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Swiss Solar Sector Feels The Heat From China

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

The number of workers in the Swiss photovoltaic industry has almost halved in the past five years. China, which now has 80% of the global market share, continues to undercut the European market. On 2 November, Meyer Burger, a Swiss solar equipment maker, announced it would discontinue manufacturing at its Thun headquarters by the end of the year, partly relocating to China. This cost-efficiency programme is expected to result in around 180 job losses, mainly in solar panel production. This downsizing continues a trend that began five years ago. In 2011, some 11,000 people were employed in the Swiss photovoltaic industry in production, installation, and research and development. By last year, the figure had dropped to 5,500. WhatÕs going on? According to JosŽ Martin at Swissolar, the decrease in production is due to price pressure exerted by Chinese manufacturers Ð not only in Switzerland, but also in Germany, which was the global leader in the sector until 2015. However, while Swiss manufacturers are hurting, installers, inspectors and maintenance workers are benefiting from the number of solar panels being imported. ÒTheir number has increased and should continue to do so over the coming years,Ó Martin told Swiss public television, RTS. More and more Swiss roofs are covered in Chinese solar panels. In the first half of 2017, Switzerland imported CHF 85 million (USD 85 million) worth of panels, of which more than a quarter (CHF 23 million) were from China. The Swiss domestic market, which was at the forefront of the photovoltaic sector in the 1990s, is struggling. Turnover has fallen from more than CHF 2 billion in 2011 to some CHF 900 million in 2015.

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China Telecom and TransTeleCom Launch the First 100G Link between Asia and Europe

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

China Telecom and TransTeleCom, one of the leading Russian telecommunications companies, have developed the first transit telecommunication route connecting China and Europe based on 100G ULH (Ultra Long Haul) DWDM technology. As part of the project, the companies have constructed a new 100Gbps gateway interface on the border between the two countries, the Chinese city of Manzhouli and in the Russian city of Zabaikalsk. China Telecom is committed to building the new Digital Silk Road that connects Asia and Europe. From the Information Highway between Asia and Europe which launched as early as 2013, to the latest 100G Asia-Europe terrestrial cable service in 2017, China Telecom has mapped out a wide information network that runs from China to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Central Asia countries, as well as reaches the Atlantic through Switzerland, Germany and the U.K. This high-quality network features large bandwidth, multiple routes, low latency and great controllability.

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Shanghai Pharma Eyes Acquisitions After Cardinal China Deal

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. is exploring further acquisitions after it beat out global buyout firms to buy Cardinal Health Inc.Õs Chinese distribution business in a USD 1.2 billion deal. The state-owned drugmaker is scouting for purchases ofÊpharmaceutical manufacturing assets overseas, David Liu, head of mergers and acquisitions at Shanghai Pharma, said in an interview on 15 November.ÊShanghai Pharma is interested in deals related to specialty drugs, including treatments for cancer and cardiovascular conditions, as well as branded generics, Liu said.ÊShanghai Pharma is looking for further acquisitions in the U.S., as well as some European countries including Germany and Switzerland, he said.ÊThe company would like to sell Shanghai Pharma products overseas and also wants to bring in more foreign pharmaceutical products to sell in China, according to Liu.ÒAfter the 19th Party Congress, President Xi has put in place a lot of attention on health care. ThereÕs a lot of support from the central government and Shanghai government,Ó he said. ÒThis can be an advantage against private enterprises.Ó

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Sino-Swiss Industrial Park sets up shop in Changzhou National Hi-Tech District

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

CHANGZHOU, China,ÊSept. 30, 2017Ê/PRNewswire/ — OnÊSeptember 28, the Centre for International Economic and Technological Cooperation, a government unit under the aegis ofÊChina’sÊMinistry of Industry and Information Technology, signed a strategic partnership with the municipal government ofÊChangzhou, formally kicking off the construction of Sino-Swiss Industrial Park in Changzhou National Hi-Tech District.

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Glencore Replaces Sinopec In ChevronÕs South Africa Asset Sale

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

Switzerland-based mining giant Glencore PLC will acquire assets in South Africa and Botswana from Chevron Global Energy Inc., after a similar deal between Chevron and Chinese oil behemoth Sinopec Group fell through earlier this year. Glencore will buy a 75% stake in Chevron South Africa Proprietary Ltd. and wholly acquire Chevron Botswana Proprietary Ltd., for a total of over USD 970 million, Glencore said in a statement on 6 October. Sinopec had announced in March that it would buy ChevronÕs Botswana subsidiary and the 75% stake in the South Africa business for USD 900 million, after rounds of bidding that included offers from Glencore and FranceÕs Total SA. The Chinese company had planned to rebrand ChevronÕs Caltex gas stations in the two countries under SinopecÕs name. In April 2016, Sinopec sold a 40% stake in its investment arm, Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corp. (SIPC), in a deal it said was intended to Òincrease its competitiveness and achieve sustainable, healthy development.Ó In August this year, SIPC said it would terminate its Addax Petroleum operations in Switzerland because of continued low oil prices. But Sinopec, together with ChinaÕs other ÒBig ThreeÓ oil companies Ñ China National Petroleum Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. Ñ placed a vote of confidence in the global oil market this year when they announced plans to invest a combined RMB 371 billion (USD 54 billion) in 2017. ÒSinopec does have a number of challenges to address domestically in both the upstream (declining assets) and downstream (competition from teapots),Ó an industry term for ChinaÕs privately-owned oil refineries, Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told Caixin.

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China’s Cosco Shipping Offers USD 6.3 Billion for Rival

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Chinese city of Dalian last week for the so-called Summer Davos came at a time when China is assuming a greater global profile, including on issues such as climate change and trade. This forum is not the first time this year that China has used the WEF to position itself positively on the world stage. In January, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese president to give a speech at Davos in Switzerland, making an impassioned defense of economic globalization in the face of protectionist rhetoric. China has been a big beneficiary of globalisation, with International Monetary Fund data since 2014 showing that the Chinese economy is now larger than the US on a purchasing power parity basis. But the consequences of ChinaÕs strong economic growth have been more than financial. In terms of perceptions, many believe the global economic and political balance of power has swung significantly, and this has been reinforced by major Chinese trade and diplomatic forays such as the ÒOne Belt, One RoadÓ initiative.

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Swiss Artisans Automate to Survive

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

Forster is co-chief executive officer of Forster Rohner AG, a 113-year-old company in the eastern city of St. Gallen that produces fabric that can cost thousands of dollars per yardÑincluding material he says was used in the dress British socialite Pippa Middleton wore at her wedding in May. Forster Rohner is among dozens of Swiss textile producers that have managed to survive, and even thrive, despite wages that are among the worldÕs highest and a currency thatÕs risen 50 percent against the euro since 2008. ÒItÕs clear that we donÕt think the strong franc is great,Ó says Forster, a great-grandson of the companyÕs founder. ÒBut our creative brainpower really comes from our site in Switzerland.Ó The key is combining the countryÕs history of quality workmanship with its tradition of innovation: automating where it makes sense and doing only the most intricate pieces by handÑwhile exporting lower-value work to less expensive locales. The company employs 250 people in St. GallenÑwhere unemployment is just 2.5 percentÑand has 640 workers in factories in China and Romania crafting material for lower-cost clothing. ÒIt is encouraging to produce something unique in Switzerland that you canÕt find elsewhere,Ó Forster says. ÒYou canÕt have China without St. Gallen, and vice versa. ItÕs a system in which each part has its own function. And the function of Switzerland is clear: driving innovation and design.Ó

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Swiss Export Has Reached a Record in The First Term

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

Swiss export has reached a record of CHF 109, 6 billion during the first semester whilst import hit CHF 90.7 billion, the highest in 8 years. In terms of industry, chemistry/pharmacy shows an increase in export of 7% or CHF 32 billion, reaching a historical level. Export to North America and Asia has increased by 6%. With a raise by a fifth, the turnover with China has reached a new peak. But the Middle East has fallen by 16%. The European continent has increased by 4%. After a bounce back in May, Swiss horology continues to recover. Its deliveries abroad are of 5.3% in June at CHF 1.7 billion. In the first semester, it stagnated (+0,1% at 9,5 billion). China (+21,7%) and the United Kingdom (+16,3%) particularly contributed to the performance. Hong Kong is slightly higher (+0,5%). However, the United States shows a clear fall back (-5,9%).

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Xi Urges Upgrading of Free Trade Agreement With Switzerland

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday suggested that negotiations with Switzerland on the upgrading of a Free Trade Agreement should begin as soon as possible.Xi made the remarks when meeting with Swiss President Doris Leuthard, who was in Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. With the development of bilateral relations since the establishment of China-Switzerland innovative strategic partnership in 2016, the two sides should maintain high-level contact, and seek innovation-driven cooperation and exchanges across the board, Xi said.He urged the two countries to strengthen the alignment of “Made in China 2025” with Switzerland’s Industry 4.0 strategies, enhance cooperation in finance, aviation, culture, winter sports, and work closely on China-Switzerland Year of Tourism in 2017.Noting that Switzerland is a vigorous supporter and participant in the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said he expects more practical cooperation in key areas.

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Third Edition of the Sino-Swiss Business Awards

by swisscham in BUSINESS NEWS

After successful editions in 2013 and 2015, the Sino-Swiss Business Awards 2017 has announced the winners of its third edition during an exclusive gala evening held at the Rosewood Beijing. More than 350 guests attended the event which included top economic and political leaders from both Switzerland and China. For the first time, and in the frame of the OBOR Summit, the highest authority of Switzerland, honoured the Ceremony with her presence: Her Excellency, Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.Prior to the SSBA, a panel discussion entitled ÒOn the move: Sino-Swiss business cooperation and the belt & roadÓ took place for around 40 high-level guests, including H.E. President Doris Leuthard who made an opening statement.A signing ceremony including agreements on government, business and education levels was held alongside the event.

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