On January 20, 2023, our annual business workshop took place with the goal to provide Swiss companies doing (or planning to do) business in China with concrete and useful tools. On the theme “China strategy for Swiss businesses – what needs to change”, 51 people participated in this dense day, including a majority of c-level executives, representing 39 companies based all over Switzerland, from start-ups to multinationals, active in fields as varied as automation, intra logistic, energy efficiency, F&B, mobility, pharma, perfume, bedding, medical, electronics, steam system, sensors, CNC machines, mechatronics or Swiss knife.
7 speakers shared their expertise, analysis and knowledge in their respective fields: Nicolas Musy, Clarisse von Wunschheim, Felix Sutter, Tomas C K, Fedor Poskriakov and Jean-Jacques de Dardel. A special thanks to the Swiss Ambassador in China Juerg Burri for opening this day with an enthusiastic speech and underlining that 2023 will certainly be “a busy year”! Romain Barrabas and Zhen Xiao played the role of MC.
Here are a few punch lines that were heard:
- In 2022: Swiss & EU firms business confidence: from all time high to all time low.
- In 2023: Swiss firms business confidence is back up!
- China’s business environment became unusually unpredictable.
- In China, the economy is back to center stage & geopolitics have entered the business equation.
- Need for niche, high-quality goods, services and equipment to develop China’s high tech & quality production is very high.
- 4 big fails when dealing with Chinese business partners: blind trust, rudimentary contract framework, no follow up and insufficient risk management.
- In the West: no news, good news. In China: no news, bad news.
Then, to provide a concrete and specific perspective to the elements discussed at the beginning of the day, OM Pharma (Pascal Schumacher), Sonceboz (Arthur RAFFARD) and KUK Group (Andreas Wild) explained their own experience and questions related to their China strategy. This allowed all participants to compare their approaches and reflect on their challenges arising from the new unfolding situation in China.
This event was co-organized by the Swiss Centers, the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SCCC), China Integrated and the University of St.Gallen (FIM-HSG), with the support of Microcity – Neuchâtel Innovation, the CNCI – Chambre neuchâteloise du commerce et de l’industrie and the Swiss-Chinese Association – French Speaking Region.