The Zurich Insurance Keen to Re-Enter China With a Joint Venture as Rules Relaxed for Foreign Financial Firms
by eggplant in BFI
Zurich Insurance, Switzerland’s largest insurer, is seeking a joint venture partner in China, as the country’s recent easing of financial sector rules, tempts it to return to the mainland’s life insurance market which it quit five years ago. “We have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,” Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. The insurer previously had a 20% stake in New China Life Insurance, which it sold in 2013. It currently operates a wholly owned general insurance company, Zurich General Insurance Company (China), which offers property, corporate and other commercial risk insurance. “We have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,” Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. In November 2017, China announced that it would relax the 50% cap on foreign ownership in life insurance joint ventures so that overseas investors could own a majority 51% stake in three years’ time, with the cap completely removed two years later.Read more
In Beijing, the 18th Swiss School abroad, which will be recognized by Bern, has opened its doors. The values there, such as independent learning, self-initiative and creativity are expected from China’s rulers.So few ones have been so honest: “I am a crazy chicken” said Cécile Ottiger about herself. This primary teacher has not experienced a classic life path. Though she had under her wings the first and second year classes of a primary school in Oberuzwil in Saint-Gall during 36 years until last summer. But then she moved into the wide world. Since a few month ago, she teaches in the Swiss School in Beijing, which has been officially inaugurated on 30 October. “Every day is a new adventure.”, says Ms.Ottiger, who has never experienced China before. In seek of change in her life, she was almost forced to anticipate this step with attention and curiosity.Read more
Nestle is weighing up the options for one of its dairy plants in China. The world’s largest food maker is considering the future of a factory in Hulunbuir, a city in Inner Mongolia, a province in north-eastern China. The facility, one of four dairy sites Nestle has in China, manufactures raw milk powder. The China Daily newspaper claimed Nestle is planning to sell the plant and has held talks with local business Ningxia Saishang Dairy Co. Approached by just-food and asked if Nestle is looking to sell the factory, a spokesperson for the country’s business in China said: “Due to market changes, Nestle Hulunbuir Dairy Factory is seeking a solution to make our dairy business continuously sustainable. We are reviewing different options in consultation with relevant stakeholders. There are no specific details to share at this stage. We hope to find a solution that is in the best interests of all concerned parties.” The spokesperson added: “Dairy is an important component of Nestlé’s product offering and business operations in China. We remain fully committed to building a healthy and sustainable dairy business, with significant investments made in support of this ambition.”Read more
PwC unveils key metrics highlighting the rapid rise of eSports – competitive video gaming events – in China. Already the third largest market globally, PwC data shows that over the next four years, eSports in China is on course to extend by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4%, rising from USD 56 million in 2016, and is estimated to be worth USD 182 million by 2021. Figures from PwC chart the dynamic expansion of eSports in China, now the second largest market in Asia. Currently, only the Republic of Korea generates more value in the region, which itself is expected to reach USD 195 million by 2021, albeit with a lower CAGR of 13.9% over the next four years. The U.S. is still the largest national market by value, anticipated to be worth USD 299 million by 2021, aided by a buoyant 22.6% GAGR.“The evolution of eSports is incredibly exciting and it’s unfolding at a staggering scale here in China. As a recent example, last week, the World Championship finals for League of Legends (LoL) – among the most popular video games in China – filled the national stadium in Beijing. And yet ticket sales are just the tip of the iceberg, with millions more watching the finals at home via live streaming, indicating the vast size and range of opportunities that await in this dynamic area.” Said Frank Cai, PwC China Assurance partner.According to the PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017 – 2021 (E&M Outlook), the upward trend of eSports in China correlates with the nation’s booming video game market, which generated revenues of USD 15.4 billion in 2016, and is on track to rival the US – currently the largest market – by 2021, by which time a value of USD 26.2bn is predicted to have been reached.
A sales surge at luxury goods group Richemont has highlighted the recovery in top-end Swiss mechanical watches as the sector brushes off the threat posed by Apple and other makers of smartwatches. Richemont’s watch sales in the six months to September 30 were 15% higher than the same period a year earlier, the Swiss group reported on 10 November. Together with a stronger performance in jewellery, the rebound helped lift operating profits by 46% to EUR 1.17bn. Swiss watchmaking has been hit in recent years by sluggish global economic growth, excessive inventory, a clampdown on corruption in China — as well as the rise of the Apple Watch. But this year, the trends have largely gone into reverse. Richemont, whose brands include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Montblanc, said most of its markets were “in positive territory”, led by mainland China, Korea, the UK and “notably a return to growth” in Hong Kong, the largest export market for Swiss watches. Sales in the UK had been boosted by the weak pound since the country voted to leave the EU. The results were flattered, however, by exceptional measures a year ago to reduce excessive inventory, when Richemont bought back watches and destroyed them. Excluding the prior period’s one-time charges of EUR 249m, largely related to the buybacks, operating profits increased 11%.Read more
by eggplant in BFI
At a demonstration at the Computing Conference hosted by Alibaba Cloud, ABB’s YuMi robot showcased the process of making a cafe latté while displaying real-time process data on the screen, helping visitors experience the magic of ABB’s smart technology. Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, is China’s largest public cloud service provider and the third largest worldwide. At the exhibition themed “Industrial Brain”, ABB’s intelligent coffee making robot demo became a center of attention. YuMi can accurately complete the whole process from taking a coffee cup, pouring the milk, making latte and finally passing the tasty coffee to visitors. This is made possible by its flexible hands, camera-based part location, lead-through programming, and state-of-the-art precise motion control. This cutting edge technology wowed the crowd, as did the ability of the YuMi robot to work closely with people without safety barriers. YuMi was programmed to create the lattes by a process called ‘lead through programming’. The robot’s arms were guided through each step in the process while its movements were recorded. This teaching method is faster and more intuitive than programming each individual movement with complex software, making YuMi more appealing to small and medium businesses. The final precise movements are then synchronized in ABB’s RobotStudio to ensure a flawless – and flavorful – performance.Read more
Nestlé released their nine-month sales report on 19 October. Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO said, “Our sales results for the nine-month period are in line with our expectations communicated in July. Organic sales growth continued to benefit from industry-leading volume growth, which illustrates our ability to innovate and meet consumer demand. Pricing remained soft. Zone Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa saw further improvement in organic growth. As expected, Western Europe returned to positive organic growth, with significant contributions from coffee and confectionery. Improving our efficiency is a key priority. We have identified further opportunities to accelerate our margin improvement, leading to a further increase in restructuring and related expenses in 2017. Consequently, we now expect our trading operating profit margin to decrease by 40-60 basis points. The development of our underlying trading operating profit margin is fully in line with our expectations for 2017.” According to the report, growth in China continued to improve in the third quarter with positive momentum across the portfolio, particularly in coffee and culinary.
A research report released recently by UBS recognized the innovation development of China in past five years, and predicts that China will become a global innovation powerhouse thanks to improved education quality, input in research and development and policy support to innovation, Economic Daily reported on 10 October. The current economic model of China is seeking a rapid transition from “Made in China” to “Created in China”, and China is expected to rule the technology realm in various fields. China has been growing fast in education, the report said. China sees 2.8 million graduates majoring in science and engineering every single year, which is five times compared to the U.S.. The proportion of science and engineering graduates per 1,000 people in 2015 is also five times compared to 2005.According to the QS world university ranking, the average score of top three Chinese universities has exceeded that of German universities. China is narrowing down the gap of academic performance with the U.S. and increasing the advantage over European countries. China has moved up five places in the ranking list from five years ago. The report also said that China has shown increasing investment in scientific research investment and financing. Input in research and development in China today takes up more share of GDP than the UK. Meanwhile, the government has stipulated the goal in the 13th Five-Year Plan that the ratio of R&D input in GDP must reach 2.5% by 2020. Therefore, UBS predicts that China is likely to surpass the U.S. in terms of the overall scale of research and development investment by 2019.
Baidu Inc’s iQiyi, a Netflix style video streaming service in China, has picked three banks to help arrange a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) worth about USD 1 billion, IFR reported on 16 October, citing people familiar with the plans. Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs will help manage the deal, expected for as soon as the first half of 2018, added IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. Baidu and the three banks did not immediately reply to Reuters requests for comment on the IPO plans.Read more
Many SMEs enter the Chinese market by working together with a distribution partner. But this relatively easy path comes at the price of greater dependency on the partner. Making the right choice all the more crucial. Four tips from Switzerland Global Enterprise’s expert Daniel Bont: 1. Thorough market analysis as a basis. 2. Clear selection criteria. 3. Thorough assessment of an initial selection that is as large as possible. 4. Meeting candidates in person and building trust. And he mentioned that” Use the network of Switzerland Global Enterprise” at the end of his article.Read more