Reader's Digest > 15 - 28 October

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Reader's Digest, 15 - 28 October

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


The Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Zurich Paid a Visit to Canton Graubünden
Published by, 25th October 2016
On 24 October, the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Zurich and for the Principality of Liechtenstein, Ms. Gao Yanping, paid a visit to Canton Graubünden in Switzerland and met with the President of the Government of the Canton, Mr. Christian Rathgeb. Ms. Gao introduced the latest development of China’s economy and Sino-Swiss relations and highly appreciated the positive policy of Graubünden's government to China. She hoped that Graubünden would seize the opportunities related to the Sino-Swiss development and China's 2022 Winter Olympics. She added the wish to establish a potential cooperation and to further deepen the exchanges in the fields of economy, trade, culture and tourism by taking advantage of the winter sports in Graubünden. Mr. Rathgeb also stated that the China’s development achievement had attracted worldwide attention and benefited to Switzerland and the rest of the world and emphasized that Graubünden is attaching great importance to the cooperation with China.

Switzerland Opens New Consulate General in Chengdu to Deepen Sino-Swiss Relations
Published by, 20th October 2016
Switzerland is opening a consulate general in November in the economic hot(s)pot Chengdu, the provincial capital of Southwestern China’s Sichuan, as part of the government’s efforts to promote business between China and Switzerland and to further boost Sino-Swiss bilateral relations. Mr. Frank Eggmann has been appointed the consul general. An official opening ceremony of the consulate general has been scheduled for early 2017. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) decided to open a consulate general in Chengdu following a decision of the Federal Council. This will be Switzerland's fifth official representation in China, in addition to the embassy in Beijing and the consulates general in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The tasks of the new consulate general will focus on the economy, trade, innovation and tourism. “To open the consulate general in Chengdu recognizes the exciting prospects this city and region holds for Sino-Swiss relations. The new consulate general will no doubt upgrade the visibility of Switzerland in Western China and help promote the image of the innovative, creative and competitive Switzerland of today through either business or cultural activities,” said Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel.
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EU Approves Chinese HNA's Acquisition of Swiss SR Technics
Published by, 26th October 2016
The European Union (EU) regulators have greenlighted the acquisition of Swiss aircraft solutions provider SR Technics by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, the EU said on Tuesday. The European Commission, the bloc's executive body, in a statement said that the proposed acquisition "would raise no competition concerns, because there are only limited overlaps between the companies' activities." HNA Group, founded in 1993, is a Chinese conglomerate encompassing core divisions of aviation, holdings, capital, tourism and logistics. SR Technics is a technical aircraft solutions provider, offering maintenance, repair and overhaul services for commercial aircraft. In September, the Commission approved HNA's acquisition of Swiss Gategroup, which provides catering services and retail on-board aircrafts and other related ancillary activities such as on-board service equipment and supply chain and logistics solutions or management of airport lounges.

UK Overtakes China to Become Fourth Largest Market in the World for Swiss Watches
Published by, 21st October 2016
The UK was the fourth biggest market in the world for Swiss watches imports again in September, overtaking China for the second month this year. The UK accounted for 7% of the world total for exports for Swiss watchmakers in the month. The reversal in relative fortunes between China and the UK is staggering when you look at the performance in recent historical terms. In the full year of 2010, China imported Swiss watches worth CHF 1.1 billion; almost double the value of those shipping to the UK (CHF 597 million). The summer of 2016 will be long remembered by retailers of luxury Swiss watches in the UK. In the three months from July to September, the UK imported timepieces worth CHF 327 million. This compares to a three month total of CHF 320 million for China. For September, alone, the UK notched year-on-year growth of 32.4%, comfortably the fastest growing market in the world’s top 10. By contrast, sales to China were flat, and sales to Hong Kong plunged by 39.6% over September last year.

Swiss Gold Exports to China Hit Highest Since January
Published by, 20th October 2016
Swiss gold exports to China hit their highest since January last month, Swiss customs data showed on Thursday, though a sharp drop in shipments to Hong Kong meant exports to Hong Kong and China combined were sharply lower year on year. The United Kingdom remained the biggest recipient of Swiss gold exports for a seventh straight month, receiving 52.162 tons of bullion. Switzerland exported 35.5 tons of gold to China in September, the data showed, 64% higher year-on-year and up from 19.884 tons the month before. But shipments to Hong Kong dropped to 11.537 tons from 59.76 tons a year earlier. Exports to India rose to 27.592 tons from 22.971 tons. Switzerland remained a net importer of gold, with a drop in exports more than counterbalancing lower imports. The United Arab Emirates remained the biggest source of Swiss gold imports last month, shipping 38.247 tons of gold to Switzerland. The United States was the second biggest, with exports to Switzerland of 18.874 tons. Imports from Hong Kong fell back to 10.482 tons in September after hitting their highest level on record at 18.141 tons a month before. Imports from the UK fell to just one ton.

How to Deal with Free Trade Agreements
Published by, 15th October 2016
Many SMEs trading internationally struggle to step up to the benefits of Free Trade Agreements. But even the most complex rules of origin can be managed, potential risks minimized and small advantages exploited with IT support. Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are designed to open doors to foreign markets, reduce customs duties and help boost competitiveness. In addition to the EFTA Convention and a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, Switzerland has negotiated 28 FTAs to date. Most recently, the FTA with China (2015) and the FTA of the EFTA states (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland) with the Philippines (April 2016) have been in the limelight. An FTA does not deliver full exemption from duties. Certain product groups such as agricultural produce are often excluded from free trade. And in many cases, the tariffs are reduced only gradually over a number of years. Each agreement contains different origin and procedural rules and accepts certain local regulations. The FTA with China is considered to be particularly complex and challenging.
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Swiss Hope Expats and Chinese Will Hit Slopes
Published by, 25th October 2016
After a mixed summer with fewer Chinese tourists, Switzerland’s tourism office predicts a 'stable' winter season for 2016-2017. It hopes to attract expatriates and Chinese visitors to the slopes. These are difficult times for the tourism business in the small alpine nation. The number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists fell by 19.7% in summer, Switzerland Tourism reported on Tuesday. This is a worrying trend for tourism officials, as Chinese visitors were leading recent growth in Switzerland up until recently. The lower numbers are partly due to the terrorist threats in Europe as Switzerland is closely associated with France, according to the tourism office. Earlier this year Switzerland Tourism reported that the drop-off in numbers was also partly linked to the new requirement for biometric fingerprint data for visas. Since last November, this has been mandatory for anyone applying for a visa to Europe’s Schengen zone of countries, including Switzerland. This means all Chinese tourists must travel to a Swiss consulate in person to apply.

Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Met with Director General of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation
Published by, 18th October 2016
The Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland H.E. Geng Wenbing met with the Director General of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG SSR) Mr. Roger de Weck on 18 October. Mr. de Weck introduced to H.E. Geng general information and development of the Swiss broadcasting and television and also expressed his strong will to explore the chance of business exchange with China in the fields of radio and television. Ambassador Geng said that the current Sino-Swiss relations were very close and the cooperation between the two countries in various fields had been continuously strengthened. China attaches great importance to the development of journalism and radio and television, and hoped that the two sides can strengthen business exchanges and cooperation. He also introduced to Mr. de Weck the cooperation in economics, finance and culture between China and Switzerland.

The Italian Tongue in Shanghai, by Way of Switzerland
Published by, 17th October 2016
This week welcomes the 16th edition of La Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo, or in English, the Italian Language Week in the World, and in celebration the Embassy of Switzerland in China and its Consulates General in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong are presenting a program of book talks, film screenings and lectures to Chinese audiences through Sunday. The week will showcase the contemporary Italian language and culture, the landscape of film and TV production in the Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland, as well as the country's efforts to promote culture diversity. As one of Switzerland's four national languages, Italian is spoken by approximately 8.1% of the country's population, mainly in the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden. Under the mission of promoting Switzerland's cultural diversity, the Swiss Embassy and its Consulates General in China support the La Settimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo initiated by the Italian Foreign Ministry, and Italian culture and language each year. Ticino Night, another exceptional event of the week, is dedicated to Ticino, the only canton in Switzerland where Italian is the sole official language.
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Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs in China
Published by, 14th October 2016
The Seminar “Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs in China” will take place in Basel, Switzerland on 24-25 November 2016. This seminar will provide a detailed overview of the key areas of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and will cover: All important aspects of gaining and maintaining a successful Marketing Authorisation in the region; Drug regulatory systems; An overview of import and local manufacture registration; Clinical product development including CMC regulatory requirements; An interpretation of practical aspects; Recent developments and the opportunity to exchange experiences with other delegates.

U.S., Switzerland, U.K., China Are Top Hotspots for Wearable Electronics Innovation
Published by, 15th October 2016
The U.S. Retains Its Top Status, but a Number of Countries Are Emerging as New Hubs With Specializations in Such Areas as Smartwatches, Smart Fabrics, and Sports, Lux Research Says. Even though the United States remains the dominant innovation hub for wearable electronics, a number of other countries have emerged with varying degrees of specializations, according to Lux Research. The top 10 global innovation hotspots for wearable electronics are: 1. United States 2. Switzerland 3. United Kingdom 4. China 5. Canada 6. Australia 7. South Korea 8. Israel 9. Japan 10. Singapore. Switzerland ranks second on the strength of its ability to leverage its historic strength in watchmaking to work on novel smartwatches. The third-ranked U.K., on the other hand, stands out for its diverse pool of institutions, companies and organizations developing wearable technologies in applications including disease management, military operations, employee wellness and fashion. China, ranked fourth, lacks as many startups as the U.S., but its startups receive the most venture capital on average led by a top five of Codoon, ANTVR, Beijing Baofeng Mojing Technology and Huami, each of which has received over USD 35 million.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

Syngenta Confident ChemChina Takeover will be Approved
Published by, 25th October 2016
Swiss seed giant Syngenta voiced confidence Tuesday that its takeover by China's state-owned chemicals company ChemChina would go ahead despite a possible hold up by regulators in Brussels. The eye-popping USD 43 billion (EUR 40 billion) purchase price agreed in February has cleared regulatory hurdles in the United States, Japan and elsewhere, but Syngenta has said delays by the European Union could drag the process into next year. "The process of obtaining regulatory approvals is well under way," Syngenta chief executive Erik Fyrwald said in a statement. "Regulators in the EU and elsewhere have recently requested a large amount of additional information, and we now expect the regulatory process to extend into the first quarter of 2017," he added. "ChemChina and Syngenta remain fully committed to the transaction and are confident of its closure." Fyrwald made the comments as the company announced third quarter sales of USD 2.5 billion, down three percent compared with the same period last year. The Syngenta chief said it has been "a challenging year for the industry", but he expected the company's seed and agrochemical business would see a bounceback in the fourth quarter.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Stock Rising for Credit Suisse Investment Bank
Published by, 15th October 2016 reported that Credit Suisse had added to its Investment Banking team in China. The Swiss bank is also steadily climbing in the global M&A league tables. Honggui Li joined the Zurich headquartered bank as a Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking and Capital Markets (IBCM), China. He is one of several new recruits to the bank's Investment Banking division. In July Credit Suisse also made several senior appointments to its Shanghai and Beijing IBCM teams. The Financial Times, (paywall), has reported that after a series of high profile scandals and losses the IBCM business is now stable and building a healthy momentum in several key markets. In China Credit Suisse advised ChemChina, which acquired Switzerland’s Syngenta for USD 46 billion in the largest overseas deal to date by a Chinese company. The firm also played a key role in the listing of Jack Ma's Alibaba which earned the bank substantial fees. In Japan the bank appointed Koichi Ito as Managing Director, IBCM to spearhead the growth of the bank’s investment banking activities in the country. The bank executed a number of landmark transactions including the sale of US-based premium spirits company Beam Inc. to Suntory Holdings in a ground-breaking USD 16 billion acquisition, for which Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Beam. The transaction was named Japan Deal of the Year in 2015.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Swatch CEO Says Chinese Sales Back in Growth since July
Published by, 19th October 2016
Swiss watchmaker Swatch has been seeing renewed growth in China since July, Chief Executive Nick Hayek told the Swiss paper Handelszeitung. "We've seen growth in China since July, every month a bit more," Hayek said in an interview published on the Swiss paper's website on Wednesday. While the Omega brand in particular showed pleasing growth, the chief executive said brands Blancpain and Longines had also showed positive development. Hayek also said the watchmaker expected its automobile battery, developed by subsidiary Belenos in collaboration with Chinese automative maker Geely to be certified for the Chinese market within one to two years.

Nestlé Cuts Forecast for Annual Sales Growth
Published by, 16th October 2016
Nestlé has cut its forecast for sales growth this year after being hit by China’s economic slowdown and a ban on its Maggi noodles in India, which proved more damaging than expected. On Friday, the world’s biggest food and drinks company said that for a third successive year it expected to fall short of its target of 5% - 6% annual growth. It now expects organic growth of about 4.5% in 2015. With economists growing gloomier about the global economic outlook, Nestlé had been forced to “adjust to reality a little bit”, according to Paul Bulcke, chief executive. But he believed the Swiss group’s sales could still outpace growth in the global economy: “Our company should be ambitious and engineer drivers to go for growth.” In China, the recovery in sales had been slower than expected but “we do see a sequential improvement”, Mr. Bulcke reported, with instant coffee performing well and nutrition products “getting traction”.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

The 3rd Swiss Theme Week
Published by, 19th October 2016
On 15 October, the Launching Ceremony of the 3rd Swiss Theme Week was successfully held in Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industrial Park (SSZEIP) Innovation Center. The MOU on the Establishment of Sister City Relations between the City of Zhenjiang and the City of Lugano was signed at the ceremony by the two mayors, Ms. Zhu Xiaoming and Mr. Marco Borradori. Lugano, a city in Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, is the third largest economic and financial center nationwide. It has been enjoying a great relation with China since 2004. Based on the contribution SSZEIP and its cross-border e-commerce platform ( has been made to Sino-Swiss cooperation and the awareness among Swiss SMEs, Zhenjiang and Lugano are bound to initiate a fruitful collaborative in terms of finance, ecology, and environment management, etc. Moreover, two Strategic Cooperation Agreements have been signed respectively between Zhenjiang New Areas Administrative Committee and Swiss Business Hub China, between SSZEIP and China Construction Bank Jiangsu Branch/Zurich Branch as well. ZHAW - Zurich University of Applied Sciences - (School of Management and Law) China Center was officially unveiled at the ceremony.

Swiss School Beijing – German Language Section in the Academic Year 2017/2018
Published by, 15th October 2016
The Swiss School Beijing will start operating as a German language Section of the Western Academy Beijing in the academic year 2017/2018. The school will provide an education that is based on the Swiss curriculum and is delivered in a truly multicultural environment. They welcome children of Swiss and other nationalities interested in a German language education within an international community. The Swiss School Beijing is recognized by the Swiss government within the framework of the Swiss “Federal law for the provision of Swiss education abroad” (SSchG). The school will initially offer Kindergarten as well as Primary 1 and 2 classes, and will subsequently roll out a new class each year. The Association Swiss School Beijing is a non-profit organization registered in Switzerland and established for the purpose of running the Swiss School Beijing.
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