Sino-Swiss Business News
The first edition of the Swiss Machining Seminar 2021 was held in Beijing on April 14th and featured 20 machining experts from the Swiss Machinery Association who shared their experiences in the most cutting-edge technology in machining and automation. The Ambassador of Switzerland to China Bernardino Regazzoni gave the keynote speech. The Swiss Machining Seminar 2021 welcomed around 250 attendees at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing, representing a wide range of industries, from automotive, aerospace, medical, and 5-axes machining, to smart factory automation, ‘state-of-the-art’ coatings, and high-end coolants. The seminar attracted specialists in China in the machining and automation industries, from tooling engineers, programmers, tool manufacturers, CNC-operators, to factory planners. On the Swiss side, experts from 20 industry champions of the Swiss Machinery Association shared their expertise in how to achieve both high quality and cost effectiveness. The Swiss mechanical, electrical and metal industry (MEM) is Switzerland’s biggest industrial employer. Its high standards in quality, precision, safety and reliability, coupled with its ability to innovate, make Swiss MEM competitive internationally. In his keynote speech, Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni emphasized Swiss innovation, quality and precision in this rapidly-changing world of manufacturing technology: ‘It’s the people working in these precision fields that make the “Swiss Made” label a true symbol of excellence; they implement the values of quality and innovation that are at the core of the Swiss ethos.’
Clariant, a focused, sustainable and innovative specialty chemical company, announced the opening of a new world-class production facility for process and light stabilizers. The facility is jointly owned by Clariant and Beijing Tiangang Auxiliary Co., Ltd. (Tiangang), a privately owned producer and leading supplier of light stabilizers in China. Located within the Cangzhou National Coastal-Port Economy & Technology Development Zone in Cangzhou (Hebei Province), the facility forms the centerpiece of the partnership between both companies. It enables Clariant and Tiangang to continue their successful cooperation with an enhanced ability to fulfill the growing demand in China for high-end process and light stabilizers from local growth industries like automotive, textiles and coatings. “With this state-of-the-art facility, we enhance our ability to support Chinese customers with high-end stabilizers that fulfill their growing demands for sustainable solutions. It is through such expanded local production capacity, which is focused on fulfilling local needs and is supported by a strong local partner in Tiangang, that Clariant will keep outgrowing the local market,” said Conrad Keijzer, CEO of Clariant.
Switzerland is the official Guest Country of Honour at the 1st edition of China International Consumer Products Expo (Hainan Expo). On behalf of the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss Business Hub China, an integrated section of the Embassy of Switzerland in China, in collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), will organize and operate the Swiss National Pavilion at the upcoming Hainan Expo from 7-10 May 2021 in Haikou. Located in Hall 5-5T002 of the Hainan International Convention & Exhibition Center Haikou, the Swiss National Pavilion is 200m² large and will exhibit some of the most prominent testimonials of Swiss innovation and lifestyle. Switzerland has been selected by the Hainan Provincial Government and Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development as Guest Country of Honor of the first Hainan Expo. The participation of Switzerland at Hainan Expo – under the exclusive umbrella of Switzerland’s Guest Country of Honor status – is offering unique visibility and excellent business opportunities to Switzerland’s most renowned companies and premium brands in the luxury and consumer goods sector. The unique concept and design of the Swiss National Pavilion comprises an ‘Animation Area’ and an ‘Exhibitor Area’. The event space in a large, transparent ‘Swiss Cross Cube’ is designed for events and networking. The Swiss watch company Swatch, one of the two main partners of the Swiss National Pavilion, will present a lively pop-up installation, allowing visitors to fully personalize their watch, within a creative environment established by Swatch on a digital platform. To this end, Chinese and Swiss artists were invited to create an interpretation of the two countries, telling a story of differences, similarities, partnership and friendship.
The reinsurance industry can play a leading role in tackling climate change and in supporting green transformation to improve climate resilience, according to Christian Mumenthaler, CEO of Swiss Re Group. In 2020, the devastating effects in extreme weather with an increase in secondary perils, such as severe storms and wildfires, contributed to USD 76 billion in global insured losses from natural catastrophes, Mumenthaler said. On top of this, the world has had to face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, China has been one of the few countries able to weather the storm and get back to growth. “When we think about the Chinese market, we continue to think it is one of the most exciting markets in the world with very good prospects, and we have high confidence in China and its recovery,” Mumenthaler said in a video link to the China Development Forum 2021 held from March 20 to 22 in Beijing. Swiss Re has participated in the CDF since 2012, and this year focused on the topic of green transformation centering around the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).
Credit Suisse will look to further accelerate its expansion plans in mainland China with plans to triple its headcount in the market over the next three years. “We are planning to more than triple our presence in term of headcount in China over the next three years and look forward to strengthening our position,” said Credit Suisse chief executive Thomas Gottstein during a panel discussion at the Beijing-based China Development Forum. In addition to increased headcount and also plans to take full control of its securities venture over the next 12 months after obtaining a majority stake last year, the bank will also look to expand its offering. It is planning to apply for a banking license in order for its branch to enhance its offering across private and investment banking. This is a significantly accelerated plan compared to August last year when the bank said it would look to double headcount over the next five years.
As China aims to grow its economy by over 6% in 2021, global industrial companies are pinning more hopes on the country’s market to shore up their competitiveness. Among them is ABB Ltd., a Swiss power and automation company. Implementing an “in China, for China and the world” strategy, the firm has put China in the front and center of innovation over the past decade. ABB believes China will reach its 2060 carbon neutrality goal by taking the innovation and technology route. CGTN’s Michael Wang spoke with Morten Wierod, president of motion business at ABB, on the changes he has witnessed and the outlook for China’s industrial landscape. Morten Wierod stated “Overall we’re doing very well in the Chinese market, not only as ABB, but also as moreover motion business, with a good growth in the forth quarter more than 20 percent for the overall business. So, there we see that the trend of higher energy efficiency and the need for productivity. This is driving our business and makes us very optimistic about the future, as we see great growth potential in China for this industry in the general, and for ABB in special.”
With China aiming to achieve carbon neutral by 2060 and further improve the production efficiency in its manufacturing sector, ABB Group, the Swiss industrial conglomerate, plans to seize more market share as the country demand for smart urban infrastructure and digital electrical solutions will continue to rise during its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. China’s drive toward high-tech, sustainable cities, transportation, energy supply goes hand in hand with ABB business model and the company is playing a key part in the tangible growth of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Morten Wierod, president of ABB Motion. “Industrial energy efficiency, more than any other challenge, has the single greatest capacity for combating the climate emergency. It is essentially the world’s invisible climate solution,” said Wierod. “By far the biggest impact we can have in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is through our technologies, which reduce energy use in industry, buildings and transport – sectors that together account for nearly three-quarters of global energy consumption,” he said.
Some global banks including Credit Suisse are purportedly relocating bankers from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland, in an effort to sharpen their competitive edge in the world’s second-largest economy which is spinning along in a sweeping push for financial deregulation. Credit Suisse lately relocated three directors and four more junior staff to the mainland, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Another Swiss bank UBS is “in the process of shifting several managing directors.” And, JPMorgan recently relocated Houston Huang, who oversaw deal making for the US bank from Hong Kong, to Shanghai after appointing Huang as the head of investment banking for its securities joint venture in the mainland, said the report. “UBS has no plans systematically to relocate employees from Hong Kong to the mainland. However, we seek to maximize flexibility and will continue to relocate small numbers of personnel both to and from the mainland in line with the needs of the business,” a UBS spokesperson told the Global Times.
According to annual figuresExternal link released on Wednesday, the Swiss MEM industry saw sales drop by 9.8% and incoming orders by 6.5% in 2020. The situation started to improve in the second half of the year with new orders in the fourth quarter of 2020 returning to the previous year’s level. This was thanks in large part to trade with China, which recovered quickly after the shutdown in the first quarter. “The Swiss industrial companies that do business locally or with exports with China were able to benefit quickly,” said Martin Hirzel, President of the Swissmem, manufacturing industry association, in an interviewExternal link with Swiss public television SRF. The Swiss industrial sector has boosted business with China with the help of the free trade agreement in force since 2014 – the first signed between China and a European country. The sector now exports four times more to China than two decades ago. Exports to the country making up 7% of all Swiss MEM exports.
Kuehne Nagel will be acquiring Apex International Corporation, one of Asia’s leading freight forwarders, especially in the transpacific and intra-Asia. At this point, both parties have agreed to not disclose any further transaction details. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne Nagel International AG, said, “The combination of Apex and Kuehne Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility. We are looking forward to welcoming the Apex colleagues to the Kuehne Nagel family.” Following closing of the transaction, a minor stake of Apex shares is to remain with the experienced and entrepreneurial management of Apex. Furthermore, the company will then continue to operate separately within the Kuehne Nagel Group. Tony Song, chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Apex, added, “With Kuehne Nagel, we have found a strategic shareholder and logistics group with more than 130 years of heritage. We are sure that with this transaction, we will be able to add value for our customers’ supply chains and expand our global logistics network. We will complement Kuehne Nagel’s existing global air logistics team while offering our management and key talents unique career opportunities.”