Reader's Digest > 7 - 20 May

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Reader's Digest, 7 - 20 May

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Chinese Minister Visits Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer
Published by efd.admin.ch, 18th May 2016
Huang Shuxian, a high-ranking Chinese minister, made a working visit to Bern. International financial and tax issues were addressed among other things in talks with Finance Minister Ueli Maurer. Switzerland and China maintain close economic ties which have gradually been expanded in recent years, in particular in the financial sector. Against this backdrop, Huang Shuxian, Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China and Minister of Supervision of the People's Republic of China, visited Ueli Maurer today to discuss various financial and tax issues. These included the continuation of discussions on combating corruption and closer cooperation between the two countries in this regard in international bodies and within the scope of the G20. China, which this year holds the G20 presidency, invited Switzerland to participate in the G20's work in the financial sphere (Finance Track) and in the area of anti-corruption.

Interview with H.E. Ambassador Geng Wenbing by EuroAsia Info
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 12th May 2016
Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland is undoubtedly an important function with great expectations from many people. Every time a new ambassador takes office, the Chinese living in Switzerland pay a lot of attention as it is also a starting point for further deepening the bilateral relations. Recently, EuroAsia Info had an exclusive interview H.E. Ambassador Geng Wenbing. Ambassador Geng talked about the brand new “Innovative Strategic Partnership” between the two countries. He also spoke about the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the South China Sea issue and other topics. He mentioned that China and Switzerland had entered a new era of “Innovative Strategic Partnership”. Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann payed a state visit to China from 7 to 9 April on the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The leaders of both countries exchanged in-depth views on Swiss-China political relations, cooperation in various fields and other issues of common interests. Switzerland is taken as an “Innovation Nation” and has topped the list of the Global Innovation Index for many years. It boasts the world leading technology and experience in various fields like high-end manufacturing, pharmaceutical, chemicals or ecological agriculture. China’s innovation-driven development strategy can combine with Switzerland’s innovation advantages and achieve an outcome which is bigger than the sum of the parts.

Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Paid a Visit to Lucerne
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 9th May 2016
The Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Mr. Geng Wenbing paid a visit to the canton of Lucerne on 6 May 2016. Ambassador Geng was welcomed by the government of the canton. The president of the government indicated that Lucerne was one of the most powerful cantons in Switzerland and always had very good relations with China. In addition, the canton of Lucerne established sistership with the province of Jiangsu and had had very good cooperation in numerous fields. Ambassador Geng expressed the hope that with the rapid improvement of Sino-Swiss bilateral relations, the government of Lucerne would continue its cooperation with China and actively contribute to the development of the Sino-Swiss relations.
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BUSINESS NEWS

Video of the Sino-Swiss Economic Forum 2016
Published by cn.swisscham.org, 18th May 2016
On 8 April, the 4th Sino-Swiss Economic Forum (SSEF) was successfully held in Beijing with the exceptional presence of the President of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and the Vice Minister of Commerce of P.R. China, H.E. Zhong Shan. To get an overview of the largest economic summit between Switzerland and China, we invite you to have a look on the video of the SSEF.

Wanda Buys Marketing Specialist Propaganda GEM, Hoolai Games
Published by variety.com, 13th May 2016
Wanda Cinema Line Co. has completed buying Hollywood entertainment marketing agency Propaganda GEM and the Chinese gaming distribution company Hoolai Games. Wanda made the announcement of the two deals at a news conference Friday in Beijing. The price of the transactions was not disclosed. Propaganda GEM, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Geneva and Los Angeles, has worked on strategic entertainment marketing concepts for feature film, television, music video, video games, talent relations and events — such as BMW and the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. The announcement comes a day after Wanda Cinema Line, the theatrical exhibition arm of Chinese property development giant Dalian Wanda, disclosed that it is paying USD 5.72 billion to buy up its other film assets. In a regulatory filing, Wanda Cinema said that it would buy Wanda Media, the division that includes the recently acquired Legendary Entertainment.

Switzerland has Become Even More Attractive for Investors
Published by s-ge.com, 11th May 2016
Switzerland as business location has recorded an upturn in foreign investment in 2016. Switzerland has moved up the list of the most attractive investment locations, from 14th to 11th position. The good infrastructure and the availability of its highly qualified workforce make the business location of Switzerland an attractive destination for foreign investment. This was shown by the latest FDI Confidence Index from the consulting firm A.T. Kearney. "The Swiss franc shock has obviously not become a deterrent to foreign direct investment. To the contrary!", according to Andreas Liedtke, Partner and Managing Director of A.T. Kearney Switzerland. He maintains that Switzerland is more attractive than ever before for foreign companies who want to boost their profitability and growth within a stable framework. "Investors are prepared to pay a price for the good structural preconditions which Switzerland has to offer." In the FDI Confidence Index, the USA and China are out in front for the fourth time in a row. Canada was able to improve from fourth to third place, while the UK slipped back from third to fifth place. The companies questioned see the greatest opportunities for growth within the Eurozone, which covers 13 of the top 25 countries. Germany took fourth place.

New Regulations for Cross-Border E-Commerce in China
Published by s-ge.com, 10th May 2016
Cross-border e-commerce is growing faster in China than in almost any other country. With new regulations Beijing intends to get a better grip, above all in fiscal terms, on the import side of the booming sector. The changes and updates that came into force in China on 8 April, 2016, relate to the following measures for cross-border imports via e-commerce: Value added tax is now to be paid on goods that enter China via e-commerce, as well as a consumption tax if applicable. And in fact at the rate of 70 % of the taxable amount, at least in the interim. Upper value limits have now also been set for e-commerce. A single shipment must not exceed the equivalent of EUR 268 and a single person must not spend more than the equivalent of EUR 2680 per year on goods which are transferred into the country via e-commerce. If these thresholds are exceeded, 100% consumption and value added tax must be paid. The competent authorities have published two (positive) lists, naming all the goods that may be imported into China via e-commerce. There is a ban on the import via e-commerce of any commodities, goods or products not shown in this list.

A Comparison of Chinese Special Economic Zones
Published by s-ge.com, 10th May 2016
In China there is a large number of special economic zones, which differ in many respects. The Swiss Business Hub China has compared the various zones with one another. China has six different categories for special economic and development zones. Altogether they serve to offer the businesses based in these zones conditions which are ideally tailored to meet their needs. Even so, there are some major differences in the status and services offered by the individual zones. In its report (“Comparison among Development Zones in China”), the Swiss Business Hub China describes how they differ and for what purpose which of the zones are most suitable.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

LUFF Does Hongkong - an Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Hong Kong
Published by hongkong.luff.ch, 9th May 2016
The Lausanne Underground Music & Film Festival (LUFF) is in Hong Kong from 9 to 15 May 2016, doing a cross-over with Kill the Silence Festival in Hong Kong. A few events featuring Swiss artists will definitely be a blast! One of them is by Jason Kahn, using technique of speakers, amplifiers, voice and text.  What makes this place what it is? The sounds? The ghosts? The energy there. Spending a day at a disused student canteen at the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity, he will be "recording" his thoughts, thinking about what once went on in the canteen, what transpires now and writes down his observations and makes a recording by his voice and then play back in the space, creating a feedback loop of the then and now, a mirroring of the place folding in on itself.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Swiss Watch Industry is the Most Affected by Counterfeit Products
Published by worldtempus.com, 18th May 2016
A recent OECD report put watches at the top of the list of the world’s most pirated products. We take a look at the impact of fake watches on the Swiss watch industry with the help of Jean-Daniel Pasche, President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The report values the world trade in counterfeit goods at USD 461 billion (2.5% of total world trade) for 2013 based on customs seizure statistics. Unsurprisingly, China and Hong Kong are – by far – the biggest geographical sources of these counterfeit goods. Footwear is the biggest product category found in the goods seized, which probably explains why brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo are now fitting RFID chips to their shoes that can be used to confirm their authenticity.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

ChemChina Extends USD 43 Billion Syngenta Takeover Offer to July
Published by fxnewscall.com, 18th May 2016
The USD 43 billion acquisition of the Swiss seed-and-pesticide maker Syngenta AG by Chinese National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) has hit a roadblock after the US decided to expand the regulatory scrutiny. As a result, the  deal’s deadline has been extended to 18 July from 23 May. Stating this, CNAC Saturn, an arm of China’s state-owned ChemChina, noted that it is factoring in the expanded regulatory scrutiny, reported Bloomberg. Considered as the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, the deal is expected to help China in securing food supplies for its population. Syngenta, with offices in North Carolina, earns a big part of its revenue from North America as the biggest seller of pesticides and seeds.

ABB Automation World to Kick off in Wuhan, Open to Public for the First Time
Published by abb.com.cn, 11th May 2016
The 8th ABB Automation World, the largest annual customer event of ABB, will be held for the first time in Wuhan, the largest industrial and commercial city in Central China, showcasing ABB’s smart technologies and innovative solutions in utility, industry, transport and infrastructure. The grand exhibition will cover an area of nearly 5,000 square meters in Wuhan International Expo Center and display cutting-edge technologies and applications that are close to citizens’ life, such as electric vehicle fast charging, robotic manufacturing and wireless smart home system. ABB Automation World will be open to the public at 10:00-15:00 on 19 May, offering Wuhan citizens the opportunity to experience the influence and changes brought by Internet of Things, Services and People (IoTSP) as well as smart technologies. On the morning of the Open Day, four high-end special forums will be held with national think-tank experts, scholars and ABB’s senior executives to discuss the future development of global power and automation technology, new opportunities from "Made in China 2025", risks and solutions for overseas projects under the Belt and Road initiatives, as well as the future of IoTSP and manufacturing. This forum has a total of 300 seats.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Sees Some Exits from Wealth Units in Singapore and Hong Kong
Published by businesstimes.org.sg, 18th May 2016
UBS is seeing some departures from its wealth management units in Singapore and Hong Kong as the Swiss bank steps up its cost-cutting programme. The number of exits is not significant, and is part of an ongoing normal business review, said a source. The most high profile of the departures is Singapore-based Joseph Poon who was UBS head of ultra-high net worth for South-east Asia. Prior to joining UBS about four years ago, Mr. Poon used to be the head of Macquarie Private Wealth Asia. UBS opened a branch in Shanghai in March, the bank's second ground-floor presence in China and, last month, an office in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The Kowloon office is UBS's first outside the Central Business District and already has 50 employees; a number that it expects to double by the end of the year. UBS has more than 2,800 employees in its Wealth Management Asia-Pacific unit, making it the largest team of any wealth management firm in the region, including about 1,000 plus each in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Credit Suisse: China has Become a Victim of its Own Success
Published by businessinsider.in, 18th May 2016
China's "weight-gain" is the very thing that caused its slowdown, according to a note by Credit Suisse. The bank says the country became so big as a share of the world's industrial output that it is "no longer possible to profitably outgrow non-Chinese demand by such margins." China's manufacturing profit margins have been falling since 2011, and there has been a decline in real-terms in manufacturing investment. Although Credit Suisse calls the Chinese slowdown a "natural convergence," the fall in investment profitability in the face of a rising output share took investors by surprise, since they based 2016 growth on historical trends. This nasty surprise created a depression in the commodities related markets, particularly in mining, shipping, and energy. This led to a global credit risk, sharp exchange rate movements, and a slump in global growth. "A shock that originated in China became a global shock," says Credit Suisse.

Huaneng Power International Inc (HNP) Shares Sold by UBS Group AG
Published by dailypolitical.com, 18th May 2016
UBS Group AG reduced its position in Huaneng Power International Inc by 69.3% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The fund owned 8,940 shares of the company’s stock after selling 20,197 shares during the period. UBS Group AG’s holdings in Huaneng Power International were worth USD 318,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC. Huaneng Power International, Inc is an independent power producer. The principal activities of the Company are investment, construction, operation and management of power plants. The Company is engaged in developing, constructing, operating and managing power plants throughout China.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Swatch Launches Payment Watch Bellamy in June in Switzerland
Published by telecompaper.com, 11th May 2016
Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch is launching its watch with payment function, Bellamy, in Switzerland, six months after releasing it in China. Following the agreement announcement with Visa last November, Swatch announced that a partnership agreement has been signed with Cornèrcard and that the first models will be available throughout Switzerland from mid-June, at a cost of CHF 105. For the NFC connection, the watch is equipped with an antenna and a contactless chip under the dial. Similar to a prepaid bank card, the watch allows cashless payments at contactless payment terminals. After purchasing one of the first three models at any Swatch store, clients can sign up with the bank, pre-load the watch with funds, and start shopping in Switzerland and around the world wherever Visa contactless is accepted.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

New Sino-Swiss Business Opportunities in Chongqing
Published by sinoswiss-holding.com, 30th April 2016
The Fenxiang Investors Club opening ceremony with the theme Industrial Upgrade through Connectivity was held on 28 April in Chongqing. The main goal of the Club is to help more and more Swiss SMEs and startups to come to China by identifying local partners and/or investors for them. More than 50 companies, mainly from Switzerland, were introduced to the 90 members of the Club on that day. The event was supported by the Swiss Industrial Park (Chongqing) and several foreign Sino-Swiss business experts from different institutions like the SwissCham, SGE and others. As an international investment and cooperation platform, the Fenxiang Investors Club is dedicated to bring technologically advanced and culturally featured projects to Chongqing. By cooperating with these companies, the club gives local companies the opportunity to realize industrial upgrading and foreign investments. The Club provides one-stop service for the whole cooperation process such as matchmaking, financial consulting, commercial registration, legal consulting etc.

Zurich Delegation' Visit to Zhongshan
Published by qq.com, 30th April 2016
Ms. Carmen Walker Spah, the Government councilor from canton of Zurich, led a delegation to Zhongshan, and visited Tsuihang New District and Sino- Swiss (European) Industrial Park. Mr. Xue Xiaofeng, Secretary of CPC Zhongshan Municipal Committee, Mr. Jiao lansheng , Deputy Secretary of CPC Zhongshan Municipal Committee and Acting Mayor of Zhongshan and other leaders met with Zurich representatives from government and enterprises. After visited the Sino-Swiss (European) Industrial Park Innovation Center, sand map in Tsuihang New District Planning Exhibition Center and base National Health Technology Base Exhibition Hall, and attended the Symposium with representatives of Zhongshan government department, commerce agencies, and enterprises in Zhongshan Torch International Exhibition Center for exchanges and discussions. The delegation of Zurich’ visit will further promote investment, trade and talent cooperation between Zhongshan and Switzerland (Europe), will also create new opportunities for the development of collaborative innovation in both sides.
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