Reader's Digest > 13 - 25 January 2017

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Reader's Digest, 13  - 25 January

Swiss and Chinese Business Related News in Switzerland and China


Chinese President Talks Trade, Innovation on Swiss Visit
Published by, 17th January 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the middle of a state visit to Switzerland. So far, the two nations have signed ten new bilateral agreements ranging from free trade to tourism. Following an official reception in Bern, Xi discussed bilateral relations with representatives of Swiss government including President Doris Leuthard and Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann. Among other issues, the countries reached accords on a "year of tourism" project, university cooperation and a deepening of their free trade agreement originally reached in 2014. Switzerland was the first continental European country to sign a free trade agreement with Beijing. Xi underlined the need for Switzerland and China to work together in an era of isolationist and populist policies. Leuthard responded in kind, expressing gratitude that China stands for free trade in a time when protectionism is increasing. "The Swiss government appreciates that China is assuming more and more responsibility amid many global challenges," Leuthard said.

Xi Calls for Chinese, Swiss Business Circles to Further Trade Ties
Published by, 17th January 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese and Swiss business circles share common interests in maintaining a free and open international economic order, and should work together for mutual benefits and against all kinds of trade protectionism. Accompanied by his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard, Xi made the remarks during a meeting with Swiss business leaders. He said the two countries have reaped a lot in their fruitful economic and trade cooperation since they established diplomatic relations 67 years ago. The Swiss entrepreneurs, famous for their innovative spirit and commitment to excellence, have always been ahead of the curve in the West's cooperation with China, hence receiving generous returns, Xi noted. The Chinese leader also briefed the Swiss side on the Chinese economy, saying he is confident about a stable growth of the world's second largest economy. Leaders of Swiss businesses, such as Schindler, Roche, Nestlé, UBS and ABB, said China has become an innovation center in a group of industries. The business leaders said they appreciate China's devotion in protecting intellectual property rights, and stand ready to increase their investments in China to expand high-tech cooperation with the Asian country.

China, Switzerland Agree to Boost Ties, Oppose Protectionism
Published by, 17th January 2017
China and Switzerland pledged to better develop their innovative strategic partnership and jointly oppose trade protectionism. During talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard, the two countries also agreed to align their respective development strategies and strengthen cooperation in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. "The China-Switzerland relations have become a model of friendship and cooperation between countries that are different in social system, development stage and size," Xi said. "We are willing to work with the Swiss side for an even better development of our ties," he said. The president proposed that the two countries enhance cooperation and exchanges in a wide range of areas, including politics, trade, finance, digitalization, intelligent manufacturing, industrial capacity, culture and education. Xi extended appreciation to the Swiss side over its participation in the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its support for the Belt and Road Initiative, which is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

President Xi Helps Launch Chinese-Swiss Tourism Year
Published by, 17th January 2017
President Xi Jinping and his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard launched the China-Switzerland Tourism Year in Davos on Tuesday. During the ceremony, the two leaders posed together in front of an ice panda statue and snowboard with the national flags of both sides. Swiss government statistics show that 2015 saw a 33% increase in the number of hotel bookings by Chinese tourists. China has for the first time become the fourth largest source of tourists for Switzerland, behind only Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. Last year, Switzerland opened a new general consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan province - the fifth Swiss diplomatic agency in China after the embassy in Beijing and three other general consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. "We have taken some visa facilitation measures, such as quick-visa approval taking only two days, and issuing long-term and multi-entry visas to encourage Chinese tourists to come to Switzerland," said Alain Gaschen, minister and deputy head of mission at the Swiss embassy to China. Switzerland's refusal of tourist visa applications is below two percent in China, Gaschen said. "I believe that the presence of President Xi and the Swiss snow will attract more Chinese tourists," he added. Simon Bosshart, an official with Switzerland Tourism, said that Switzerland resorts are more and more ready to welcome Chinese guests in an appropriate manner.
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IOC and Alibaba Group Launch Historic Long-Term Partnership as Alibaba Becomes Worldwide Olympic Partner Through 2028
Published by, 19th January 2017
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Alibaba Group today jointly announced a long-term partnership through 2028. Joining The Olympic Partner (TOP) worldwide sponsorship program, Alibaba will become the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner, as well as a Founding Partner of the Olympic Channel. The partnership was announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with IOC President Thomas Bach, Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma and Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang. Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, said: “In this new digital world, Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, while positively shaping the future of the Olympic Movement. This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organization of the Olympic Games through 2028, whilst also supporting the global development of digital opportunities including the Olympic Channel.”

FTA a Win-Win for China and Switzerland
Published by, 19th January 2017
China and Switzerland have agreed to upgrade their free trade agreement during President Xi Jinping's state visit this week. Witnessed by Xi and his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard, the two sides signed 10 documents to boost cooperation in areas including free trade, clean energy, sports, customs and intellectual property. The four-day trip marks not only Xi's first state visit to Switzerland, but also the first time that a top Chinese leader has attended the Davos World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of global political and corporate leaders. China Daily presents excerpts of a Q&A with Pauline Houl, Secretary General of Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, on her insights into the future prospect between the two countries. Ms. Houl shared her opinion on: the impact of President Xi Jinping's state visit to Switzerland on Sino-Swiss relations, the significance of Chinese leaders attending the Davos forum, the benefits of the FTA, etc.

"Dialogue" with SwissCham Beijing President
Published by, 17th January 2017
On 17 January, SwissCham Beijing president, Mr. Bernie Stefan, participated in Dialogue along with Prof. Zhu Ning from Tsinghua University and Dr. Wallace Cheng, managing director of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development China. The topic focused on China's role in the world economic governance, following the keynote speech delivered by President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The discussion was structured around the question of globalisation VS. protectionnism, following in particular the election of Donald Trump in the USA, the Brexit and the economic situation in Europe. his was also the opportunity to underline the uniqueness and pionneer relation between Switzerland and China - as for instance the FTA signed in 2013 and the Strategic Innovative Partnership in 2016 - and how it benefits the development of the Sino-Swiss business relations.

Interview of Swisscham Beijing General Manager by CGTN
Published by weixin.qq, 17th January 2017
On 13 January, Mr. Romain Barrabas, General Manager of Swisscham Beijing and Mr. Liu Baocheng, Dean at CIBE, were interviewed on Global Business in the framework on the state visit of the Chinese President Xi Jingping in Switzerland. The interview focused on the Sino-Swiss business relations and especially on the expectations of Xi’s trip, the cooperation in the finance services as well as the environment for Swiss companies doing business in China. In the program, you also see an interview of the President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard and reportages on the business ties between Switzerland and China with interventions of Mr. Peter Troesch, owner of SwissTaste, Mr. Lars Eckerlein, CFO of ABB China and Mr. Bernie Stefan, Vice President of Nestlé Greater China, who’s also President of SwissCham Beijing.

Switzerland-China Close Ties Help Businesses Thrive
Published by, 17th January 2017
Close trade ties between China and Switzerland have helped Chinese firms thrive in the Swiss market in recent years, with fewer regulatory restrictions, greater access to markets and lower tariffs. With trade ties expected to be after a state visit to Switzerland by Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, bilateral trade and cooperation will also be expanded, Shang Xingjun, CEO of Baoshida International Holding Group, said in the interview. Shandong-based Baoshida is a leading manufacturer of copper and copper alloys used in precision equipment for the power, aviation, automobile, rail and other sectors. In 2013, the company acquired Swiss copper products manufacturer Swiss metal. Switzerland’s manufacturing sector is among the most advanced in the world, “Swiss Made” is in and of itself a reassurance of technology and quality. Long-term political and social stability in Switzerland offers great conditions for sustained development and innovation in manufacturing and environment for investment. Switzerland is at the crossroads of Europe, and it geographically offers access to the whole European market. However, the Swiss market is relatively small and heavily depends on exports. Also, operational costs are high in Switzerland.

Why more Chinese Companies will Come to Switzerland
Published by Matthew Allen,, 17th January 2017
Switzerland can expect to see a lot more companies coming over from China in the coming years, according to Liu Jiren, co-founder and chairman of leading Chinese software firm, Neusoft. Chinese companies made the headlines in Switzerland last year with several notable merger and acquisition (M&A) deals, including the record USD 43.3 billion takeover of Basel agrochemical giant Syngenta by the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina). Yet more are taking advantage of Switzerland’s political stability, technical know-how, strong financial system and low corporate tax rates to set up regional headquarters in the alpine nation. It also helps when diplomatic relations between the two countries are at a high point, as witnessed by the free trade agreement and visit earlier this week of Chinese President Xi JinPing. Speaking to at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Liu said Chinese companies are expanding their horizons abroad as they transform their business models. The domestic Chinese market is evolving from a manufacturing-heavy model to a services-based economy, he argued.
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Why was China’s President not Served Chinese Fondue Rather than a Cheese One?
Published by, 18th January 2017
A few days ago, RTS showed Chinese president Xi Jinping in Bern eating cheese fondue, a food quite alien to the Chinese palate, although local cheeses can be found in parts of China and it is being eaten increasingly in western foods such as pizza and burgers. Xi might have preferred the Swiss version of the Chinese hot pot, known in Switzerland as Chinese fondue. In addition, it is a typical winter dish in China, appropriate for this time of the year. According to Swiss supermarket chain Migros, the Chinese fondue is Switzerland’s favorite Christmas dish. Chinese fondue is a culinary crossover between the two nations. A dish that exists in both China and Switzerland. The Swiss version retains Chinese fungi, but adds extra meat and creamy sauces. The Chinese one uses Chinese flavors such as chili, sesame and soya, and includes a lot more vegetables, but the hot broth, thin cuts of meat and communal pot are common to both.
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Stopping Chinese Products Being Sold as ‘Swiss’
Published by, 19th January 2017
The Chinese are still being sold products dressed up as ‘Swiss’. This is despite the signing of an agreement between the Chinese and Swiss in 2012 to better protect intellectual property rights when it comes to Swiss products in China. But the president of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce says the situation is improving in the People's Republic.

Chinese President Meets IOC President
Published, 18th January 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach here on Wednesday, and pledged to make Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games a "remarkable, extraordinary and excellent event." During the meeting with Bach at the International Olympic Museum in the Swiss city of Lausanne, Xi expressed his appreciation to the consistent and important contributions of the IOC, Bach and IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge to the sound development of the international Olympic Movement, and their great help to China's sports cause. China is a firm supporter and an active participant of the Olympic Games, said Xi. Beijing will be holding the Winter Olympic Games in 2022, making it the world's first city of both holding a Summer Olympic Games and a Winter Olympic Games. The preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics will be a major task for China in the years to come. China will prepare and host the 2022 Games in a green, sharing, open and clean-fingered manner, Xi pledged.

Davos Extends Warmest Winter Welcome to China's Tourists
Published by, 18th January 2017
Davos, Switzerland, which is hosting the annual World Economic Forum from 17 – 20 January, has also become the destination of choice for Chinese holidaymakers looking to indulge in a spot of skiing. The highest town in Europe, which stands at 1,560 meters, is giving China's winter sports enthusiasts a high altitude, high octane winter rush as they come to revel in its many delights. Zhang Rui, deputy general manager of Beijing branch of Utour Group Co Ltd, said: "The company has planned a number of new products to cater to the increasing demands of Chinese travelers." He continued: "Previously Chinese people preferred to stay in Switzerland for only one or two days, but an increasing number are now choosing to spend their entire vacation in the country. And Davos, which has long been a favored winter holiday destination among Europeans, has now assumed the same status among Chinese holidaymakers."
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Engineering / Manufacturing

Swiss Business Leader Credits China's Win-Win Policy for Company's Global Success
Published by, 19th January 2017
Silvio Napoli, Executive Chairman-elect and former CEO of the Schindler Group, hailed China's win-win cooperation strategy as a major part of the Swiss company's worldwide growth. He made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, adding that "We would not be able to have our worldwide position today if we had not been in China." The 143-year-old Schindler, a leading global provider of elevators, escalators and moving walks, was part of the first batch of China-West industrial joint ventures set up in China in 1980, shortly after China initiated the reform and opening-up policies. "It's been a remarkable story," he recalled. Starting from two factories in eastern China's Suzhou and Shanghai cities, the Swiss company's Chinese branch has now built two state-of-the-art factories, a 200-meter-tall test tower, and the company's biggest R&D center in the world, with a total employment of 11,000. For Napoli, working with the Chinese local authorities to build the new facilities in Jiading in northwest part of Shanghai, was a perfect example of China's win-win cooperation policies in practice.

ABB CEO Meets Chinese President for Talks on Helping China to Master Digital Industry
Published by, 16th January 2017
Driving the fourth industrial and energy revolutions were at the forefront of the agenda as ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer held talks with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, in the Swiss capital, Bern. “Going forward, China has a tremendous opportunity to grow further in digitalized industry, where ABB is a very strong player, and we can help China to reach the next level of prosperity and competitiveness,” Spiesshofer said. The meeting took place on the eve of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, during President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to Switzerland. Ulrich Spiesshofer was one of five CEOs invited to take part in the discussion, which focused on Swiss-Chinese relations and how ABB and other companies can support China’s ongoing development. ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer speaking at the event “President Xi Jinping expressed his appreciation of the long-term relationship between Switzerland and China, and referred to Switzerland’s technology leadership and how complementary the two countries are as trading partners,” said Spiesshofer, after the meeting. The focus of the talks between Spiesshofer and the Chinese president was on how ABB was supporting China in adapting to the “new normal”, in particular in helping to drive the energy revolution, industrial productivity – as the leading robotics player in China – and smart urbanization, infrastructure and transport.
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Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Remains Defensive on China’s Credit Bonds
Published by, 18th January 2017
With limited breakeven spreads across all tenors and yield curves staying flat, one UBS analyst remains defensive on China’s credit bonds and prefers the high grades with short durations. Cynthia Cheng said in her January 12 research note entitled “China Credit Strategy” that she believes the concerns about liquidity condition and credit risk will continue to influence yields and spreads. Highlighting the major action-filled events since the beginning of last month, Cheng points out that the last few weeks witnessed several incidents in the bond market, including repeated credit events, tighter liquidity condition and stricter regulatory rules. She believes these events pushed up market volatility in both the cash bond and bond future markets.

Swiss Re Forecasts Modest 2017 Insurance Market Growth
Published by, 12th January 2017
Non-life insurance premium growth is projected at 2.5% for Hong Kong this year, 5.7% for Taiwan and 7.4% for mainland China, according to global reinsurance giant Swiss Re. In its report, “Economic and Insurance Outlook 2017”, Swiss Re said: “Modest economic growth in Hong Kong and Taiwan implies modest growth in premiums of existing non-life insurance products, so insurers need to come up with new ideas for growth.” The report also says that China is in the process of going through complex economic adjustments – resulting in slower growth but the economy has stabilised in recent quarters. The economy still faces weak external demand, a high level of corporate debt and over-capacity in the industrial and manufacturing sector. Recent measures to cool the Chinese property market will help contain risks but may result in slower private construction activity and consumer spending. China is expected to maintain a loose monetary policy but increase the use of fiscal stimulus to support growth. Consumer price inflation will also accelerate slightly this year.
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Hospitality / Tourism / Retails

Hotel Éclat Beijing Proud to be Awarded as the Best Hotel in China by TripAdvisor’s 15th Year Travelers’ Choice Award
Published by, 24th January 2017
Today Trip Advisor®, the world's largest travel site announced the winners of the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ Awards for Hotels. Hotel Éclat Beijing has been recognized as No. 1 Best Hotel in China and No. 6 Best Hotel in Asia, and also honored to be the only one hotel in China which has been selected as Best Hotels in the World. In the 15th year of the awards, TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top properties based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travelers around the globe. The hallmarks of Travelers’ Choice hotels winners are remarkable service, value and quality. Since its opening in 2013, Hotel Éclat Beijing has also been bestowed by numerous international icons and media on its renowned conceptual brand, products and services through various award and accolades recognition. Almost 4 years on, Hotel Éclat Beijing continues to triumph its achievement accredited based on either reader’s choice or practical analysis by industry experts.

Swiss Watchmakers Cautiously Optimistic for U.S., China in 2017
Published by, 17th January 2017
Swiss watchmakers expect to at least stabilize sales this year after two years of decline as the important Chinese and U.S. markets show signs of turning the corner, executives said at an industry event on Tuesday. Luxury watchmakers have been grappling with a combination of weak demand in their biggest markets, Hong Kong and the United States, and Chinese tourist shoppers avoiding Europe for fear of militant attacks. Recent comments from executives suggest the worst may be behind them, however. "We hope to see a year of stabilization and consolidation," Nicolas Bos, chief executive of watch and jewelry maker Van Cleef & Arpels, owned by Richemont , told Reuters in an interview at an industry watch fair. "Towards the end of last year things started to look a bit better," he added. Richemont, which also makes Cartier jewelry and Vacheron Constantin watches, last week reported a return to sales growth in the final quarter of 2016. Richemont and Swatch Group shares have gained 14% and 11% respectively so far this year.
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Legal / Trade / Consulting / Services

Year of the Rooster: Soaring Confidence of Swiss Managers in China
Published by, 12th January 2017
Swiss managers in the Far East are coming into the Chinese Year of the Rooster with optimism. 68% of Swiss business leaders in China expect “higher” or “substantially higher” sales in 2017 compared to 2016, while only 1% expects lower sales. A year ago, 58% expected higher sales while 7% expected lower sales. This is the result of the “2017 Swiss Business in China Survey” by the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS, the premier business school in Asia), the Swiss Centers China (SCC), the Swiss Embassy in China, Swissnex, SwissCham, Switzerland Global Enterprise and China Integrated. The comprehensive survey comprises responses from 102 Swiss enterprises, from small and middle-sized companies to big players. The survey is believed to be representative of the approximately 600 Swiss companies that have established operations in China. Besides Swiss companies, the survey also includes responses from Chinese (853), EU (106) and US (105) companies. “Not only are sales expectations very high, but also profit expectations”, reports Nicolas Musy, Co-Founder and Delegate of the Board of Swiss Centers China. For 2016, 68% of managers of Swiss companies in China said their operations were ‘profitable’ or ‘very profitable’, while only 1% reported a substantial loss. For 2017, 48% expect higher profits while only 4.6% see lower profits.
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