Reader's Digest > 4 July - 17 July

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Reader's Digest, 4 - 17 July

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


Swiss Ambassador Advises Chinese to Make Informed Decisions
Published by, 12th July 2015
Sino-Swiss relations have come a long way since Switzerland became one of the first European countries to establish diplomatic relations with China in January 1950. This year has seen a series of events to celebrate 65 years of relations; while in the meantime, the Chinese enthusiasm for travelling to Switzerland is on the rise. The Global Times set up an exclusive interview with the Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel, who shared his views on how Switzerland's medical and banking industries impact China.

The Swiss Verdict on the Switzerland-China FTA is Positive
Published by, 6th July 2015The free trade agreement between Switzerland and China, which came into force a year ago, has by and large lived up to the high expectations. The verdict in Switzerland is uniformly positive. Thanks to a good level of cooperation between the authorities, application of the free trade agreement has been smooth, said SECO, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, in a press release issued on the first anniversary of the agreement. Administrative issues have been resolved and progress has also been made regarding the approval of Swiss foodstuffs and the certification of manufactured products. In figures: Since the agreement came into force (July 2014 to May 2015), Switzerland’s trade with China (exports: up 3%, imports: up 4.2%) has grown much more strongly than Switzerland’s trade with the rest of the world (exports: up 0.4%, imports up 3.9%).
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Food: Gaining a Foothold in the Asian Growth Markets
Published by, 14th July 2015
“If it sells in Hong Kong, it sells in China”. The small, but important consumer market of the city-state is regarded as a gateway not only to China, but to the whole of Asia. The city-state is also offering trends which Swiss manufacturers are able to accommodate, as demonstrated by a study conducted by Switzerland Global Enterprise, which will be published at the S-GE Impulse: Food event on 15 September. There are currently 7.1 million people living in Hong Kong. They are earning good money, with the GDP per capita being ranked 25th in the world. Added to this Hong Kong welcomes more than 50 million tourists, including more than 40 million from “Mainland” China, every year. The city is considered to be the shop window of the entire region and, as a free port, offers particularly low customs tariffs.

Operating Under the "New Normal" in China
Published by, 14th July 2015
Foreign firms investing in China face tougher times, as the country's economic growth slows. More regulations also make it harder to operate there. The outlook nevertheless remains positive. China's economic growth has slowed down substantially over the past couple of years, from double-digit growth rates to more sustainable annual rates around 6-7%. "The Chinese economy used to be very predictable, but this is not the case anymore. China's various provinces and cities develop very differently," said Jörg Wuttke, the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said during a panel discussion on "Doing Business in China" held at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference.

Swiss Skin Care Product K.Diamond now Available in China
Published by, 13th July 2015K.Diamond is a revolutionary skin care product that comes from the house of Swiss Lausanne Research and Development Center, which is a world leader in cell technology research. Recently, the Switzerland based lab decided to distribute and sell its products directly through its authorized agent in China. The product has reached China and it can be found in retail stores. The creators of the breakthrough skin care product have maintained that they have reinvented fundamentals of skin care that were used during ancient times. Swiss Lausanne Research and Development Center bears a 53 year old legacy of manufacturing skin care products. A lot of their skin care products are used in the five-star hotels of Switzerland. However, the manufacturers have always focused on research and innovation rather than marketing and promotion. In 2010, the research lab came up with a series of micro-plastic applicators that were introduced in the Chinese market. The creators have claimed that K.Diamond is a value-for-money product which is gradually picking up in popularity across Chinese mainland. The developers have claimed that the skin care products that are now being available in China can have miraculous effects.
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Chinese and Swiss Researchers See Pressure Biosciences' PCT Platform as Essential
Published by, 14th July 2015
Chinese and Swiss researchers have published 'Mass spectrometry-based proteomic quest for diabetes biomarkers' in 'Biochimica et Biophysica Acta' an internationally recognized scientific journal suggesting that pressure cycling technology (or PCT) being developed by Pressure BioSciences could be critical in identifying new biomarkers for the early diagnosis progression and underlying pathway dysfunction of diabetes. As such they could also significantly improve the clinical management of this disorder. In the article the authors which included Dr. Shiying Shao of the Tongji Hospital Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan PR China) and Drs. Tiannan Guo and Ruedi Aebersold of the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology ETH Zurich (Zurich Switzerland) reviewed the current status of biomarker discovery in diabetes showing the need for limitations and possible solutions for biomarker discovery and validation in the field of diabetes research.
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Swiss Ski Resort Offers Winter Sport Expertise to Beijing
Published by, 15th July 2015
Regardless of the outcome of the highly anticipated 2022 Olympics host city announcement on 31 July, an influx of winter sport facilities are coming to China. During a press conference on 14 July, Eric A. Balet, general manager of Switzerland's Verbier Ski Resort, answered questions regarding the expansion of sporting facilities in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou and the desire to turn China into a ski destination. "Long-term development is something that absolutely deserves our long-term attention," he said. Balet was joined by trail specialist Paul-Victor Amaudruz and cable car expert Paul Glassey, who are assisting in the cooperation efforts. A 10-year contract has already been signed, and a 20-year plan for development is under appraisal, Balet said. This includes assistance in the design and operation of ski lifts, as well as on-site training for professionals, with the goal of facilities eventually being fully Chinese-run.

How-to Toilet Use Instructions Go up on Swiss Railway
Published by, 13th July 2015
A series of graphic illustrations has been placed at several popular tourist spots in Switzerland to instruct visitors from Asia, especially southeast Asia, on how to use a toilet seat, reports the Shanghai-based online media outlet the Paper. These signs, now populating train stations around Mount Rigi railway in central Switzerland, detail every step in using a western toilet seat. For example, it tells users to sit rather than squat on toilet seats and to throw used toilet paper into the toilet rather than in the bin. There have been guests that mount the toilet seats to do their business and do not know where to put the toilet paper, said Roger Joss, director of marketing for the railway, during an interview with Swiss media 20 Minuten. Some visitors from Korea and China, interviewed by 20 Minuten, said the instructions were unnecessary as they already know how to use a toilet.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

Chinese Market Lifts Schindler to Success
Published by China Daily, 13th July 2015
Local talent to play key role in sustaining growth, says Thomas Oetterli, China head of Swiss elevator-maker. Thomas Oetterli, CEO of Schindler Group China, began his career with the leading Swiss elevator and escalator company in 1994 as an accountant. "Usually accountants are very quiet and very serious," he said. But apparently, Oetterli is a cheerful and humorous person with an extremely amiable and down-to-earth disposition. Oetterli heads the China operation of Schindler, which has a rich track record of over 141 years in the country and is headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland. It has more than 10,000 employees in China, one-fifth of the global total, and the percentage is increasing. "When I look at our growth plans for the future, which are far above the market rate, we will have close to 20,000 people in China in a few years," Oetterli said. The elevator giant recently released an innovative technology to integrate the elevator management system with a smart phone app.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS China to Open Shanghai Branch this Year amid Market Turmoil
Published by, 15th July 2015
UBS Group AG is set to expand in mainland China, shrugging off the country’s stock market implosion as it pursues plans to open a branch for the wealthy in Shanghai this year. The Swiss bank sees huge potential for its private banking business in China, encouraged by government measures to open up the financial industry, said Kathryn Shih, the company’s head of wealth management in the Asia-Pacific region. Building a strong franchise in China is a priority as the world’s largest money manager to the rich endeavors to raise its profile. “We need to get a foothold there first,” she said by phone from Hong Kong. “It’s really to establish our presence, establish our brand in China.”

As Chinese Fund Loses USD 445 Million on Haitong, UBS is a Winner
Published by, 10th July 2015
The roller-coaster ride in Haitong Securities Co. shares this year has been good to UBS Group AG. In December, as the Chinese brokerage was seeking money to finance growing businesses such as margin trading amid China’s stocks rally, UBS was among banks picked to arrange a USD 4.2 billion share sale. One of the buyers, Haixia Capital Management Co., borrowed money from UBS and pledged the Haitong shares it purchased as collateral, people with knowledge of the matter said. Haitong shares jumped 33% between the deal announcement and 29 May, when the sale was completed. Two weeks later, China’s equities boom turned bust, and Haitong shares plummeted along with the market. With the loan collateral rapidly falling in value, Haixia was forced to sell the stock, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Swiss Watch Brand Maurice Lacroix up for Sale on Franc Surge
Published by, 13th July 2015
The Swiss watch slowdown has claimed a new victim. Maurice Lacroix, a brand that delivers 90,000 timepieces a year, has been put up for sale by owner DKSH Holding AG after the surge in the Swiss franc and a slump in demand from Asia weighed on the business. DKSH aims to find a buyer for the unit this year, Dominique Nadelhofer, a spokesman, said by phone Monday. Maurice Lacroix watches are selling at discounts, which have reached as much as 66% off the list price for a USD 8,760 men’s model on Weak consumption in China, which accounts for a quarter of global luxury demand, has weighed on European luxury-goods stocks, Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors. DKSH plans to exit watch production to focus on its main activity, which is helping clients expand in Asia in industries such as consumer goods, technology and pharmaceuticals. The company will continue offering marketing and other services in the luxury-goods industry, Chief Executive Officer Joerg Wolle said on a call with reporters.

Barry Callebaut Targeting Double-Digit Growth in China: CFO
Published by, 8th July 2015
Barry Callebaut is targeting double-digit volume growth in China, the Swiss chocolate maker's finance chief told Reuters on Wednesday. "For the market volumes we see high-single-digit growth in China," Victor Balli said in an interview. "But for us our expectation must be double digits. We are still small (in China). However, longer term, I think we would not be satisfied if we would grow only in single digits." Barry Callebaut Chief Executive Juergen Steinemann also said he expects cocoa supply from Ghana, the world's second-largest producer behind Ivory Coast, to return to normal next season following weaker-than-expected output. Earlier, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut reported a 7.6% year-on-year rise in nine-month sales revenue and maintained its mid-term targets.

Swissôtel Jinan to Open 2020 in Eastern China
Published by, 1st July 2015
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts and Nanjing Jin Gao Real Estate Development Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Jiangsu Golden Land Real Estate Development, today announced the development of a new hotel in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province in eastern China. Joining the distinctive hotel brand's growing collection of properties open and in development in China, Swissôtel Jinan is scheduled to debut in 2020. "This project is exciting on a number of fronts," said Foued El Mabrouk, vice president, operations, China, FRHI Hotels & Resorts. "It not only supports our growth plan of strategic expansion into key Chinese markets, but it also marks another excellent development opportunity with an experienced and committed partner in Golden Land development; a group we recently teamed with to develop and open a remarkable Fairmont hotel in Nanjing. Swissôtel Jinan, with its contemporary feel, innovative design, inspired service and quality in life guest programs, promises to be a magnificent hotel in the City of Springs."
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Global Law Office Advises Wuzhou International Holdings Limited
Published by, 13th July 2015
Global Law Office advised Wuzhou International Holdings Limited on its offering of additional USD 100 million senior notes and listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. The issuer is a market leader in the development and operation of specialized wholesale markets and multi-functional commercial complexes in China. Bearing an interest rate of 13.75% per annum, the notes are denominated in US Dollars and will be due in 2018. Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited, Guotai Junan Securities (Hong Kong) Limited and UBS AG, Hong Kong Branch are the joint lead managers and joint book runners for this transaction.

The New Food Safety Law of the People's Republic of China
Published by, 13th July 2015
A number of scandals in the food industry in China, such as the milk and infant formula scandal, which occurred in 2008 and caused the death of six babies as well as the hospitalization of thousands of others, due to Melamine contaminated milk and infant formula, as well as for example the scandal involving Shanghai Fuxi Company, a supplier of many international restaurant giants such as McDonald’s and KFC, which was investigated in 2014 for selling expired meat products on a massive scale, has shown that food safety in China causes serious concerns. The weak spots in regard to food safety in China have been pointed out be due to both: 1) insufficient self-management among food producers themselves; 2) food safety supervision conducted by government organs has shown to be insufficient. The revised Food Safety Law of People’s Republic of China (the “FSL 2015”) was thereafter adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 24 April 2015 and will come into effect on 1 October 2015. The FSL 2015 includes 10 chapters with 154 articles. Compared to the old version published in 2009, which has 104 articles, the FSL 2015 added nearly 50% new and revised 90% of the articles.
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