 1.2% (in real terms: - 0.8%). Asia (+ 10.5%) was the major exception as an export destination. Otherwise, demand for Swiss products fell on all continents in January - most notably in Latin America (- 15.6%) and Africa (- 10.8%). Europe saw a decline of 7.4% (euro zone: - 8.9%, non-euro-zone: + 2.2%). However, Swiss exports to Saudi Arabia (+ 103.1%), Argentina (+ 75.8%), Ireland (+ 74.3%), Taiwan (+ 30.9%), Hungary (+29.2%), China (+23.9%), South Korea (+ 20.9%) and Brazil (+ 20.4%) did show exceptionally strong growth.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Swiss Girl’s Passion for Chinese Dance
Published by Song Ting, swissinfo.ch, 17th March 2015
Sonja’s passion for dance developed at the dance school Gery Bucher/Ruth Linsenmaier’s Dance Studio in Lucerne, Switzerland. For the past twenty years she has been teaching Jazz-Dance, Hip-Hop, Irish-Dance, Stretching and choreographing performances. The specialized dance training gave her the opportunity to perform on TV as well as on big stages. After travelling around the world back in 2004 Sonja’s dream came true: she founded the dance group “2dance” in Lucerne. Since eight years she has been studying Chinese dance and attended private classes in China, Taiwan and England. In 2012 Sonja received a one-year scholarship at the renowned Beijing Dance Academy. Last spring her school participated in “China Exploration”, a sports competition for foreigners, and they made it to the finals in Qingdao. Recently Sonja is practicing with the Chinese artist group “Lingbofang” and performing at several events. Lingbofang is still a young group and she is the only westerner. Sonja’s personal wish is to build bridges between East and West through the art of dance.

China in a Box, Music Included
Published by China Daily, 13th March 2015
How combining Swiss and Chinese culture gives you something not far removed from an expensive iPhone. "In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." So says Harry Lime in the film The Third Man. Alongside the famous cuckoo clock, he might easily have added the Swiss music box. When Ningyi Zhang, an antique dealer in Beijing, began hauling Swiss music boxes to China he suspected there would be no shortage of interest. After all, these ornate furniture-sized instruments were great conversation pieces. Their delicate melodies and elaborate construction attract wealthy collectors eager for foreign items and to join the nation's nouveaux riches.

Swiss Accordions on the Great Wall
Published by arcinfo.ch, 5 March 2015
Accordion leads everywhere. The instrument has reinvented itself, especially in French-speaking Switzerland, and performed in very well-known places all over the world. After Rome and the Pantheon in 2008, the Accordion Orchestra of French-speaking Switzerland (OASF) will next month play on the site of the Great Wall. The 93 accordionists accompanied by two Alpine horn players, will give four concerts from 2 to 12 April. The first in a church in Shanghai, then to the Philharmonic Concert Hall in Xi'an and Beijing at the National Conservatory of Music and then, still in the capital, on the site of the most important architectural structure ever built by man.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Solar Impulse’s Events in China
Published by SinOptic, 19th March 2015
The Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and the General Consulate of Switzerland in Shanghai would like to thank residents of Chongqing and Nanjing and other Chinese cities for the huge enthusiasm and interest they have shown towards Solar Impulse 2, a Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft which is on its way to China while making its first attempted around-the-world flight. Currently in India to gear up for its journeys to Myanmar and China, Solar Impulse is expected to arrive in Chongqing, the sixth leg of the flight, on March 22 and Nanjing, the seventh, the next day. However, the exact dates of arrival are dependent on the weather conditions in the coming days. During its three-week stopover in China, many activities will take place and offer the public opportunities to discover this extraordinary project and share the Swiss innovation spirit.

Workshop on Innovation and Design Thinking
Published by swissnexchinanews.org, 16th March 2015
Jointly organized by ParisTech JiaoTong University, swissnex China, The Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai, and the Consulate General of France in Shanghai, the workshop on innovation and Design Thinking attracted many students as well as seasoned experts from various companies. Fully conducted in French to celebrate the Semaine de la langue française et de la francophonie —an annual celebration of French language and francophone cultures— the event was attended by a balanced mix of enthusiastic native and non-native French-speakers. To this effect, Chinese students were especially motivated in speaking French throughout the event. With innovation as the theme, the main feature of the day was a workshop on Design Thinking, including a competition among the students.  First inaugurated by a speech from Cédric Denis-Rémis (Dean of ParisTech Shanghai Jiao Tong) and Pascal Marmier (CEO of swissnex China), the participants were then informed on the format of the competition where they were randomly grouped into teams, asked to think about different problems or issues within an industry, and come up with creative solutions. 

Solar Plane to Come to Nanjing Next Week
Published by China Daily, 12th March 2015
Solar Impulse 2 - the world’s first and largest solar-powered plane - is to land on Nanjing's Lukou International Airport on 20 March. It started the first round-the-world trip in human history on 9 March. It will stay in Nanjing until it leaves for Hawaii on 18 April. Nanjing Lukou International Airport will build a special garage for Solar Impulse 2 in the No.4 Parking Apron. That apron is far from other aprons therefore it won’t affect other planes. Staff of the airport said that when it is sunny, they will pull the plane out to charge. The maintenance of the plane will be conducted by a professional team. Experts of the Jiangsu Association for Science and Technology said the China Association for Science and Technology and Swiss embassy will host a series of science activities. Next month, kids in Nanjing are expected to have a close contact with Solar Impulse 2.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

ABB to Provide Power Products for China’s Large Offshore Wind Farm
Published by abb.com.cn, 12th March 2015
A gust of sea wind that can light tens of thousands of households - this is becoming a reality in some of China’s coastal areas. Some 10 kilometers off the coast of Xiangshui County, a series of wind turbines with fan blades longer than 60 meters are being installed. Here is the Jiangsu Xiangshui Offshore 200 MW Wind Farm Demonstration Project, China’s first wind power project that transmits power to onshore areas via an offshore transformer substation. The Xiangshui Offshore Wind Farm will feature China’s first offshore substation equipped with ABB’s full range of power equipment in a relay station that delivers wind power to onshore transformer stations. The system will decrease the power loss caused by long-distance transmission and improve the transmission capability. The voltage created by wind turbines will be boosted from 35 kV to 220 kV, then transmitted onshore via undersea AC cables, constantly delivering clean wind power to the grid of Northern Jiangsu.

ABB Wins China Real Estate Industry Supplier Annual Award
Published by abb.com.cn, 6th March 2015
ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, was recently named one of China Top 10 Preferred Brands of Green Real Estate Parts Suppliers at the 2014-2015 (12th) China Best Real Estate Players of the Year ceremony. The award is an acknowledgement of ABB’s continued commitment to helping real estate developers build intelligent, green and comfortable commercial and residential buildings using cutting-edge technologies and reliable solutions. PohCheng Gay, Senior Vice President of ABB China Limited and head of ABB’s Low Voltage Product Division in China said, “Under the ‘New Normal’, the real estate industry in China is experiencing unprecedented change. Faced with energy and environmental challenges, business and residential buildings need to be upgraded from traditional construction to sustainable, green construction. ABB’s efficient, energy-saving products for smart home and building are ideally situated to meet this market demand.”
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Future Assured for Online Insurers
Published by China Daily, 13th March 2015
E-commerce has come to the insurance sector, and the prospects are bright as mainland Web giants get in the game. The old-fashioned but lucrative insurance trade is attracting big names in mainland e-commerce, giants that seek to introduce new trading forms and entry points to the industry. In December, the founders of mainland Internet giants Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings bought shares in Ping An Insurance, the second-largest mainland insurer. Andy Ng, Greater China Insurance leader at Ernst & Young in Hong Kong, believes online insurance - though an emerging business - will make a dent in the traditional property and casualty insurance sectors on the mainland. Clarence Wong, chief economist for Asia-Pacific at reinsurance company Swiss Re, said the idea of selling insurance policies via information technology is not new in the region even though the business is still in its initial phase of growth. Auto insurance and medical services are just two of the areas undergoing dramatic changes amid the online revolution, he noted.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

In Smartwatch War, Swatch Goes for Cheap, Quick and China
Published by reuters.com, 12th March 2015
The world's largest watchmaker unveiled its riposte to Apple Inc's smartwatch on Thursday 12 March, announcing a plan to put cheap programmable chips in watches that will let wearers from China to Chicago make payments with a swipe of the wrist. Swatch Group will start offering watches with near field communication (NFC) chips within two months, chief executive Nick Hayek said at a news conference on the company's annual results which were released last month. Apple's move into watches would open up a market where Swatch was already well positioned to compete, he said. For its near-field chips, which will cost around CHF 2 (USD 2) per watch, Swatch has teamed up with China UnionPay, the Chinese credit card association, as well as a Swiss bank and a major credit card company.

Nestlé Coffee Centre Breaks Ground in Pu'er
Published by 4-traders.com, 9th March 2015
The construction of the large-scale project Nestlé Coffee Centre officially starts in the Pu'er Industrial Park on Monday. The centre will significantly enhance the ability to provide training and technical support to coffee farmers and coffee practitioners and further strengthen and promote the development of Pu'er coffee industry. It is expected to be put into operation in the 2015-2016 coffee purchase season. The Nestlé Coffee Centre will consist of two parts. One part will include the Nestlé Coffee Farming Institute and Green Coffee Quality laboratory, which provides training to coffee farmers, agronomists and coffee professionals and is designed to be the largest training base of its kind in China; the other will be a modern storage facility.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

China Legal Briefing 248
Published by wenfei.com, 10th March 2015
The China Legal Briefing 248 is released: The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has released the draft of a proposed new Foreign Investment Law to solicit public opinions. The law is set to replace the three current key laws on foreign investment in China: the law on Sino-foreign Equity Joint Ventures, the Law on Wholly Foreign-owned Enterprises and the Law on Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures; On 21 January 2015, Li Keqiang, Premier of China, and Simonetta Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Confederation witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the People's Bank of China and the Swiss National Bank. Starting from 1 January 2015, the new "Handling Procedures for Foreigners entering China for the Accomplishment of Short-Term Work Assignments" ("Handling Procedures") are implemented on a trial basis. The Handling Procedures were released jointly by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Cultures comes.
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