Reader's Digest > 24 October - 6 November

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Reader's Digest, 24 October - 6 November

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


2015 Marks 65 Years of Sino-Swiss Relations
Published by China Daily, 5th November 2015
Trade relations between China and Switzerland have undergone long-term development and cover a wide range of areas of economic and cultural cooperation. This year marks 65 years of relations between the two countries. China has become Switzerland's largest trade partner in Asia while Switzerland has been China's first free trade partner in the world's 20 top economies and Europe since the Sino-Swiss Free Trade Agreement came into effect in July 2014. China Daily reporter Lyu Chang held an exclusive interview with the Swiss Ambassador to China, Jean-Jacques de Dardel, who talked about the recent cultural, economic and trade exchanges between the two countries as well as his expectations for further development.

Switzerland, Wenjiang Seek Cooperation on Low Carbon Development
Published by China Daily, 30th October 2015
Environmental experts from Switzerland, headed by Patrizia Palmiero, regional counselor of the Swiss Consulate, paid a visit to Wenjiang district in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on 27 October, for mutual cooperation issues on low carbon projects. The Swiss delegation, accompanied by Yu Hui, deputy head of Wenjiang, visited the headquarters of the Chengdu Medical Town, ancient dwellings of the Chen family and the bitter bamboo forest to have a full understanding of the district’s good ecological environment and well-developed biomedical industry. The two sides held in-depth discussions over a symposium about potential cooperation projects such as the Shou’an Slow Town, water system construction, upgrading the medical town and modern agriculture sightseeing project, all of which were environment-friendly initiatives while conducive to the local economy.

Second Session of Sino-Swiss Dialogue on Education
Published by, 23th October 2015
The second session of the Sino-Swiss Dialogue on Education was held in Bern. Mr. Hao Ping, Vice Minister of Education of P.R.C. and Mr. Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation of Switzerland co-chaired the meeting. The two sides signed a joint declaration on cooperation in the field of education. In June this year, China University of Applied Science and Technology Alliance visited University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Swiss University Alliance. This is a new field of educational exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. The two sides also collaborate in Swiss vocational education and regularly exchange and share information in the fields of economic and social development.
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Hiring Skilled Personnel in China
Published by, 3rd November 2015
Well-trained and skilled staff is in short supply in China. Any search for capable employees must take this into account. In China, as elsewhere, the preference is to search for and find potential employees through appropriate digital platforms. One such portal is LinkedIn. There are also local websites such as WeChat, Ganji, Zhaopin and 51job. The best way to attract good staff is to offer an appropriate wage or salary and good prospects for promotion. Preferred locations for working are the economic powerhouses Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. However, smaller places such as Wuhan and Dalian have also become more popular. The same applies to the service sector, where Chinese nationals are more frequently looking for work.

Organic Food in China: Positive Outlook for Growth & Revenue
Published by, 2nd November 2015
Foreign foods are increasingly to be found on tables in China, and organic products are also much more common on the menu. Conditions for certified organic foods could scarcely be better in China. In recent years, a series of food scandals has made Chinese consumers increasingly aware of what they eat. Middle class families (with children) in particular are placing a higher value on superior quality and healthy foods. Trust in domestically produced goods has fallen sharply at the same time. This has led to overseas food imports quadrupling in the last 10 years and imports of organic products tripling since 2007. Even the current economic uncertainty in China is no real hindrance to the growth of food imports. Experts estimate that annual import volumes will stand at around USD 77 billion by 2018. In future, a good 50% will probably also be accounted for by vegetable oils, grain and milk products.

Swiss Watch Exports Go Through Torrid Time
Published by China Daily, 2nd November 2015
Swiss watch exports have suffered their biggest quarterly drop since 2009 as the industry struggles with the strong franc and a slump in demand in the China. The value of shipments fell 7.2% in the third quarter, the Swiss customs office has reported. Exports dropped 2% in the first nine months of the year to CHF 15.8 billion (USD 16.5 billion), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. "The data casts a shadow over prospects for the year," the trade group said. Waning demand in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland has spread to other Asian markets such as Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, weighing down an industry that accounts for a 10th of Switzerland's exports.

Expectations High for Future Swiss Renminbi Trading Hub
Published by Simon Bradley,, 30th October 2015
All eyes are on Switzerland’s future renminbi trading hub, which has ‘huge potential’, say observers. The China Construction Bank (CCB), the first Chinese bank to receive a licence to offer commercial banking services and clear renminbi transactions in Switzerland, is building a team in Zurich to become operational. CCB’s recently installed director David Gong told on Friday that preparations were ‘on track’ in Zurich and that the bank should be operational in the ‘coming weeks’. The CCB received a licence two weeks ago from the Swiss banking regulator FINMA. The arrival of the Chinese bank is expected to complete the jigsaw for Switzerland to become a fully-fledged renminbi trading hub. The Chinese authorities have aggressively promoted international use of the renminbi since 2010, creating a global network of offshore banks to promote the renminbi as a reserve currency. 

Venture Leaders China 2015
Published by, 29th October 2015
This year’s edition of venture leaders stood once again in the spotlight of 10 innovative Swiss entrepreneurs. They dare to venture and look for groundbreaking solutions in one of the biggest domestic markets in the world; the Chinese market with over 1.3 billion potential consumers. But “it is not only huge in terms of numbers, it is also growing, and it is growing fast. It is innovating, and it is innovating fast,” stated Mr. Alain Gaschen, Deputy Head of Mission, during an exclusive evening reception at the residence of the Swiss Embassy. Innovation not only happens by adapting and further innovating existing technologies. Sometimes even more importantly, existing business models and cultural approaches – even if they have been successful in other countries – have to be embedded in a new context and adapted to the needs of a new market.

The Swiss Stock Market Rose Sharply after Chinese Interest Rate Cut
Published by, 23rd October 2015
The Swiss stock market ended Friday's session sharply higher, extending its gains from the previous day. The market got off to a positive start and built on its gains in the afternoon. The unexpected interest rate cut by the Chinese central bank in the afternoon led to acceleration in the market. The People's Bank of China cut the one-year lending rate and deposit rate by a quarter-point to 4.35% and 1.5%, respectively. The latest reduction was the sixth since November last year. The move comes a day after the European Central Bank hinted that further stimulus is coming in December. The Swiss Market Index increased by 1.38% Friday and finished at 8,910.52. The SMI ended the trading week with an overall gain of 2.2%. The Swiss Leader Index climbed 1.84% Friday and the Swiss Performance Index added 1.37%.
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Swiss Film Director Vito Robbiani Meets Chinese Students
Published by, 30th October 2015
Every year the Italian and the Swiss foreign ministries organize activities to promote the Italian language in the world. The Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong are delighted to participate to this edition of the World Italian Language Week 2015 and seize the opportunity to present a multicultural and diversified Switzerland to the Chinese audience. On this occasion, the Swiss Italian film director Vito Robbiani has been invited to present his new documentary STELLA CIAO to students in various Universities in China. The encounter with the young Chinese public at Beijing Foreign Language University, Beijing Language and Culture University and Capital Normal University was lively and interactive. The participants were keen of knowing more about the various languages spoken in Switzerland, but also about current topics such as migration and integration, which are some of the issues addressed in the film of director Robbiani. Questions related to the film and documentary industry in each country were addressed during the rich and lively exchanges between the film-maker and students.

Made in China Diary - Lecture about a Five Month Journey across China
Published by, 29th October 2015
Made in China Diary is the result of a five month journey across China undertaken by Swiss designers Gregory Brunisholz and Anaide Davoudlarian. As industrial designers, Gregory and Anaide have always been curious about the “Made in China” label. Yet a term familiar to most people, it is also very abstract. The curiosity to discover what is behind the label, how goods are produced in China and who are the people working in this huge sector, led the artists to spend almost half a year traveling through China and photographing everything from small family businesses to mega-factories. Take the chance to hear where this unique journey led and talk to designer Gregory Brunisholz at Ray Art Center on 14 November.

Stradivari Quartett on China Tour Performing Schubert
Published by, 29th October 2015
Stradivari Quartett is one of Switzerland’s most renowned string quartet ensembles. In annual concert tours the young ensemble performs all over the whole world. On 8 November, the annual tour stops in Shanghai and was held at Shanghai Symphony Hall. The Stradivari Quartett is one of the few ensembles in the world performing exclusively on instruments of the famous Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari. Each of the four instruments, all loaned to the quartet's musicians by the Swiss Habisreutinger Stradivari Foundation, has its own history and some have travelled far and wide. For this concert, the ensemble will pair up with China’s well-known bass-baritone Shen Yang, and delight the audience with their marvellous interpretation of Schubert’s Winterreise.

Time for Luxury
Published by China Daily, 24th October 2015
Despite an economic slowdown, Asia's affair with high-end timepieces goes on. Watches & Wonders 2015 saw 20,000 visitors, a 25% jump from last year. Sun Yunqing reports. The third edition of Watches & Wonders, Asia's version of the Geneva Haute Horlogerie Exhibition, came at a challenging time this year, when the Asian market was reporting weak sales for months. But it returned, bringing a momentum, it had generated in the previous two years. Watches & Wonders 2015 opened on 30 September at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in the presence of leaders of the 12 exhibiting maisons. The brands on display included major names from luxury giant Richemont - Cartier, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre - as well as independent watchmaker Richard Mille. Despite the economic challenges in the region, the return of Watches & Wonders is testimony to the industry's confidence in Asia, said Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the organizer of the exhibition, at the opening ceremony.

Mercuria Views Music as a Bridge with China
Published by China Daily, 24th October 2015
When Jukka-Pekka Saraste finished conducting the Johannes Brahms' Symphony No 4 on 18 October at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, waves of thunderous applause burst from the audience. The symphony was performed by the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne and featured lead violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann. Sponsored by the Mercuria Energy Group, it was the fourth concert of a Brahms composition during the ongoing Beijing Music Festival. This year's festival offers 18 performances ranging from symphony concerts to solo performances, operas, master classes and salons during its 17-day run that started on 8 October. Mercuria, a Swiss energy and commodity leading trading company, has been a sponsor of the annual music gala for the past eight years.
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Sino-Swiss Women's Forum
Published by, 25th October 2015
The first Sino-Swiss Women's Forum is a one day bilateral summit aiming to connect Swiss and Chinese professional women in order to build friendship, create business opportunities and enable cultural exchanges. The first edition of this forum, entirely lead by women will offer conferences given by renowned speakers both from China and Switzerland, panel discussions, cultural interludes as well as networking opportunities. Gathering key opinion leaders and entrepreneurs, the Sino-Swiss Women’s Forum is a great opportunity for Chinese and Swiss women to meet, build collaboration and learn about successful stories among entrepreneurs. The forum will focus on the topic: "Women in Leadership and the opportunities arising from the intercultural dialogue" For registration, please kindly visit the website.

Ancient Healing Gets Swiss Stamp of Approval
Published by, 25th October 2015
Singapore-born Carla Fuhlrott believes in the healing power of alternative medicine, which in her case is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In her pristine clinic 20 minutes from downtown Zurich, the TCM practitioner sees about eight patients a day who turn up to seek relief for ailments from allergies to insomnia and infertility. She prescribes crushed cicada shells and powdered earthworms to ease itchy skin or does cupping to improve blood flow, which in turn promotes healing. In Switzerland, better known for holey cheese, ski resorts and pharma giants like Novartis and Roche, about 3,000 practitioners of alternative medicine like Mrs. Fuhlrott have found a healthy demand for their services. Switzerland's basic healthcare insurance covers a set of five therapies, including acupuncture, provided they are done by medical doctors. Many Swiss also buy private supplementary insurance that covers more alternative therapies done by experienced professionals.

Buemi to the Max in Beijing
Published by, 24th October 2015
Sebastien Buemi started the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship in perfect fashion becoming the first driver to ever score the maximum possible points haul of 30 points. After taking the Julius Baer Pole Position in the the new Super Pole shoot-out, the Swiss ace then went on to dominate the SWUSP Beijing ePrix setting the Visa Fastest Lap in the process to complete a unique hat-trick. “It was a good race. It’s a bit of a weird feeling because I felt I was a little bit on my own, but I would not be against that. It’s good to win with a bit of a margin.” “I’m happy, the team has done a great job and Renault has done a good power train so I’m just looking forward to the next races right now. I think we even managed to have the fastest lap, which was very difficult last year." Buemi admitted he didn’t make the best of starts, but he fended off the fast-starting Mahindra of Nick Heidfeld into the first corner to hold the lead, from there on after he dominated the race. His ability to stretch his lead was stymied twice by the intervention of the Full Course Yellow. This caution system was making its Formula E debut and was given a thumbs-up by the drivers.

PhD Students in Beijing for the Global South Workshop
Published by, 19th October 2015
Continuing the collaboration between the Graduate Institute, Geneva, and the School of International Studies, Peking University, three PhD students from the Institute will have the opportunity to present their research at the next Global South Doctoral Workshop in China, taking place from 2 to 6 May 2016 in Beijing. The workshop is an opportunity for PhD students from universities in southern developing countries and from the Institute, who are in the process of completing their PhD, to present and discuss their theses with professors and PhD students. The programme aims to develop intellectual exchanges and networking between young scholars from the global south. The Graduate Institute has developed a strong academic partnership with the University of Peking’s School of International Studies, including a new joint degree programme. Each year, students from both institutions participate in a mutual exchange programme for one or two semesters.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

Sika Group Puts Customers First
Published by China Daily, 5th November 2015
Putting customers and employees first is an important principle that Sika Group, a Swiss construction chemicals company, has been practicing for years. Sika serves construction, transportation and new-energy customers. Its product lines cover concrete admixtures, sealants and adhesives, waterproofing, industrial flooring and roofing systems. Michael Campion, president of Sika China, said, "We believe we should always have the customers first, in our mind and our actions." He said some competitors just sell products and do not really care about the problems of the customer. In comparison, he said Sika asks about customers' problems and helps them until the problems are solved. "Sometimes we have the products because we have a huge array of products in the group," Campion said. "But if we don't have the product, we'll develop one." The company regards innovation as part of its core DNA and always looks for new ways and technologies to solve customers' problems. Sika spent USD 170 million, 3% of its turnover, on research and development in 2014, according to Campion.

Chinese Slump won't Keep Clariant from Hitting 2015 Targets
Published by, 29th October 2015
A third-quarter drop in business with Chinese industrial customers won't derail Clariant's sales and profit targets for 2015, the Swiss speciality chemical maker's Chief Financial Officer Patrick Jany said on Thursday. Jany said sales in China had fallen for four quarters, including a 7% dip between July and September. Reuters data shows sales in China were 8.5% of the group total in 2014, making it the company's fourth-largest territory after rest of Europe, the United States and Germany. Still, he's confident Clariant will hit its full-year 2015 target of low to mid single-digit sales growth in local currencies and an EBITDA margin before exceptional items above 2014 levels, as demand elsewhere remains robust, including with oil refiners in Latin America and the United States.

ABB Energy-Efficient Motors Help Chinese Enterprises Improve Energy Efficiency
Published by, 26th October 2015
ABB celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Motors & Generators business in China, and showcased a number of locally-developed new motors including the M2BAX series and NMI series that help customers of various sectors improve energy efficiency and lower environmental impact. To date, ABB energy-efficient motors have helped local customers save more than 24 billion kWh of electricity, equivalent to the power consumption of about 50 million people for one year, calculated based on the residential power consumption per person in China. ABB has been promoting local R&D, production and marketing of Motors and Generators business since it introduced energy-efficient low-voltage motors into China in 1995. Now the local business unit has a complete product portfolio covering energy-efficient motors, generators and mechanical transmission products as well as service business. To meet the diversified needs of customers, ABB offers custom design based on their specific requirements in addition to mass produced standard motors.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Swiss Re Lifts Profit but Warns of Hefty China Claims
Published by, 30th October 2015
Swiss Re AG on Thursday reported increased profit for the third quarter, even as the reinsurance giant detailed losses expected as a result of the deadly explosion in August at a port in Tianjin, China. Zurich-based Swiss Re said it expects a pretax loss of roughly USD 250 million related to the disaster. In September, Zurich Insurance Group AG said it expected losses of about USD 275 million related to the explosion, which was caused by the improper storage of hazardous chemicals and killed more than 100 people. Swiss Re's net profit rose to USD 1.4 billion in the third quarter from USD 1.23 billion in the same period last year, in part because of the absence of large natural catastrophes. Premiums and fee income fell to USD 7.85 billion from USD 8.31 billion, Swiss Re said. Return on equity was 17.3% in the quarter, up from 14.8% a year earlier.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Baby-Formula Stocks Jump as China Ends One-Child Rule
Published by, 29th October 2015
Danone rose as much as 3% in Paris, while Nestlé added as much as 0.7% to CHF 76.25 in Zurich. Danone, Nestlé and Mead Johnson are among the biggest players in China's USD 19 billion baby-formula market, which represents about a third of the industry globally. China's announcement is good news for all such companies, according to Pierre Tegner, an analyst at Natixis in Paris. He estimates that baby food in China represents about 7% of Danone's earnings.

Sonova Group to Offer Sound Practices in Hearing-Care Market
Published by China Daily, 28th October 2015
Switzerland's Sonova Group, the world's largest hearing-care services provider by revenue, said its next phase of progress in China will see manufacturing and research facilities being set up in the country. Construction of the company's second cochlear implants plant in Suzhou of Jiangsu province has been completed this year, said Albert Lim, Sonova's vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region. Sonova also introduced affordable advanced hearing aids in the Chinese market in June, said Lim, who is based out of Singapore. Sonova's "made-for-China" products are a result of growing demand for such products and cochlear implants among the newly health-and wellness-conscious middle class. Although hearing-care cannot be compared with treatments for other diseases or physical challenges, it is a key business, and facilitates strong emotional connections. Sonova used customer feedback and collaborated with hearing professionals in Switzerland and China to develop hearing aids for the Chinese market.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Felix SUTTER to be Made SCCC President in Switzerland
Published by, 27th October 2015
The Board members of the SCCC has appointed PwC's Asia expert Felix Sutter as its new President. He is taking over from Richard A. Friedl, who is remaining on the Executive Committee as Past President and on the Board until his next term. Felix Sutter joined PwC in 1995, and has been a partner since 1999. He has been advising companies on the execution and implementation of their strategies with respect to Asia for more than ten years. Among other things, Felix Sutter has spent five years working in China, where he was based in Beijing but worked in 26 provinces and all of the country's major cities including Hong Kong. “I am very much looking forward to this new challenge. I will make use of my experience working with Swiss and Asian companies in my function as President of the SCCC. More Swiss companies will be getting involved in China, and vice versa, following the entry into force of the FTA between China and Switzerland last year”, Felix Sutter said.

The Use of Celebrity Ambassadors to Market Luxury Retail Brands in China
Published by, 22nd October 2015
Celebrity Ambassadors in China have become an established marketing strategy for companies in the luxury retail industry to market their goods and to target specific consumers. Celebrities are often effective when marketing a product as they are easily recognizable and therefore bring more attention to a brand. The celebrity therefore can give credibility to a product, making it more popular among consumers. Celebrity ambassadors in China are a central part of the Swiss watch company, Rolex, communication strategy and one they have used since the beginning of the brand. Rolex tends to choose successful individuals who are at the top of their respective fields, including a range of sportsmen, women and musicians. Rolex ambassadors have included the dancer Yuanyuan Tan, cellist Yoyo Ma, tennis players Roger Federer and Li Na.
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