Reader's Digest > 5 December - 21 December

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Reader's Digest, 5 - 21 December

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


China 2015 Final Economic Report
Published by, 18th December 2015
The Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing updated its annual report on the evolution of the Chinese economy: the appreciation of the macroeconomic situation, international and regional economic agreements, foreign trade, direct investments, trade, economic, investment and tourism promotion, as well energy and environment are the main topics of the report. China is facing a variety of challenges as it gradually shifts from a fixed investment- and export-led to a more consumption-driven and sustainable economic growth model under the “New Normal”. Switzerland’s trade with China during the first 12 months since enforcement of the FTA grew much more strongly than Switzerland’s trade with the rest of the world. In 2015, 72% of Swiss companies surveyed planned to increase investment in China and 64% considered the country to be a top 3 investment destination.

Switzerland: Celebrating Sino-Swiss Relations
Published, 13thDecember 2015
On 10 December, the Swiss Embassy in Beijing held a Christmas party that was attended by around 100 representatives from the media and art sectors. The Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel gave a speech in which he reviewed recent achievements of the two countries' bilateral relations. Several awards were also presented to media outlets, companies and individuals for their contributions to the development of Sino-Swiss relations. The Swiss Embassy's official WeChat account "SwissChat" was also unveiled.
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2015 Swiss Business in China
Published, 15thDecember 2015
In cooperation with the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) ( and China Integrated (, Swiss Center Shanghai ( is pleased to bring you the findings of Swiss respondents who participated in the CEIBS Business in China Survey 2015, to analyze them and draw conclusions that we hope will be useful for Swiss companies and their activities in China. This is the only business survey that is able to compare a sizeable sub-sample of foreign and Chinese SMEs in China. Though just around 40 foreign (Swiss, EU, US) companies employing 300 employees or less globally (classified as SMEs) answered the survey, this sample and a sample of 150 Chinese SMEs show that SMEs are generally more successful in China than larger firms and explores the probable reasons for this success. For the Swiss business community, it is for the third time possible to understand how similarly Swiss, European and American companies perceive their China environment.

The Swiss Stock Market Dropped on China Concerns
Published, 8thDecember 2015
The Swiss stock market ended Tuesday's session with a significant decrease. The market opened above the 8,800 point level, but quickly slipped lower. At times, the market dropped below the 8,700 point level. Following yesterday's slight recovery, the market looks to be extending the weakness seen during the previous trading week.Investor sentiment took a hit from the disappointing Chinese trade report. China's exports declined for the fifth straight month on weak global demand, while imports dropped less than expected in November. There was no U.S. economic data today.The Swiss Market Index decreased 1.41% Tuesday and finished at 8,701.20. The SMI hit an intraday high of 8,821 and an intraday low of 8,658 points. The Swiss Leader Index dropped 1.53% and the Swiss Performance Index

Air Purifier Sales Soar as Smog Settles in
Published byChina Daily, 9thDecember 2015
Growing concerns about the health risks of China's smog have led to a jump in the winter sales of air purifiers.Sales of air purifiers in December quintupled over the last quarter, said Li Zhuoqi, who directs the marketing department at Xiaomi Corp, one of companies that is riding the boom.Consumer interest became more obvious starting in 2013, "when the public started to realize that poor air quality will pose a real harm to health," Li said."Even though the air quality seems improved compared to that in 2013, people are more concerned and are more willing to spend money to buy purifiers than before," Li said.Xiaomi Corp, better known as a smartphone maker, recognized the opportunities brought by worsening air quality and launched the second generation of its air purifier last December. It is cheaper and smaller in size, with the same purifying capability.Increasing demand has attracted more manufacturers into the market, and has lead to fierce competition "in a booming market with little regulations," said Li Mu, co-founder of, a Beijing-based Swiss air purifier company.
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Top Travel Agents Take Part in Swiss Travel Program
Published, 16thDecember 2015
Top travel agents took part in the Swiss Travel Pass Super Star programme in Switzerland, which was hosted by Swiss Travel System, Switzerland Tourism and Rail Europe and were awarded in Luzern. It included agents from India, GCC, South East Asia, China, Brazil and Australia/New Zealand, said a statement. In 2013, Swiss Travel System launched the Swiss Pass SuperStar Program as a pilot project in India. It is a reward programme for travel trade agents of Swiss Travel System products that consists of an educational part and an incentive part. In the educational part each participant has to complete six modules with questions about Switzerland and the Swiss Travel System. In the incentive part the participants earn credits for their Swiss Travel System product sales. This year, the programme was carried out in six markets and was renamed into Swiss Travel Pass SuperStar Program.

Exchange Students and Alumni Gathering 2015
Published, 10thDecember 2015
When the Christmas lights turn on at the residence of the Swiss Embassy, the mulled wine is being warmed up and the air smells of Swiss Raclette cheese, then it is time for this year’s Exchange Students and Alumni Gathering. Yet before the residence transformed into an oasis aimed at pampering all senses with Swiss delicacies, the exchange students were rewarded with a panel discussion featuring young entrepreneurs in Beijing. H.E. Ambassador Jean-Jacques de Dardel, host of the gathering, called it a “privilege” to hear creative minds presenting fresh ideas and challenges beyond. He emphasized the importance of an educational and entrepreneurial landscape which boosts unconventional thinking and supports innovative actions. Following the panel discussion, alumni and exchange students could relax and let the hectic pre-Christmas time ring out for a while. Old friends met up and new ones were made.

Swiss Alps Add Chinese Pop for Tourists
Published byChina Daily, 5thDecember 2015
Switzerland's strong franc has driven French and German skiers and hikers away. But in the Alpine resort of Interlaken, perched beneath Europe's highest railway station on the Jungfraujoch glacier, a new kind of tourist has arrived from further afield.Chinese are buying Swiss watches. The top four sources of visitors after the Swiss themselves are now China, the Gulf countries, South Korea and India. European countries are out of the top five, probably for good, says tourism director Stefan Otz. Chinese popstar G.E.M. performed a concert at 3,454 meters atop the Jungfraujoch glacier this summer. Local officials and show sponsor Tag Heuer, the watchmaker, hope a broadcast in China boosts the region's appeal.The China tourism boom helped the world's biggest watchmaker, Swatch Group, boost sales by half in July and August in tourism hot spots Interlaken and Lucerne, Chief Executive Nick Hayek told the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
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The 7th Reception of the St. Gallen Symposium in Beijing
Published, 16thDecember 2015
For the 7th consecutive time, the Swiss Embassy proudly hosts the St. Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception, where business leaders of today and tomorrow come together and discuss challenging topics. The Symposium itself is an exclusive image that St. Gallen projects around the world. The fact that it is completely student-driven makes it even more remarkable. Yet the admiration for this drive forward goes well beyond the consistency of the Symposium in terms of numbers. It is a result of a spirit of creativity, a pioneering mindset and a strong wish to go further. Keeping the best practices requires creativity, innovation and a constant self-assessment to see where one stands. “Growth – the good, the bad and the ugly,” this year’s topic at the Symposium, certainly reflects this approach.

Shanghai is Asia's Most Expensive Place for Expatriates
Published byChina Daily, 15thDecember 2015
Shanghai is Asia's most expensive city for expatriates and the world's seventh-most expensive for them, according to a recent cost-of-living survey that also cited China's strengthening currency, the renminbi, as the main cause. Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou ranked eighth, ninth and 14th, with all surpassing New York's Manhattan, which was 15th in the survey by ECA International, a London-based consultancy. Beijing was the second-most expensive city in Asia. New York's Manhattan was the only place in the United States among the top 20, with Shenzhen close behind at 16th. Four Swiss cities were the most expensive-Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Basel.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

ChemChina Chairman Said to Meet with Syngenta in Bid Talks
Published, 16thDecember 2015
Chierna National Chemical Corp. Chairman Ren Jianxin met with Syngenta in Europe last week as the Chinese chemical firm moves ahead with a takeover plan, after rivals Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. revealed plans to merge, according to people familiar with the matter. Syngenta's shares jumped.ChemChina is discussing a revised proposal to acquire the world's largest pesticide maker, after its previous cash offer of CHF 449 Swiss francs a share (USD 457) was deemed too low, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process isn't public. No deal has been reached, and there is no guarantee that ChemChina will make a new offer, they said.Even as negotiations with the Chinese company progress, Syngenta is also holding informal talks about a combination with Creve Coeur-based peer Monsanto, almost four months after rebuffing the company's USD 46.6 billion takeover proposal, two of the people said. Monsanto is discussing internally the merits of a new offer, as well as opportunities to acquire crop-chemical assets from other companies, Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann told reporters last month.

Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg Eyes China Rebound, But Slashes Debt Just in Case
Published, 10thDecember 2015
Glencore is bracing for the worst. The chastened star of the commodity universe is slashing debt and selling assets, reluctantly bowing to market fears that there will be no swift end to the global resource glut. “We are going to deleverage the balance sheet,” said Ivan Glasenberg, the reclusive chief executive of the London-listed trading and mining group, speaking though gritted teeth. This moment has been forced upon him.Ever defiant, he pronounced the company to be in “great shape”, able to generate USD 2.3 billion of free cashflow even at today’s bombed-out prices for copper, zinc, nickel and coal. Mr. Glasenberg is loathe to call the bottom of the commodity slump but the undertone of his investor call on Thursday was irrepressible optimism. Whatever he felt compelled to do to assuage critics – BlackRock first among them - he clearly thinks that the balance of supply and demand for metals is turning positive. “Our order book in China looks pretty good in 2016. Zinc, copper and nickel sales have been very good,” he said.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

ICBC Europe and ICBC Credit Suisse Celebrate Authorization of S&P China 500 Index Fund
Published, 17thDecember 2015
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Europe) S.A. ("ICBC (Europe)") today announced the authorization of ICBC Credit Suisse S&P China 500 Index Fund ("the Fund") under the ICBC (Europe) UCITS SICAV umbrella, by the Luxembourg regulator Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier ("CSSF"). This marks the first UCITS product to access China via Luxembourg Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor ("RQFII") quota, shortly after ICBC (Europe) obtained its RQFII license in November and Luxembourg RQFII quota in December. ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management International ("ICBCCS International") will be manager of the Fund. Compared to other China indices, the S&P China 500 Index features enhanced sector diversification. It comprises 500 of the largest, most liquid Chinese companies while approximating the sector composition of the broader equity market. All Chinese share classes including A-shares and offshore listings in Hong Kong and the US are eligible for inclusion.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Nestlé Beefs up Chinese Dairy Farms with Training
Published byChina Daily, 10thDecember 2015
Nestlé hopes to help boost China's dairy industry by training people in dairy farming and farm management, said Lu Ming, technical head of dairy and nutrition at Nestlé (China) Ltd.The Swiss food giant's dairy farming institute in Shuangcheng district in Harbin, the capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, has trained more than 800 people since it was started in October 2014. Lu said the institute imparts professional expertise, including how to prevent and control diseases, increase milk production of each herd, improve milk quality and save feed.Xue Jiangang, from East China's Shandong province, said the farm where he works improved a lot after he took a milking and milk quality course at the institute in March. He said milking speed at his farm increased and the incidence of cow mastitis, which is inflammation of the udder tissue, dropped from 5% to less than 1%. Lu said training at the institute would benefit not only farmers but also Nestlé. Nestlé can provide its customers with safer and better milk-related products if basic conditions of dairy farming are improved, he added.

Cartier's New Boss Must Put the Sparkle Back in Watches
Published byChina Daily, 11thDecember 2015
The gold and diamonds of Cartier jewelry are so popular with women that the brand founded in Paris in 1847 is finding it difficult to market watches to men.The world's biggest jewelry and watch brand in terms of combined sales generates more than two-thirds of profits for Swiss parent Richemont, but watch revenues have dwindled relentlessly while jewelry sales have boomed.Like other high-end watchmakers, Cartier is suffering from a drop in demand in big markets such as Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Russia and the United States. But some of Cartier's problems are specific to the brand, setting up a challenge for Cyrille Vigneron when he takes over the leadership next month.Improving Cartier's image as a watchmaker in China, where wealthy women love its red boxes but men prefer pure watch brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin, may be top of his to-do list.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Emerging Regulatory Changes Provide Greater Opportunities for Foreign Insurance Companies in China
Published, 7thDecember 2015
The relaxation of China’s regulatory framework, coupled with the growing attractiveness of joint venture and alliance structures, the rising demand for health insurance and digital marketing expansion, are all set to work in tandem to create a boost to foreign insurance companies operating in China, according to EY’s annual report Future directions for foreign insurance companies in China.Based on c-suite interviews conducted with 30 foreign insurance companies in mainland China, the report finds that the industry is seeing the first positive signs of a more relaxed regulatory environment for foreign insurance companies in China, with the potential to transform the sector over the next five years and beyond.
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