Reader's Digest > 13 - 26 August

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Reader's Digest, 13 - 26 August

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Paid a Visit to Canton Basel City
Published by China Embassy in Switzerland, 18th August 2016
Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland H.E. Geng Wenbing paid a visit to the canton of Basel city in northern Switzerland on 17 August 2016 and had a meeting with the President of the canton Mr. Guy Morin. Mr. Guy Morin introduced the economic and social development of the canton in recent years and the cooperation with its sister city Shanghai. He highly praised the remarkable achievements of both sides in the fields of pharmaceutical chemicals, investment and cultural exchanges. Mr. Morin emphasized that strengthening the relations with China is very important. The canton is willing to take full advantage of its easy transportation and highly developed medical and chemical industry in order to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields with China. Ambassador Geng appreciated for President Morin's warm hospitality and highly praised the long-term commitment of the canton of Basel city to promote Sino-Swiss local exchanges and pragmatic cooperation. He hoped that the two sides could seize the current opportunities to deepen Sino-Swiss relations especially in the field of technological innovation and to further strengthen the strategic innovation partnership with Shanghai, bringing benefits to both sides.
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BUSINESS NEWS

Ten New Swiss Startups Selected to Conquer China
Published by strartupticker.ch, 24th August 2016
After a very successful second edition of the program venture leaders China in 2015, 10 new Swiss startups forming the “Swiss national startup team” are ready to conquer the Middle Kingdom in October 2016. They will meet local investors, dive into China’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and learn about the opportunities of doing business there. For Swiss startups, China is a key market to explore. With the necessity to increase the visibility of Swiss high-tech innovation in China, venturelab launched the first edition of venture leaders China in 2014 on the model of the venture leaders programs in New York and Boston. This year’s finalists will pitch their novel technologies to local investors, experts and entrepreneurs in four fast paced innovation hubs: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and for the first time this year, Hong Kong. The trip is coorganized with swissnex China.

MSC Cruises Establishes Office in China, Appoints Helen Huang President
Published by travelpulse.com, 19th August 2016
Two days after announcing a pair of top-level management appointments to lead its growth efforts in North America, MSC Cruises has announced the opening of a brand office in Shanghai to focus on the China market. Friday's announcement was accompanied by news that industry veteran Helen Huang has been chosen to lead expansion efforts in the market, with MSC Cruises naming her president of MSC Greater China. Huang's appointment is effective immediately, the cruise line said. In her new role, Huang will be "tasked with leading our ability to best serve our trade, institutional and other partners across Greater China as well as the operational and port relations support needs of MSC Lirica and her guests," according to MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato. Prior to joining Geneva, Switzerland-based MSC Cruises, Huang served as vice president corporate communications, Costa Asia and general manager, Costa China. The new office and leadership appointment come on the heels of MSC Lirica's deployment to its homeport in China.

World's Top 10 Innovative Economies
Published by China Daily, 18th August 2016
Switzerland retained its title as the world's most innovative country, followed by Sweden and the United Kingdom, according to this year's Global Innovation Index. China was ranked 25th – the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have dominated the top of the index in its nine editions. The Global Innovation Index 2016, co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), surveyed 128 economies, using 82 indicators to gauge both innovative capabilities and measurable results. The world's top 10 most innovative economies are: 10. Germany; 9. Netherlands; 8. Denmark; 7. Ireland; 6. Singapore; 5. Finland; 4. United States of America; 3. United Kingdom; 2. Sweden; 1. Switzerland.

Qingdao Business Delegation Visits Europe
Published by China Daily, 13th August 2016
A Qingdao business delegation, led by Guo Jian, deputy director general of Qingdao’s bureau of commerce, visited London, Geneva and Vienna from 28 July to 6 August to draw on experience in the construction of a modern market system. During the delegation's visit to the China-Britain Business Council in London, the two sides reached agreements on further cooperation in wholesale markets for agricultural products, second-hand automobiles, and the events industry. The delegation visited fairs and commercial areas in Geneva, Switzerland to learn from local experience in layout, management, product quality and safety, and the introduction of local specialties. Whilst in Europe they also discussed Hidrostal AG's new project in Qingdao. The company intends to invest USD 20 million into a pump manufacturing base in Jimo county.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

U.S. Becomes Biggest Swiss Watch Market Overtaking Hong Kong
Published by cpp-luxury.com, 23rd August 2016
The United States overtook Hong Kong as the No.1 market for Swiss watch exports in July as cash-strapped watch retailers in Hong Kong held back from ordering new timepieces. Swiss watch exports dropped 14.2% in value terms in July, taking the decline for the first seven months of 2016 to 11.1%, the Swiss watch federation (FH) said in a statement on Tuesday. Exports to Hong Kong fell 33 percent in July, while shipments to the United States declined 15%, meaning the United States is now in first place with a 10.9% overall market share, versus 10.7% for Hong Kong. Demand for Swiss watches is down because fewer tourists — particularly from China — are visiting Europe’s luxury shopping hubs in the wake of recent attacks and the Hong Kong market collapsed after a Chinese government crackdown on corruption. Britain was a bright spot, posting a 13.4% rise in value terms in July, as the fall in the pound triggered by the June vote to leave the European Union created a price gap with other markets. France remained weak as fears of Islamist attacks kept tourist shoppers away and sales to Germany fell almost 24%.

Swiss Brands United at the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair
Published by europastar.com, 22nd August 2016
All Swiss Made, all under one roof. Eight independent Swiss watchmakers will participate in a joint pavilion at the Hong Kong Exhibition, from 6 to 10 September 2016. The Swiss watch industry can definitely use a bit of unity at the moment. And that’s especially the case in Asia and especially for the smaller brands. Demand for luxury watches (and other high-end goods) has plummeted since last year in Hong Kong – traditionally the top importer of Swiss timepieces. So the question is how to confront the problem head-on? At this year’s Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair - which takes places at the Hong Kong Exhibition from 6 to 10 September - the Swiss are adopting a positive motto: “united we stand, divided we fall”. For the second time running, the Swiss Independent Watchmaking Pavilion will promote independent watchmakers based in Switzerland all under one roof. The brands slated to participate are: Adriatica, Greco Genève, Kendall L. 1742, Mathey-Tissot, Ollivier Savéo, Pilo & Co., Saint Honoré and WatchE.

China’s Team Hublot Wins the Hublot Polo Gold Cup
Published by poloplus10.com, 20th August 2016
The welcomed sun shone down on the picturesque Gstaad-Saanen Airfield for the final day of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup, Gstaad. The clear blue skies presented the scenic views of the famous Swiss Alps, the perfect backdrop for Switzerland’s premier summer Polo Tournament. The packed crowds were treated to a gripping final which saw Shilai Liu’s Team Hublot claim the coveted trophy with a score of 6.5-6. The sound of Ferrari engines echoed across the valley as the match ball was carried onto the pitch by Pierre Genecand, president of the event, signifying the start of the highly anticipated final between Team Hublot and Team Banque Eric Sturdza. Team Hublot put their stamp on the game early as the tournament’s highest handicapped player, Marcos Di Paola, displayed his nimble stick work to carry the ball across the line and put his team into the lead. A scintillating first chukka from Team Hublot saw them stretch ahead on the score board to 3.5-0 and give them a lead they would not want to relinquish.

China’s Mars Exploration Program on the Red Planet in 2020 Keeps Time with TAG Heuer
Published by watchonista.com, 24th August 2016
From John Glenn to China's Mars Exploration Program, TAG Heuer reaches the stars in support of China’s bold bid to explore the red planet. China’s Mars Exploration Program is now officially on time with TAG Heuer, kicking off with its global solicitation for program logo design and the unveiling of the exterior design of the long-awaited, first-ever Mars rover of China. At the press conference, in the presence of Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer CEO and President of the LVMH Watch Division, with the Director of the lunar exploration program and space engineering center under the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Mr. Jizhong Liu and the Chief Designer of The Mars Exploration Mission, Mr Rongqiao Zhang, TAG Heuer is honored to become the partner of this global solicitation event, demonstrating TAG Heuer’s full support towards the China’s Mars Exploration Program. TAG Heuer is the Swiss Avant-Garde watchmaker for 155 years.
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GENERAL INTEREST

ETH Zurich is the Best University on the Continent
Published by s-ge.com, 16th August 2016
The Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is the best university in continental Europe and the 19th worldwide, according the latest Shanghai ranking of world universities. The top three spots were captured by Harvard, Stanford and UC Berkeley in the US. The University of Cambridge in the UK is ranked the best European university, coming in fourth place overall. All the universities to rank ahead of the ETH Zurich come from the US and the UK. The ETH Zurich is followed by the University of Tokyo to complete the top 20. The ETH Zurich moved up one notch from 2015, though it had placed 19th two years ago. The university has been steadily moving up the ranking over the years, having come in 27th ten years ago. The Shanghai ranking has been published annually since 2003. It compares universities according to six indicators, including the number alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals and the number of articles cited in scientific indices.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

Glencore Net Loss Narrows; Debt Plan on Track
Published by marketwatch.com, 24th August 2016
Commodities and mining group Glencore PLC reported a narrower first-half net loss and signaled that it's on track to significantly reduce its net debt by selling unwanted assets to weather the recent commodities turmoil. The world's third largest diversified miner by market value reported a USD 369 million net loss for the six months ended 30 June, 2016, helped by cost reductions, compared with a USD 676 million net loss in the same period a year before. Revenue fell 6% on year to USD 69.4 billion due to broadly lower commodity prices as well as lower copper, zinc, coal and oil production in the first half compared with the same period a year before. Glencore's shares have more than doubled so far this year, buoyed by a surge in commodity prices that caught analysts off guard. Production cutbacks, particularly in zinc, and sturdy demand in China, the world's largest consumer of many commodities, after Beijing's recent economic stimulus, have contributed to improved prices.

US Approves Chinese Mega Deal with Swiss Company
Published by thelocal.ch, 23rd August 2016
A US national security regulator has approved a state-owned China National Chemical Corp.'s planned USD 43 billion (EUR 38 billion) takeover of Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta, the two companies said on Monday. ChemChina and Syngenta said in a joint statement that they had "received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)." They said a number of anti-trust regulators around the world still need to approve what would be by far the biggest-ever overseas acquisition by a Chinese firm. They said the transaction was expected to close by the end of the year. ChemChina announced the blockbuster deal in early February, vowing to dish out USD 465 for each Syngenta share, plus a special dividend. Initially, the companies had expected to wrap up the first part of the transaction by 23 May, but the period has been prolonged twice as the companies wait for the verdict of various competition authorities, which is now set for 13 September.

ABB Robot Wins Award in China
Published by s-ge.com, 19th August 2016
ABB was recognized for its achievements in technical innovation and application development at the China Industrial Robot Show (CIROS) in Shanghai. The Zurich power and automation group’s YuMi robot was named one of the best industrial robots of 2016. It is the first truly collaborative robot in the world, writes ABB in a statement. YuMi works together with people to manufacture consumer electronics. It increases flexibility and improves quality to help meet the challenges of increasingly diverse consumer needs, such as more customized products and higher quality expectations. As ABB explains, production is shifting from mass production of the same product to producing small units of more diverse products for a shorter business cycle. ABB is working closely with its customers to help transform their manufacturing and find new ways of unlocking the flexible, efficient ‘factory of the future,’ today. Collaborative automation will certainly play a large part in this journey,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division. ABB’s robot is of special interest to China, where its Made in China 2025 Strategy aims to transform the country into a global manufacturing leader with a focus on being strong, and not just big.

Schindler Sees Slowest Revenue Growth in 4 Years, Hurt by Weak China
Published by reuters.com, 16th August 2016
Swiss elevator manufacturer Schindler Holding AG expects the slowest revenue growth in four years as uncertainty in the Chinese construction market and the recession in Brazil continues to hurt. The company cut the top-end of its revenue growth forecast and gave a lower-than-expected profit outlook, sending its shares down four percent in early trade on Tuesday, off the record highs the stock had set last week. Housing inventories are on the rise in China, mainly in smaller cities, as investment growth in China's real estate sector slowed in first half of 2016. This directly hurts global construction and building materials manufacturers. Schindler said new installations in the Chinese market continued to decline, but it reported slightly better-than-expected order growth for the second quarter as it benefitted from better performance in Europe and the Americas region. "Schindler continues to expect that the global elevator and escalator market will experience a slight decline in 2016, primarily due to weakening markets in China and Latin America," the company said in a statement.

Bühler Group Salutes Ideal Business Environment
Published by China Daily, 13th August 2016
The Swiss-headquartered Bühler Group is seeing rapid growth in the Chinese market thanks to its embedded business operations in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. As a specialist company for providing machines, plants and services for the grain, food and advanced material processing, Bühler has been operating in China since the 1980s. In 2011, Bühler (China) Investment Co Ltd was founded in Wuxi with a total registered investment of USD 30 million. As the regional headquarters, Bühler China coordinates all sales activities and handles all customer service-related business for China, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries. Bühler said the move has allowed it to offer a better service to customers, including repairs and replacement products and fast customer service through a tight network of domestic service stations. "Wuxi is a very good city, and it has very friendly environment. The local government has provided a lot of help and support for the company's development over the years," said Dieter Voegtli, president of Bühler Goup China and Asia Pacific.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Report Highlights Series of Concerns over Chinese Economy
Published by scmp.com, 24th August 2016
The international market is becoming more comfortable about China than earlier this year – but concerns for the world’s second largest economy remain, particularly over weak property investment growth in the second half of the year, according to a new UBS report on the country. Although the country’s property market has rebounded, the momentum of translating property sales and new starts into active investment or construction activity remains limited, it says in the study. UBS economists Donna Kwok and Tao Wang have worked out that contract sales and new starts have witnessed double-digit growth in the year to date, at 26% and 14% year on year, respectively. But construction and investment expanded by just 5% during the same period, with little sign of more pipeline momentum to come.

Swiss National Bank Boosts Stake in Qihoo 360 Technology
Published by ft.com, 18th August 2016
Swiss National Bank increased its position in Qihoo 360 Technology Co. by 89.9% during the second quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 211,743 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 100,252 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank’s holdings in Qihoo 360 Technology were worth USD 15,468,000 as of its most recent SEC filing. Other large investors have also made changes to their positions in the company. AMP Capital Investors Ltd raised its stake in shares of Qihoo 360 Technology by 48.3% in the first quarter. AMP Capital Investors Ltd now owns 4,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at USD 325,000 after buying an additional 1,400 shares during the period. Handelsbanken Fonder AB acquired a new stake in shares of Qihoo 360 Technology during the second quarter valued at about USD 438,000. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH raised its stake in shares of Qihoo 360 Technology by 68.4% in the second quarter. Meag Munich Ergo Kapitalanlagegesellschaft MBH now owns 6,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at USD 468,000 after buying an additional 2,600 shares during the period.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Deflation and China Slowdown Knock Nestlé Revenues
Published by ft.com, 18th August 2016
Global deflationary pressures as well as a weaker Chinese economy led to a sharp fall in organic sales growth at Nestlé in the first half of the year, highlighting the strategic challenges facing the world’s largest food and drinks company. Under the so-called “Nestlé-model”, the Switzerland-based company — whose products include KitKat chocolate bars, Felix cat food and Perrier mineral water — targets 5% to 6% organic sales growth a year over the long term. But on Thursday it reported growth of just 3.5% in the first six months of 2016 from a year earlier, with the slowdown blamed largely on falling prices — especially in Europe. Paul Bulcke, chief executive, said pricing had fallen to “historically low levels”, and first-half revenue growth had been “almost entirely driven by volume and product mix”. He expected prices “to recover somewhat in coming months”, however, and the company stuck to its guidance of full-year organic growth in line with the 4.2% reported for 2015.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Doing Business in Switzerland
Published by vischer.com, 25th August 2016
Switzerland holds first place internationally in terms of competitiveness according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015–2016. This ranking reflects the major advantages of Switzerland as a business hub. Switzerland is not only very attractive from a tax standpoint and a first class location for research and innovation; it also offers an excellent regulatory environment for companies and individuals alike. Thus, Switzerland is highly attractive to foreign investors and companies looking either to invest or to establish a presence here in the center of Europe. Still, even though the environment is generally very liberal, due consideration needs to be paid to the legal framework. This brochure provides an overview of the regulatory environment for investment in Switzerland.

SSIP’s New Website Launched
Published by sinoswiss-zs.gov.cn, 22nd August 2016
This week, the official website of Sino-Swiss (European) Industrial Park was launched after upgrade. The new website address is www.sinoswiss-zs.gov.cn. Compared to the old one, the new website uses "Swiss-red" in the layout design, which makes it look simple but clear. In the content, the new website highlights the industrial orientation of SSIP and the good investment environment, and adds sections like Preferential Policies, Work Flow, Information Diffusion and so on, which fully considers investors’ needs. Besides, two totally new sections Appointment and BBS help visitors to communicate with and give advice to us. On our Wechat account, you can find the entry to the mobile website that let you know SSIP's dynamic changes.
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