Reader's Digest > 15 August - 11 September

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Reader's Digest, 15 August - 11 September

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


Switzerland and China Continue Financial Dialogue
Published by, 1st September 2015
On Tuesday 1 September, high-ranking representatives of the financial market authorities and the central banks of Switzerland and China met in Beijing for a further round of the financial dialogue which was started two years ago. The discussions focused on developments in the financial markets, the further expansion of bilateral cooperation regarding financial matters and in particular the role of Switzerland as a renminbi trading venue and cooperation within the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the Financial Stability Board and in the G20. On 2 September, financial sector representatives from both countries will also meet for a second series of round-table talks in the presence of authority representatives. With the regular financial dialogue, Switzerland and China maintain and strengthen cooperation between the authorities in both countries which are responsible for international financial and tax matters. The meeting on Tuesday was the third one, following on from those which took place in 2013 and 2014.

First Meeting of the Joint Committee of the Sino-Swiss Free Trade Zone
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 20th August 2015
On 19 August, the Chinese Ambassador in Switzerland Ms. Xu Jinghu held a reception for the delegation that participated at the first meeting of the Joint Committee of the Sino-Swiss Free Trade Zone. The delegations were led by Mr. Yao Wenliang, Deputy Director of the International Department of MOFCOM and Mr. Chritian Etter, Swiss Government Delegate for Trade Agreements. Ambassador Xu said the Sino-Swiss FTA is an important milestone in the development of bilateral relations between China and Switzerland. Ambassador Etter expressed that China is one of Switzerland's most important trade partner. The FTA has is improving the mutual market exchange and legal protection of both Swiss and Chinese goods and services, greatly promoting the pragmatic cooperation in multiple areas such as bilateral trade and investment.

Visit from the Chinese Ambassador in Switzerland to Lugano
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 16th August 2015
The Chinese Ambassador in Switzerland Ms. Xu Jinghu met Mr. Marco Borradori, the Mayor of Lugano, Ticino Canton on 14 August 2015. Mr. Borradori welcomed the Chinese Ambassador and hosted a series of working talks. The Mayor stated that Lugano was a center of economics and culture due to its good location. In recent years, Lugano strengthened bilateral tie with China. This year is 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China, the fast development of Sino-Swiss relationship will bring Lugano more opportunities of collaboration in trade, cultures and tourism. Ambassador Xu highly appreciated the contribution that Mr. Borradori had made to the Sino-Swiss relations and she hoped that Lugano could attract more Chinese investment and tourists. The Chinese Embassy in Switzerland will continuously support Lugano to strengthen its ties with China in various fields.
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Swiss and Chinese Cooperation Reaches New Level at Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park
Published by, 10th September 2015
Following three years of bilateral cooperation between Switzerland and China in developing the Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park (SSZEIP), cooperation has moved to a new level in the fields of Cleantech and joint economic development in the Yangtze Delta in China: several Swiss companies have now established subsidiaries and invested a total of CHF 30 to 40 million. More than a dozen Swiss businesses, principally SMEs, have been awarded contracts worth a total of CHF 10 to 15 million. Additionally, a highly promising new distribution channel for products “Made in Switzerland” has been launched. To maintain the momentum and support the activity already underway, Cleantech Switzerland regularly works with a range of partners to co-organise events at the Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park (SSZEIP). The most recent was the “SSZEIP Matchmaking & Networking Event” on 10 September 2015, organised with the support from SwissCham.

Swiss RMB Hub Dream Unfazed by Currency Scare
Published by, 4th September 2015
Swiss analysts are taking a positive view of the recent renminbi devaluation. The recent fluctuations of the Chinese currency and stock market volatility have not dampened Switzerland’s dream of becoming a renminbi trading hub. Some politicians in the United States lashed out at Beijing for the People’s Bank of China’s decision to let the currency devalue by 1.9% on 12 August – the largest single day slide in decades. But for Swiss observers, it demonstrated China’s commitment to freeing up the currency to market forces. Whilst only a small step in this direction, it was also viewed as significant moment by Cédric Tille, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute Geneva. Rather than being an aggressive attempt to bring down the price of Chinese exports, Tille saw the move as a rational mirroring of slowing Chinese economic output and the subsequent stock market sell-off.

One Horizon Group Signs Cooperation Agreement with China's Largest Logistics Company
Published by, 20th August 2015
One Horizon Group, which operates its own Chinese retail VoIP service, branded Aishuo, and develops and licenses a bandwidth efficient mobile voice over Internet Protocol platform for smartphones, announced today that it has signed a cooperation agreement with YTO Express to commence a trial of the Aishuo VoIP platform in Jiangsu province. YTO Express is one of the largest logistics businesses in China offering the most comprehensive logistics coverage in China after China Post, operating in the same core business as FedEx, DHL and UPS. YTO Express manages 8 logistics compounds, operates 72 transfer centers and over 12,500 pick-up points, and has over 180,000 employees servicing more than 2,300 cities in China. One Horizon Group looks to further expand and diversify its subscriber base through the delivery of a White-Labeled Aishuo solution to the YTO Express workforce. One Horizon Group Inc.'s business is to optimize communications over the Internet through its wholly owned subsidiary, Horizon Globex GmbH located in Zug, which develops and markets one of the world's most bandwidth-efficient mobile voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platforms for smartphones, and also offers a range of other optimized data Applications including messaging and mobile advertising. The Company has operations in Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Perlen Packaging Invests more than CHF 20 Million in Expansion
Published by, 17th August 2015
Perlen Packaging, the packaging division of Switzerland-based CPH Group, has announced the extension of its Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVdC) coating line in Perlen, Switzerland. The company is investing more than CHF 20 million in the extension of its production capacities in Europe and Asia for pharmaceutical films. “The pharma markets in Europe are continually growing and the demand for barrier films is increasing,” said Johannes Giessler, director of sales and marketing of Perlen Packaging. Perlen Packaging is also setting up a production facility for the Asian market. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new site took place in Wujiang, China in spring 2015 and the company states that the plant will be ready to deliver its first products during 2016. “The Asian pharmaceutical markets are showing double-digit growth rates. As the first foreign company to set up a production facility in China, Perlen Packaging's aim is to cater to the expected growth in the region and to better serve the markets from a local site,” said Wolfgang Grimm CEO of Perlen Packaging in a statement.

Switzerland Begins Public Consultations on Joining China-Led AIIB
Published by China Daily, 15th August 2015
Switzerland's Federal Council launched on 12 August public consultations to cement the country's membership with China's Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a financial institution seeking to foster sustainable development in Asia. This follows the June signing of the Articles of Agreement by Swiss Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann in Beijing. Switzerland is one of 57 prospective founding members, and has demonstrated great interest from the onset as it was amongst the first European countries to enter the AIIB's founding process. According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the confederation's stake in the bank's USD 100 billion capital stock will be a total of USD 706,4 million, to be paid in five annual installments. Switzerland's voting power (0.874%) will yield more clout than its financial input through the country's basic and founding member votes. SECO also indicated that the confederation will continue to actively take part in the bank's foundation while vying for a seat on the AIIB's Board of Directors. Both Switzerland's development policy and its foreign economic policy are in tune with AIIB plans to finance infrastructure projects in Asia by using its own resources and through public funds and private investment.
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Swiss Archive Provides Film of Chinese History
Published by, 4th September 2015
77 years ago, Swiss photo journalist Walter Bosshard became the first European reporter to reach the Chinese "red capital", Yan'an. He recorded his observations in a documentary named "Journey to Yan'an". This documentary has never been released in China until now. It is rare footage of Yan'an in the early days of the war. The documentary was captured by 16 mm film and lasted about 22 minutes. Bosshard went to Yan'an with the Eighth Route Army led by the Chinese Communist Party. His journey started from Xi'an, and was arranged by Zhou Enlai, one of then CPC top leaders. "Shot after the long march, like race between the some rivaling journalists, who is the first to get there. Of course, we know that Edgar Snow has been there, but no European before. The famous Robert Capa, the photographer wanted to go there. But he was first," said Dr. Daniel Nerlich, Deputy Director, Archives of Contemp. History, Eth Zurich. It took them six days to finish the 500-kilometre march because of the cold spring in Northwest of China and the poor road condition. They even suffered heavy rain and snow, and their trucks were stuck in mud.

Chinese Independent Filmmakers Look to Locarno Festival
Published by, 18th August 2015
Thanks largely to financing by a university teacher, Bi Gan was able to make his first feature film, “Kaili Blues,” an elliptical story about a man’s family relationships and his journey through the lush rural hilltowns of Guizhou Province in China. He even received approval from official censors. But its art house techniques and narrative style guarantee a minuscule Chinese audience. The film, however, has found a natural outlet: the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland, a top-tier festival at a lake resort town that has had a long relationship with Asian cinema. “Kaili Blues” had its premiere there on Tuesday. “I knew that my movie was good, but I didn’t know there were that many people who shared the same views on this film before the Locarno film festival invited me,” said Mr. Bi. “Now I think more people will be able to appreciate it.” Now in its 68th year, Locarno has emerged as one of the most important Western festivals to support Asian film, particularly works without big box-office prospects.

Students Visit for Cultural Exchange
Published by, 16th August 2015
On 10 August, 50 Swiss students in Beijing were invited to a workshop and networking event co-organized by the Swiss Embassy in China and the Office of Chinese Language Council International, which oversees the Confucius Institutes. At the event, the students were introduced to the various functions of the embassy and the major achievements of the Sino-Swiss relations, and were provided the opportunity to meet and exchange opinions with Chinese students. A total of 100 university students from Switzerland have been invited for a language and cultural exchange program in China this month, a cordial gesture to celebrate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China.
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Swiss Embassy Welcomes Swiss Athletes of the IAAF Beijing
Published by, 25th August 2015
A strong squad of 16 Swiss athletes is in Beijing to compete for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships and was warmly welcomed by the Swiss Embassy in China during a reception hosted by the Embassy and the Swiss Society Beijing on Tuesday 25 August. The Swiss track and field team, led by the president of Swiss athletes’ federation Swiss Athletics Christoph Seiler and Peter Haas, head of the Swiss team, is composed of Kariem Hussein, champion of the 400 metres hurdles at the 2014 European Championships, Selina Büchel, a six-time Swiss champion indoors and outdoors in 800 meters, and Marie Polli, the most experienced athlete of the team who will compete in the 20-km walk. The team compete in 11 events at the world’s championship from August 20 to 30 hosted at the National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest), designed by well-known Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Chinese architect Li Xinggang. It is the first international sports event held in Beijing since the 2008 Olympics Games, attracting about 2,000 athletes from more than 207 countries and regions.

Hong Kong, Switzerland & Finland Lead World Economic Freedom Index
Published by, 19th August 2015
Hong Kong continues to lead the World Economic Freedom index followed by Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand and Canada, according to a new report Tuesday by Cato Institute. Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom and Sweden follow next. United States, the world's largest economy, fell to the 17th position in 2008 and then further down to 20 in 2012, lagging behind other economies such as Germany at 12 and Chile at 18. "The decline reflects a long-term drop in every category of economic freedom and in its rule of law indicators. The U.S. performance is worrisome and shows that the United States can no longer claim to be the leading bastion of liberty in the world," said the report by Cato Institute, a Washington based conservative think tank. The Economic Liberty index corresponds to year 2012 and stood at 6.96 on a scale of one to ten. Variables applied by the study include the size of government, legal system and property rights, freedom of international trade and regulations to set up businesses.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

ABB Sets up New Industrial Robotic Company in Zhuhai
Published by, 22nd August 2015
The world's leading power and automation technology group ABB today announced that ABB Robotics (Zhuhai) Ltd. was officially established in the Zhuhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone. Participants at the opening ceremony are ABB China management and government officials including Li Jia, the Guangdong provincial party committee member and municipal party secretary of Zhuhai; Liu Xiaolong, the municipal party committee member and first deputy mayor of Zhuhai; Guo Caiwu, the secretary-general of Zhuhai municipal party committee; and Zhang Yisheng, the party secretary of Zhuhai National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone. The establishment of the new company is one of many important initiatives ABB will take to implement the strategic cooperation MOU that ABB and the Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission signed in 2013. The new company will focus on application development, system integration and customer services for ABB robots in Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces to meet the fast-growing need for industrial robots in the white goods, electronics, automotive, food & beverage and other industries in the southern China region.

Glencore CEO: No one Can Read China Right now
Published by, 19th August 2015
Glencore’s Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg said no one can read the Chinese commodity market. It’s getting harder to predict metals consumption in China, the world’s biggest user of raw materials, Glasenberg said in a phone interview in London. Glencore reported a 56% plunge in first-half profit on Wednesday and cut the earnings forecast for its trading division. “China in the first half was a lot weaker than anyone expected,” Glasenberg said. “It’s surprised a lot of us. A lot of the infrastructure and projects they had on plan did not take place.” Glasenberg, who ran a large part of Glencore’s business with China from Hong Kong in the 1990s, is steering the company through the strongest headwinds since the Swiss commodity trader’s USD 10 billion initial public offering four years ago. Glencore outlined further reductions in capital spending in its earnings report, and is reducing debt in an effort to maintain dividends while preserving an investment-grade credit rating.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Cuts Hong Kong Stock Target 25% as Black Sky Becomes Reality
Published by, 4th September 2015
UBS Group AG lowered its target for Hong Kong’s benchmark stock gauge by 25%, saying its worst- case scenario for the city is coming true as the economy weakens and tourism arrivals decline. The Hang Seng Index will slide to 19,775 as slowing growth in the city and China weigh on corporate earnings, UBS analyst Spencer Leung wrote in a report dated 2 September. That’s a 5.5% drop from Thursday’s close and implies a 16% decline for 2015. In December, UBS’s target for the end of 2015 was 26,484 and the 19,775 level was the "black-sky" of four possible outcomes. “On the back of slower economic growth in China and more signs that a U.S. rate hike is approaching, we believe the current valuation of Hong Kong equity may not be attractive enough to compensate for potential earnings downside," Leung said in the report. “Our black-sky scenario could be a better portrayal of the challenges in the current environment.” Hong Kong stocks are being buffeted by a global sell-off, China’s equity rout and a downturn in tourism that’s hurting shop rents and retail sales. The Hang Seng Index last month entered a bear market, and is the developed world’s worst- performing stock gauge this quarter.

Zurich Insurance Gets Damages Claims Following Tianjin Explosions
Published by, 15th August 2015
Property and cargo firms in the blast-hit Chinese city of Tianjin have swiftly put in insurance claims as they attempt to recover from Wednesday night’s devastating explosion, Zurich said today. The Chinese arm of the Swiss insurance giant is assessing the potential losses from companies in the city after two huge explosions at its industrial port area. Car-makers including Volkswagen and Toyota are assessing the damage to cars and facilities after the blast, and France’s Renault said nearly 1500 of its imported cars stored in a warehouse at the port had been burned. Around 40% of cars imported to China pass through Tianjin. Investigators were still picking through the wreckage as they hunted for clues to the source of the blast. There were fears about chemicals still stored in ruined warehouses as company inventories have been destroyed.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Turbulent Time for Swiss Watchmakers in China
Published by, 26th August 2015
Swiss watchmakers are facing turbulent times in one of their top markets, as the already shrinking luxury sales in China are compounded by the recent devaluation of the yuan. Global financial markets are still reeling from the Chinese central bank's sudden devaluation of the yuan earlier this month, which allowed the currency to plunge nearly five percent against the dollar in a matter of days. In Switzerland, the move rattled the Alpine country's luxury watchmakers, who have already seen their once booming sales in China take a hit as Beijing began to crack down on corruption in the country by banning extravagant gifts like prestigious watches to public officials. Even before the yuan move, Swiss watch exports to China had contracted nearly 40% in July. Shares of Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont, which owns brands like Cartier, Piaget and IWC, immediately shed more than 4.0% of their value after the Chinese currency cut.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

sim Becomes the Official Representative of SKV (SA-Sme) in China
Published by, 1st September 2015
sim (selective international management) Co. Ltd., a Swiss boutique consultancy established  since 2006 in Shanghai, PRC and Rapperswil, Switzerland, has become the official and   exclusive representative of the Swiss Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SKV / SA-sme) in China. SKV supports SME’s & entrepreneurs with services in business planning, legal advice, funding and other areas and maintains a platform for members to exchange, communicate, collaborate and grow their business. Each year, SKV organizes regional meetings for active entrepreneurs to meet and develop their knowledge network with the aim of exploring new collaborations and potential synergies. The concept and platform would be continually spread and expanded by sim in China through the SKV members. sim is a one-stop service provider for Swiss and European SME with its main operations in facilitation ventures between Europe and China by providing transparent and pragmatic professional solutions through Management Consulting Corporate Services and its SwissWeek® China projects. Now sim takes this great occasion to bring one behalf of SKV various members together in means of business meetings, social gatherings, events, workshops and seminars to establish and foster the SKV network offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their business and creating new collaborations and sales channels.
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