Sino-Swiss Business News
Switzerland enjoys a good reputation worldwide for its exquisite products and financial hubs. Global Times reporter Lu Wenao had a chance to speak with Nicolas Bideau – head of Swiss Presence, a promotional arm under the Swiss Foreign Ministry – on multiple topics such as Switzerland’s experience in maintaining its national image and his thoughts on bilateral cooperation with China. Mr. Bideau stated, “The image of Switzerland is very cliché. When you ask a random Chinese what Switzerland is, he or she will tell you about the chocolate, the mountains, the banks and so on. But we are not only that. We are a nation which is very innovative. If you have a look at the innovation index, we are at the top, we do have very powerful high schools, universities and so on. I’m always trying to find enterprises that could give a face to the digital part of the innovative product of Switzerland because they provide a different image of Switzerland. We do have a lot of research on innovation, but we have a small market. This is the big difference with China. China has innovation and a big market, meaning that you can fulfill all the line from the research till the product.”
Novartis is exiting drug discovery at its Shanghai site and shifting its focus to drug development, saying accelerating approvals in China are pushing the Swiss company to dedicate the operation’s resources to getting its medicines to market. The move marks an about-face from just three years ago, when Novartis had christened the USD 1 billion campus as its Chinese hub for early-stage research. About 150 of the more than 1,000 Shanghai staffers will lose their research jobs, while Novartis plans to add 340 new positions to develop up-and-coming drug prospects over the next four years, a period in which it expects to file 50 new drug applications with China’s regulator. The changes, first reported by website Fierce Biotech, were confirmed by Novartis, which said Shanghai’s role in coming up with new molecules would now be replaced by developing drug prospects, including early clinical development and trials, for the fast-growing Chinese market.
Roche is aiming to develop medicines ‘in China for China and the world’, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Group – which established the first foreign-funded research and development center in Shanghai in 2004 and was the first multinational enterprise in Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in 1994 – announced the completion of a new innovation center in the city on October 21st. Representing an investment of CNY 863 million (USD 122 million), the innovation center focuses on research and early development of innovative drugs for immunology, inflammation and infectious diseases, and will further bring China’s R&D to the world stage by developing innovative drugs to meet patients’ unmet needs. In an interview with China Daily, Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche Group, said that as always, China plays a vital role in Roche’s global strategy, and with this center, it is committed to making Shanghai the third strategic global center of Roche following Basel, Switzerland, and San Francisco, the United States.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and China’s internet giant Tencent jointly announced the official launch of an online long-term disease management platform for heart patients during the ongoing China International Import Expo on Wednesday. The platform called “AI”, representing care for the heart in Chinese, covers daily health indicator monitoring and health condition assessment through voice and image recognition and interaction as well as access to personalized information, and lies inside WeChat as a mini program, the developers said. It is the country’s first of such online AI-powered platform providing disease management for heart patients, the companies claimed. Official figures showed that there are at least 10 million patients with heart diseases in China, and medical experts said that around 50 percent of the patients die within five years after being diagnosed.
China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. is in talks to invest at least USD 2 billion for a stake in Swiss Re AG as it seeks to build partnerships overseas, according to people familiar with the matter. Swiss Re would also spend USD 500 million to USD 1 billion for a minority stake in China Pacific as part of the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Discussions are at an advanced stage and an agreement may be reached soon, though talks could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said. Swiss Re said in a statement it has been exploring a potential investment in a sale of new securities by China Pacific. No definitive agreements have been reached, and a deal would depend on factors including whether China Pacific decides to proceed with the offering, according to the statement.
ABB is to acquire a majority stake of 67 percent in Shanghai Chargedot New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (“Chargedot”), a leading Chinese e-mobility solution provider. The transaction is expected to be completed in the coming months and ABB has the possibility to increase its stake further in the next three years. Since its establishment in 2009, Shanghai-based Chargedot has made a significant contribution to the uptake of electric vehicles in China. The company supplies AC and DC charging stations, as well as the necessary software platform to a range of customers that includes EV manufacturers, EV charging network operators and real estate developers. It has approximately 185 employees and its other shareholders among others include Shanghai SAIC Anyo Charging Technology Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of SAIC. Chargedot is a natural fit for ABB, which as a global leader in sustainable transportation infrastructure, already offers solutions from grid distribution to charging points for cars and trucks, as well as for the electrification of ships, railways, trams, buses and cable cars.
Federal Councillor and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ignazio Cassis met China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi on 22 October 2019, as the two countries gear up to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. The meeting provided an opportunity to explore issues of current interest to both countries. The meeting builds on the strategic dialogue established between Switzerland and China in 2017 and follows on from Mr Cassis visit to Beijing in April 2018. At their meeting, Mr Cassis and Mr Wang discussed bilateral political and economic relations, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, human rights and multilateral cooperation.
Wirecard is providing the payment solution for Swiss Post’s “Your Gateway to China” service. Thanks to the “Your Gateway to China” service, Swiss retailers can easily offer their products directly to Chinese consumers through major virtual marketplaces. Swiss Post offers Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) everything they need to open up to new markets, including market entry consulting, logistics and customs clearance, as well as links to local marketplaces. A wide range of quality Swiss products and well-known brands are already available on the virtual marketplaces. Wirecard processes all transactions carried out with leading Chinese payment methods on behalf of Swiss Post. According to Statista, the Chinese e-commerce market is a global leader, with an estimated gross merchandise volume of EUR 4.1 trillion in 2019. Cross-border shopping has also played a key role in China’s e-commerce boom: the gross merchandise volume of China’s import e-commerce market reached EUR 14 billion in 2017, and that figure is expected to hit EUR 44.7 billion by 2021. The top purchase categories in this segment are food, beauty products, and fashion.
Swiss drugmaker Roche lifted its 2019 sales target for the third time this year, helped by newer medicines and as China bought more cancer drugs to treat a disease blamed for a quarter of the nation’s annual deaths. Roche’s full-year revenue is now seen growing at a high-single-digit percentage rate, the Basel-based company said, to what would easily top USD 60 billion (EUR 54.20 billion). That is up from the July’s mid- to high-single digit growth estimate. The new forecast sets a high bar for Swiss rival Novartis, which reports results next week. Over a decade, China has gone from Roche’s 10th biggest market to its second-largest behind the United States, with CHF 4.5 billion (EUR 4.1 billion) in 2018 sales. The trend has accelerated, with growth in China topping 50 per cent over the first nine months, about double 2018’s rate. Cancer has been on the rise in China, driven by air pollution and high rates of smoking. Water pollution and excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides have also been blamed for an increase in rural cancer rates.
The China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), one of the world’s top business schools, just made a quantum leap forward by inaugurating the expansion of its new Zurich Campus in Horgen and simultaneously celebrating the school’s 25th anniversary, thereby further cementing its position as a global leader in educating European and Chinese executives, business leaders and managers. Doubling the size of the new Zurich Campus and the inauguration of a second building marks a significant milestone in the global expansion of CEIBS. CEIBS fosters cross-cultural leadership and collaboration, boosts European and Asian entrepreneurship, and is taking executive education to the next level. CEIBS offers unique, in Europe and Asia accredited (EQUIS, AACSB), practical executive education and corporate programmes.