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Dear Members and Readers,
Last April, I had the opportunity to join an economic mission to Hefei, the capital of the Anhui Province. The
mission was organized by the Swiss Consulate Shanghai, under the lead of Consul General Mr. Heinrich
Schellenberg. It included a series of visits to companies, economic zones, and most importantly, meetings with the leaders of the Anhui province and the city of Hefei.
As most of us know, the Chinese system fosters quite a rough competition amongst its development zones to attract investors, and some of the soft factors are not pushed in the same way and may be given less attention. Particularly in Hefei, I had the impression that a sustainable, ‘green’ development is considered. Despite the less successful growth than its neighbouring provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, an impressive 88 out of the world’s top 500 companies have already invested in the Anhui region to date. Perhaps, it’s because of Anhui’s geographical location with all major transport connections, or possibly its slower pace – and in return – a more sustainable development?
For all those who didn’t make it to this year’s Swiss Ball in Shanghai – I just can say, you missed a lot! The theme chosen by the committee consisting of members from SwissCham and Swiss Club was “The 70’s” – with all its craziness and colourful outfits. The band played countless, popular 70’s songs and melodies to everyone’s delight – that even during the dinner, most of the guests couldn’t sit still and already wanted to dance!
Buoyed by its success, we are planning ahead to organize the next ball – and hopefully, we see you all at the Swiss Ball 2014.
Andreas Luchsinger
President SwissCham Shanghai
Click here to access the Bridge Magazine Archives.
Dear Members and Readers,
On a business trip to Beijing, I recently came face-to-face with one of China’s greatest challenges: air pollution. Oxygen being one of the fundamental elements of life, the Chinese people is increasingly concerned about the high price it is paying for its fast economic growth.
Since the 2008/09 financial crisis, pressure on China to back the weakening global economy has increased and this pressure shows no sign of disappearing. China is also being pressured to revalue its currency, the Renminbi, so as to increase Chinese export prices relative to foreign competitors and thus making Chinese imports cheaper. In addition, the government is also feeling domestic pressure to push the contry’s consumption and maintain high growth rates.
As the people’s purchasing power increases, so are China’s environmental problems. Although China is only the 18th per capita emitter of CO2, the country counts 16 of the world’s most polluted cities, its lakes and rivers are disappearing, and, in absolute terms, it remains the world’s largest energy user and carbon-emitter. In other words, as Chinese consumers save the world’s economy, China’s environmental problems may get worse, much worse. Water, the ultimate consumer product, is also suffering the effects of high growth rates. In addition to consuming potable water by cup or bottle, the Chinese, like their counterparts worldwide, consume water indirectly as a critical ingredient in their new and more water-intensive diets based on meat. It takes approximately 1,000 tons of water to produce a single ton of grain and 7 tons of grain to produce a ton of beef. As a result of the Chinese switching from their pre-1978 bean-protein-based diets to Kung Pao chicken or McDonald’s hamburgers, the per capita consumption of water is increasing. Alongside the Chinese people, many industries also use massive amounts of water. It takes, for instance, 400,000 liters of water to manufacture a single car. And last year, for the first time, Chinese consumers surpassed their foreign counterparts by buying the most cars.
Let’s work all together to get the needed economical growth in balance with our environment of which there is only one and contribute, where ever we can, to a clean environment.
Urs Calonder
Chairman SwissCham China
Click here to access the Bridge Magazine Archives.

Dear Members and Readers,

We have now come to the 30th anniversary of the Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong – according to the human growth cycle, we are entering adulthood. There have been many successes and challenges and with the experience gained, we are able to stride forward with confidence for the next 30 years! The recent 15 years, with Hong Kong as a Special Administration Region of China, have been smooth and successful as a whole for both the region and for the Swiss community. Hong Kong has firmly maintained and improved its identity and its way of life.

How has the Chamber changed in the past 30 years? When we first started in 1982, the registered address
was at the offices of Ciba-Geigy Hong Kong Ltd. in Central. A few years later, one part time staff was hired with a desk at the offices of Credit Suisse to handle the daily operation for less than 50 members. At that time we were known as the Swiss Business Council. Today, in contrast, we have grown our membership to over 200 members and have established a thriving Swiss Young Professionals section. Furthermore, we have ten subcommittees devoted to furthering the interests of the Swiss community in areas such as company visits, networking opportunities, co-operation with our Chambers in China, University alumni activities and representing the interest of the SMEs, the latter being the backbone of Hong Kong’s and Switzerland’s economy. Our strong association with our Consulate is essential and much appreciated in helping us to gain a voice and influence in the Governments both here and back home.

More than 250 guests joined Mrs. Rita Haemmerli-Weschke, Consul General of Switzerland in Hong Kong on
October 15th 2012 to celebrate not only the opening of the 19th Swiss Business Hub, but also the 30th anniversary of our Chamber in Hong Kong. Guests at the event received a magazine telling the story of the Chamber and the journey of some of our members. With this booklet, we hope to continue to record the ‘Swissness’ in Hong Kong and how the past experiences and success stories can help to shape an even more successful future.

Susanne Sahli
President SwissCham Hong Kong

Click here to access the Bridge Magazine Archives.

 

Your Swiss Business Platform in China

SwissCham China has roughly 600 company members. Our Chamber maintains a strong relationship with the Embassy of Switzerland, Swiss Global Enterprise, Swissnex and Switzerland Tourism. As the representative of the Swiss companies established in China, our goal is to help you to increase your business and visibility, especially amongst the Sino-Swiss business community.

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