The competitive advantage of Swiss companies comes from several sources.
One is often being leading players in a niche market. For example, think of ways to do the best little bearing in a big part - that’s where Swiss excel and they can bring their competitive advantage to China.
Second is being part of eco-systems that are moving to China. Industry 4.0 is a new keyword and well-taken by Swiss companies. if you’ve been able to be a part of supply chain eco-system, then you can move to China with this.
There is also a strong image of quality that is attached to Swiss companies.
Then, I think there are sources of talent, we see it through some of the Swiss people moving here and large companies bringing professionals.
These are all reasons why I think Swiss companies will remain competitive in this market.
Plus, on top of it, some of them are investing into innovation centers, then mixing the speed and quick prototyping competencies of China together with a more long-term and engineering approach. I think the combination of understanding that you can have R&D located in China but mixing in with more traditional part of your industry, this builds up competitive advantages.
Finally, it’s a bit more subtle, but the multi-cultural approach of Swiss companies works well in China. You see from leadership that there are a lot of people making great efforts to understand how China works, not necessarily pushing their models into a country, but really taking in how consumers, employees and others, think, work, develop so that they can create the best strategies.
I’m very positive for the future of Swiss companies in China.
Pascal Marmier is Vice Consul General (Innovation) & CEO, swissnex China