Ignazio Cassis Meets China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi in Bern to Discuss Bilateral Cooperation, Human Rights and Multilateralism

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 Powers New Swiss Post China Cross-Border E-commerce Marketplace

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.

Drugmaker Roche Lifts Sales Forecast as Chinese Demand Soars

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.

CEIBS – China’s No.1 Business School – Breaks New Ground in Switzerland, Doubles Zurich Campus

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.

Glencore Signs Five-Year Cobalt Supply Deal with China’s GEM Co

Glencore has agreed to supply cobalt to a leading Chinese battery materials company for five years, as China looks to secure supplies of the battery metal to meet rising demand for electric cars. Shenzhen-listed GEM Co, a producer of battery materials, said it had agreed to buy 61,200 tonnes of cobalt from Glencore between 2020 and 2024. The deal comes less than a year after GEM walked away from a similar supply deal, after cobalt prices plummeted due to a surge of supply from the Congo. Cobalt prices fell by over 60 per cent between the beginning of January 2018 and August this year. But prices have rebounded since August after Glencore agreed to shut its Mutanda mine in the Congo, the largest cobalt mine in the world. After hitting USD 12 a pound in August, cobalt prices have risen to $17.9 per pound, according to Fastmarkets. There were no details on pricing for the supply agreement with GEM Co released. A spokesman for Glencore confirmed the deal.

Firmenich Invests in China’s Fragrance Evolution

Swiss fragrance giant sets up workshop in Shanghai as the industry’s ‘under-exploited’ market scale approaches USD 3.28 billion. he world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and taste company, Firmenich, has launched a fine fragrance workshop in downtown Shanghai by offering dedicated models that provide easy access to all fragrance capabilities under one roof, China Daily reported. The firm expects the workshop to bring it closer to the world’s fastest growing but under exploited fragrance market. As the world’s second largest economy, China saw the fine fragrance market increase 15% last year, according to data from Euromonitor International. “Fragrance consumers in China are expanding rapidly from women to both men and women, and the market scale is projected to reach 23.3 billion yuan (USD 3.28 billion),” said Cai Zhihao, a researcher with the Shenzhen-based Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, the report said.

China-Europe Forum Focuses on Tech Talent Exchange, Cooperation

The second China-Europe Talent Forum was jointly hosted in Zurich, Switzerland to explore a new model for companies to “bring, buy or build” talent as they expand internationally. Co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Switzerland and the Swiss Adecco Group, the forum brought together more than 180 participants from firms, academic institutions, international organizations and government agencies. Geng Wenbing, Chinese ambassador to Switzerland, said that China and Europe together hold a “treasure bowl” of the world’s best talent, but each side has their own strengths in the talent field. Geng noted that China has a large amount of skilled talent, while Europe boasts innovative and entrepreneurial talent. The complementary advantages that follow are obvious, and the potential for exchange and cooperation is huge. Geng said that China is happy to see local talent go international, and is willing to recruit talent from all over the world to participate in China’s construction and development. The forum, he said, intends to open up exchange channels between Chinese and European companies, schools and government departments.

ABB Bulks Up with Huawei on Industrial Cloud

Swiss automation and power technology giant ABB Group is partnering with Chinese telecom behemoth Huawei to develop China’s industrial cloud systems, the two companies announced at Huawei’s annual Connect conference in Shanghai. ABB said it will offer its platform, dubbed ABB Ability, to help industrial customers digitize their manufacturing processes using Huawei’s cloud infrastructure. Launched in 2017, the platform combines industrial machines with industrial internet of things analytics and entered the Chinese market in June that year. ABB’s German rival Kuka, which is owned by Midea Group Co. also has a strong foothold in the Chinese market. ABB Ability aims to raise production efficiency by offering services including predicting equipment malfunctions before they happen and collecting data during the manufacturing processes, ABB said in a previous statement. “This collaboration enables us to further grow ABB’s industrial digital solutions in the Chinese market, which represents our second largest customer base,” said Guido Jouret, chief digital officer of ABB.

Beijing About To Be Erased From World’s Most Polluted Cities List

Beijing’s noxious air condition has greatly changed over the years and the bustling capital is about to renew its status as one of the most polluted metros on the planet, the latest data revealed. The city is bent on cutting down levels of toxic smog and other lung-damaging pollutants called ‘PM2.5’ by nearly 21% this year, which is bigger than last year’s, and by nearly 75% compared to 2017, Swiss air quality monitoring firm IQAir AirVisual reported. The average PM2.5 readings per hour in the smog-covered Beijing was down to almost 43 mcg-per cubic meter of air in the first half this year, declining from 53 in the same quarter in 2018. Beijing has been spearheading a serious campaign to curb rising volumes of lung-damaging pollutants in 2014 and has since made huge efforts to clamp down and revoke licenses of industrial companies found violating the city’s air quality ordinance. The city has also been working tirelessly to improve carbon and fuel emission standards and slash coal consumption right in the capital and its adjacent neighbors. IQAir said that there has been a huge difference since environmental authorities worked in bringing down the pollution in Beijing. “Compared to a decade ago, the difference is very striking,” the air purification firm said.

Switzerland Ranked ‘Greenest’ Holiday Hotspot

Switzerland has the most environmentally sound tourism record, according to a global comparison study by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The study ranks the alpine country as the 10th most “competitive” holiday location overall against a broad range of criteria. The WEF ‘Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report’, conducted every two years, ranks 140 countries on their relative strengths in global tourism and travel. In 2018, it found Switzerland’s attention to environmental standards in the sector to be top of class. The study makes specific mention of Switzerland’s waste water treatment system and the country’s impressive record in the category “environmental regulatory enforcement and stringency”. Switzerland is also rated as one of the safest places in the world to visit and achieves high marks for its competitive business environment, low taxes and wealth of highly skilled workforce.


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