Reader's Digest > 12 September - 9 October

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Reader's Digest, 12 September - 9 October

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Federal Councillor Alain Berset Meets Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing And Signs Social Security Agreement
Published by bsv.admin.ch, 30th September 2015
On his three-day visit to China, Federal Councillor Alain Berset held talks in Beijing with Vice Premier Ma Kai, social security minister, Yin Weimin, and culture minister, Luo Shugang. He also signed agreements on social security and cultural cooperation. Federal Councillor Berset and social security minister, Yin Weimin, signed a social security agreement which exempts employees posted abroad from the obligation to pay social security contributions in the other state for a maximum of six years. The discussions have been launched upon an initiative of SwissCham China following a survey to the Swiss companies present in China. In this way, employees working temporarily abroad can avoid having to pay contributions in both states or to change social security system. This should make it easier for international companies to move staff between the two countries. Over 600 Swiss businesses currently operate in China, with over 200,000 employees. Federal Councillor Berset also attended the Sino-Swiss Business Awards on 29 September, where he gave a speech on innovation and economic cooperation between the two countries. This was the second year that these awards have been presented, the previous occasion being in 2013.

The Chief of Army of Switzerland Paid an Official Visit to China
Published by vbs.admin.ch, 30th September 2015
On invitation of the General Fang Fenghui, the Chinese Chief of Chinese People's Liberation Army, the corps commander André Blattmann, Chief of the Army of Switzerland paid a visit to China from 30 September to 1 October to promote dialogue on the security policy between China and Switzerland. The talks focus on topics of common interests, such as the development of armed forces and points of views’ exchange on disaster assistance and base instruction. Mr. Blattmann also travelled to Seoul, South Korea for the opening ceremony of the 6th Summer Military World Games. 75 Swiss athletes attended the Games this year.

Establishment of Friendship Agreement between Heilongjiang and Solothurn
Published by china-embassy.ch, 27th September 2015
On 24 September, Ambassador Xu Jinghu was invited to attend the signing ceremony of the establishment of a friendship agreement between Heilongjiang Province, China and the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland. Ambassador Xu addressed a speech and stated that Heilongjiang Province and Canton of Solothurn had good conditions for cooperation, the two sides regarded this friendship agreement as a new starting point to further strengthen the communication and exchanges, in order to promote the development of bilateral ties and make new contributions. The Secretary of Heilongjiang Provincial Party Committee Mr. Wang Xiankui and Solothurn Governor Mr. Roland Heim signed the agreement, more than 100 people from China and Switzerland attended the ceremony.

Chinese, Swiss Leaders Exchange Congratulations on Anniversary of Ties
Published by China Daily, 14th September 2015
On 14 September, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Swiss counterpart Simonetta Sommaruga exchanged congratulatory messages to mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between their countries. Xi noted that Switzerland was among the first Western countries to forge diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. The vigorous bilateral relations have been constantly enhanced over the past 65 years and remarkable achievements have been scored in pragmatic cooperation in various areas, Xi said. China attaches great importance to the development of its friendly relations with Switzerland, said Xi, who expressed the belief that greater progress will be made with joint efforts for the benefits of the two countries and two peoples. In her message, Sommaruga said the partnership between the two countries has grown more close, profound and comprehensive and cooperation between the two sides has been fruitful. Switzerland also attaches great importance to the two countries' cooperation, Sommaruga said, adding that she believes bilateral relations will be further strengthened. She also said she hopes that China and Switzerland can join hands to face future challenges.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Federal Council Adopts Disptach
Published by eda.admin.ch, 11th September 2015
On 11 September, the Federal Council adopted a dispatch on Switzerland’s membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It acknowledged the results of the consultation proceedings before doing so. A majority approves of the proposal. The majority of those who took part in the consultation procedure stressed the important role that the AIIB is likely to play in promoting sustainable economic development and combating poverty in Asia. Furthermore, Switzerland's involvement in the bank strengthens the country's relations with China and with the Asian region as a whole, which in turn opens up the prospect of new opportunities for Swiss businesses. There was criticism on the part of some respondents regarding the quality of the AIIB's future environmental and social standards, its influence on Asia's development and the (partial) compensation of spending on international cooperation. After studying the results of the consultation and having incorporated the necessary amendments, the Federal Council approved the Dispatch and the relevant draft federal decrees. An analysis of the responses to the consultation showed that no significant changes needed to be made to the planned approach.
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BUSINESS NEWS

Second Edition of the Sino-Swiss Business Awards
Published by news.sina.com.cn, 30th September 2015
After a first successful edition in 2013, the Sino-Swiss Business Awards 2015 have announced the winners of its second edition during an exclusive gala evening held at the Rosewood Beijing. More than 280 guests attended the event in the frame of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Swiss diplomatic relations, including top economic and political leaders from both Switzerland and China. This year again, a member of the Federal Council, the highest authority of Switzerland, honoured the Ceremony with his presence: His Excellency, Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs. The winners of the Sino-Swiss Business Awards this year are:

  1.  INDIVIDUAL OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS - Peter Troesch / SwissTaste
  2. SME OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS - Swiss Center Shanghai
  3. SCITURY MNC OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS - SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services Co. Ltd
  4. BAUME & MERCIER SME INNOVATOR - Beijing Keller Century Buildings Technologies Ltd
  5. NBS MNC INNOVATOR - Nestlé (China) Ltd
  6. CHINESE PROMOTER - Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park / Jiangsu Scitury Allied Investment and Development
  7. NESTLÉ CHINESE INVESTOR - Huawei Technologies Switzerland AG.

More information and all the nominees on: http://cn.swisscham.org/SSBA2015.

Innovation Index Ranks China 29th
Published by China Daily, 23rd September 2015
Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States are the world's five most innovative countries, while China, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Jordan, Kenya and Uganda are the countries outperforming their economic peers, according to the Global Innovation Index 2015. Co-published last week by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD business school, the index ranked the innovation performance of 141 economies around the world, based on 79 indicators. The report found that the group of top 25 performers, all high-income economies, remained largely unchanged from last year's rankings, illustrating that the leaders' performance is hard to challenge for those that follow. China, which was ranked 29th, was the only economy in the top 30 that belongs to the upper-middle income group. Malaysia and Hungary followed China in the same group.

Swiss Theme Week Begins its 2nd Annual Event
Published by China Daily, 10th September 2015
Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park Innovation Center in Zhenjiang city, East China's Jiangsu province, hosted the 2nd Swiss Theme Week. This event was integrated with a series of activities like the unveiling of Byreals.com - a cross-border e-commerce platform - and the 2nd Swiss Watch forum where citizens have all the accesses to Swiss products such as wine, dairy goods, and chocolate. The 2nd Swiss Theme Week wass hosted by Jiangsu Scitury Allied Investment and Development Co., Ltd. and supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in China, Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai, Cleantech Switzerland (CTS) and the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. More information about the Swiss Theme Week on: http://sszeip.com.cn/cn/policie.asp?id=1135.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Splendid Fashion, Design Night Highlights 65 Years of Dynamic Sino-Swiss Diplomatic Relations
Published by switzerland65china.com, 15th September 2015
On 14 September, the Swiss Embassy turns into a multi-faceted platform and delights its guests with a glamorous show and meaningful dialogue of Swiss and Chinese fashion, design and culture as it celebrates the 65th anniversary of bilateral relations between Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China. As one of the first Western countries to recognize the New China in January 1950, the two countries have together crafted numerous achievements in the past 65 years, and have been enjoying stable, ever-growing and prosperous bilateral relations. The official celebration, titled Shaping Visions, is characterized by an unprecedented fashion show brought by talented and young Swiss and Chinese fashion designers and labels including Julian Zigerli, enSoie, Cui Yingzi and CH’IN. Design pieces from students from Geneva University of Art and Design, China Central Academy of Fine Arts and a jewellery exhibition add charisma to the evening. The creative display of innovative Swiss technical textiles on the Embassy’s compound offers an insightful look into Switzerland’s long history, rich heritage and the latest innovative developments in the textile industry.

Chinese Films, TV Shows Boost Travel Destinations
Published by China Daily, 10th September 2015
Inspired by homegrown films and TV shows, more travelers this year plan to explore destinations that had previously not been on Chinese tourists' radar. According to data released this month by Qyer.com, a Chinese outbound travel website, the Czech Republic, Turkey and Switzerland have emerged as promising overseas destinations for tourists this year. The website attributes this phenomenon to hit shows and movies featuring the countries. Released in February, romance movie "Somewhere Only We Know," directed by famous Chinese actress Xu Jinglei, served as an advertisement for the Czech Republic, where the film was shot. Two travel-reality shows, "Sisters Over Flowers" and "Divas Hit the Road", aired in March and April, respectively. Both featured well-known Chinese actors backpacking their way through Europe and included Turkey as a destination.

The Work “L’Art Brut” is Appearing in Chinese in Shanghai
Published by sinoptic.ch, 10th September 2015
The Chinese language version of Ms Lucienne PEIRY’s work will be published and presented to the public on 21 September 2015 in Shanghai. A translation of the book written by Ms. PEIRY in 1997 and reissued four times since then, this work bears witness to Chinese interest in outsider art and the international recognition accorded the Collection de L’Art Brut in Lausanne. Under the aegis of the Shanghai University Press, which is the publisher, and the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC), the launch of this book is part of the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Geneva Roundtable on Sino-Swiss Synergies in Trade Finance
Published by graduateinstitute.ch, 2nd October 2015
A Roundtable on the topic “Views from the banking, diplomatic, academic and industry sectors on Trade Finance and the RMB” will take place on 30 October in Geneva. Prof. Philippe Burrin, Director, the Graduate Institute of Geneva, Pierre Maudet, Geneva State Councillor in charge of Security and the Economy, Former Mayor of the City of Geneva and H.E. Xu Jinghu, Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland are invited for the welcome speeches. This one day roundtable will talk about the current trends in trade finance and the RMB; Geneva, a platform for Chinese trade finance; what the needs of the Chinese financial market are; outlook on the Swiss-China financial cooperation, etc.

EPFL Summer School at Swissnex China
Published by swissnexchinanews.org, 25th September 2015
After a week in India - and of course a visit at swissnex Bengalore, the students were very curious and excited to discover Shanghai and China’s mysteries. swissnex team as well as Mr. Alexander Hoffet, the Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai, were happy to welcome the students who ended the morning with new useful knowledge about innovation, entrepreneurship, social media, technology and academic system in China. Then, the lunch time together gave them a new impulse to talk, in the afternoon, about Solar Impulse! The workshop organized on the topic of Solar Impulse, project in which swissnex China and the Swiss Consulate participated actively, was well appreciated. Jérémie Brillet, Founder of Solar Fuel Devices, was the moderator of the afternoon. He helped the students to solve the questions on which they worked on actively within groups, before presenting them in front of the audience. The positive impact on energy balance of Solar Impulse 2 in our daily life or the possible future energy savings regarding fuel consumption were two of the themes of this workshop.

China has one of the Lowest Homicide Rates in the World
Published by China Daily, 25th September 2015
Homicide rate in China is as low as Switzerland, a country known as one of the safest nations, reported Southern Metropolis Daily on Thursday. "The homicide rate in China in 2014 is 0.7 per 100,000 residents, which is better than those in developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom or France," said Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, during a national conference in Dalian, Liaoning province. There has been a consistent decline in severe violent crimes in China, including rape, abduction, robbery, blasts, murder and arson, added Meng. According to Public Security Bureau, the number of the registered cases between January and March has decreased by 15.6% on year-on-year basis.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

SGS Wins Championships for “China Most Reliable Testing and Certification Company”
Published by sgsgroup.com.cn, 23rd September 2015
Recently, the 2015 China Foreign Trade Service Market Research Report announced that SGS was again honoured as top of the list of “China Most Reliable Testing and Certification Company”, and this is the eight successive championships for SGS. The China Foreign Trade Service Market Research Report is prepared by Imp-Exp Executive Magazine in April – September every year through questionnaire and the result is published. The investigation mainly focuses on current status of foreign trade enterprises, and important foreign trade fields including certification, exhibition, finance and logistics, and it is the only domestic foreign trade service provider brand list. Statistics in 2015 shows that main bases for foreign trade enterprise to select a testing and certification company include brand recognition (35.3%), meet demand from purchaser (28%), price (21.8%), and service altitude (12.1%). Brand recognition is the first factor for foreign trade enterprise to select a testing and certification company, and the price factor is decreased in proportion compared with that of last year. 

China Market's Long-Term Driver is Intact
Published by China Daily, 10th September 2015
Despite recent headwinds the long-term growth driver of the Chinese economy is intact, says Ulrich Spiessholfer, Chief Executive Officer of ABB, a global leading power and automation company. "In the short term, the Chinese economy has a difficult environment, and we see significant headwinds from different areas," Spiessholfer told a Capital Market Day event held in London on Wednesday. "But it is still the world's second largest economy, with a strong population. In the long-term, the growth driver in the market is intact; and there will be investment in infrastructure and innovation," says Spiessholfer. Due to tough market condition, ABB plans to cut USD 1 billion in administrative workers' costs by the end of 2017, and it has adjusted its annual revenue growth target for 2015-2010 down to 3-6% from a forecast of 4-7%. Spiessholfer said due to the tough market condition, the company is trying to "get as closely as possible to its customers, and the 2,500 R&D employees in China are focusing strongly in locally made products to compensate it.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Credit Suisse Adds Hong Kong Duo
Published by efinancialnews.com, 7th October 2015
Credit Suisse has made two senior hires to its investment banking ranks in Asia, where the Swiss bank is looking to add bankers at all levels - particularly in Greater China. Richard Kao has rejoined the Swiss bank in its Greater China corporate finance team, while Alain Lam has joined as head of technology investment banking for Asia, according to a person familiar with the matter. The hires are additions to Credit Suisse's team in the region and not direct replacements for anyone, the person said. Both will be based in Hong Kong. Credit Suisse has a smaller team in Asia than rivals such as Goldman Sachs and UBS and a smaller group of clients – but these include some big names. One is Alibaba, which has used the Swiss bank on all of its large deals including its USD 20 billion-plus 2014 initial public offering. Credit Suisse ranks 18th for investment banking revenues earned in Greater China in 2015, according to Dealogic, down from fourth at the same point in 2014. It ranks fourth for investment banking revenues earned in the technology sector in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, so far this year. Over the same period in 2014 it ranked first.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Swiss International Hotels (China) Group Signs Franchise Agreement for Taiwan
Published by hotelnewsresource.com, 14th September 2015
Swiss International Hotels (China) Group announced it has signed a Franchise Agreement with YOKO International Corporation of Taipei on 10 September 2015, to develop their business in the Taiwan region. The agreement is part of the companies' shared strategy to build a solid presence in the Taiwan hospitality market that is strategically located across the straits from Fujian Province in the south of China. Swiss International Hotels (China) Group presently owns and operates two landmark hotels in Xiamen and Nanchang with further locations under development in Shanghai, Beijing, Guiyang, Kunming, Hangzhou and Wuyishan. YOKO International Corporation is a public listed company in Taiwan and is active in various businesses, such as high tech products, surveillance facilities, commercial hotels and overseas E-commerce, and plans to operate 3-5 new hotels across Taiwan within the next five years, the first property being a 270 room hotel in the high-tech development zone of Hsinchu, west of Taipei, that is scheduled to open in 2017.

Swatch CEO Plays Down China Turbulence
Published by yahoo.com, 13th September 2015
Swiss watchmaker Swatch is not worried by economic and market turbulence in China, Chief Executive Nick Hayek told a Sunday newspaper, noting its sales to Chinese customers will rise when stripping out exchange rate swings. "This year as well we will sell the Chinese in China and outside of China more than last year in local currencies," he said in an interview with Schweiz am Sonntag. The Swatch brand alone is generating 15% growth in mainland China and other brands single-digit growth when measured in local currencies and units, he said. Despite the strong Swiss franc, watch sales in the Swiss cities of Lucerne and Interlaken, popular with tourists, were in some cases up by half or more in July and August. "We never had such good numbers, and that of course has to do with the Chinese who are on holiday here," he said. Hayek said Swatch had decided to go ahead with a new battery that was at least 10% to 20% better than anything on the market. Production is to begin next year.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

SCS won the Award for Outstanding Achievements in the SME category at SSBA 2015
Published by swisscenters.org, 8th October 2015
On 29th September, during the exclusive Sino-Swiss Business Award (SSBA) 2015 gala evening in presence of Federal Councillor Alain Berset which was organized by SwissCham, Swiss Center Shanghai (SCS) received the first Award for Outstanding Achievements in the SME category. “It is a great encouragement for the SCS, its members and its committed team to be recognized on the 65th anniversary of Sino-Swiss diplomatic relations” says Nicolas Musy, SCS Managing Director, “Looking back to our ground breaking ceremony in 2000 during the 50 years of Sino-Swiss relations, we thank all those who made it possible for their great support, including the Federal and cantonal governments and the Swiss representations in China!” The SCS team would like to share this achievement with all our members, partners and friends. Your trust and support have been the main driving force to the SCS development. The success of the Swiss Center is a great testimony to Swiss entrepreneurship and our traditional spirit of joining forces to deal with the challenges that go with the considerable opportunities offered by China.

Localisation of BEPS Actions in China - "Implementation Measures Of Special Tax Adjustment"
Published by pwccn.com, 20th September 2015
China's State Administration of Taxation (SAT) released a discussion draft of "Implementation Measures of Special Tax Adjustment" (the Discussion Draft) for public consultation. The Discussion Draft revamps the existing Guoshuifa (Circular 2), by making reference to the various recommendations proposed in the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plans, adding in many China-specific elements, and incorporating the principles of special tax adjustments spread out in other existing circulars. We have already shared with you on what to expect in the revision of Circular 2 in recent News Flash - Issue 31 and are pleased to find that the content of the Discussion Draft is basically in line with our forecast.
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