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Watches and precision instruments Swiss businesses in China upbeat after record export year

Swiss Center Shanghai

Swiss Centers China is a non-profit organisation aimed at lowering market entry barriers of Swiss companies in Asia.


According to a survey, 72% of Swiss business leaders in China expect “higher” or “substantially higher” sales of goods from Switzerland to China and Hong Kong in 2018 than in 2017, when exports reached a record CHF16.7 billion ($17.9 billion).

Just 5% of business leaders anticipated lower export figures this year, according to the preliminary results of the 2018 Swiss Business in China Survey, which were released Tuesday by Swiss Centers Chinaexternal link.

Full results from the survey of 108 Swiss and 440 Chinese business respondents will be published in March.

+ China tops export destination ranking for Swiss SMEs

According to the Swiss Centers China press release, in 2017, Switzerland exported CHF16.7 billion worth of goods to China and Hong Kong, which is an increase of 13.8% on the previous year and represents a new record. China and Hong Kong bought CHF7.2 billion ($7.7 billion) worth of watches and precision instruments from the alpine nation in 2017, making China the largest world market for this category of Swiss products.

“While Swiss exports in 2017 to key markets such as Germany, Italy and France did not yet rebound to their pre-crisis 2008 levels, exports to China and Hong Kong grew by 66%” from 2008 to 2017, said Swiss Centers China co-founder Nicolas Musy.

After watches and precision instruments, the most important export sectors from Switzerland to China and Hong Kong in 2017 were pharmaceuticals and chemicals (+13% growth), as well as machinery (+12.8%)

Overall, China and Hong Kong represent the third biggest export market for Swiss products, behind Germany and the USA. China is by far the biggest Asian market for Swiss exports, with the volume of sales twice as high as to Japan and ten times higher than to India.

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