The day was opened by Andreas Ryser, Sales and Project Engineer at Schindler Group, presenting the company’s activities in China. In 1980, Schindler China Elevator Co. Ltd. was the first industrial Joint Venture founded in China. According to Ryser, China is no longer a country where cheap production takes place. The future of the economic growth lays clearly within the Asian pacific region, where developments are coming from and where the businesses are.
Next, Patrick Roettger introduced Lenovo (Switzerland) GmbH to the audience. Roettger not only addressed the history and achievements of Lenovo, he also highlighted the company’s level of innovation. With Lenovo’s slogan ‘different is better’, the company aims to at becoming the leader for tablet and computer devices. Closing his speech, Roettger outlined the importance of avoiding stereotypes in today’s cross-cultural world as well as being open-minded and respectful towards different cultures.
Before lunch, Daniel Bont held a presentation on Switzerland Global Enterprise. The institution is an advisory body for Swiss companies, which seek to expand their business relations to China. Bont highlighted that there is always a different interpretation of the rules in China and therefore, foreign companies do face many obstacles when expanding to China. There is no general recipe on how to successfully enter the Chinese market, the conditions vary from industry to industry.
For the afternoon session, Stefan Schmid from Price Waterhouse Coopers International (PWC) talked about the opportunities Swiss companies have in China. Although, there are many obstacles to face, challenges can also create opportunities such as mobile payment.
How to be successful in China? Collaborate with other parties. Invest in brands. Chinese groups become global players.
Martin Schneider, CEO and owner of Brainforce AG, then talked about the management challenges in China. These challenges can be overcome by understanding different leadership and communication styles. Where Swiss managers are straight forward and result oriented, Chinese managers prefer a less direct an more purpose oriented approach to reach their goals.
The last presentation was held by Dr. Dana Li, Director Business Strategy Asia at Oettinger Davidoff AG. Li presented Davidoff as an example on how to successfully integrate a Swiss Brand into the Chinese Market. It took Li’s team about two years to negotiate and sign a Joint Venture cooperation. The biggest challenge was the monopoly of the tobacco industry in China and the negotiations with the government. We learned that sometimes in China it is more important to do things quickly rather than slow and cautious.