Chinese Dragon Hobbled by Cultural Differences

by swisscham in Business

The free trade deal being signed Saturday between Bern and Beijing will bring more Chinese companies to Switzerland. Yet Chinese businessmen already here struggle with cultural problems and unfamiliarity with the local economic environment. The agreement will reduce customs duties for some categories of products, which will have a positive effect on bilateral trade. “This free trade agreement will favour exports going both ways. And trade is what goes before investment”, says Philippe Monnier, director of the regional economic marketing organisation Greater Geneva Berne Area (GGBA). Chinese companies in Switzerland now number between 70 and 80, reports Ernst & Young. In 2005 it counted only five. The Chinese have entered the Swiss market by way of mergers and acquisitions, branch plants, or share purchases.

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