Reader's Digest > 10 - 22 December

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Reader's Digest, 10 - 22 December

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Official Visit to Bern and Neuchâtel by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs
Published by eda.admin.ch, 12th December 2016
On 12 December, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter had a meeting in Neuchâtel with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as part of the latter's official visit to Switzerland. The two men discussed bilateral relations and various current international issues. China's leading diplomat also paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, in Bern. Mr. Burkhalter received the Chinese Foreign Minister at the Hôtel du Peyrou in Neuchâtel towards the end of the morning. Their official talks – held within the 7th round of political dialogue between Switzerland and China – were followed by a lunch. During these talks, Mr. Burkhalter and Minister Wang Yi – accompanied by their delegation – expressed pleasure at the steady progress in bilateral relations made on migration and in the political, economic and financial domains. The issue of human rights was also addressed specifically through the importance that Switzerland attaches to the Human Rights Council. Switzerland and China have been conducting a human rights dialogue since 1991, with the last meeting on this subject held in Beijing in May 2016. The delegations also spoke about Chinese President Xi Jinping's scheduled state visit to Switzerland at the beginning of 2017.

Wang Yi Meets with President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach
Published by china-un.ch, 12th December 2016
On 11 December 2016, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland. Wang Yi said that as the most important international sports organization in the world, the IOC makes important contributions to promoting the rejuvenation and development of sports across the globe and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship among people of the world. As an active supporter and participant of the Olympic Games, China has successfully hosted the Beijing Olympic Games as well as the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games and is now actively preparing for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. It is believed that with joint efforts of the Chinese people and the strong support from the IOC, the Beijing Winter Olympic Games will be a success and make new contributions to the Olympic Games. Thomas Bach noted that China has made important contributions to the Olympic Games through various ways. The IOC highly appreciates the sound cooperation with China. Many of China's ideas of developing sports, including preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games conform to that of the IOC. The IOC hopes to further strengthen cooperation with China and is ready to fully support and assist China in successfully hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

New Swiss President Expected to Maintain Chinese Ties
Published by chinadaily.com.cn, 9th December 2016
Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, who takes over from Johann N. Schneider-Ammann as president of the Swiss Confederation next year, is expected to maintain the European country's ties with China. Both visited China in 2016. Schneider-Ammann paid a state visit to China in April and during the meeting with President Xi Jinping, agreed on an innovative strategic partnership, which he says gave an added dimension and fresh impulse to Sino-Swiss bilateral relations. During the visit, Switzerland signed up as an observer of the partnership agreement between China and sixteen Central and East European countries. Leuthard, born in 1963 and president of Switzerland in 2010, visited China in August and had a meeting with Vice-President Li Yuanchao to strengthen longstanding relations between Switzerland and China. She was elected this week, and will serve from January next year.
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BUSINESS NEWS

The Importance of E-Commerce Platforms in China
Published by s-ge.com, 14th December 2016
Kilian Widmer, Head of Export of Bimbosan, talks on consumer trends in China, the importance of Search Engine Optimization in e-commerce, and how Swiss SMEs can assess if there is a market for their product. He explained the new trend, and shopping via mobile in China. It means that consumers spend less time on each website. Mobile shopping is more of a repetition behavior. First-time purchases are normally made on a computer, where consumers invest more time to look at the features and details of a product. More mobile purchases could be an indicator that more consumers buy the same products. He also mentioned if companies already have a distributor, they know that they have a market. If this is not the case, companies can check the C2C platform Taobao to see if their product is listed. Although they might not be officially selling to China, their products might already be sold there. He also shared his experience about Bimbosan, a Swiss company that produces premium special baby food, how it started doing business in China.

WISeKey to Establish a Join Swiss China Blockchain Center of Excellence in China
Published by wisekey.com, 13th December 2016
WISeKey International Holding Ltd, a leading cybersecurity company today announced a project to establish a join Swiss China Blockchain Centre of Excellence to deploy a Trusted Blockchain as a Service platform. WISeKey will work with experts in industry, government, and academia to address businesses’ most relevant Blockchain developments with practical, standards-based solutions using available Blockchain technologies. This dedicated center of excellence will conduct research, rapid pilot prototyping, co-creation of use cases and IP creation on Blockchain technology and platforms. The Swiss China Blockchain Centre of Excellence will recommend a Blockchain Platform to facilitate enterprises to swiftly adopt and on-board Blockchain based solutions and services. WISeKey received a delegation from Beijing INTO Global Business Communications, a company that connects Chinese tech investors with global innovative companies, organized hundreds of delegations to global innovative hubs such as Silicon Valley, Israel, Japan and Europe by visiting local tech companies and investors having as a goal the establishment of cooperation agreements and potential investments.

JD.com Inc. (JD) Stake Held by Swiss National Bank
Published by mideasttime.com, 9th December 2016
Swiss National Bank continued to hold its stake in shares of JD.com Inc. during the third quarter, according to its most recent filing with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 1,584,965 shares of the company’s stock at the end of the third quarter. Swiss National Bank’s holdings in JD.com were worth USD 41,275,000 at the end of the most recent quarter. Other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in the company. Advisor Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of JD.com during the second quarter worth USD 103,000. Nippon Life Insurance Co. raised its position in shares of JD.com by 38.7% in the third quarter. Nippon Life Insurance Co. now owns 4,197 shares of the company’s stock worth USD 109,000 after buying an additional 1,170 shares in the last quarter. Shinko Asset Management Co. Ltd. raised its position in shares of JD.com by 200% in the third quarter. Shinko Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 6,000 shares of the company’s stock worth USD 157,000 after buying an additional 4,000 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV raised its position in shares of JD.com by 3.4% in the second quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 8,016 shares of the company’s stock worth USD 170,000 after buying an additional 264 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Suntrust Banks Inc. raised its position in shares of JD.com by 3.6% in the second quarter. Suntrust Banks Inc. now owns 10,466 shares of the company’s stock worth USD 221,000 after buying an additional 366 shares in the last quarter. 51.03% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.
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CULTURE & SOCIETY

Design Prize Switzerland in Hong Kong
Published by facebook.com, 12th December 2016
During 25 November to 4 December, over 2000 people visited PMQ, InnoDesignTechExpo, and Connecting Space, for the Design Prize Switzerland exhibition (2015/2016 edition) as well as a variety of designer talks in Hong Kong. The Swiss design innovation attracted huge media attention both in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
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GENERAL INTEREST

8th Reception of the St.Gallen Symposium in Beijing
Published by swissnexchina.org, 7th December 2016
In the light of the upcoming 47th St. Gallen Symposium in May 2017 focusing on “Disruption”, the Embassy of Switzerland in China had the great honour to organize the 8th St. Gallen Symposium Beijing Reception on November 30th 2016 to discuss this hot topic in the Chinese context. Mr. David Braun, Head of the Economic, Financial and Commercial Section and Mr. Rolf Bachmann, Vice President of the St. Gallen Foundation for International Studies, hosted this unique event which brought together more than 70 guests, including distinguished business and academic leaders, as well as several outstanding graduate students. Prior to the main event at the Residence of Ambassador, the selected graduate students from top Chinese universities were invited to the Embassy to attend a special pre-gathering. This pre-event focused on the role and activities of the Science, Technology and Education Section of the Swiss Embassy and highlighted Switzerland’s excellence in higher education and research. Furthermore, this pre-gathering presented the essay competition for students which gives them the chance to qualify for participation in the next Symposium as a “Leader of Tomorrow”. Several students expressed their interest to study in Switzerland in the future and seemed very keen on taking part in the essay competition.
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INDUSTRIES

Engineering / Manufacturing

Firmenich Launches New Website in China to Expand Customer Experience
Published by worldpressonline.com, 13th December 2016
Building on its strategic commitment to China’s growth, Swiss-based fragrance giant, Firmenich, has launched its new Chinese website: Firmenich.com.cn to harness appeal and growth in the market. This new engagement platform is designed to bring to life the world of Firmenich and its unique capabilities for its Chinese customers, partners and colleagues. “We have great ambitions for China which is a strategic, high-growth market for Firmenich,” says Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich. “Our new website showcases how our innovative solutions aim to delight over a billion Chinese consumers with the fragrance and flavor experiences they love.” “Our new website is an insightful window for customers, prospective talent and partners, into our leading creativity, world-class research and deep commitment to social responsibility.” says Boet Brinkgreve, President Firmenich China. It demonstrates how we combine our capabilities to make a real difference to our customers and their consumers across China.”

Autoneum Opens Additional Plant in China in 2017
Published by autoneum.com, 12th December 2016
Autoneum is expanding its presence in the Chinese growth market and will open its seventh plant for the production of lightweight acoustic and thermal management components in the Eastern Chinese city of Yantai. Multifunctional inner dashes and carpet systems will be produced in series for vehicle manufacturers in China at the manufacturing location measuring 6,600 square meters from the summer of 2017. In order to meet the persistently strong demand by international and local vehicle manufacturers for lightweight noise and heat protection components and simultaneously minimize the logistics costs for customers, Autoneum expands its production capacities in China with a seventh plant. Starting summer 2017, the market leader in acoustic and thermal management will ensure the just-in-time delivery to vehicle manufacturers at their nearby production facilities out of the 6,600 square meter plant in the Eastern Chinese city of Yantai in the Province of Shandong. Following the start of serial production, carpet systems and inner dashes will be manufactured for around 250,000 vehicles per year, with an increase in production easily possible. As part of the implementation of sustainable production processes at all Autoneum locations, production waste in the form of polyester or mixed fibre fleece is to be recycled and re-used in the manufacture of components at the new facility in Yantai.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

Asia to Become Top Insurance Market in 2017: Swiss Re
Published by nationmultimedia.com, 20th December 2016
Swiss Re, a wholesale provider of reinsurance, believes the combination of a growing middle-income sector in Asia, especially in emerging markets, the low insurance penetration, and China’s “One Belt, One Road” policy will make Asia become the biggest insurance market in the new year. Speaking on the business outlook for Asean countries in 2017 at the “Thailand Insurance Symposium” yesterday, Clarence Wong, chief economist for Asia at Swiss Reinsurance Company, said he believed that premium income would surpass those in North America and the European Union. Ten years ago, premium income in Asia was half that of North America, he said, adding that the growing income in Asia over the past few years had attracted insurance firms to broaden their presence in this region. The insurance industry in Asia is in its third phase of development, in economic growth, income growth, solvency reform and personal lines, he said. Premium income from life and health insurance in the region is on an upward trend due to demographic changes and need for healthcare.

UBS Slashing Nearly Two Dozen Jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong
Published by todayonline.com, 16th December 2016
Swiss bank UBS Group is cutting nearly two dozen jobs in its Asian investment banking business, mainly in Singapore and Hong Kong, as part of a push to slash costs, said people with direct knowledge of the matter on 16 December. UBS joins rivals in making investment banking cost cuts in Asia, as deal volume in the region remains sluggish. The latest round of job cuts at UBS will involve mostly mid-level staff but will also include a few managing directors, said the sources, declining to be identified due to the issue’s sensitivity. A UBS spokesman declined to comment. One of the sources said UBS’ cuts could involve as many as 20 bankers. It employs about 550 investment bankers in Asia, including China, said a source. In Singapore, UBS has more than 2,300 employees across its wealth management, asset management and investment banking businesses, according to its website.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Nescafé China Releases Smartphone Case and Smartwatch App via Ogilvy & Mather
Published by brandinginasia.com, 21st December 2016
As part of a digital campaign highlighting the brand’s role in enabling “real connections” to encourage more people to spend quality time together, Nescafé China has launched Moodlock, a phone case that, when activated by an app on another person’s smart watch, locks the screen. A video to promote the device on social media introduces Nescafé Moodlock and invites consumers to join beta testing of the technology. Ogilvy & Mather China helped to bring the case to life and plan consumer communications. “No matter if it’s through our products or communications, Nescafé enables and promotes real connections – Nescafé Moodlock is just another example of this,” explained Altug Guven, Senior Vice President, Coffee Business Unit, Nestlé China. “Through this campaign, we highlight the brand’s role in our consumers’ lives and re-iterate Nescafé’s passion for innovation and true human connection.”

China Shows Glimmer of Hope for Swiss Watch Exports
Published by luxurydaily.com, 19th December 2016
The Swiss watch industry’s value of exports declined by 5.6% to just under CHF 1.9 billion, or USD 1.8 billion at current exchange rates, for the month of November. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry noted that the decline of exports, a trend that has continued for nearly two years, “softened” in November, but the sector is still struggling. In addition to waning interest, the decline in value is being linked to precious metal watches. In its November statistics report, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry shared that the rises and falls of the main price segments alternated for the month. But, falls were more dominate. Sales of watches with an export price of between 200 and 500 Swiss francs, or USD 195 to USD 487, and those priced more than CHF 3,000, or USD 2,926, were lower. Other segments, however, posted small gains. Main markets were also down for November, but approximately half of the 30 primary regions for watches grew in November.

How Hublot Sparked a Style Revolution in China
Published by superyachts.com, 15th December 2016
Hublot is one of the world’s most highly sought-after luxury watch brands. Part of the LVMH Group, the Swiss watch designer is growing by the minute, and the demand in China is growing with it. With a sporadic market for modern luxury goods in China, we speak to Vicky Chung to get a first-hand insight into how Hublot fits into the world of Asia’s ultra-elite. “The brand has been in China for around seven years," explains Vicky Chung, Retail Director for Asia. "So we are a relatively new and young energetic brand but we are catching up pretty fast." Partnering with the likes of Ferrari and Berluti, the progressive watch design has struck a chord with the growing Chinese high-net-worths who are increasingly on the hunt for something different to tell a story. "The Chinese economy is always up and down, especially in luxury, but we have been pretty lucky with the very strong marketing strategy that we do and our client base has been growing more and more.” The growth of high-net-worths in Hong Kong and Greater China and the increase in sports and high-end activities is driving people toward the energetic brand.

TAG Heuer to Expand Further in China Despite Luxury Downturn
Published by cpp-luxury.com, 12th December 2016
Tag Heuer‘s renaissance is far from over, its chief executive told Reuters, adding the high-end watch brand still had room to expand in China and other markets after some of the strongest sales growth in the industry this year. LVMH’s biggest watch brand in terms of sales has seen revenue growth of more than 10% so far in 2016, compared with a drop of more than 10 percent just two years ago, Jean-Claude Biver said in an interview. The revival was due in part to new models in its core price band of USD 1,000-USD 2,000 and the launch last year of its internet-connected watch, priced at USD 1,500, which helped burnish the Swiss brand’s image, he said. The Swiss watch industry is mired in a downturn, having suffered more than two years of declining sales and with Swiss watch exports down 11% since the beginning of the year. First hit in 2012 by China’s crackdown on gift giving to officials, it then suffered from various market shocks and a tourism slump after militant attacks in Europe in 2015 and 2016.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

China Legal Briefing 254
Published by wenfei.com, 20th December 2016
The China Legal Briefing 254 was released. In this briefing, you can read: Shanghai issued a new unified work permit for foreigners; China introduced measures to help prevent risks in internet finance and China amended its Foreign Investment approval regime

The Mid-Term Workshop of UNIDO RECP Pilot Project in ZETDZ Kicked off
Published by sszeip.com, 13th December 2016
On 8 December, the Mid-term workshop of UNIDO Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Pilot Project, featuring a heated discussion on the development of Ecological Industrial Parks (EIP), was successfully held in SSZEIP, joined by Ms. Nadia ZUODAR, international expert and Ms. Elisabeth MUELLER, International Consultant from UNIDO, together with representatives from ZETDZ Chemical Industrial Park, ZETDZ Environmental Protection Bureau, other relative government departments, as well as local chemical enterprises. Before this, the experts of UNIDO have conducted a comprehensive on-site investigation to local pilot enterprises and community hospitals, etc, to see the big picture of what ZETDZ has achieved during the construction and development of Ecological Industrial Parks. The RECP Pilot Project was officially launched in this April, implemented by both Jiangsu Scitury Allied Investment and Development Co., Ltd (operating and managing entity of SSZEIP) Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences/China National Cleaner Production Center. Through joint efforts, both sides together with UNIDO’s great support have already completed the first round of RECP Training and Cleaner Production Auditing for local enterprises, etc, an essential part of the Project.
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