Promoting Relationships between Switzerland and China – Our Visit at Swissnex Shanghai

By Melina Schenkel

After our visit at ABB Robotics, we were welcomed by Swissnex at its office in Shanghai. Isabel Götz, Head of Operations, General Manager Swissnex China, ad interim gave us an overview about the daily business of the Swissnex – it is connecting China and Switzerland regarding science, education, art and innovation. In general, Swissnex China is an initiative of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), managed in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs. A main part of Swissnex is to promote Switzerland as itself and as an innovative country. However, the Swissnex does also additional tasks such as the promotion of Swiss Universities, welcoming Summer schools and delegations, leading ventures or the development of e-learning tools.

Afterwards we got an insight about the Swiss Business Hub in China. The topics were demographic shift, declining labour force and rising labour costs. China is facing the same demographic shift as Switzerland – nowadays, there are more elderly people than from the younger generation. Therefore, there will be less people who work and are able to support the old population. This is a big issue and China is struggling tremendously with solving this topic.

The third speech on this afternoon were held by PH.D. Lu Yung-Pi under the topic “Social Enterprise and Young Entrepreneurship in Mainland China”. First, we analysed how the topics ‘social’ and ‘enterprise’ fits together: Instead of focusing only on financial rewards, Social Enterprises want to create some value for the society. Nevertheless, in China it is not as easy as in Switzerland to start your own social business. One point, for example, is that you must receive a certificate to show that you are allowed to collect founds. However, some successful founder were, for example, a reporter which invented a system to rent bikes (Mobike) or an architect which makes the life of the people in the Hutong districts more comfortable.

We learned the young entrepreneurs in China mix eastern and western styles: the way of working is done the western way but the way of thinking remains eastern way. This means that Chinese Entrepreneurs often copy the ideas and knowledge from the wester and adapt it to their needs.

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