Sino-Swiss Business News
A Chinese university signed an agreement with the team of the Blue Brain Project, an attempt by Swiss scientists to create synthetic brains, to conduct brain science research together. Southeast University in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, and the European team will jointly build a database of cranial nerves accessible to global brain scientists for research of brain neurons and related medicine development, according to the deal they inked. Sean Hill, member of the Blue Brain Project, said Southeast University, which is the first academic institute they have cooperated with in China, is well-equipped with the neuromorphic reconstruction technology they need. Researchers of both sides will try to realize large-scale reconstruction of brain neurons through technologies like machine vision and virtual reality in a bid to explore brain and brain-like intelligence, said Peng Hanchuan, a researcher with the university.
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis is expanding its research and development of innovative drugs in China, an executive of the company said. Novartis is expected to submit 50 new drug applications for regulatory approval in China between 2019 and 2023, John Tsai, head of global drug development and chief medical officer for Novartis, said during an interview with Xinhua. Benefitting from China’s pharmaceutical regulatory reform, which enables pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs much faster, Novartis has received 24 approvals for new drug applications in the country in the last two years, including nine new molecular entities, according to Tsai. One of the new drugs that will be available in the Chinese market is an orally taken asthma drug, which is described by Tsai as unique because most of the drugs for asthma are not taken orally. Tsai said the respiratory disease is one of the top five diseases in China. The company will report the results of a 5,000-patient study for the drug before the end of the year.
Swiss industrial conglomerate ABB Group will open a new innovation center in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in the second half of this year to locally provide solutions for smart building development, said an executive. Oliver Iltisberger, managing director of the smart buildings business line of ABB’s electrification business, said as China is seeking new ways to promote energy efficiency and minimize carbon emissions to design healthier environments in its cities, ABB is now experiencing fast growth in the areas of intelligent building and related electrical businesses. Eager to improve its service ability, the group opened a new ABB customer experience center in Beijing on Monday to highlight the development of smart cities with infrastructure upgrades, carbon-free transportation and energy savings. After the group’s restructuring in 2018, ABB’s business today focuses on four areas – electrification, industrial automation, motion, and robotics and discrete automation, supported by its common digital platform named ABB Ability.
Nestlé Research and Development China has challenged students at Beijing’s university education platform, Tsinghua x-lab, to identify new solutions for product packaging. Faculty members and 30 students at Tsinghua x-lab will be given five months to come up with innovative packaging ideas and new business models across five areas: recyclable or reusable, e-commerce, gifting, consumer education and engagement. Part of the company’s Nestlé Needs Youth initiative, the teams will have access to Nestlé’s research and development expertise and infrastructure at its R&D centre in Beijing, including labs and prototyping facilities. The challenge will end with a final event where teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges that will include executives from Nestlé, Tsinghua University professionals and industry experts. The top three most compelling ideas will be awarded prizes and the opportunity to develop their concept further in partnership with Nestlé.
Premier Li Keqiang called for jointly safeguarding multilateralism and free trade, so as to maintain the open, inclusive world economic system. Li made the remarks when meeting with Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), in the city of Dalian, Liaoning Province, during the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, also known as the Summer Davos Forum. Cooperation between China and the WEF started almost at the same time as China’s reform and opening-up. The two sides’ fruitful and effective cooperation has not only boosted China’s reform and opening-up endeavor but also provided an important platform for discussing world economic governance, Li said. China stands ready to strengthen its partnership with the WEF and expand cooperation on various platforms, Premier Li noted. Li also called for grasping the opportunity of the new round of industrial revolution and keeping improving the Summer Davos Forum to explore new frontiers for new champions of the world. For his part, Schwab hailed the sound cooperation between China and the WEF and thanked China for its strong support. The WEF is committed to achieving the goal of sustainable development and attaches great importance to cooperation with China, Schwab said, pledging to jointly advance bilateral cooperation to better serve China’s development.
BIS approved the establishment of a BIS Innovation Hub to foster international collaboration on innovative financial technology (fintech) within the central banking community. The Innovation Hub would complement the already well-established cooperation within the existing committees. In the initial setup phase, the Hub Centers will be established in Switzerland (Basel), Singapore, and Hong Kong with the support of the respective regulators in each country—that is, SNB, MAS, and HKMA. These regulators have also published statements welcoming the establishment of Innovation Hubs. The Hub will span multiple locations. The first two Hub Centers will be set up in Basel and Hong Kong, making use of the existing BIS facilities. The third Hub Center will be established in Singapore, subject to the completion of the necessary institutional arrangements. As part of the second phase of implementation additional Hub Centers will be added across Americas and Europe. The Hubs will be tasked with identifying and developing in-depth insights into critical technology trends affecting central banking, developing public goods in the technology space to improve functioning of the global financial system, and serving as a focal point for a network of central bank experts on innovation.
Switzerland-based office furniture company Lista Office Group (LO) was recently acquired by Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Henglin Chair Industry (Henglin). LO said the sale forms part of its international expansion and growth strategy, with its Leinhard family owners having been looking for some time for a strategic partner. After talks with a number of companies from the US, Europe and Asia, they opted for the offer from Henglin, a firm established 20 years ago by the Wang family and now publicly listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
CES Asia 2019, the largest consumer electronics show in Asia with over 46,000 visitors and 500 exhibiting companies, was held from June 11th to 13th at the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC). In the primely-located 300-square-meter #SWISSTECH Pavilion – the largest country pavilion at CES Asia 2019 – 22 leading Swiss startups from areas including IoT, Robotics, Drones, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), HealthTech, SportTech and Blockchain showcased their latest innovations. Outperforming the success of 2018 when four of the seven participating Swiss startups had claimed innovation awards, six of the 22 startups received innovation awards this year in categories such as Robotics, GreenTech, Health and AI. Once again, the pavilion was a symbol of Swiss excellence in technology and innovation. On June 11th, Bernardino Regazzoni, Swiss Ambassador to China, and Gary Shapiro, CEO of Consumer Technology Association which organizes CES, cut the ribbon to inaugurate the #SWISSTECH Pavilion and delivered an opening speech. “Switzerland remains as the world’s most innovative country for the eight years in a row. One reason behind this is the vision of Swiss entrepreneurs and pioneers such as those present here at CES ASIA,” Ambassador Regazzoni said, “In the next few days, you will experience the power and dynamism of China with over 1.4 billion potential consumers. The #SwissTech Pavilion will give you the unique access to experts, investors and entrepreneurs in China.” During his visit, Ambassador Regazzoni also met with the representatives of each startup and exchanged valuable perspectives on the latest technological developments.
DKSH’s Business Unit Performance Materials, a leading ingredients and specialty chemicals distributor, and China’s Shanghai Institute of Technology (SIT) have signed a cooperation agreement for a joint, dedicated food application innovation center in Shanghai. The facility provides formulation advice, technical support, product development and benchmarking, multiple prototypes and quality checks. The center’s extensive equipment, combined with the in-house application and formulation expertise allows the wide range of DKSH additives and ingredients to be tailored to the customers’ demands of the beverage, dairy, confectionery and nutraceutical industries. By working with Chinese customers on new formulations and prototypes, DKSH enables faster time-to-market for the innovative ingredients developed by DKSH’s key clients.
Every year, Lausanne-based IMD business school publishes its global competitiveness ranking. Switzerland climbed from 5th last year to 4th behind Singapore, Hong Kong and the US. Venezuela (63rd) was last. The ranking, established in 1989, incorporates 235 indicators and takes into account a wide range of “hard” statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as “soft” data from a survey of business leaders covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption. This information is used to calculate economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency measures to give a final score for each country. Switzerland made the top 5 for government efficiency (2nd) and infrastructure (2nd).