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).
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei plans to invest heavily in research in Switzerland, it says. This would create about 1,000 new research jobs, Huawei deputy director for Switzerland Felix Kramer told Swiss television SRF. He said discussions were under way and there was no timetable yet. Kramer said the focus would be on skills where Switzerland is a leader and which are relevant for Huawei in the medium term. “We are particularly looking for this expertise in the fields of physics, IT, nanotechnology, science of materials and other sciences,” he told SRF, adding that the firm also envisages “forms of interdisciplinary cooperation”.
Swiss Re’s Beijing arm has partnered with WeBank, an online lender owned by Chinese investment comglomerate Tencent, to research the potential application of new artificial intelligence (AI) models in reinsurance, according to Shine. The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on federated learning, a new encrypted and distributed machine learning approach that enables training for joint machine learning on decentralised data. Swiss Re and WeBank will work together to explore how the technology can help address the efficiency challenges imposed by data silos, where only one group in an organisation can access a set of data.
From February 4th to 20th, 2022, the next Winter Olympic Games will take place in Beijing, followed by the Winter Paralympics from March 4th to 13th. To capitalize on the events, the Swiss Federal Council has decided in a recent meeting to promote Switzerland in China through this platform, according to the Swiss Embassy in China on May 1st. As part of a one-year campaign beginning in 2021, the House of Switzerland (HoS), which is a mobile exhibit of Swiss design, will travel to various cities across China to showcase the diversity of Switzerland with partners from business, tourism, science and culture.
Global insurance and reinsurance giant Swiss Re has signed a new Cooperation Framework Agreement with China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co., Ltd., deepening ties within the important country. Swiss Re has long highlighted China as the likely source of significant growth in insurance and reinsurance premiums for the firm and has been active there for many years. During that time the company has cooperated with Chinese domestic market insurer China Pacific Insurance a number of times, on initiatives ranging from education to specific parametric insurance products.
Swiss President Ueli Maurer has been received by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, for a state visit at the end of a week-long visit to China. The talks on Monday focused on strengthening relations, notably on economic and finance matters, according to a government statement. Bilateral ties are at a “historic high in terms of frequency of visits and the range of common topics” covering finance, taxes, science and human rights, stated Maurer. Both sides signed a declaration of intent to boost cooperation on trade, investment and finance under the so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).