15 October 2012

OSEC Opens New Swiss Business Hub in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – 15 October 2012 - The Swiss organisation for promoting foreign trade, Osec, opened another Swiss Business Hub (SBH) in Hong Kong on 15th October. The main tasks of the new SBH are to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Switzerland and Liechtenstein to enter the market in Hong Kong and to promote the location of Switzerland locally. Frank Eggmann will manage the new support unit. 

The new Swiss Business Hub (SBH) is housed in the premises of the Swiss Consulate General. The head of the new Osec branch office, Frank Eggmann, and his team will be able to advise export oriented Swiss and Liechtenstein SMEs wishing to establish themselves in Hong Kong and offer them valuable support, for example in evaluating the market or in providing business contacts. Daniel Küng, CEO of Osec, adds: “The new Swiss Business Hub in Hong Kong will, in addition to promoting exports, undertake activities to promote the location of Switzerland and strive to make Switzerland known and popular as an attractive business location among Hong Kong's economic decision makers. Hong Kong is the veritable gateway to China and, as a regional location, can also serve other surrounding countries in Asia, such as the ASEAN countries. China is also benefiting from Hong Kong's position as a catchment basin for imported goods from Switzerland and the EU.” 

The global economic importance of Hong Kong is also underlined by the strong local presence of Swiss firms: There are presently around 190 Swiss companies operating in Hong Kong. Swiss direct investments in Hong Kong currently amount to around CHF 5 billion. 

The opening of the Hong Kong SBH should further facilitate access to Hong Kong for Swiss companies. The opening of the new SBH is another strategic step by Osec to assist the Swiss economy in its expansion in growth markets and key markets by providing direct assistance locally. In addition to the new support unit in Hong Kong, together with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Osec now manages 19 SBHs in its external network. 

Hong Kong — Switzerland's third most important trading partner in Asia 
As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is now Switzerland's third most important trading partner in Asia. With the entry into force of the EFTA-Hong Kong free trade agreement in early October, trade and economic relations between Switzerland and Hong Kong will step up again. Hong Kong, actually a city state with a population of around seven million people, has a GDP of approx. USD 250 billion and a high economic growth rate of 5% (2011). 

In 2011, Swiss exports to Hong Kong amounted to almost CHF 6.3 billion. During the first eight months of 2012, exports increased again by almost 20%, while exports to China during the same period decreased by almost 15%. Watches make up by far the largest proportion of exports, followed by precious stones, precious metals and jewellery, as well as machinery, pharmaceuticals and chemical basic products. Osec sees further great potential for export-oriented Swiss companies in particular in the sectors of biotechnology and medical technology, electronic devices, ICT and multimedia, but also in the cleantech sector, for example in renewable energies or energy distribution, as well as in sustainable building. 

Source: OSEC