China International Import Expo Targets Swiss Businesses

A delegation from the China International Import Expo (CIIE) bureau visited Switzerland from January 9th to 11th to invite more local companies to participate in the CIIE this November. Led by Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce and director of the CIIE bureau, the delegation visited the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, the World Economic Forum as well as a number of renowned Swiss enterprises. During the visit, Wang said that Swiss companies rank among the top in Europe in terms of the number of exhibitors and booth areas at the CIIE. He also expressed hope that Swiss businesses can seize the opportunities provided by the expo and increase their exports to the Chinese market. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, state secretary for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, said that the Swiss government would encourage more companies to attend the third edition of the CIIE. She also said that Switzerland would be an active participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

ChemChina, Sinochem Merge Agricultural Assets: Syngenta

ChemChina and Sinochem are consolidating their agricultural assets into a new holding company to be called Syngenta Group, ChemChina unit Syngenta said. Chen Lichtenstein, current president and CEO of Shenzhen-listed crop protection company ADAMA, which will also be incorporated into the new group, will be nominated CFO of the newly formed Syngenta Group. He will be based in Basel, Switzerland, the Swiss group said in a statement. Reuters reported last month that China National Chemical Corp, or ChemChina, had approached Chinese state-backed investors for up to USD 10 billion in funding as part of a reorganization of its agrichemicals business ahead of a public float. The reorganization includes Syngenta, the Swiss pesticide producer that ChemChina agreed in 2016 to buy for USD 43 billion. The fundraising efforts and eventual stock market listing are designed to cut ChemChina’s debt ahead of a long-awaited mega-merger with state-owned peer Sinochem. Frank Ning, the chairman of both companies, has encouraged individual business units to tap capital markets ahead of any tie-up, which has been in the works since 2016. ChemChina wants to list Syngenta on China’s technology-focused STAR market in mid-2020, according to fundraising documents dated from October.

Bühler Group Sells Flour Ingredient Business

Bühler Group has sold its flour ingredient business to Bakels. The Swiss group manufactures and distributes bakery ingredients and application solutions. As part of the transaction, 70 employees of Bühler Guangzhou are moving to the new owner with immediate effect. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the selling price. “With Bakels, we have found an excellent owner and strategic partner for flour ingredient solutions,” said Johannes Wick, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bühler’s Grains & Food business. Bakels is a Swiss enterprise with more than 2,750 employees. Its focus is on ingredients for bakery and confectionery. “Flour ingredients have been a missing link in our portfolio so far,” said Armin Ulrich, chairman of Bakels. “We are excited to close that gap now by taking over Bühler’s well-positioned business and strengthen our position in China.”

ABB Completes Divestment of two Electrification Joint Ventures in Shanghai

ABB has completed the divestment of all its shares in two Shanghai-based Electrification joint ventures, Shanghai ABB Breakers Co., Ltd. and Shanghai ABB Guangdian Electric Co., Ltd. to holding subsidiaries of Shanghai Guangdian Electric Group (SGEG), ABB’s joint venture partner in the two companies. Financial details have not been disclosed. Tarak Mehta, President of ABB’s Electrification business, said: “The completion of this divestment reduces the complexity of the Electrification business in China and improves our focus in this key market. It is a significant step forward in ABB’s ongoing strategy of active portfolio management.” ABB acquired a 60% stake in the two joint ventures as part of the GE Industrial Solutions acquisition in 2018. With the sale now complete, SGEG now owns the two Shanghai companies. ABB and SGEG will continue to operate as long-term partners via a multi-year mutual supply agreement.

Swatch Concept Store Unveiled in Shanghai’s Yu Garden

Walking along the antique pathways in Shanghai Yu Garden, the brand-new Swatch concept store under traditional classical architecture jumps into sight around the corner. The wave point element and the simple modern design of the store blends with the classic Chinese style of Yu Garden, igniting unique sparks of creativity. On November 26th, the Swiss fashion watch brand Swatch opened its concept store in Shanghai Yu Garden with a new collection unveiled during the opening event. In a cooperative effort with local artist Wu Mengyu, the new Swatch X You customization collection in a Chinese traditional style has been launched. Since its founding, Swatch has had a strong connection with art. The artwork was inspired by Yu Garden, connecting the contrast of modern playfulness and classic elegance with daytime and nighttime. This innovative cooperation offers more opportunities for consumers to freely express their own personalities via Swatch customization styles that allow them to design online.

Collaboration Between the Swiss and Chinese FinTech Ecosystems

The Zurich and Singapore based FinTech Incubator & Accelerator F10 has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Zheshang Venture Capital Company Ltd to create more opportunities for investment and Startup development within the F10 ecosystem at the “Zurich Lake – West Lake” forum for FinTech and Wealth Management. The event brought highly ranked representatives of government, banking and FinTech as well as academia from Switzerland and China together to discuss economic and cultural exchanges. The goal of this MOU signed at the “Zurich Lake – West Lake” FinTech and Wealth Management Forum in December 2019 is the establishment of an exchange mechanism to create opportunities for investment and the development of Startups within the F10 ecosystem. The memorandum includes the exploration of global markets between Chinese venture capital companies and Swiss multinational companies in the canton of Zurich.

Davidoff, the Swiss Tabacco Brand has Opened Flagship in Hong Kong

The Swiss Tobacco brand, Davidoff has now launched a Hong Kong flagship inside the luxury retail complex; The Landmark. The 580sq ft outlet is significantly larger than the brand’s previous space. The original outlet was the brand’s third best-selling cigar outlet internationally and accounted for over twenty-five percent of the brand’s Asian sales. “We are delighted to relocate our new flagship store in Hong Kong,” said Davidoff Asia MD Laurent de Rougemont. “The challenge in designing this unique cigar shop was to preserve the company’s history but to continue our mission to delight and surprise our customers worldwide by delivering unique brands and unrivaled retail experiences.” “This enlarged new flagship store continues the Davidoff legacy of an inspiring place where aficionados can find exceptionally crafted Discovery Series cigars from different regions, as well as the complex tasting profile of Winston Churchill Collection,” said Davidoff Hong Kong regional manager and store manager Charles Lim.

Senior Swiss Official Highlights Importance of a Positive National Image, Seeks More Cooperation with China

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 Switches Gears in Shanghai from Research to Drug Development

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.

Bringing Chinese Innovation to Global Stage

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.

 

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