Day 6 – Swissnex: Our outpost in China

On our last day in Shanghai we went to visit Swissnex.

Many people in Switzerland may have never heard of Swissnex but Swissnex does actually an import job for Switzerland abroad. Swissnex is a public-private venture and has offices in Boston, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Bangalore and Shanghai and many science counselor locations all around the world. They work together with the Science, Education and Technology Section in the Embassy of Switzerland in China and regional consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Their goal is to promote Switzerland’s excellence as one of the world’s leading countries in the fields of innovation, research, technology and higher education, to connect academia and business and to facilitate cooperation between, in this case, China and Switzerland. Along with individual science and technology counselors around the world, they work on behalf of Switzerland to expand education, research, and innovation. Vital financial support is provided by donors and sponsors for the respective country of each outpost. In other words, without Swissnex many people in China may not know Switzerland.

Once we arrived, we received a warm welcome from Isabel Götz, General Manager, ad intermin of Swissnex. The first speaker was Erwin Lüthi, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland. He gave us an understanding of what the Consulate of Switzerland is doing in China and why a Consulate is important next to an Embassy. Isabel Götz introduced us to Swissnex and gave us a deeper understanding of their work and operation in China in the second speech. At the Q&A she was able to answer a lot of our questions regarding the life here in Shanghai. For example, she always has to think twice whether she really wants to lower the window shutter on a sunny day as it might lead here Chinese neighbors to hang out their clothes on it.

Leo Peng, Promotion Officer, Swiss Business Hub Shanghai, explained us the function and work of Swiss Business Hub China. The Swiss Business Hub China is a part of the Embassy in Switzerland the representative of the official international trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). It is responsible for implementing Swiss export strategies in China and for promoting Switzerland as a business location. On the one hand, they inform Chinese companies about the key advantages of Switzerland as a business and investment location. On the other hand, they are the key contact point for Swiss SMEs looking for export opportunities in the Chinese market.

The last presentation of the morning was, in our opinion, the highlight. Michael Lehmann, Managing Director of Selective International Management [SIM], introduced us to services of his company. SIM is a Swiss consultancy with its main operations in Shanghai providing support to European and Chinese Companies. They provide transparent and pragmatic professional solutions to their clients with their internal and external experts through Management Consulting, Corporate Services and Project Management. One of their key activities is the yearly Swiss Week which is the only platform in China for Swiss companies to promote their products directly to the public. On the second part of his speech he illustrated in a fun way his own developed strategy of how you should start a business in China and what you should be aware of the differences in culture and life in China.

After the four interesting presentations, we had lunch at a nearby by Japanese restaurant together with some of the speakers and people of Swissnex. After this it was time to say goodbye to Isabel Götz and her team and also to Shanghai.

Our journey went on to Hong Kong where we happily arrived in the evening by plane.

Group Shanghai
André Birri, Floriane Bopp, Sergio Galli, Philemon Gschwend, Richard Lauper

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