Sino-Swiss Business News
Coming off a tougher 2012, during which many wealthy Chinese consumers either took a wait-and-see approach to luxury purchases close to home, or did their luxury shopping overseas, Swiss watchmakers expect renewed – albeit modest – growth in 2013. Heartened by signs that demand returned at the end of the year, particularly in Hong Kong, where sales of jewelry, watches and other valuables increased nearly 14% in November, leading luxury groups are expected to continue their Greater China expansion efforts this year, with Richemont recently partnering with Chow Tai Fook to take its Baume & Mercier brand to a wider audience.
Restricting solar panel exports from China will only lead to higher product costs and derail the development of the clean energy sector if the European Union persists with its anti-dumping stance, experts say. Chinese solar companies, most of which have Switzerland as their European headquarters, have outlined the solar industry scenario in a written warning sent to EU officials in Brussels, even as the agency decided to go ahead with its investigation.
Jacques de Watteville, Switzerland’s Ambassador to China, said good progress has been made in FTA talks, and the country could become the first in Europe to have a free trade agreement with China. Negotiators from Beijing and Bern have already finished the lion’s share of the FTA draft with food and agriculture still being the thorny issues on which an agreement has not been reached. Switzerland is trying to protect the sector, as it is a net importer of agricultural products.
Air China and Genève Aéroport have the pleasure to confirm the launching of a new Geneva-Beijing direct route for Summer 2013, starting on 7th May. This nonstop service will be operated 4 days per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) with an Airbus A330-200 configurated in 2 classes.
On 22nd January, 2013 the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Sino-Swiss Zhenjiang Ecological Industry Park (SSZEIP) has been celebrated in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. This bilateral initiative shall foster economic ties between Switzerland and China based on a more sustainable and environmental friendly development approach. The ceremony with speeches by the Swiss Ambassador, representatives of the MOFCOM, Zhenjiang and Cleantech Switzerland was followed by more than 300 invited guests, amongst them 15 interested Swiss company representatives.
Switzerland-based Nestle SA has introduced a protein powder into China’s health-food market. Known as Nestle Yiyang Protein Powder, the new product was launched in Beijing on 21st January. It will also be sold in Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Xi’an – metropolitan hubs where healthy and light foods sell best as residents have higher incomes and are more health conscious. The State Food and Drug Administration stated that the Chinese health-food industry had revenues of RMB 105 billion (USD 16.9 billion) in 2011, as well as annual increases of over 11% over the past five years.
Geneva-based luxury goods group Richemont and the world’s largest jewellery chain, Chinese Chow Tai Fook, have agreed to create a joint venture, reported the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. Citing a source inside Richemont, the newspaper said in an online report on Saturday that the two luxury brands would each control 50% of the new company, which would distribute watches made by Richemont luxury watchmaking brand Baume & Mercier in mainland China. The Chinese company already distributes a long line of Swiss brands, several of them owned by Richemont, including Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre. No financial details of the deal were revealed.
Pilatus, the aircraft manufacturer from Stans (NW), wants to sell its propeller plane also in China in the future. The Swiss company is negotiating with a Chinese partner over a Joint venture contract, but there is still no signed agreement at present, according to the President of the Board of Directors Oscar J. Schwenk. The aircraft manufacturer wants to set its Pilatus Porter PC-6 and the turbo propulsion machine PC-12 on the Chinese market. The military training planes PC-21, PC-9 M and PC-7 MkII are explicitly not involved in the negotiations.
On 9th January 2013, the Swiss Federal Council approved the Report on foreign economic policy in 2012. According to the revised trade statistics, the term “country of origin” is now determining. This appreciation brings significant changes to some countries’ commercial balance. Thus in 2011, the volume of imports from China to Switzerland grew from CHF 6.3 billion to CHF 9.6 billion (+3.3 billion). According to the new rule, the trade balance of Switzerland to Mainland China in 2011 presents a deficit of CHF 0.9 billion instead of an surplus of CHF 2.5 billion.
China’s Ministry of Economy has recently updated the list of goods, which require licenses for import and export in 2013. For the moment, this list is only available in Chinese. However, the products can be determined according to the first six numbers of the Harmonized Customs System.