Repaving the ancient Silk Routes

China’s Belt and Road (B&R) initiative is a global connectivity program focused on infrastructure development across East and Central Asia, the subcontinent, Africa and Europe. It goes beyond roads and ports, to include airports, power plants, pipelines, waste and water management facilities and telecommunications. These are supported by extensive ecosystems, providing opportunities for international professional and project management expertise.

Demand for global expertise

B&R projects are open to all countries beyond the 65 developing nations along the 6 economic corridors. It will have an impact on a population of about 4.4 billion and one third of the global economy. The size and complexity of B&R projects means that enterprises from both China and along the B&R will seek to partner with foreign companies which have globally recognized skills and capabilities, as well as experience in managing complex international engagements.

However, identifying the right B&R project and preparing for success raises a number of complex questions:

What are the risks associated with B&R projects?

  • Geopolitical risks: Changes in political regimes or in bilateral relations between countries involved in B&R during a project’s lifespan.
  • Funding risks: Funding gaps and host countries’ varied ability to repay loans, exacerbated by higher capital and debt service ratios of B&R projects.
  • Operational risks: A lack of experience in delivering and managing complex transnational projects, leading to delays and cost overruns.

How do I evaluate which B&R project to be involved in?

  • Commercial viability assessment: Conduct realistic economic modelling to establish the business case viability of a B&R project.
  • Review maturity of the infrastructure ecosystem: Assess the maturity and future plans of the surrounding infrastructure.
  • Establish a portfolio fit: Evaluate how the proposed B&R project complements the company’s existing infrastructure portfolio and overall growth objectives.

Which factors will help me position for success?

  • Contingency strategies: Establish contingency plans to manage short term disruptions and plan for lengthy project lifespans.
  • Align with governments: Build strong and respected relationships with local authorities and align with national interests in order to effectively navigate political pressure points.
  • Establish trusted partnerships: Work with local companies with proven track records and established connections with key local stakeholders.
  • Adopt a risk-sharing approach: Establish trust among all stakeholders to dilute the burden of shouldering potential risks.



Felix Sutter
Assurance Partner
Tel. +41 58 792 2820

China Economic Quarterly May 2017

What to expect from Made in China 2025 and China’s first Belt and Road Forum

The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this third quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as policy updates for a new economic zone Xiong’an New Area, insights into the “Made in China 2025” initiative and the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing on 14 and 15 May 2017.

China’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 delivered a much better result than market expectations. GDP increased by 6.9% year-on-year – the highest growth over the past five quarters, thanks to more pro-active fiscal stimuli and continued expansionary monetary policies.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • The primary, secondary and tertiary (services) industries all grew, with services as a share of GDP reaching a new high of 56.6% and contributing 61.7% to overall economic growth.
  • In the first quarter of 2017, China maintained its expansionary monetary policy. The increments of Aggregate Financing to the Real Economy (AFRE) were RMB 6.93 trillion, which was RMB 226.8 billion more than the same period last year.
  • In a bid to address severe traffic congestion and air pollution in Beijing, the Chinese government announced a historic plan on 1 April 2017 to create Xiong’an New Area, a new economic zone about 100 km southwest of Beijing, with an initial area of around 100 square km and eventually expanding to nearly three times the size of New York City.
  • “Made in China 2025” is China’s first ten-year plan for manufacturing expansion and upgrading and has attracted criticisms for being “problematic” with the potential to be used to “discriminate against foreign firms in favour of Chinese competitors”.

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china_economic_quarterly_nov2016To read more, you can access the latest issue of China Economic Quarterly by clicking the following links:

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Prospects for Future Economic Cooperation between China and Belt & Road Countries

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held in Beijing from 14 to 15 May 2017. According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 heads of states and governments attended the highest level of international conference held by China since the major initiative was put forward by President Xi Jinping in 2013. Economic cooperation is expected to be the top priority of this forum. So which areas are likely to achieve breakthroughs?

In our latest PwC analysis on the B&R initiative, Prospects for Future Economic Cooperation between China and Belt and Road Countries, we look at how the B&R initiative is reshaping the future economic cooperation between China and B&R countries.

Here are the major future prospects for economic collaboration between China and B&R countries:

  • Signing free trade agreements may be the most effective way for China to expand its trade with B&R countries
  • Opening up stock and bond markets for B&R countries will provide more investment opportunities for Chinese business
  • Promoting RMB internationalisation in major B&R economies rather than in the developed countries is more likely to be successful
  • Domestic preferential policy support will be critical in encouraging Chinese companies to invest more in the B&R countries

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China comes to Weggis – PwC experts on site

China Firm Roadshow

Many Swiss companies have a business presence in the China market – are you one of them? Our PwC colleagues from the People’s Republic of China will present their views and analyses on the general business environment, changes in the tax regime and transaction trends.

China is going digital at a faster speed than most countries, and many foreign
companies use digital channels to approach their customers in China. China’s new Cyber Security Law will have far-reaching consequences for any company that has operations in China, foreign companies included. Our experts will highlight the key regulatory and tax-related changes that may affect your company as well.

Chinese investors have become increasingly present in Switzerland. In the concluding panel of this PwC event, experts from different industries will discuss the burning questions such as what Chinese investors are looking for in Europe, how they will manage the newly acquired companies, and what possible implications there are for Swiss businesses.

We would like to discuss these topical issues with you in a one-to-one meeting and on our China Weggis Event.


China Weggis Event: Wednesday, 31 May 2017

One-to-one meetings: 29 – 31 May 2017

Click here for more details


Please register online for the event and the one-to-one meetings:

Online registration


Felix Sutter 
Head Asia Business Group
SCCC President
Partner PwC
+41 58 792 2820

Stefan Räbsamen
Partner PwC
+41 58 792 2622


Business Review of Premier Li Keqiang’s Government Work Report 2017

March 2017

China recently held the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang announced a number of key policies and initiatives which sets the country’s economic direction. These changes will have profound implications on the business landscape in 2017 and beyond. As part of the Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report which provides a review of:

I.   Government’s achievements in 2016;
II.  Government’s goals and priorities for 2017; and
III. Government’s plans and actions to improve quality and effectiveness of growth.

Key highlights of the Report

Economic growth rate

  • GDP growth rate for the coming year has been set realistically at “around 6.5%, or higher if possible in practice,” relative to the range of 6.5-7% for 2016.

Fixed and private investments

  • The government will invest 800 billion yuan in railway construction and 1.8 trillion yuan in highway and waterway projects in 2017 while continuing its massive investments in major state projects.
  • To encourage growth in private investments, the government plans to improve policies as well as public administration and promote Public Private Partnerships.

Emerging industries and investment hot-spots

  • The government plans to accelerate the R&D and commercialisation of new materials, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, and bio-pharmacy and 5-G mobile communications.
  • The government has also set aggressive targets for environmental protection and plans to launch extensive ‘Fitness-for-All’ initiatives, creating business opportunities in education, elderly care, healthcare, tourism, e-commerce and creative services.

Pro-business reforms

  • The government plans to make service industries, manufacturing, and mining more open to foreign-invested firms (FIEs).
  • There are also plans to treat FIEs the same as domestic firms on applications, standards-setting and government procurement and allowing FIEs to enjoy the same preferential policies under the Made in China 2025 initiative.

Real estate sector

  • In 2017, the government will establish robust long-term mechanisms to promote steady and sound development of the real estate sector to restrict further investment and “speculative” purchases by residents and investors.

RMB exchange rate and bad debt

  • To address the rising non-performing loans, Premier Li has pledged to reform the financial regulatory system and work systematically to defuse major potential risks.

Asia: digitally diverse, economically attractive

Digitisation is in full swing in Asia, and is having an impact on both business and society. But the picture is mixed: while Asian countries are setting the trend and the pace in some areas, they need to catch up in others. As a leader in innovation and engineering, Switzerland will continue to play a key role in the economic and geocultural exchange with Asia.

Read more…


China Economic Quarterly February 2017

China announces new measures to attract foreign investment in 2017

The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this fourth quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as what China plans to do in 2017 and what’s next for the Renminbi.

Major economic indicators

pwc_china economic quarterly q4 2016


  • China’s GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016 increased by 6.8%, resulting in the overall GDP growth of 6.7% for the whole year over 2015.
  • Fixed asset investment remained a key driver for China’s economic growth, growing 8.1% over last year and accounting for 80% of GDP.
  • Massive money supply has exerted great pressure on RMB’s exchange rate, which fell from RMB 6.55 per dollar at the beginning of the year to RMB 6.92 per dollar at the end of 2016.
  • China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) experienced the highest performance since 2012 in the fourth quarter of 2016, thanks to booming domestic demand, rising prices and growing activities in high-end manufacturing.

Policy update

  • China’s State Council announced on 17 January 2017 an unprecedented set of new measures to attract foreign investment. These measures aim to lower market entry restrictions on foreign investment in several sectors including banking, insurance, futures and others.
  • China has issued its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) to strengthen the protection and utilisation of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The plan laid out 7 major tasks for the development of IPRs, such as improving the legal system and protection for IPRs, promoting industrial upgrading and international cooperation.

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To find out more about the market outlook and its implications for businesses in China, please click this link:

Hong Kong:


亲爱的 朋友们, 女士们, 先生们!

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Chinese lunar year which just started is not just the Year of the Rooster – it is the Year of the Fire Rooster. One might think that an ordinary rooster already has quite a temper − so what should we expect from a Fire Rooster?

The Year of the Rooster 2017 is a very special one. It has 384 days and lasts for almost 13 months, from January 28, 2017 until February 15, 2018 – an event which takes place only every sixty years. Therefore, it contains two «Chinese springs» and is called a Fire Rooster Year.

Fortunately, the name of this animal is more fiery than its characteristics. And, in any case, a creature which appears only every sixty years may need some time to get up to full speed. As one might expect from an elderly animal, the fire rooster is more virtuous than temperamental, which is indeed an auspicious sign. He is well known for five virtues which are supposed to influence the New Year:  courage, perseverance, efficiency, generosity and punctuality.

While punctuality certainly has its advantages – who does not like people who stick to timelines and reliably deliver results – other animals like the monkey or the tiger think it smells a bit dusty. But the tiger is a leader who is not accountable to anybody, and the monkey somehow artfully masters any situation. Everybody else, especially the ones who get to work in a team, should profit from the Fire Rooster’s punctuality and sense of responsibility.

Courage comes in handily, too: talking straight, calling things by their name and getting things done lead to efficiency right away. A Fire Rooster does not like to waste time and makes the best use of its resources. Who in business doesn’t like this?

Combined with a healthy degree of perseverance, success is bound to happen. After all, only those who follow up on pending matters, refuse to lose and strive to achieve the defined goals with persistence will finally achieve their aims.

But what about emotions? Does the Fire Rooster also have a heart, or is he all about certainly virtuous, but rather business-oriented characteristics? Here, the Fire Rooster can help with his generosity. He is looking at the big picture, and at the same time he is overlooking small missteps in order to achieve the overall goal. He is mentoring the younger colleagues and generously makes place for the next generation.

All these virtues play well with an organization that wants to implement a new strategy or a big project, and they agree very well with the Swiss business culture. In this sense, I wish you a happy and successful New Year!


May you have a prosperous New Year!


Doing business in China: Three ways executives in China will adapt to new market realities

The APEC 2016 CEO Survey China report, Doing business in China, was launched last week. The theme focuses on a story of change and adaptation as executives in China develop their strategy in response to new market realities.

PwC surveyed over 1,100 CEOs and business leaders across APEC’s 21 economies (including 222 based in Hong Kong and China). They were asked to give their perspectives and plans for doing business in China in the run up to the APEC Business Summit in Lima, Peru (17-19 November).

Some of the hot topics from this year’s China report include:

  • Business outlook for a changing China
  • Investment plans of China executives
  • Strong sector growth stories in technology and financial services
  • Strategies to seek quality growth




You can find more information here.

China Economic Quarterly November 2016

China remains on track to grow in the third quarter of 2016 buoyed by service sector growth and fixed asset investment

The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this third quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as Xi Jinping’s speech on the role of the Party in the management of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), China’s supply-side structural reform and pilot programme on SOE reform.

Graphic 1

According to key economic data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics for the third quarter of 2016, China’s GDP grew at the rate of 6.7%, an increase of 1.8% from the previous quarter, thanks to strong investment and expansionary monetary policies.

Here are the key findings:

  • Services maintained its strong momentum, growing 7.6% year-on-year in the first three quarters, contributing to just over half of total GDP growth.
  • Fixed asset investment grew 8.2% (or 9.5% real growth rate) to RMB 42.69 trillion, remaining one of the key drivers of the overall economy.
  • National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has expedited the approvals for urban rail projects. Up to now, urban rail plans of nearly 50 cities have been approved with a total investment of more than RMB 2.5 trillion.
  • Sales of residential buildings surged by 43.2% in response to new government restrictive policies on house purchase and land supply and rising inflow of hot money into the market.
  • Consumption maintained its growth momentum, becoming a major contributor to China’s economic growth.



china_economic_quarterly_nov2016To find out more about the market outlook and its implications for businesses in China, please click this link:

Hong Kong: