Reader's Digest > 16 April - 6 May

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Reader's Digest, 16 April - 6 May

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Sino-Swiss Dam Safety Cooperation Boosts People-to-People Exchange
Published by cri.cn, 26th April 2016
The five-year Sino-Swiss Dam Safety Enhancement Program is almost complete. It's the first cooperation of its kind between China and Switzerland, aiming to boost people-to-people exchange. The program, called DaSEP for short, is one of the cooperation projects within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Chinese and the Swiss governments in 2009. Philippe Zahner, counselor with the Embassy of Switzerland in China: "(Through the project) we would see how we can maintain the dams in China what we should be done. And another important thing for expert is surveillance, surveillance for the dam safety. It's something like China thinks it could learn from Switzerland. Therefore, the goal is to improve the management systems and guidelines which can be used on dam safety here in China." China has thousands of small-and medium-sized dams, mainly in the southwest of the country. Those dams have played a significant role in irrigation and water conservancy, as well as flood and drought control.

Fribourg and Zhejiang Province Celebrates 10 Years of Collaboration and Friendship
Published by sinoptic.ch, 16th April 2016
The director of economy and employment of the canton of Fribourg, Mr. Beat Vonlanthen returned Saturday 16 April from a trip to China. The state councilor, accompanied by an economic and academic delegation, expressed his congratulations to the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the School of Management of University of Fribourg and School of Management of Zhejiang University. This agreement is deepening the policy exchange and friendship between two regions, which can be tracked in 2006. During this trip, a special emphasis was placed on e-commerce. The delegation, which included also Mr. Jean-Luc Mossier, director of the economic promotion, visited different active players in this field, such as Chinese flagship Alibaba, which employs nearly 20,000 people in Hangzhou.

Switzerland, China Open Park to Develop Biomedicine
Published by China Daily, 20th April 2016
Sino-Swiss (Chengdu) Low Carbon Bio-Medicine Industrial Park officially opened in Chengdu's Wenjiang district on 12 April. The park is part of Switzerland's global efforts to combat climate change and will allow for cooperation in fields of biomedicine and environmental protection. It will set up platforms to enable projects to be launched and exchanges to be made in technological information. The park also hopes to attract training and financial institutions, and medicine-related enterprises.
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BUSINESS NEWS

Switzerland Completes Membership of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Published by admin.ch, 25th April 2016
Switzerland deposited its ratification document to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) thereby completing the membership process. As no referendum was sought, and the deadline for doing so expired on 11 April, Switzerland will be able to participate as a full member on the Board of Governors and have access to the bank’s Board of Directors. Thanks to its swift completion of the ratification process, it will be able to participate in the institution building process. Switzerland is the 37th country to have completed its membership of the bank. Other countries to have done so include the bank’s three largest shareholders, China, India and Russia, as well as non-regional countries including Germany, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria and the UK. Switzerland’s stake in the bank’s capital amounts to USD 706.4 million, of which USD 141.3 million has yet to be paid. Its voting power is 0.87%. With the submission of the ratification document Switzerland also paid the first of five instalments on the payable capital (amounting to USD 28.26 million).

Swiss National Bank Buys New Position in Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd
Published by China Daily, 24th April 2016
Swiss National Bank bought a new stake in Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor bought 27,900 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately USD 1,471,000. A number of other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Verde Servico Internacionais bought a new stake in Qunar Cayman Islands during the fourth quarter valued at approximately USD 3,924,000. TB Alternative Assets Ltd. increased its stake in Qunar Cayman Islands by 202.0% in the fourth quarter. TB Alternative Assets Ltd. now owns 357,944 shares of the company’s stock valued at USD 18,878,000 after buying an additional 239,429 shares during the period. Finally, Russell Frank Co increased its stake in Qunar Cayman Islands by 2.7% in the fourth quarter. Russell Frank Co now owns 99,663 shares of the company’s stock valued at USD 5,460,000 after buying an additional 2,627 shares during the period. Qunar Cayman Islands Limited is engaged in offering mobile and online commerce platform for travel in China. The Company offers a range of travel products, including flights, hotels, vacations packages, attraction tickets and other travel related offerings.

Shipping Alliance Aims to Challenge Market Leader
Published by China Daily, 21st April 2016
China COSCO Shipping Corp Ltd and three partners, including France's CMA CGM SA, on Wednesday announced a new shipping partnership, OCEAN Alliance, formed to challenge 2M-the world's largest container carrier alliance. Formed by Denmark's Maersk Line and Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Co SA, 2M started its operations in 2015, and controls more than 2.1 million twenty-foot equivalent units, and manages more than 200 vessels. Other members of the new COSCO alliance are Taiwan-based Evergreen Line and Hong Kong's Orient Overseas Container Line. The alliance will bring service reliability and integration of the latest vessels in a fleet of more than 350 container ships. The deployment will initially cover more than 40 services globally, mostly connected with Asia. Alphaliner, a French maritime research firm, estimated the OCEAN Alliance will have around a 30 percent share of the global container shipping market, similar to the market share owned by 2M especially on the Asia-Europe and Pacific routes.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Swiss Week 2016
Published by China Daily, 18th April 2016
The Swiss Week is back with its fourth edition! After the big celebration of the 65th anniversary of bilateral relations between China and Switzerland last year and a new visitor record of close to 90’000 visitors, Swiss Week 2016 plans to provide you again with cultural performances, exhibitions, events and entertainment all related to Switzerland. There are expected to be more than 20 Swiss brands  and companies showcasing their products in a little Swiss village, allowing you to have a taste of Switzerland. A group of “Alphorn” players playing one if not the most authentic Swiss instrument as well as a Swiss paper-cut artist, who is invited to present her incredible and delicate handcraft skills to the visitors, are some of the cultural highlights of Swiss Week. Whether you feel a little homesick or are just generally interested in Switzerland, the Swiss Week 2016 will definitely have something to  offer for you! It is freely accessible to the public and will be a fun day with your family as there are also many activities for children.

Swiss Film Director Says Chinese-Style Entrepreneurship Booming
Published by China Daily, 18th April 2016
Swiss film director Juerg Neuenschwander told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that the environment in which innovation and development was taking place in China was creating products which were starting to compete in qualitative terms on the global market. "When I came to China in 2008, it was surprising how many people I found that were trying to do new things, to develop things, to build up start-up companies," recalled Neuenschwander, director of the documentary The Chinese Recipe: Bold and Smart. The fruit of 15 months of shooting, Neuenschwander's work follows three generations of Chinese entrepreneurs whose success stories and current endeavors reflect an ambition and work ethic which is quintessentially Chinese. "It was interesting for me to put together these three stories because I covered a long period of manufacturing and development in China," he said. He noted that the youngest generation of entrepreneurs in China was the most impressive group, estimating they shared a lot of similarities with Swiss youth of the same age.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Assessment Trip from Swiss University of Applied Sciences (UAS) with China
Published by swissnexchina.org, 28th April 2016
From April 11 to April 15 2016, two groups of delegations respectively from University of Applied Sciences in St.Gallen (FHS) and University of Applied Sciences in Bern (BHF) paid their first joint assessment trip of understanding the Chinese education reform that is to build up universities of applied science in China. FHS also brings its “80% theory + 20% practice” concept with a student consulting project to look for long-term partnership in adopting this UAS business school model in China. The assessment trip is jointly conducted with swissnex China. In Shanghai, Sanda University and Shanghai Institute of Technology hosted the delegation and generated a free discussion on the future of Chinese UAS and its internationalization. Sanda and SIT are two pioneer universities under the Chinese UAS reform initiatives. Extended visits to Hefei University in Anhui, Shenzhen Institute of Information and Technology (SIIT) in Guangdong were also paid by BHF during the week.  New MOUs of cooperation are under discussion after the visits.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

Bühler Awarded Contract from China
Published by s-ge.com, 2nd May 2016
The technology group Bühler is building four production lines in China. The order, worth almost CHF 10 million, means that Bühler has now entered the e-mobility market. The Chinese company Lishen manufactures lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. In the past, Bühler joined forces with Lishen to develop a much more efficient production process. According to a press release, Lishen has now awarded Bühler a large-scale order for four production lines. “For us, this order means that we have entered the rapidly growing market of the future of e-mobility,” says Samuel Schär, CEO of the advanced materials business at Bühler. The Bühler production process takes up 60% less and reduces process energy demand by the same amount, significantly slashing the production cost of batteries, writes Bühler, which is headquartered in the St.Gallen Bodensee Area. It also ensures a much more consistent quality. “After long years of joint research and development efforts, this for us is the breakthrough into the world of large-scale commercial battery production,” says Cornel Mendler, head of the grinding and dispersion business area at Bühler.

Clariant’s Investment in China to Increase
Published by ecns.cn, 28th April 2016
Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant will increase its investment and operations in China in the next two years as it taps China's environmental protection needs. Clariant, with headquarters for its China operations in Shanghai, plans to build an integrated facility, "one Clariant campus," to support innovation, research and development, sales and marketing. Construction of the campus, which will employ 500 staff, is due to kick off at the end of this year, with operations starting in 2018. "Our investment in China will account for 40% of the total in 2017," Christian Kohlpaintner, member of executive committee of Clariant International Ltd, said yesterday. "The one Clariant campus is critical as it is one of our largest research and supply centers to boost our innovation in global markets." China's green economy has contributed 11% of Clariant's revenue totaling CHF 640 million (USD 659 million) last year. The group also estimated that by 2020, China would be the main engine contributing 60 percent of global growth in the chemical industry.

ABB Eyes Opportunities in China's Clean-Energy Drive
Published by China Daily, 15th April 2016
ABB Group, an electricity and automation solution provider based in Zurich, sees great opportunities in China's clean-energy incorporation and micro grid drive, according to its top executive. "China has determined its goals in carbon dioxide reduction. This goal is going to generate large investment in a lot of sectors," says Claudio Facchin, president of ABB's power grids division. The Swiss multinational offers technologies for incorporating clean energy into conventional grids. According to Facchin, its high-voltage direct-current technology can ensure stable and cost-effective long-distance electricity transfers. ABB has been working on the Xiangjiaba-Shanghai electricity transmission route, which will transfer power nearly 2,000 kilometers from Chongqing to 24 million users in Shanghai using HVDC technology. HVDC is recognized as one of the most reliable technologies for long-distance power transmission. The first commercial HVDC route was built in Sweden in 1954 by ASEA, which is now ABB. ABB has more than 110 HVDC projects worldwide. It has been involved in 22 of China's 30 HVDC projects, providing core technological support. In terms of small-scale clean-energy incorporation, ABB has sophisticated automatic solutions and power storage technologies for micro grids to ensure stability, Facchin says.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Raises China 2016 GDP Growth Forecast
Published by China Daily, 18th April 2016
Swiss bank UBS has upgraded China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast in 2016, citing encouraging new economic indicators and loose credit and fiscal policy support. "We now see 2016 real GDP slowing more modestly to 6.6% (vs. our previous forecasts of 6.2%) from 2015's 6.9 percent," the bank's China economy research team said in a research note. The bank also raised the China GDP growth forecast for 2017 from its previous prediction of 5.8 percent to 6.3%. The new forecasts came just after official data on Friday showed China's economy had expanded 6.7% during the first quarter, meeting market expectations. In addition, better-than-expected growth was seen in the country's retail sales, industrial output and fixed asset investment. China has set a target of 6.5 to 7% GDP growth for 2016, and at least 6.5% annual growth through 2020. The bank said it raised the forecast due to the recent sharp surge in property sales and improving market sentiment as well as looser-than expected credit, fiscal and quasi-fiscal policy support. UBS followed other international financial institutions in raising the prospect for China's economy growth.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Swiss Chocolate Maker Callebaut Promotes Chinese Sweet Tooth
Published by esmmagazine.com, 28th April 2016
Barry Callebaut AG, which makes one out of every five chocolate products, is renewing its push in China, wagering that the country will become the world’s biggest market in the next two decades. The Zurich-based company plans to add several smaller factories in the Asian nation and work with Chinese producers to improve the quality of their products, according to Chief Financial Officer Victor Balli. They face increasing competition from the world‘s major chocolate makers like Nestlé SA and Hershey Co., who outsource some of their chocolate making to Barry Callebaut. "We believe we should go in, maybe at a lower price point, but slightly upgrade the taste," Balli said Tuesday in an interview in Zurich. "You conquer the market and gain size, but you have to be willing to live with zero to very small, maybe even negative, margins. But you’d be in the market, and once this market grows, you’d grow with it."

Franke Kitchen Systems is Opening New Experience Showrooms across Asia
Published by sohu.com, 23rd April 2016
Franke Kitchen Systems is in the process of opening new Experience Showrooms across Asia. The first showroom, the Franke Kitchen World Shanghai, was inaugurated in April 2016. This new showroom is located on Jiujiang Road 501, in the former Shanghai stock exchange and represents a new generation of Franke’s showroom concept. It will be a place for visitors to experience a modern kitchen lifestyle as well as a venue for live cooking shows and events related to F&B and interior design. Welcome to the Franke Kitchen World in Shanghai!

Piaget Showcases Extravagant Collection on the Bund
Published by China Daily, 23rd April 2016
The century-old Wai Tan Yuan area in Shanghai has throughout history hosted many exhibitions featuring precious watches and jewelry, but the latest one on 15 April by Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweler Piaget may just take the cake. Held in the former British Consulate General, the exquisite collection comprises 79 pieces of jewelry and 28 watches. While the 142-year-old company, now owned by luxury conglomerate Richemont, declined to reveal the combined value of the precious stones on show, the exhibition guide at the site did mention that the top three pieces each had a starting price of 8 million yuan (USD 1.24 million). "We are very happy to sell our products to Chinese people during their travels, but we also want to show and distribute the products in China," said Philippe Léopold-Metzger, CEO of Piaget SA, when asked about the decision to hold the exhibition in Shanghai. The one-day exhibition, which was concluded with a gala dinner, was exclusive to a handful of the brand's VIPs, characterized by Metzger as "professional shoppers" and much younger than their overseas peers.

Swiss Watches Lose Allure as Chinese Count Cost
Published by yahoo.com, 21st April 2016
Swiss watch exports took their biggest fall at the start of this year since 2009 as China's economy stumbled and Hong Kong retailers focused on working off existing stock instead of placing new orders. The Swiss watch sector's exports in March alone fell nearly 17% in real terms, when adjusted for working days, to CHF 1.5 billion Swiss francs (USD 515 million), data showed on Thursday, the lowest level for that month in five years. It was the fourth consecutive quarterly fall and the biggest since the global financial crisis. Demand for luxury watches has been hammered by a Chinese government crackdown on bribery, a drop in tourist shoppers to Europe and, at lower price points, the rise of smartwatches. Manufacturers like Swatch Group, Richemont and LVMH have responded by demanding price cuts from suppliers and taking more production in-house. "There have been no signs of improvement in Swiss watch exports, in particular into Greater China," Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet wrote in a note to clients.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Pop! Initiative Store Design Campaign!
Published by 5starplusdesign.com, 29th April 2016
It was the second year that 5 Star Plus Retail Design was invited to be a partner for the Luxury Properties Showcase 2016. The show was held on 22-24 April at the Sofitel Wanda, a glamorous Beijing CBD hotel. 120 international exhibitors from 35 different countries attended this event, and attracted around 6000 potential Chinese home buyers, luxury home owners and VIPs. The three day exhibition included a lot of activities, such as speeches, a cocktail party and a forum. We were glad to invite our clients, partners and friends to join us at the Just Design event. As the biggest and the most important part of the event, we launched our "Pop!" Initiative campaign. The Pop! Initiative gives young creative fashion brands & accessory brands, independent fashion designers and startups with innovative products the opportunity to realize their dream, gain brand exposure and expand their brand with a temporary store. Through the Pop! Initiative the winner will receive a free pop-up store design, concept store design, a new visual identity concept and branding concept. The project is rolled out on three phases throughout the year. LPS offered us an excellent platform to meet up and communicate with those young and energetic designers.
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