Reader's Digest > 12 - 25 November

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Reader's Digest, 12 - 25 November

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

The Consul General of China Consulate to Zurich and Liechtenstein and Finance Minister of Zurich Canton Visited China Construction Bank in Zurich
Published by zurich.china-consulate.org, 11th November 2016
On 10 November, the Consul General of the People's Republic of China to Zurich and Liechtenstein, Ms. Gao Yanping, and the Finance Minister of the canton of Zurich, Mr. Ernst Stocker, gathered at the branch of China Construction Bank (CCB) in Zurich. Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mr. Gong Wei, introduced the state of operation of the bank. Since the opening, the scale of the loan business has exceeded CHF 700 million and CCB established very good relationships with the three major Swiss banks. In addition, CCB has signed liquidation business agreement with five Swiss banks. Mr. Gong also appreciated the great support from the China Consulate and from the government of the canton of Zurich. He is willing to promote the social integration of the bank and better serves the development of Sino-Swiss relations, especially people and companies from both countries. Ms. Gao said that the current Sino-Swiss relations was at best time in history. The pragmatic cooperation in economics, finance, trade and other fields is fruitful. She hoped that Zurich branch of CCB could seize the opportunity to develop good relations with the canton of Zurich and benefits to enterprises and people. Mr. Stocker stated that China's development had been attracting worldwide attention and its international influence in finance and trade has continued to increase, and that Zurich will continuously welcome and support more Chinese companies to invest in Zurich.
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BUSINESS NEWS

1st Chinese Industrial and Technology Park Fair
Published by sccc.ch, 24th November 2016
A golden opportunity to introduce your Industrial or Technology Park to the market and technology leaders from Switzerland and Europe looking for a location in China to set up operations: There is no other fair in Europe that offers Chinese Industrial and Technology Parks a presenting platform to meet the next wave of Swiss and European technology companies wishing to invest in China. The “1st Chinese Industrial and Technology Park Fair” in Switzerland is a unique opportunity for Chinese Industrial and Technology Parks to present themselves to potential investors close to the clients’ home base. The fair also serves to learn about the needs and expectations of advanced technology-oriented Swiss and European SMEs when setting down in China. Chinese Industry and Technology Parks present themselves and their advantages to leading Swiss and European technology companies looking for a location in China. They highlight their soft- and hardware offering to potential clients.

Swiss Watch Exports Have Biggest Monthly Drop in Seven Years
Published by China Daily, 22nd November 2016
Swiss watch exports plunged 16% in October, the biggest monthly drop in seven years, as demand weakened in almost every major market for Rolex and Omega timepieces. Shipments fell to CHF 1.68 billion (USD 2.4 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said in a statement Tuesday. The decline was much greater than expected and was made worse because October was the weakest month of last year, according to Zuzanna Pusz, an analyst at Berenberg. The longest slump in more than two decades is threatening employment in the Swiss watch industry, which had been riding a boom as rich Chinese bought more timepieces. Richemont plans to cut more than 200 positions at brands such as Vacheron Constantin, the Unia trade union said last week. That came after sweeping management changes at the Geneva-based luxury-goods maker, which eliminated the role of CEO.

China Construction Bank is the First Platinum Partner of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Published by sccc.ch, 21st November 2016
The Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) is very pleased to welcome the China Construction Bank (CCB) as its first Platinum Partner. CCB, one of the world’s largest banks, will actively support the SCCC in deepening the economic relations between Switzerland and China as part of this cooperation. The China Construction Bank is the first Platinum Partner of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The aim of this partnership is to jointly promote the implementation of the SCCC’s new strategy. This new strategy of SCCC addresses the importance of China as the world's second biggest economy and the significant increase of Chinese companies and their activities in Switzerland. David Gong, General Manager of the China Construction Bank Switzerland, explains: “As the only Renminbi clearing bank in Switzerland, the CCB is in an optimal position to strengthen and develop the role of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce as a thought leader and first point of contact for economic relations between Switzerland and China.” The CCB is looking forward to a long-term and productive collaboration with the SCCC.

Chinese Payment App Poised for Launch in Switzerland
Published by China Daily, 14th November 2016
While still struggling to fend off the challenge posed by Apple Pay, the Swiss finance industry faces a new threat, this time from the Far East. China's Internet giant Alibaba is planning to offer several of its services in Switzerland. Switzerland's answer to Apple Pay will be ready in January: The new version of Twint, the digital payment solution Swiss banking industry has agreed upon, is set to be launched in January. UBS, Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen, Zuercher Kantonalbank and Postfinance all have pledged to work with Twint. But the Swiss finance industry needs to cast its net a little wider: Alibaba, a Chinese Internet giant, is set to extend into Europe, and also to Switzerland. Alipay, the payment app offered by Alibaba, in China has 450 million customers. Alibaba's Ant Financial division developed the application, which may turn out to be an even bigger threat to Twint than Apple Pay. Alipay is processing CHF 960 billion in payments for its customers – triple the amount of Paypal and a multiple of Apple Pay's total.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Swiss Design College Aims for Long-Term Cooperation in China
Published by China Daily, 22nd November 2016
"For me, China is already and will become more likely a place where many of our graduates want to come and see what they can do here," Alexis Georgacopoulos, director of University of Art & Design Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland, told the Global Times recently in Shanghai. During the West Bund Art & Design Fair, ECAL, in collaboration with Pro Helvetia Shanghai, presented an ECAL Graphic Design Exhibition that introduced to Shanghai audience the latest achievements of the design academy in the field of graphic design. Unlike a common graphic design showcase, the exhibition, designed by Adrien Rovero and curated by Angelo Benedetto on behalf of ECAL, was a dynamic presentation, with exhibits not classified in categories but organized by color. Thus visitors would likely experience mood changes through color transitions as they meandered the exhibition floor. The scale of the exhibition was flexible in accordance to the exhibiting space, with exhibits fixed on poles that could be plugged in a board base. The poles featured different heights and were arranged in multiple rows so that the exhibition offered a multi-layered experience for the audience to appreciate from different perspectives.
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GENERAL INTEREST

Top 10 Locations China's 'Ultra-Rich' Buy Properties
Published by China Daily, 12th November 2016
More and more of China's richest citizens are hunting for overseas properties ahead of their retirement. More than 1.3 million Chinese have assets worth over CNY 10 million (USD 1.48 million), a 10.7% increase compared to last year, according to a Hurun Research Institute and China CITIC Bank report. The report predicts that the high levels of overseas property investment will drop as the wealthy find new ways to spend their money. It found 30% who have overseas properties plan to buy up more housing abroad, but 50% don't intend to increase their stake. The top 10 most popular real estate markets for high-net-worth individuals are: 10. Spain 9. Switzerland 8. New Zealand 7. Singapore 6. Germany 5. Japan 4. The United Kingdom 3. Canada 2. Australia 1. The United States.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

ABB Aims to Cash in on Belt & Road
Published by China Daily, 17th November 2016
ABB Group, the Swiss power and automation company, wants to form more partnerships with China's power, transportation and energy companies to develop engineering, procurement and construction projects along the Belt and Road Initiative, to further diversify its global sales, said its global head. Ulrich Spiesshofer, its chief executive officer, said with three years of development, the Belt and Road Initiative has proved to be a practical tool driving the growth of both global and Chinese companies. Countries such as Turkey, Russia, Pakistan and India as well as countries in the Middle East and Africa all have demand in their markets to improve their power and infrastructure sectors, which is attractive to these companies. The Swiss firm employs 18,000 people in China and operates 40 local firms across a sales and service network in 147 cities. Claudio Facchin, president of ABB's power grids division worldwide, said ABB has partnered with Chinese companies to complete more than 1,000 projects over the past decade, which has significantly supported both industrial and infrastructure development.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Trend Towards Market Protectionism in China Worries Swiss Re
Published by intelligentinsurer.com, 21st November 2016
A worrying trend for many reinsurers is a rising protectionism in countries including China, Ecuador and Indonesia, Swiss Re said in November 22 media briefing in London. A newly implemented regulatory regime in China treats reinsurance companies differently according to their origin, said Astrid Frey, deputy head of Swiss Re economic research & consulting macro. For reinsurance this is particularly an issue because of the global nature of the business, she noted. Kurt Karl, Swiss Re chief economist, added: “What we are seeing in some countries, which is quite troublesome, is extra capital requirements.” Reinsurers are forced in some countries to keep capital to cover all the protection obligations locally whereas companies like Swiss Re like to keep locally only the amount that it is likely to lose there, Karl explained. This is causing a problematic fragmentation of capital requirements for global reinsurers, he noted.

Credit Suisse Hires Banker in China Onshore Private Banking Push
Published by reuters.com, 15th November 2016
Credit Suisse has hired former RBS banker Rick Meng as head of China onshore private banking, according to an internal memo, as the Swiss private bank looks to tap the wealth management business in the world's second-largest economy. Credit Suisse will compete with Goldman Sachs and UBS on advising wealthy Chinese clients. Others including British lender Standard Chartered and the private banking unit of Singapore's second-biggest bank, OCBC, have said they would consider starting onshore wealth management in China as the country continues to open up. Meng's hiring is part of Credit Suisse's strategy to develop its China onshore wealth management business by leveraging its existing Shanghai branch and Hong Kong private banking platform, said a memo to bank staff issued on Tuesday and seen by Reuters. The bank uses its Shanghai branch in China for investment banking operations including fixed-income business, and it will use the same office for launching its onshore wealth management business. The bank uses its Shanghai branch in China for investment banking operations including fixed-income business, and it will use the same office for launching its onshore wealth management business.

UBS Brings Musical Wonders to Renowned Annual Concert
Published by China Daily, 14th November 2016
Switzerland-headquartered wealth manager UBS AG aims to continue sponsoring quality performances to enhance the international standing of the annual Beijing Music Festival. "We are delighted to see that Cameron Carpenter's recently concluded organ performance was a highlight at the 21-day festival, which presented 30 performances to audiences in the Chinese capital," said Eugene Qian, UBS Group China country head and president. The BMF has been dedicated to optimizing itself and gaining new momentum. It has not only provided quality cultural experiences, but also offered a benchmark for the sector in its professionalism and trend-setting leadership. "The annual event has offered unique cultural perspectives and developed as a strong brand. We look forward to next year, which will celebrate the event's 20th anniversary," Qian said. Over the past 10 years, the high-profile musicians invited to perform at the church concert have helped the event to build its own brand and become a highlight of the annual music festival.

UBS to Restructure Hong Kong Corporate Finance, China Teams
Published by reuters.com, 14th November 2016
UBS AG is reorganising its Hong Kong-based corporate finance team and China-focused country bankers, which would result in about 20 junior bankers moving to other departments within the investment bank, an internal memo and sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. The move comes as the Swiss bank seeks to recoup some of its lost market share in the Asia investment banking business, especially in equity capital market deals where it has taken a hit in the first nine months of 2016. "Anticipating any potential shortfall, we are redeploying our CFG (corporate finance group) bankers tactically into sectors allowing them to share knowledge and develop best-practice execution capabilities," according to the internal memo by Sam Kendall head of Corporate Client Solutions (CCS), Asia Pacific, and Joseph Chee, Head of CCS, Asia.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Wines - A Changing Culture in China
Published by linkedin.com, 16th November 2016
CHEERS has changed the Beijing wine market in early 2011, and opened the wine culture to a young and curious generation. They call this the new wine generation. Their goal is to make wine drinking fun and affordable by offering good quality wine at honest and fair prices.  As a result, people begin to drink good wine. CHEERS implemented the concept of free tasting in our stores, which is key when encouraging those new to wine drinking. It’s important to explore what one likes. There is no right or wrong, as each individual has different preferences. To put it into context, everyone has different tastes for food, clothing and even people. So, the same logic goes to wine. There are good wines, and bad ones, but even within the good wines, there is a variety of different tastes to explore. The only way to figure out what one likes is to keep tasting new wines. CHEERS created colourful and friendly stores, accompanied by pleasant music and our very own CHEERS TV channel. The main goal was to make any kind of customer feel comfortable and relaxed in our stores. Even more important than our wines are the people working in the stores. The goal of CHEERS is to infuse elements of fun with good affordable wine is now spreading across China.  

Richemont Cuts Jobs Amid Tough Conditions
Published by thelocal.ch, 15th November 2016
Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont will cut 210 jobs at its Piaget and Vacheron Constantin high-end watchmakers, a union source said. The world's second-biggest luxury group had warned earlier this month that it would have to deal with overcapacity issues as sales of exclusive watches were facing such a tough time it was buying some pieces back from retailers. The Unia union plans to hold meetings Tuesday with staff at the four facilities affected, a union leader told the Swiss news agency ATS. At the beginning of 2016, Richment announced it would cut 300 to 350 jobs, including at its top brand Cartier. But in the end, accounting for retirements and retraining, it only dismissed 100 staff. The luxury watch sector has seen tough times since Chinese authorities banned giving expensive gifts as part of an anti-corruption crackdown in 2013, followed by democracy protests in 2014 hitting sales in Hong Kong.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Winter Sports Market in China
Published by fhnw.ch, 12th November 2016
The 1st China International Winter Sports Industry Conference and Exhibition in Beijing provided an overview of the Chinese winter sports market in the run-up of the Olympic Winter Games 2022 in Beijing. With the right know-how and the right partners, there are a lot of opportunities for collaborations and business opportunities for Swiss companies. This autumn the first China International Winter Sports Industry Conference and Exhibition took place in Beijing. The organization was supported by several Swiss organizations like the Swiss Embassy, Swiss Business Hub, SwissCham Beijing and Switzerland Tourism. But also the embassies of France, Austria, Finland and Germany and the tourism bureaus of France, Finland and Italy belonged to the supported organizers. Around 500 participants, interested in winter sports, attended the conference. Three European countries – Austria, Finland and Switzerland – hat the opportunity to present their countries and ski resorts at the conference. The European tourism experts experience a real skiing fever in China since the 2022 Olympic Games announcement and Swiss companies should grab the opportunity for extending their business activities to China.

Venture Leaders 2016 Matchmaking Event
Published by swisscenter.org, 12th November 2016
Venture Leaders China is a unique 10-day business development program initiated by Swissnex China to explore the China mainland and Hong Kong potential market for Swiss startups. Now in its third edition, the program unites 10 hand-picked high-tech entrepreneurs whose businesses will be given a technological and commercial boost through expert coaching, networking with investors and government bodies, and pitching events in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. As partner of Swissnex China, Swiss Center Tianjin in collaboration with Dongli Economic & Technological Development Area and the Northern Technology Exchange Market (NTEM) had the honour of welcoming the 10 start-ups from Switzerland to the port city Tianjin. The aim of this programme is to introduce the 10 start-ups to investors, distributors, partners, companies and institutions in the north of China (Beijing, Tianjin region). It aims to enable the Swiss start-ups to assess more potential opportunities on the Chinese market and enhance their global network. Attending institutions include China Technology Exchange (CTEX),  Tuspark – Qinghua University Science Park and over 10 investment management companies.
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