Sino-Swiss Business News
Around 50 Swiss multinational corporations, including engineering company ABB, pharmaceutical firm Novartis, food and beverage giant Nestle, inspection group SGS as well as small and medium-sized enterprises are participating in the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai from November 5th to 10th. The companies have displayed a slew of sustainable and innovative solutions such as fast charging stations for electric vehicles, environmentally friendly packaging and robot nurses using artificial intelligence and automation. “I think the CIIE is the perfect platform for constructive business dialogues with our potential partners. We decided on the idea of setting up a metering laboratory with Zhoushan Free Trade Zone when their leaders visited our booth in the previous expo. The laboratory has since come to fruition,” said Frankie Ng, CEO of SGS Group. Dan Brindle, President of Novartis Group, said, “We view the CIIE as an opportunity to connect with stakeholders here to collectively contribute to improving the business environment, help facilitate international exchange and further drive global trade.” Novartis is showcasing innovative medicines, breakthrough cell and gene therapies, and a pipeline of products that it plans to bring to China in the near future. On November 6th, the Swiss Consulate General in Shanghai organized a Sino-Swiss business reception to celebrate with the business community the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations.
The first edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival China will take place in Hangzhou, in the province of Zhejiang, from October 5th to 8th 2021. This new Festival licence will offer an eclectic programme on the theme “When West Meets East”, combining Chinese and Asian music and of course jazz, which has been enjoying a new lease of life in the country in recent years. This new partnership pursues the Montreux Jazz Festival’s desire to forge links with other continents and to mix different musical cultures. Hangzhou shares many similarities with the original Festival venue. A lakeside town and tourist destination, it is situated on the shores of the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as are the Lavaux vineyards and the audiovisual archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival. The balance between heritage and innovation is also at the heart of the values shared by the Festival and Hangzhou. The city combines a thousand-year-old culture with meteoric digital development, home to many companies engaged in digital transformation.
Daryoush Ziai, CEO of Jiading-based Schindler (China) Elevator Co, shares the honor of his Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award with his wife at the presentation ceremony. Having lived in China for 10 years, Iranian-American Daryoush Ziai really is a China hand. Chinese-style decorations on his desk include bamboo-carving art, duplicates of terra-cotta warriors and chinaware. Bamboo bonsai are planted inside the building, while the meeting rooms are adorned in traditional Chinese style. Last month, Ziai won the Magnolia Silver Award for his contributions to the elevator industry in Shanghai. He said the medal was a recognition not only for himself, but also for the leap in development of Jiading-based company Schindler (China) Elevator Co. Schindler Group, a Swiss company with a 140-year history, launched its largest research center in Jiading in 2016 and, after that, two more factories moved from Suzhou in neighboring Jiangsu Province to the district, both of which have been running on solar power since last year. The company’s goal is to provide high-technology and high-quality elevators for companies and consumers. “The annual production of elevators keeps increasing. We were also involved in the recent key project in Shanghai to install elevators in old residential houses, aiming to provide a more convenient way of life for residents,” said Ziai.
Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, commented: “Nestlé has remained resilient in a difficult and volatile environment. Our people have acted in a responsible and prompt manner to mitigate the impact of the global pandemic and have adapted quickly to evolving consumer needs. Strong organic growth was broad based and supported by sustained momentum in the Americas, Purina PetCare and Nestlé Health Science, as well as the acceleration of our coffee business in the third quarter. We continue to develop our portfolio with speed and discipline. As an example, we are transforming Nestlé Health Science into a nutrition and health powerhouse through a combination of strong organic growth and targeted acquisitions. The recent additions of Zenpep, Vital Proteins and Aimmune Therapeutics are further steps in the expansion of our nutritional health offerings.” China saw negative growth, turning positive in the third quarter. Coffee, culinary and ice cream all delivered positive growth, with sequential quarterly improvements. The contraction in Wyeth infant formula sales continued to moderate. The roll-out of the locally produced Belsol brand is on track. Infant cereals and Purina PetCare both grew at a double-digit rate. Nestlé Professional reported a sales decrease, with growth recovering to almost flat in the third quarter. Strong momentum in e-commerce continued, driven by Nescafé, Starbucks products and dairy.
Givaudan opened its newest state-of-the-art fragrance production facility in Changzhou, China. In line with the recently announced 2025 strategy – Committed to Growth, with Purpose – China remains a key growth market for innovative and consumer-preferred fragranced products. The Changzhou production facility, costing more than CHF 100 million and constructed on a land area of 76,000 square metres, is outfitted with the most advanced auto-dosing system allowing for high accuracy and efficiency and an agile manufacturing environment. Consistent with Givaudan’s global manufacturing processes, the production facility meets the highest global and local standards in fragrance manufacturing including advanced environmental, health and safety features. It will substantially increase the company’s existing manufacturing output spanning personal, home and fabric care fragrances through to oral care flavours, encapsulated fragrances, and prestige perfumes to serve customers in China and Asia Pacific. CEO, Gilles Andrier said: “Opening this production facility in China – an important high growth market – demonstrates our commitment to our customers, and aligns to our 2025 strategy and purpose. This investment will strengthen our position as a strategic partner to our customers in the region and will cater to the increasing consumer demands for great smelling sustainable fragrances.”
ABB Ltd, the Switzerland-based technology company, will produce more industrial and service robots in China that can be used in the new energy vehicle, 5G, consumer electronics and healthcare sectors in the post-pandemic era, according to a senior executive. “COVID-19 is the single greatest catalyst for change in the industry in a generation, forcing our customers to reassess their priorities, but the global lockdown itself has not started any new trends on its own,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s robotics and discrete automation business. He said the pandemic has accelerated four megatrends that will fundamentally change the face of manufacturing in the long term－the individualized consumer, labor shortages, uncertainty and digitalization. “China’s ‘new infrastructure’ initiative presents exciting opportunities for global companies. It is clear that many of our customers in different sectors need to enhance their manufacturing capability, such as new energy vehicles, railway, 5G equipment, logistics and healthcare,” said Atiya, who is also a member of ABB’s group executive committee.
With the commissioning of a new production facility in Chengdu, Sika has further expanded its capacity in the rapidly growing mortar market in China. In addition to profiting from the strong demand, Sika can also benefit from the launch of new products and the expansion of the distributor network offering Sika solutions directly to craftsmen and DIY customers. Mike Campion, Regional Manager Asia/Pacific: “The expanded mortar production in China enables us to address our customers’ needs on an even more targeted basis. With a population of 15 million people, Chengdu is one of the most important economic urban centers in Western China. Here we see a growing demand for Sika’s Building Finishing solutions due to large investments in the construction sector. The strong business trend following the corona-related lockdown shows that we are on the right track: our mortar sales have increased significantly this year despite the crisis. We will continue to expand the business and bring two additional plants onstream in the growing Chinese market over the next eighteen months.”
Schindler was the first western industrial to sign a joint venture in China in March 1980. This year, Schindler China celebrates its 40 years anniversary. The history of Schindler in China is a success story with many great achievements over a timespan of four decades. Tall buildings and their need for elevators and escalators in China were still an exception in the predominantly low-rise urban landscape of the late 1970s. However, elevators quickly started supporting a boom in skyscrapers. Today, supertall buildings such as the PingAn Finance Center in Shenzhen (660m), the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong (484m), or the Qingdao Center in Qingdao (245m) are part of the skyline of every large Chinese city. We are looking back to 40 successful but challenging years. But, what will the next 40 years for Schindler in China look like and what megatrends will drive the elevator business in its biggest market?
Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 14th exchanged congratulatory messages with Simonetta Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Confederation, on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Switzerland. In his message, Xi noted that Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. The two countries have jointly cultivated a cooperation spirit of equality, innovation and win-win over the past 70 years and set an example of friendly cooperation between countries that are different in social systems, development stages and sizes, he said. Xi underscored the mutual assistance between China and Switzerland in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he is willing to make joint efforts with Sommaruga to promote further development of bilateral innovative strategic partnership. Sommaruga said, Switzerland and China have upheld principles of openness and mutual respect in developing bilateral relations over the past 70 years.
The World Intellectual Property Organization has crowned Switzerland the most innovative country in the world for the tenth consecutive year. Switzerland not only offers fertile ground for innovation, but also inspires many new creations, as the number of patent applications shows. For the past ten years, Switzerland has ranked top of the Global Innovation Index (GII). The Index is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), French business school Insead and Cornell University. It ranks the performance of 130 countries, examining both the necessary conditions for innovation and the new creations that result from innovation. According to the report, Switzerland offers particularly fertile ground for innovation. It scored 69.42 points in the corresponding category of Innovation Input and ranks second in the world. The average in this category is 41.39 points. In addition to substantial investment in research and development, Switzerland’s strong position is due to the high quality of local universities and extensive human resources. Furthermore, it performed highly for its stable political environment, good regulatory environment and infrastructure. Switzerland is followed in the rankings by Sweden, the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark. China is ranked 14th in the world.