Reader's Digest > 13 June - 3 July

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Reader's Digest, 13 June - 3 July

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


1st Anniversary of FTA Between Switzerland and China: a Milestone in Foreign Economic Policy
Published by, 30th June 2015
One year ago, on 1 July 2014, the Free Trade Agreement between Switzerland and China, which had been signed a year earlier by Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and his Chinese counterpart, entered into force. The comprehensive agreement with our third largest trade partner is a milestone in Swiss foreign economic policy and Swiss businesses are showing an enormous interest in the possibilities it brings. Exports to China have risen by 3% and imports from the country have risen by at least 4%, while Swiss exports to the rest of the world have grown by only 0.4%. The free trade agreement improves access to this large and promising market for Swiss businesses in the goods and services sectors. No other free trade agreement with a partner outside the EU has met with the same level of business interest.

Switzerland Signs the Founding Document of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Published by, 29th June 2015
Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann was Switzerland’s representative at today’s signing in Beijing of the document marking the country’s participation in the founding process of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The bank is designed to promote sustainable economic development in Asia. In addition, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research also met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Finance Minister Lou Jiwei. The finance minister gave his assurance that China will support Switzerland’s participation at the G-20 Finance Track. At a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the founding members this morning signed the Articles of Agreement of the new bank. The AIIB aims to promote sustainable economic development in Asia with a focus on poorer countries in the region.

Sino-Swiss Dialogue Eyes Closer Environment, Business Cooperation
Published by, 25th June 2015
There is a lot of potential for Switzerland and Guizhou Province to work together in the area of environment protection, sustainable development and foster trade and investment in clean technologies, said a Swiss delegation at the press conference Thursday in Guiyang, prior to the 2015 Sino-Swiss Dialogue in Guiyang, Guizhou Province on Friday. Swiss experience in terms of environmental policies, technical support and Cleantech paired with Guizhou’s desire to be a leader in sustainable development is creating more opportunities for the public sector and business alike, according to the delegation, which consists of high-level politicians, diplomats, CEOs and experts in environment, sustainability and green economy.
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The Guizhou-Swiss Business Matchmaking
Published by, 26th June 2015
The Guizhou-Swiss Business Matchmaking took place in Guiyang, capital of the beautiful Guizhou Province on 26 June. In the framework of the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2015 and the Sino-Swiss Dialogue SwissCham Beijing gave the opportunity to more than 10 Swiss companies (Belimed, Cleantech Switzerland, Club Elysée, Credit Suisse, Eurohold, Fert, Geotest, Grow-Well, Oerlikon, Roche, SICPA, SWISSPEARL) to organize B2B/B2G meetings in order to facilitate business development between Swiss and Chinese companies and to initiate projects by meeting potential cooperation partners in this growing area of China. All these companies had also the chance to introduce them on the Swiss booth for the whole time period of the Forum. The day ended with the signature of a MoU between SwissCham Beijing, represented our General Secretary, Ms. Pauline Houl and the Vice-President of CCPIT Guizhou, Mr. Wu Bing.

Issue 39 of the Bridge Magazine is now Available
Published by, 25th June 2015
The Bridge magazine is now available and reveals reasons of Switzerland’s steady and undisputed performance in the INSEAD Global Innovation Index during the past years and puts focus on Swiss innovation in China. With a closer look at the Swiss Stand of Sustainability, the cover story outlines the strong position of Swiss firms as front players in the field of environmental sustainability and how they lead the drive towards more sustainable practices in China. Further, Christian Schmid, EVP Technical at Nestlé Greater China Region, talks about China’s changing agribusiness landscape, and an expert is giving his opinion about the acquisition of Swiss heritage brands by Chinese firms. Click here to read the magazine.

Investors Caught in Alleged USD 1.2 Billion Scam
Published by China Daily, 17th June 2015
Chinese investors have flown 5,000 miles (8,047 kilometers) to show up on doorsteps in Geneva and demand their money back. This has been the fallout so far from an alleged scam that its victims say robbed 29,000 Chinese investors of USD 1.2 billion. They were promised returns of as much as 10% a month from currency trading by API Premiere Swiss Trust AG and associated companies, according to interviews with six victims and documents they shared during the past three months. The money disappeared from their accounts in January, the investors claimed. "We wanted to know the truth," Chen Biya, 43, an advertising agency owner in Beijing who flew to Geneva in late March with two-dozen fellow investors to try to recover their missing millions, said. They sought redress at API's locked former offices, the public prosecutor and in meetings with lawyers. They then went to Bern and Zurich to appeal to the Chinese embassy and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, known as Finma. "But nobody has been able to tell us the entire story," Chen said.
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ZHAW School of Management and Law Organized Emerging Markets Field Trip to China
Published by, 1st July 2015
ZHAW School of Management and Law organized this year’s emerging markets field trip to China to experience the Chinese way of life through real on-site exploration, the cultural heritage of the country & learn how to do business in emerging markets, understand the buying power of China and learn the first steps to expand one’s individual business network beyond Switzerland. The trip of our group, which consists of 25 business school students, one professor and a mandarin-speaking research associate, starts in Beijing, where the Great Wall and its Creative Street is explored. They also visited the Swiss embassy, the University of International Business & Economics and a wine dealership called “Cheers Wine”. Last but not least it is the great honor to attend a Gala Dinner with Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann organized by SwissCham Beijing and used this unique opportunity to build long lasting relationships with the Swiss Business Community in Beijing.

Startup Rolls out Smart Air Quality Device in China to Combat Pollution
Published by China Daily, 30th June 2015
Entrepreneur Liam Bates has launched a company that he believes can produce the air quality of the Swiss Alps in your own home. With two co-founders, the Swiss-born businessman set up Origins Technology in Beijing, which specializes in creating smart air quality devices for the Chinese market. He came up with the idea of developing a low-cost air purifying system after his fiancee's asthma returned due to the high levels of pollution here. Trying to find the best air purifier in China, Bates turned to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's online marketplace to see what was out there. "I probably checked nearly 100 different products and I realized that most devices were inefficient," he said. "They all shared the same characteristics, without any product standing out from the competition." Bates decided there was a gap in the market and set up Origins Technology 2014 before rolling out the OxyBox air purifier last June at a retail price of RMB 4,499 (USD 725).
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Exclusive Dinner with the Federal Councillor Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann
Published by, 29th June 2015
On Monday 29 June, SwissCham Beijing had the honor to organize an Exclusive Dinner for the Vice-President of Switzerland, His Excellency, the Federal Councillor Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. More than 100 guests joined this exceptional reception in order to meet and listen our distinguished guest. Among them, Chinese management (Presidents & CEO's) of many Swiss companies were present like ABB, Keller Technologies, Mercuria Investment, Nestlé, Roche, Rueger, Sauter, SGS, SICPA, Swatch Group, Swiss Airlines, UBS, Zuellig Pharma and Zurich Insurance. Following the welcome speech given by the President of SwissCham Beijing, Mr. Bernie Stefan, the Vice-President of Switzerland did a presentation of 20 minutes. The major part was devoted to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) of whom Switzerland is a founding member after the signing of the AIIB’s Articles of Agreement the same day. He mentioned the relevance of the AIIB on a political level for Switzerland but also the value that Swiss companies can add to the AIIB infrastructure projects. Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann talked also about the positive dynamics in Switzerland’s efforts to position as a RMB Hub and the future establishment of the China Construction Bank office in Zurich.

Solar Impulse Plane en route to Hawaii from Japan
Published by, 29th June 2015
A solar-powered plane took off from Japan early Monday to attempt a five-day flight over open water to Hawaii, the eighth leg of its bid to fly around the world without fuel. Its long wings lighting up the night sky, the Solar Impulse 2 departed at 3:03 a.m. after an unscheduled, month-long stop in Japan because of unfavorable weather. The flight to Hawaii, by far the longest of the journey so far, is risky because there are few if any places to land in an emergency. Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg is flying solo. The plane, which started in Abu Dhabi on March 9, is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells on its wings that recharge its batteries. From Hawaii, it is to continue on to Phoenix, then hopscotch across the United States and the Atlantic to Europe, before returning to Abu Dhabi.

3 Chinese Metropolises among Most Costly Cities for Expats
Published by China Daily, 19th June 2015
China is becoming more expensive for expatriates, according to Mercer's annual Cost of Living Survey. The study, now in its 21st year, ranked the cost of living for expats based on a basket of goods, from rent and transport to costs of burgers and jeans, in 207 cities around the globe to help companies and policymakers calculate the cost for their employees. Angolan capital Luanda topped the list for the third consecutive year, thanks to the high price tags attached to security needs and the vast number of imported goods. "Pearl of the Orient" Hong Kong rose from third to second place this year. On average, Chinese cities climbed 18 spots backed by the stronger yuan. In particular, Shanghai rose from 10th to sixth, Beijing from 11th to seventh, Shenzhen from 17th to 14th and Guangzhou from 24th to 15th. China now has three cities in the top 10 and nine cities in the top 30. Many other Asian cities remained strong on the list, including Singapore at fourth spot and Seoul at eighth. The depreciating yen dragged Tokyo down from 7th spot to 11th this year. Three European cities are among the costliest places to live - Zurich, Geneva and Bern, driven by the surge of the Swiss franc against the euro. London, New York and Tel Aviv remained in the 12th, 16th and 18th place, respectively.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

YuMi Proves Star of the Show
Published by China Daily, 25th June 2015
It is cute, white and looks like a character from a Star Wars movie. But YuMi, pronounced "you and me" in Chinese, is one of the new breed of industrial robots. Built by ABB Ltd, the multinational corporation based in Zurich, Switzerland, YuMi was the star of the show at ABB Automation World in Chongqing early this month. At just 399 millimeters tall, the robot made its Chinese debut after being unveiled to the world at the Hannover Messe trade show on 13 April, following nine years of research and development. Designed with flexible hands and arms, YuMi will be used for small parts assembly and costs about USD 40,000. "The new era of robotic co-workers is here. It will be an integral part of our Next Level strategy," Ulrich Spiesshofer, the CEO of ABB, said in Hannover. "YuMi makes collaboration between humans and robots a reality." Naturally, the Swiss company is hoping YuMi will be a big hit in the Chinese market.

Clariant Vows to Support Nation's Sustainable Future
Published by China Daily, 18th June 2015
Clariant Ltd, the Swiss specialty chemicals company, is vowing to help China move toward a more sustainable future. Jan Kreibaum, the company's regional president for greater China and South Korea, said its growth plan is very much in line with the government's "Made in China 2025" strategy. "We are committed to responding to the new mega trends in China and contributing our know-how to support the country in achieving its sustainable development goals," he said. The "Made in China 2025" strategy is a national plan that aims to enhance the country's manufacturing capability and competitiveness. It encourages industrial restructuring, focused on fostering emerging industries such as new energy and new materials, and places greater emphasis on environmental protection. "In China, sustainable development has become a key strategic focus in order to achieve long-term success," Kreibaum said. "These challenges offer great opportunities to companies like Clariant which places emphasis on sustainability." Clariant entered the Chinese market in 1995 and immediately set some ambitious targets in its environmental protection initiatives.

ABB: Data Center Business in China Continues to Grow Rapidly
Published by, 15th June 2015
Due to the rapid development of China’s data center industry, ABB’s data center business has been growing strongly here, helping ensure the safe, efficient and reliable operation of data centers in industries ranging from financial, IT to telecom with its leading power and automation products and solutions. Economic development and advancement of information technology in China have spurred demand for data centers across various industries. A stable and reliable power supply is essential to the safe and dependable operation of a data center as a power interruption can result in financial payment and settlement issues and data losses, in addition to other major consequences. Power outages reportedly cost USD 1 million or more per hour for a data center owner. Just over the past year, ABB has been involved in the construction of data centers for large financial institutions including China Pacific Insurance, Ping An Insurance and China Construction Bank (CCB).
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Top Philanthropists Gather to Discuss Family Legacy and Innovation in Philanthropy in Asia
Published by, 1st July 2015
UBS today announced the launch of UBS Philanthropy Forum Asia in Singapore. Held on July 2 & 3, the forum will be attended by a highly influential group of close to 200 participants and global speakers including eminent private philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and top business families. The desire to embrace philanthropy amongst the wealthy families has expanded beyond US and Europe to Asia. As Asia emerges as the next center of billionaire wealth creation, the UBS Philanthropy Forum Asia in Singapore seeks to examine how wealthy families have successfully created a family legacy through innovative philanthropy practices. Chi Woon Yoon, President Asia Pacific for UBS said, "UBS has been working with Asia's wealthiest families for over 50 years. This year, we are delighted to host our flagship Philanthropy Forum in Singapore, as the city-state celebrates 50 years of independence. This event forms part of our UBS and Society initiative, which helps clients use their wealth for positive societal impact." According to the recent UBS and PwC 2015 report, the average age of Asian billionaires is 57, an age when many begin to consider how to preserve and transfer their wealth. This wealth demographic can trigger a wave of philanthropic giving.

Swiss Re Becomes Pioneer Investor in Swiss RQFII Program with China
Published by, 22nd June 2015
Swiss Re has been confirmed as the first Swiss company to be granted a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) license. With this licence in place Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. can proceed and apply for a quota to invest in the Chinese domestic securities markets, predominately into the fixed income market. Currently China's bond market is one of the world's largest, accessible only to foreign investors through specifically defined programmes. Swiss Re's Group Chief Investment Officer, Guido Fürer, says: "Gaining access to the Chinese financial markets - as they grow in significance - has become vital for global long-term investors. The RQFII programme will further complement Swiss Re's liability matching investment capabilities. This is an important step in Swiss Re's business aspirations under our High Growth Market strategy." The grant of the license follows an agreement reached in January between Switzerland and China to establish a quota of RMB 50 billion that Switzerland-based financial institutions can use to invest in China's domestic capital markets. The Swiss National Bank described the agreement at the time as a sign for fresh progress in the bilateral financial cooperation between China and Switzerland.

HSBC Says Becomes Swiss Re's Custodian Bank in China
Published by, 22nd June 2015
HSBC will store Swiss Re's Chinese securities as part of a plan to enable foreign investors to use offshore yuan to buy stocks and bonds in mainland China, the British bank on Monday. The investment scheme, known as the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII), was created in 2011 to let financial investors place some of their yuan holdings in China. The British bank said in a statement the agreement made it the first custodian bank in China to service a RQFII based in Switzerland.

Bank Warns about Mainland Stock Market Bubble
Published by China Daily, 19th June 2015
Analysts have grown increasingly concerned about the mainland stock market bubble with Credit Suisse saying that it expected mainland small and medium-sized caps will crash 50% when the bubble bursts. Meanwhile, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 3.7% to close at 4,785.4 on Thursday. Stock analysts attributed the slide to the large number of initial public offerings that have drained sizeable amounts of liquidity from the market. So far this week, the benchmark indicator has dived a total of 7.4%, heading for the steepest weekly loss since February 2009. It's a question of when the bubble will burst, said Vincent Chan, Hong Kong-based head of equity research at Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland's second-biggest bank. He said he was particularly concerned about the stocks of the many small and medium-sized companies which have raised too much capital in the latest rally. The valuation of these highly geared enterprises has reached critical level, he added. The ChiNext Index of small cap companies sank 6.3% to 3,504 on Thursday, paring its gain this year to 138%.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Givaudan Doubles Flavour Production Capacity in China
Published by, 30th June 2015
Givaudan, a leading fragrance and flavour company, today officially opened its new savoury flavours manufacturing facility in Nantong, China. Representing an investment of CHF 50 million, the site will more than double Givaudan’s existing production capacity in China. The opening ceremony was attended by Mauricio Graber, President Flavours Division, Matthias Waehren, Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Qu Baoxian, Party Secretary of Nantong Economic & Technological Development Area (NETDA). The factory was officially opened by Givaudan’s Chief Executive Officer, Gilles Andrier. The new plant will enable Givaudan to meet the growing needs of customers in China for innovative products and great taste experiences, more efficiently.  The plant demonstrates Givaudan’s commitment to one of its most significant growth markets.

Luxury Brands Set up E-commerce Platforms in China
Published by, 22nd June 2015
Swiss luxury group Richemont has invited two of its rivals - LVMH and Kering Group - to build an e-commerce platform to sell luxurious goods. The high-profile move is intended to give the luxury brands control of their own internet space. The news comes as more and more luxury brands are entering the Chinese e-commerce market. There's no denying that luxury brands are not doing as well as they have in the past. Gucci's global sales were down 7.9% in the first quarter this year. Prada's sales revenue slipped one percent in 2014, and JP Morgan lowered its profit expectation for the company by 5% for 2015. Luxury brands are doing everything they can to sell more including frequent sales promotions, and speeding entry to the e-commerce world.

Kuoni Faces Challenges in Brave New World
Published by Matthew Allen,, 23rd June 2015
One of Switzerland’s best-known retail brands, travel enterprise Kuoni, has left the high street in an attempt to stay afloat in the less visible space of visa processing. But the group still faces a tough environment despite its strategy overhaul, according to industry observers. The impending sale of its European tour operating business to the Rewe Group’s DER Touristik will end direct association with the Swiss public that began in 1906. Kuoni is also seeking a buyer for its India, China and Hong Kong retail travel services. “Tour operating is still a good business to be in,” Urs Wagensweil, a tourism expert at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, told “But to succeed now, you have to either be a huge international player or target specialist niche groups.”
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Greater China IPO Markets Going from Strength to Strength
Published by, 25th June 2015
Global IPO activity in the second quarter of 2015 picked up as compared to the first three months of the year up, with proceeds and deal number being up 61% and 37%, respectively. Greater China has seen one of its strongest quarters over the last three years, boosted by bullish capital markets, favorable regulation and increased competitiveness against other global exchanges. According to the quarterly EY Global IPO Trends: 2015 Q2, the exchanges accounted for 38% of global IPOs by number of deals and 39% by capital raised in 1H15; 241 IPOs raised USD 40.0 billion and up 134% by deal number and 143% by proceeds compared to 1H14. Victor Chan, Asia Pacific Capital Markets Partner says, “By the end of the first half of 2015, deal numbers of global IPO market had reached 631 IPOs, a 6% increase on the same period last year. However, at USD 103.7 billion, total capital raised was 13% lower than the first half of 2014.”
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