Reader's Digest > 26 November - 9 December

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Reader's Digest, 26 November - 9 December

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


Xi Jinping will Make History as First Chinese President to Attend Davos
Published by, 6th November 2016
High altitude, fresh air and good food were once thought to be the best way to treat tuberculosis. For those who could afford it, long term visits to exclusive sanatoria like that at Davos in Switzerland meant the chance of an extended life, though little prospect of actual recovery. After the development of antibiotics, these sanatoria often became ski resorts and places of idle pleasure. But in 1971, Davos began hosting an annual summit of well meaning philanthropists and politicians, eager to make the world a better place. In January 2016, China's presence at the summit was very well received, despite being represented by lesser known members of the Politburo. Indeed, so successful was this visit that Xi Jinping himself is reported to be attending in January 2017, the first Chinese president to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos.

Gregory So Boosts Swiss Ties
Published by, 6th November 2016
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So met his counterparts in Switzerland yesterday to promote closer trade and economic ties. Mr. So started the day by meeting World Trade Organisation Director-General Roberto Azevedo in Geneva. He then went to Bern to meet the State Secretary, Director of State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch to discuss trade and economic co-operation. Mr. So said Switzerland was Hong Kong’s 13th-largest trading partner in 2015, with bilateral trade amounting to over USD11 billion, adding there is great potential for further growth. He also said Hong Kong, as the super-connector between the vast Mainland Chinese market and the rest of the world, is an ideal gateway for Swiss companies to tap the numerous business opportunities under the Belt & Road Initiative. He said Hong Kong is an excellent platform for finance, logistics and professional services for trade and projects among the Belt & Road countries. Mr. So then had dinner with Chinese Ambassador Geng Wenbing and Canton of Lucerne President Marcel Schwerzmann.

Consulate General of Switzerland in Chengdu Holds Official Opening, Marking New Chapter in Sino-Swiss Relations
Published by, 30th November 2016
An official opening ceremony for the consulate general of Switzerland in Chengdu was held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province on Wednesday 30 November, making a new milestone in the dynamic Sino-Swiss relations, which was brought to a new high following the establishment of the Innovative Strategic Partnership in April this year. Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Consul General of Switzerland in Chengdu Frank Eggmann, Mr. Yang Xingping, vice governor of Sichuan Province, and other Swiss and Chinese officials attended the opening ceremony. "Many would think that the opening of the consulate general is mostly to facilitate visa application, but it is not the case for us. The opening of the Swiss consulate general in Chengdu is the sign of the importance Chengdu holds in terms of economic growth. It is also our wish for the potentials China's southwestern regions have in its future development, which will greatly enhance Sino-Swiss bilateral relations," said Swiss Ambassador Jean-Jacques de Dardel at the press conference held prior to the official opening ceremony. The opening of consulate general in Chengdu marks the new historic stage the two countries have entered."

Financial Dialogue Between Switzerland and China in Geneva
Published by, 24th November 2016
The fourth round of the financial dialogue between Switzerland and China which was started in 2013 has taken place in Geneva. The focus of the discussions between the high-ranking representatives of the financial market authorities and the central banks of the two countries was the further expansion of bilateral cooperation. Following the financial dialogue, on 24 November a Sino-Swiss financial round table organised by the private sector will take place for the third time. The focus of this year's talks within the context of financial dialogue was on the discussion of international macroeconomic and monetary developments, the further expansion of bilateral cooperation in financial matters and mutual market access. Furthermore, the role of Switzerland as a renminbi trading venue and cooperation within multilateral bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the Financial Stability Board and in the G20 were discussed. Both sides agreed to continue cooperation in these areas and to push ahead with the internationalisation of the renminbi currency via Switzerland with continuous improvements of the framework conditions. Since the initiation of financial dialogue, renminbi-based business volume in Switzerland has progressed favourably.

Sino-Swiss Low Carbon City Construction and Industry Development International Workshop
Published by, 24th November 2016
Under the framework of the Sino-Swiss Innovative Strategic Partnership signed by the Presidents Mr. Xi Jinping and Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann in April 2016, the Sino-Swiss Low Carbon Cities (SSLCC) project has been officially launched as joint plat- form approach aiming at improving environmental health and the living conditions of the inhabitants of Chinese cities as well as at low carbon urbanization, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). With the clear goal of establishing and ecological civilization and its respective orientation in the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan covering the years 2016-2020, sustainable and innovative low carbon development strategies are developed with high priority though knowledge exchange and implementation of pilot projects. Under these strong political commitments, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Municipality of Chengdu have signed a MOU on the SSLCC project on 8 April 2016 with the focus on promoting the industrial transformation and upgrading of Wenqiang district. Hosted by the Municipality of Chengdu, SDC and the Swiss Consulate General in Chengdu, a high-level exchange on low carbon development practices is going to take place. The event aims to establish a platform on Swiss and Chinese best practice exchange with a focus on the following topics: low carbon industrial park development, green building technology and indicator systems for low carbon activity planning and management schemes.
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Alipay Signs Agreement with Powerful Swiss Payment Operator
Published by, 6th December 2016
Alipay, the world's most-used electronic payment application has reached an agreement with a strong local partner, a pact that is poised to challenge the dominant position of the Swiss payment solution – Twint. The Swiss stock exchange operator and payment services company, has found a big partner: SIX Payment Services and Alipay have reached an agreement for the acceptance of POS and E-Commerce payments across Europe, SIX said in a statement today. Under the terms of the agreement, Alipay’s payment service will be integrated into the payment application of SIX to enable merchant clients of SIX to accept Alipay payments from Alipay users. Alipay is a product of the Ant Financial Services Group, which is based in China and has already signed up 450 million users for its solution. Ant Financial is the financial unit of Alibaba online retailer co-founded by billionaire Jack Ma – the equivalent of Amazon for China. Alipay has handled transactions totaling CHF 860 billion for its customers – three times the volume of Paypal.

Hong Kong, Switzerland Sign Mutual Fund Recognition Deal
Published by, 5th December 2016
Switzerland and Hong Kong have signed a deal which will allow eligible mutual funds to be distributed in each other’s markets through a streamlined vetting process. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) signed the formal Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) and Asset Managers memorandum on Friday to provide a framework for the exchange of information and regulatory cooperation in relation to the cross-border offering of public funds. The deal came just ahead of Monday’s official start of the new Hong Kong-Shenzhen Stock Connect link.  The Stock Connect agreement means that for the first time international investors will be able to trade stocks listed in the southern Chinese city, which is home to many more technology companies and start-ups than Shanghai. It also represents a further liberalisation of China’s capital markets.

2016/17 Swiss Business in China Survey
Published by SwissCham, 28th November 2016
We are committed to continuously examining business issues of importance for managers and investors of Swiss companies in China, with the objective of providing decision makers with ground-level insights on the trends that drive China and a benchmark on what fellow managers and entrepreneurs are doing. To achieve this, SwissCham kindly invite you to give your input by participating in the 2016/17 Swiss Business in China Survey, in collaboration with CEIBS (No 1 Business School in Asia for Executive education). Last year’s CEIBS survey received replies from close to 800 companies, about half of them foreign and the other half Chinese. This allowed us to compare the results of Swiss companies with their counterparts from the E.U., U.S. and China. This survey has been conducted yearly since 2010. It is the survey collecting by far the largest number of replies in China and the only one that includes the opinion of managers of Chinese companies and allows a comparative analysis of Chinese and foreign firms and SMEs in China. The survey is prepared in a user-friendly way and will take around 15 to 20 minutes of your time to complete.   

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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Young Swiss Dreams Big in China
Published by, 7th December 2016
Lucas Rondez, a 33-year-old Swiss, has it all: a Chinese name, a Chinese wife, and a burgeoning business based in eastern China's Zhejiang Province. For him, the Chinese dream has no boundaries. In Hangzhou, the provincial capital, it is common for a foreigner to open a mobile application called NiHao (meaning hello in Chinese), if they want to book train tickets and hotels or hail a car. Since Lucas and his team came up with NiHao last September, the number of registered members on the platform has exceeded 100,000. Besides the on-demand services, the app also offers instant translation, navigation, and event information. "China is now a land of opportunities, and you can realize your dream here," Lucas said in fluent Chinese. "You can always chase a dream in America, and now startups like mine can also take a chance in China." As well as going by the name Lucas, he also uses his Chinese name - Hong Zhiyuan, meaning high aspirations. Lucas worked at the United Bank of Switzerland when he first came to Hangzhou in 2007. After living in China for nine years, he knows the country well.
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Summer Bookings by Chinese Tourists Fall by a Fifth
Published by, 5th December 2016
Chinese tourists have long been heralded as the potential saviours of Swiss tourism, but the latest figures on hotel stays show they’re making far fewer bookings as had been hoped. Terrorist attacks in Europe and the slowing Chinese economy have had a negative impact on Chinese wanderlust. Overnight hotel stays by Chinese tourists during the Swiss summer season this year plummeted by a fifth – 215,000 in absolute numbers – compared with the 2015 summer season. The provisional figures were released on Monday by the Federal Statistical Office. The 760,765 overnight stays by Chinese visitors made them the fourth-largest group of travellers to Switzerland by nationality, after Germans, Americans and British. The number of German visitors spending a night over the border in Switzerland fell by 1.5%, British by 0.8% and Indian by 1.8%. Japanese overnight stays dropped by 10.8%. Overall, Swiss hotels saw 0.2% fewer overnight bookings, with 20 million nights paid for in Switzerland’s hotels during the summer months.
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Engineering / Manufacturing

ABB Provides Electric Devices and Control Systems for POWERCHINA’s Largest Overseas Hydropower Project
Published by, 6th December 2016
ABB is working with Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) to provide Coca Codo Sinclair Hydropower Plant in Ecuador with state-of-the-art electrical equipments and control systems, ensuring efficient and reliable operation of this huge hydropower project. It is so far the largest overseas EPC hydropower project undertaken by POWERCHINA. The inauguration of the Coca Codo Sinclair Hydropower Plant, can not only satisfy one-third of Ecuador’s electricity demand and increase the proportion of clean energy in its energy mix, but also convert the country from an energy importer into an exporter. On 18 November, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Chinese President Xi Jinping who was paying a state visit to the country witnessed the inauguration ceremony of the facility. POWERCHINA is a conglomerate providing comprehensive services from investment, planning, designing, engineering construction to equipment manufacturing and operation management in the fields of water, power and infrastructure. Its vision is to become a top global enterprise in the development of renewable energy and hydropower resources. To date, it has undertaken more than 50% of the world’s large and medium-sized water conservancy and hydropower construction projects.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Swiss National Bank Increases Stake in NetEase Inc.
Published by, 5th December 2016
Swiss National Bank raised its position in shares of NetEase Inc. by 1.3% during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The firm owned 184,173 shares of the company’s stock after buying an additional 2,400 shares during the period. Swiss National Bank’s holdings in NetEase were worth USD 44,448,000 as of its most recent SEC filing. Several other large investors have also made changes to their positions in NTES. 1st Global Advisors Inc. boosted its position in NetEase by 2.6% in the second quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. now owns 1,950 shares of the company’s stock valued at USD 377,000 after buying an additional 49 shares in the last quarter. NetEase, Inc is a technology company. The Company operates an interactive online community in China and is a provider of Chinese language content and services through its online games, Internet media, e-mail, e-commerce and other businesses. The Company operates through three segments: Online Game Services; Advertising Services, and E-mail, E-commerce and Others.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

NUO Hotels Expands its Portfolio in China's Capital
Published by, 30th November 2016
On 1 December 2016, Luxury Brand NUO, managed under Key International Hotels Management Co., Ltd., added a second hotel to its portfolio. Raffles Beijing Hotel was renamed Beijing Hotel NUO. The landmark hotel which was opened in 1917 is one of the oldest Luxury hotels in China and has witnessed many historic events over the last 100 years. NUO represents the golden promise that the brand is committed to, stepping from the mainland onto the world stage when it announced its global expansion strategy at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. In pioneering Chinese luxury hospitality as one of the country's first homegrown five-star hotel brands, NUO Hotels interprets its "golden promise" by drawing inspiration from the country's 5,000 years of history and cultural heritage and its commitment to serving as a custodian of traditional Chinese culture. Developed in conjunction with Kempinski Hotels and Beijing Tourism Group (BTG), NUO aims to disseminate the novel lifestyle and attitudes of modern China while honouring its cultural heritage and supporting contemporary art and culture. NUO Hotels is based on four pillars: Chinese, luxury, contemporary and green. The service attitude follows BTG's Chairman Duan's innovative vision of Chinese hospitality, which is based on international standards, local flavours and adding value, a pioneering concept within China.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Three Ways Executives in China will Adapt to New Market Realities
Published by, 1st December 2016
Business leaders, both domestic and foreign, whether bulls or bears on China’s economic growth, are gravitating toward three strategies, a new survey of over 1,100 CEOs from May-July shows. Over the next three years, executives want to work more in partnerships, build up their brand and find ways to reach customers beyond the coastal megacities. The only difference is that the more a CEO sees China’s growth rate stabilizing, the more aggressive the adjustment the CEO is planning. The most optimistic stand apart in one area: They are more likely to rely on their capacity to innovate. A third of all CEOs (34%) with operations in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies expect China’s GDP to grow less than 5% a year over the next three years, including 27% of China CEOs. These executives are below consensus economists’ estimates of growth of around 5%–7% a year, averaged over the next three years. Half of APEC CEOs fall into this consensus range. The official growth target is for at least 6.5% growth this year. Most economists expect the pace to start to slow next year. These findings reflect some difficult operational conditions for business in China. Executives don’t naturally seek to share profits with partners or worry as much about the brand when visibility, as some executives like to say, is good. At the moment, CEOs are clearly working with a range of scenarios.

How Retail Stores Can Outcompete Online Retailers
Published by, 26th November 2016
In today's technology-driven world, more and more customers are discovering and enjoying the convenience of e-commerce. Large e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Taobao are thriving from their ability to sell a wide range of products ranging anywhere from furniture to clothing to food at anytime and anywhere. More and more customers seem to be choosing online shopping because of its ease and, oftentimes, cheaper prices. So how can retail stores compete with this growing online market? For years, retailers believed they needed to economize the shopping process, making the process faster and prices cheaper, in order to keep their customers. More recent findings, however, show that a highly effective alternative solution is to offer customers certain services and experiences they cannot receive from shopping online. Instead of speeding up the shopping process, retail stores should slow it down and allow customers to spend more time in stores.

China Economic Quarterly November 2016
Published by, 26th November 2016
China remains on track to grow in the third quarter of 2016 buoyed by service sector growth and fixed asset investment. The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this third quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as Xi Jinping’s speech on the role of the Party in the management of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), China’s supply-side structural reform and pilot programme on SOE reform. According to key economic data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics for the third quarter of 2016, China’s GDP grew at the rate of 6.7%, an increase of 1.8% from the previous quarter, thanks to strong investment and expansionary monetary policies.
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