Chinese Spring Festival and Other Important Public Holidays

Authors: Ji Yuan, Wang Miaomiao

Are you planning your 2018 trips or meetings in China? Those already working with China will know that mid-February is not the ideal time for business meetings as it is the time of China’s biggest annual holiday, the Chinese Spring Festival.

Ji Yuan from our SSRCC Harbin office and Wang Miaomiao from our SSRCC Swiss office present a guide below to the main holidays and a few additional days of interest to help you plan your next visits to China.

Chinese Holiday Calendar for 2018

1. Spring Festival (15 – 21 February 2018)
Dumplings at New Years EveThe Spring Festival, also known as Chinese Lunar New Year, is the most important festival in China to welcome the coming year. The key activity is reunion dinner which gathers one’s whole extended family, and it’s held on Spring Festival Eve. People may visit their family and close friends with wine and food in the first and following days of Spring Festival, which is called “Chuanmen”.

2. Qingming Festival (5 – 7 April 2018)
Qingming Festival is on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, also known as “Tomb-sweeping Day”. People visit the graves or burial grounds of ancestors and perform worship ritual including burning Joss paper (纸钱) as money for the death to use in the other world.

3. Labour Day (29 April – 1 May 2018)
Labour Day is originally a way of honouring Chinese workers, and now it’s more a joyful holiday to share a relaxing time with family and friends.

4. The Dragon Boat Festival (16 – 18 June 2018)
Dragon Boat FestivalOriginally to commemorate the death of the poet and minister Qu Yuan 2500 years ago and highlight the virtue of loyalty, the Duanwu Festival now is widely known as the Dragon Boat Festival because of large scale Dragon Boat competition. It is on the 5th day of the 5th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. People eat Zongzi, which is made by sticky rice with either sweet stuffing (e.g. in the Northern China) or meat stuffing (e.g. in the Southern part). Gifts of Zongzi in various forms are very popular in recent years.

5. The Mid-Autumn Festival (22 – 24 September 2018)
Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Responding to the meaning of brightest and roundest full moon in a year, the festival emphasizes the value of union and thanksgiving. Family and friends would come together to celebrate. Other activities include Mid-Autumn lanterns with riddles and having people to guess the answers. Mooncake is the most popular gift during Mid-Autumn festival period. Representing the full moon, mooncake is in round shape with usually sweet stuffing inside.

6. The National Day (Golden week 1 – 7 October 2018)
Travelling season during the Golden Week1 October is the day when the People’s Republic of China was founded. To celebrate the forming of PRC and freedom of Chinese people, people have 7 days off, known as the “Golden Week”. Domestic tourism booms during the long vacation. People in Beijing would go to Tiananmen Square in the early morning for flag-raising ceremony. For every 5 years, the state will organize large-scale parades.

More special dates in China

1. Lantern Festival (2 March 2018)
Considered as the last day of Spring Festival Celebration, Spring Lantern Festival is on the fifteenth day of the first month (the first Full Moon of Lunar Year) in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The celebration includes two parts: having Tangyuan, which is the dessert made from stuffing (ground black sesame or meat) covered by glutinous rice flour at home, and watching lanterns on the street which are mostly red to symbolize good fortune.

2. Women’s Day (8 March 2018)
Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the day of March 8 has proclaimed as Women’s Day, and allows women for an extra half day holiday. Moreover, work units and some enterprises may hold celebration for Women’s Day. The celebration provides a platform to recognize women’s achievement in the company, which helps promoting the gender equality.

3. Qixi Festival (17 August 2018)
Qixi Festival is the Chinese Valentine’s Day on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It originates from a romantic fairy of a couple who is separated by Milky Way and could only meet in Qixi for one day through bridge formed by magpies. Traditionally it is a girl’s festival expecting marriage, yet it is highly commercialized in recent years. It sets up a stage for both boys and girls to celebrate each other’s accompany.

4. Teachers‘ Day (10 September 2018)
Respecting teachers is a key element of China’s tradition, thus Teachers’ Day is with high significance in China since it is first proclaimed in 1985. Students would send cards and flowers to school teachers. Teachers in China could go beyond officially registered teachers and be extended to mentors. Thus, the celebration is widely held on Teachers’ Day not limited to schools and colleges.

5. Double-ninth Festival (17 October 2018)
The Double-ninth Festival is on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The celebration of the festival could be dated back to East Han dynasty, two thousand years ago. It offers an opportunity for family members to visit and show admire to elders. Traditional activities for the festival include hiking, drinking chrysanthemum liquor, and wearing the zhuyu plant (Cornus officinalis).


Ms Miaomiao Wang
Researcher at FHNW SSRCC in Olten/Switzerland

What’s Next for China? Lessons from the 19th Chinese Party Congress

On 11th December 2017, the FHNW School of Business / Swiss SME Research Center China launched the „China Insights“ seminar series at FHNW in Basel with the question „What’s next for China after the 19th Party Congress?“ and illuminated the topic from different angles.

About 60 guets followed the explanations of the experts: Ms Elisabeth Tester, ChinaIntelligence, interviewed Minister-Counselor Mr GU Hui (economic policy impacts), Ms Fiona Gao, Vischer AG (policy impacts), Mr Stephan Jüngling, FHNW (OBOR and international trade and diplomacy policy), Mr Gabriel Schweizer, Basel.Area (impacts on Sino-Swiss Business) and host and moderator Mr Michael Jeive, FHNW (key outcomes of the congress).

Minister-Counselor Mr GU Hui


The speakers: Gabriel Schweizer, Stephan Jüngling, Hui Gu, Fiona Gao, Michael Jeive, missing Elisabeth Tester

Elisabeth Tester is interviewing Minister-Counselor Mr GU Hui

Fiona Gao

Stephan Jüngling

Gabriel Schweizer

The host and moderator Michael Jeive

Networking Apero


Prof. Michael Jeive
Head of Swiss SME Research Center China
University of Applied Sciences Northwerstern Switzerland
FHNW School of Business

Leadership Trainingsprogramm „Snow and Ice“ für chinesische Kaderleute

Author: Hans-Kaspar von Matt

Die Hochschule für Wirtschaft FHNW führt regelmässig zwei- bis dreiwöchige Leadership Trainingsprogramme zu verschiedenen Themenbereichen für chinesische Kaderleute durch. Die Teilnehmenden haben in der Regel eine Führungsfunktion in einem chinesischen KMU oder einer Ausbildungsinstitution inne oder sind Mitarbeitende der Provinzregierung. Sie wollen sich auf ihrem Fachgebiet in der Schweiz weiterbilden.

Im August/September 2017 absolvierten 28 Führungskräfte aus Tourismus- und Sportinstitutionen der chinesischen Provinz Heilongjiang ein Weiterbildungs-Programm zum Thema „Snow and Ice – Tourism and Sports in Switzerland“.







Die Gruppe besuchte die Schweizer Tourismus-Orte Engelberg/Titlis, Andermatt/Sedrun, Arosa, Engadin/St.Moritz, Flims/Laax, Saas Fee und Crans Montana und hatte so die Gelegenheit, sieben unterschiedliche Schweizer Tourismuskonzepte kennenzulernen.

Die chinesischen Tourismus-Spezialisten besuchten mit Garaventa Seilbahnbau, Goldau und Stöckli Skimanufaktur, Malters auch zwei Produktionsfirmen für touristische Anlagen und Sportgeräte. Bei Omega, Biel und Viktorinox, Brunnen erhielt die Gruppe einen Einblick in zwei Firmen, die im Wintersport-Sponsoring tätig sind. Wertvolle Inputs erhielten sie auch beim SECO zur Tourismuspolitik des Bundes und Schweiz Tourismus brachte den chinesischen Tourismus-Experten die touristische Promotion der Schweiz im Ausland näher.

Mit Besuchen bei SCB Bern, Swiss Ski, SUVA-Unfallprävention, Freestyle Academy Laax und der Indoor Skiaanlage Saas Fee erhielten die Teilnehmenden sehr interessante und wertvolle Inputs im Bereich Schweizer Wintersport.

Die chinesische Delegation absolvierte ein intensives und reichhaltiges Programm, das auch dem Kontaktaufbau zwischen schweizerischen und chinesischen Firmen und Institutionen diente und den Schweizer Partnern Gelegenheit gab, ihre möglichen Unterstützungsleistungen bei der Weiterentwicklung des Wintersports und -tourismus in der chinesischen Provinz Heilongjiang aufzuzeigen.

In China und speziell in der Provinz Heilongjiang mit ihren international beliebten Ski-Orten wie z.B. Yabuli ist grosses Potenzial vorhanden für die Weiterentwicklung der Wintersportorte. Im Hinblick auf die Olympischen Winterspiele Peking 2022 sollen in nächster Zeit viele Tourismusorte zu modernen Ski- und Wintersport-Resorts ausgebaut werden. Diese Entwicklung hat viel Geschäftspotenzial für Schweizer Firmen, die im weitesten Sinn im Bereich Wintersport, Tourismus, Wellness oder im Hochpreis-Segment tätig sind.


Hans-Kaspar von Matt
Projektleiter Leadership Trainingsprogramm
„Snow and Ice – Tourism and Sports in Switzerland“

Swiss Chinese Life Sciences Forum 2017

Author: Michael Jeive

Upcoming Events

FHNW SSRCC – China Insights Series
11.12.2017 What Next for China? Lessons from the 19th Party Congress
01/02 2018 Intellectual Property Rights
02/03 2018 Digital Channels and Online Marketing in China
04/05 2018 Key International HR Questions for Swiss SMEs in China
Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce – Events
27.10.2017 1st Chinese Market Fair
06.11.2017 SCCC-Luncheon „Doing Business in Switzerland from the Chinese Perspective“
13.11.2017 SCCC-Luncheon „Banking Needs of Swiss Corporates in Asia““

On Friday, 15 September 2017, the first Swiss Chinese Life Sciences Forum attracted close to 200 attendees and speakers to discuss the challenges responses and opportunities in the Chinese health sector especially relating to rapid demographic and social changes in China and digital health in China investigating how mobile and digital technologies are being harnessed to help solve China’s current and future healthcare problems.

The event, jointly organised by the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, and the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce was generously hosted by Roche at the global headquarters in Basel.

After welcome speeches from representatives of the organisers and from Mr Christoph Brutschin, State Councillor of the Canton of Basel Stadt, the event moved swiftly to its two core themes.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Chinese Healthcare Sector

In the opening session, moderated by Michael Jeive,  Head of the FHNW’s Swiss SME Research Center China, Laurenz Kellenberger Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer Basilea Pharmaceuticals, Alexander Hardy, Head of Global Product Strategy, Roche Pharma, Dr Christoph Nabholz, Head

© Swiss Chinese Life Siences Forum

R&D Life & Health, Swiss Re Group and Dr Zhang Li from SCC Life Sciences considered how China’s changing demographics including an ageing and  – at the same time increasingly wealthy population – were leading to increasing demand for healthcare services. They noted that recent reforms in the Chinese health insurance system had led to over 95% of the population being covered by basic health insurance, but nonetheless, in many cases China’s citizens were still required to pay substantial additional costs sometimes rising up to 30% of the total treatment bill. Dr Christoph Nabholz introduced an innovative “critical illness insurance” developed by SwissRe that could enable individuals to access advanced treatments for conditions such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. Laurenz Kellenberger Ph.D showed us the rapid development from imitation to innovation within the Chinese pharmaceutical and especially biotech sector as well as describing the recent improvements in the regulatory environment were improving the environment for international companies and making collaboration easier. Alexander Hardy demonstrated China’s economic growth and its openness to investment having positive impacts on the health care sector despite continuing challenges in terms of access to treatment for the rural population and the immense complexity of the system as a whole. Dr Zhang Li joining for the panel discussion, talked about the hospital centric system especially as impacts in concentrating the best quality staff in China’s 1400 tertiary level hospitals and the importance of Traditional Chinese Medicine for large parts of the Chinese population.

The Potential for Digitalisation

The second section focusing on digital health in China brought together Dr. Tim Jaeger, Global Head of Diagnostics Information Solutions at Roche Diagnostics, Michael Frizberg, General Manager of Luye Supply AG and Sandy Johnston from PricewaterhouseCoopers under the moderation of Felix Sutter, President of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Tim Jaeger showed us how data integration and analytics linked to a much more nuanced understanding of disease complexity as well as new diagnostic tools are rapidly changing the way we deal with chronic and non-communicable diseases opening the way towards personalised medicine. Michael Frizberg demonstrated how the integration of digital healthcare apps and devices are changing the way the patients interact with the healthcare system and the data available to medical practitioners while Sandy Johnston focused on how digitalisation is creating an opportunity for China to leapfrog to an ultramodern healthcare system if it can respond to the policy and revenue challenges.

2nd event in 2018

The event was the first in what is planned to be an annual series taking place in Basel with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, and the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce working together each year with major industry players to investigate key themes in the Sino Swiss healthcare landscape. The next event is scheduled for September 2018.


Impressions (Photo Gallery)


Prof. Michael Jeive
Head Swiss SME Research Center China

China National Day on 1st October – Golden Week Holiday: booming tourism

Authors: Miaomiao Wang, Dominik Schaub and Joanna Zhou

The Chinese people have just returned to work after the Golden Week Holiday and after celebrating the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.

In 1999, the State Council of China announced the new „National Day and Anniversary Holiday Measures“, and decided to have golden week holiday for China’s National Day. It is made as 3 days public holiday together with stitching two weekends, resulting in a total 7-day holiday.

Year 2000 appeared in the first 7 days of „Golden Week“, since then the annual national holiday travel swept the country. Golden Week is also seen as a major move of stimulating domestic demand and promoting consumption.

Shenyang train station – © Dominik Schaub and Joanna Zhou

In 2017, National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival have overlapped and resulted to an 8-day holiday. According to CNTA (China National Tourism Administration), during the golden week this year, a total of 700 million Chinese travelled around China which generating 584 billion yuan (about 85 billion CHF) revenue and a year on year growth of 13.9%. It has been a transportation boom also with 12.95 million passenger trips made by plane and over 110 million passenger trips made by rail.

Shenyang train station – © Dominik Schaub and Joanna Zhou

CNTA data showed that about 6 million Chinese travelled abroad to 1,155 cities in 88 countries or regions during this National Day holiday, and the most popular destinations are Thailand, Japan, Singapore and US. Countries along „Belt and Road“ become expected destinations. Chinese tourists are more interested in in-depth personalized travel experiences, as well as the rising demand of high-quality tours.


Miaomiao Wang, Olten
Research Assistant

Dominik Schaub and Joanna Zhou, Harbin
Project leaders
FHNW School of Business / Swiss SME Research Center China,

Insight China 2017- An exciting study trip

Author: Diana Jamous

Insights into China’s cultural and economic diversity for FHNW students

30 students and lecturers from the FHNW Schools of Business, Engineering, Life Sciences and applied Psychology visited China for 17 days as part of Insight China 2017

The student-organised study trip mainly focused on transferring knowledge between senior executives, government officials, Chinese universities and FHNW students. This has been an outstanding learning experience, including onsite visits to companies, public institutions and universities. The project, in its 16th year is a highlight for those who are trying to expand their own horizons in a unique way and who would like to discover how Chinese do business in reality.
To learn more about their visits visit their Insight China Blog

Insight China delegation in front of Bühler's offices in Wuxi, China

Insight China delegation in front of Bühler’s offices in Wuxi, China

In addition to the business programme, the students have had the chance to experience ´´Chinese culture and the local lifestyle´´, by visiting the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of China in Beijing, trying traditional Chinese food and exploring Beijing, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Guangzhou and Wuxi. They have also had the opportunity to exchange knowledge with Chinese students, look at innovative technologies and a lot more.



‘‘Insight China 2017 was an extraordinary and unforgettable trip. It was perfectly organized and a good mix between impressive foreign culture and insights into innovative companies. And it was far more; it was a journey of surprises and emotions. As a smoothly functioning team we mastered challenging official and nightly events. It was great to be part of this Insight China team!’’
Prof. Dr. Alex Ringenbach, FHNW School of Life Sciences.


The world's biggest port was one of the highlights of the visit to the Kühne+Nagel subsidiary in Shanghai/China

The world’s biggest port was one of the highlights of the visit to the Kühne+Nagel subsidiary in Shanghai/China

What is Insight China

Insight China is a prestigious project in its 16th anniversary year at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) and offers ambitious students the opportunity to gain insights into China’s cultural and economic diversity. By promoting exchange between professionals and students, both sides benefit from each other through the combination of theory and practical experience. The aim is the transfer of knowledge between the delegation of students and the companies that are involved in the project to create and strengthen the foundation of doing business in China.

Insight China is one of four international student projects organized annually by the FHNW School of Business bachelor students. Read the joint magazine NEXUS.



Diana Jamous

China’s Two Sessions

Author: Miaomiao Wang

National Two Sessions

The „Two Sessions“ refer to the annual meeting of National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China and The National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Since the two sessions basically overlap in time, while both are very high in terms of operational importance for the country, it is collectively called Two Sessions.
The National People’s Congress is the supreme body of state authority, and the people elect their representatives through democratic elections to constitute the people’s congress to exercise concentrated state power.
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is an important body of the multi-party cooperative political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Its main functions are political consultation and democratic supervision, to organize participates of all parties, groups and people from all ethnic groups and all walks of life to participate in politics. CPPCC members arise from consultations.
Every five years the two sessions, considered as one period, the annual meeting is called as X Plenary Session of X period. According to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the significance of the „two sessions“ is to collect the information and requirements from the people via people representatives, and convey it to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist party. The representatives of the „two sessions“ represent the interests of the majority, representing the voters during the two sessions to the relevant government departments to put forward their own suggestions and requests. Annual regional NPC and CPPCC also known as the two sessions, usually held the time before the national „two sessions“.
The 5th Plenary Session of the 12th National People’s Congress opened on 3 March 2017 and The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference opened 5 March 2017; both are in Beijing, China.

National People's Congress NPC, P.R. China

The Third Session of the 12th National People’s Congress NPC, P.R. China

Regional Two Sessions

Heilongjiang Province 2017: Revitalize the real economy
The fundamental goal in 2017 for Heilongjiang province is to improve the competitiveness of the real economy. This is also the first time that Heilongjiang Provincial government work report mentioned the revitalization of the real economy. The real economy is developing relatively slow in Heilongjiang province, and the reasons are both institutional and for unreasonable economic structure. The main factors restricting the development of real economy in Heilongjiang Province are the strong dependence of development path and low level of technological innovation, also the abnormal development of virtual economy have squeezed the space of the real economy development to a certain degree. To thoroughly implement important requirements focusing on revitalizing the real economy, for the real economy in Heilongjiang especially the manufacturing industry that the existence structure has the problem of imbalance and lack of competitiveness and other prominent issues. It is necessary to strengthen the macro guidance in time to give important market signals, also to guide the market focus on market reality, as well as to take effective measures to support, so to fundamentally improve the competitiveness of the real economy. Continue to promote industrial projects, deepen innovation drive. Specific measures can be multi-angle strive; to promote specialized and systematized investment; change the concept of existing enterprises, promote innovation, attract talents, strengthen management; industrializing high-tech achievements; to make full application of new business type and business model; and etc.



Miaomiao Wang
FHNW School of Business / Swiss SME Research Center China

Can China escape the middle-income trap?

Author: Vannak Im

Innovation and legale frameworks needed

The explosive growth of China over the last three decades has created a middle-income country. However, China did not manage to sustain its previous growth rate in recent years and its government now faces the daunting task of avoiding the middle-income trap: How to remain competitive with higher labour costs.

During the Preparatory Seminar of Insight China, four experts discussed this complex situation: Lukas Züst, Counsel & Head of China Desk at Vischer AG, Elisabeth Tester, Co-Founder ChinaIntelligence, Janwillem Acket, Chief Economist at Julius Bär and Prof. Michael Jeive, Head of the FHNW Swiss SME Research Centre China.


According to Acket, China has reached a crucial period in its economic development. Last year’s growth rate of 6.7% was the slowest pace in more than a quarter century, confirming multiple years of slowdown that impairs its economic transformation. Stuck at the middle-income level, the world’s second largest economy is unable to break through.

“China has entered the first stage out of poverty and the big challenge is, how can it go from its current stage into the next higher level,” Acket said.

He denoted China’s middle-income trap as a dilemma because of its sandwich-position. Due to the exhaustion of cheap labour, China struggles to maintain international competitiveness with low-cost countries. Besides, there is an intense high-tech competition with developed nations, according to Acket.

Meanwhile, the government recognises innovation as the key driving force for China’s further development and placed significant emphasis on science and technology in its 13th five-year plan. “If you look at the five-year plan, there is a clear focus to go away from heavy industries that actually brought China at the forefront, as the largest manufacturer of the world,” Acket noted. In order to overcome the hurdles of the middle-income trap, Tester confirmed the importance of creating an economy based on innovation and technology. “There is one word that characterises the whole discussion and this word is innovation,” Tester said.

Governance of innovation

A critical barrier that China must face before entering the spectrum of technologies is its own governance of innovation. According to Züst, the government identified the areas for improvement and is doing its utmost to strengthen innovation, yet they still want to maintain control and restrict with it the freedom of research. “That is the kind of contradiction that the current system still has,” Züst concluded. “If a government wants to be involved everywhere, it is not very motivating for researchers,” Acket added. “It is going to be crucial for China’s development process into the final stage, that the government allows free zones for research and development.” Furthermore the government is required to develop a legal environment that paves the way for innovation, in particular a functioning intellectual property protection system, according to Züst.

The shift from resource-driven growth to innovation-based growth is undoubtedly a huge challenge for China. However, the panellists are confident that China will move up the income ladder. The government understands what is required to foster innovation and if it also manages to cope with legal certainty, Züst believes, China will not be caught in the middle-income trap.

Author: Vannak Im
FHNW international student project „Insight China“
PR & Communication

Parallel Market Research in Multiple Chinese Cities – a new research concept

Author: Michael Jeive

The  Swiss SME Research Center China (SSRCC), a center within the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland  FHNW, carries out market research in parallel in multiple Chinese regions leveraging our extensive network of university partners.

Why Carry Out Parallel Market Research in Multiple Chinese Cities?

It is easy to be seduced by the sheer size and apparent potential of the Chinese market. However, in many cases in reality China has multiple overlapping markets and its economy is as varied and complex as that of Europe. Comparing Harbin, Kunming and Shanghai is much like Copenhagen, Cadiz and London, and surely no one would research in Cadiz for a product launch in Copenhagen.

To understand the market potential and market entry modes for a Swiss product or service and to investigate potential market entry modes, the market must be segmented both geographically and by sector. This means finding the right place and the right channels to offer the best chances of success for your products or service.

Would you research in Cadiz for a product launch in Copenhagen?

Let’s consider one example:

Example Findings – Buying Decisions of Retail Cosmetics Customers

Customer preferences and buying behaviours are significantly different in Shanghai and Harbin and also amongst high and mid income buyers. Customers in Harbin respond to cosmetic products in a different way and use quite different criteria and process in the buying decision. Importantly, cities like Shanghai which are most developed are also the most contested and challenging markets while growth potential in many Tier 2 cities is strong and competition still comparatively weaker offering solid opportunities for those companies able to take them. Such data is vital for companies to developing marketing and communication strategies and enables targeted regional activities helping to segment and respond to large and complex market.

Selected cities within easy travelling distance of an FHNW School of Business partner (cities in bold are home to an SSRCC partner, others are within easy travel distance of a partner)

Parallel Market Research Process

Market research is conducted in parallel in several economic regions in China to support SMEs in their decision-making. This is made possible by the FHNW School of Business university network in China. Working with local university partners we also learn more about the local markets and the economic environment in China, ensure our researchers have local knowledge and minimise the potential impact of western researchers influencing the responses of the interviewees.

Swiss Concepts Applied Internationally

The initial market research concepts for the Chinese market are developed individually for each customer in Switzerland, then approved by the customer and tested locally in China by a local partner university to ensure user friendliness and data reliability. After the test phase, the adapted concept is approved again by the customers before the Chinese partners are trained in the research instruments.

This method ensures that each customer works with a project manager who understands the local position of the company in Switzerland and can guarantee that all confidential and sensitive data remain in Switzerland in order to minimise risk. At the same time, the quality of the research is maximized by taking advantage of local insights and the knowledge of the Chinese partners. This process ensures the reliability and clarity of the method for the entire geographically defined market research area in China. Once the research data have been collected in China, they are delivered to Switzerland for data analysis and reporting.

Lower Costs Thanks to Local Partners, Increased Benefits for Swiss Students and Academics

Our new market research method also means that the costs can be kept lower thanks to our local partners and the possibility to test the concept simultaneously in several Chinese cities spread over a larger area. This new method also strengthens and intensifies the cooperation with our local university partners. This results in additional research ideas and joint academic research contributions.

As a University of Applied Sciences and Arts, it is central to our function that we pass on our knowledge to our students in the classroom so that they are prepared for their future employment are more valuable employees for Swiss enterprises especially those operating in global markets now or in the future.

The Swiss SME Research Center China (SSRCC)

The SSRCC’s mission is to promote information and technology exchange and bring together industry partners from Switzerland and China to build cooperation and innovation. The SSRCC provides Swiss enterprises, especially SMEs, with a viable opportunity to gain a market presence in China while offering their Chinese counterparts the same possibility in Switzerland.    The SSRCC is part of the the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW, School of Business and provides services in the area of ​​business consulting and market research for Swiss and Chinese enterprises as well as joint research and executive development programmes with Chinese university partners. We are currently working on a number of market research assignments for medium-sized companies from the region of northwest Switzerland. The FHNW University of Applied Sciences has maintained an intensive exchange with companies from various sectors, renowned universities and important authorities in China for over 25 years. These relationships are used to foster the exchange of knowledge and business relations between Switzerland and China. In this way, we are able to improve the professional abilities of our students and help deliver opportunities for Swiss companies in the Chinese market.


Prof. Michael Jeive
Head of Swiss SME Research Center China
University of Applied Sciences Northwerstern Switzerland
FHNW School of Business

Impressions from the Gansu International Fellowship Program GIFP

Author: Stephan Jüngling

The „One belt one road“ initiative

A new boost for mutual exchange between China and Europe might come from implementing the 21st century “One Belt One Road” initiative first formulated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. This vision aims to rebuild the ancient Silk Road spirit of cultural and economic exchange with modern high speed train infrastructure, new energy transmission lines and digital networking technology. Gansu is rich in cultural resources and historical heritage sites. Gansu’s central geographical location provides many beautiful landscapes for tourism. Dunhuang is ready to conduct a series of annual international cultural expositions that started in September 2016. Their goal is to further promote cultural exchange and support mutual learning among all the countries along the New Silk Road.

The Gansu International Fellowship Programm GIFP

In November 2016, the GIFP took place for the 11th time with the goal to strengthen the ties of mutual understanding and friendship between the East and the West. It is sponsored by the People’s Government of Gansu Province and undertaken by the Foreign Affairs Office of Gansu Provincial Government. It provides a great opportunity for the delegates to learn about Gansu and China from the 8000-year-old roots of the ancient Silk Road up to the New Economic Road And Belt Initiative to be implemented during the next few years.

The GIFP agenda includes

  • Facilitating bilateral exchange
  • Exploring common development potential in the fields of economy, trade, tourism, science and technology
  • Lectures about cultural, economic, political and ecological development
  • Visits to universities and vocational training institutions, companies and public institutions
  • Trips to other cities and heritage sites in Gansu

During this one-month programme, 26 delegates from 18 different countries were invited to learn and deepen their understanding about Gansu and China from a wide variety of different perspectives. We had lectures about the evolution of Chinas political system with the different approaches and influences from foreign monarchies over multi-party systems having more than 400 different parties up to today’s central communist party system. Other lectures were about the economic development of the Gansu province which ranges from being one of the most important locations of the ancient silk road during the Han dynasty, up to the fact that Gansu is currently the second poorest province of China but is in a very good position to play a major role in the context of the New Economic Road and Belt Initiative again.

Agriculture is an important industry sector in this area having a long history and expertise of farming and raising animals. Gansu has 250 million hectares of agricultural land with an annual meat production of 750’000 tons and 790 tons of grain. The corn seedling industry is very strong in the Hexi Corridor, which produces over 50% of corn for the entire country. Lanzhou is also well known as a “city of fruits and melons”. Since the weather is very dry, water saving and water efficiency technology are very important issues for Gansu and are subject of close collaboration with Israel.


The Yellow River which flows through the centre of Lanzhou also plays an important role for the city and its environs. Tourists marvel at the riverside waterwheel park with its 20m high wooden, fully functioning waterwheels that demonstrate ancient methods of  agricultural production and irrigation. The nearby parks also serve as recreation areas and are used very actively by the people of all ages with even the very elderly enjoying the many physical exercising tools or practicing Tai Chi while others dance, sing or play cards together. Even strangers like myself are very quickly invited to join them for ping pong or badminton.






Lanzhou, a city with 2.4 million people, is the capital of Gansu province with its 26 million inhabitants and 56 different ethnic nationalities, I experienced a welcome as warm as your home village. Even if the language barrier seems to be very high, little tools on the smart phone help a lot to do a minimum of conversation. Tools such as translation apps are indispensable since not many people in shops can speak English. But in most cases, the staff in the shops tried to organize someone who does speak English, be it a client that just happens to be in the shop or English speaking staff from the shop next door.

In addition to the formal lectures we Gansu International Fellows enjoyed many on-site visits to privately-owned companies or institutions like the traditional Chinese medicine TCM center or the Lanzhou 3D digital center, which is the public service center operating 48 different service hotlines for the city. We also visited the monitoring system room, with a large wall with dozens of screens where employees observe pictures from all the live webcams distributed across the four main districts of Lanzhou city.

In order to understand the vision of Gansu it is important to understand its history. As part of the ancient Silk Road Gansu lay on the nexus of the the cultural exchange between China, India, Central Asia and the European countries which lasted for more than ten dynasties. We visited the Gansu Provincial Museum, which has 19 exhibition halls with state-of-the art facilities and cabinets with touchscreen functionality that allows visitors to interact with the different tools.

One of the highlights was the excursion to Dunhuang and the Mogao Grottoes, located 1100 km north west of Lanzhou, covering 735 caves, 45’000 m2 of murals and 2415 earthenware sculptures that constitute the largest and richest site of Buddhist cave art content existing in the world.






China International Friendship Cities Conference 2016

A special honour for me was to go to the China International Friendship Cities Conferences 2016 in Chongqing, an international biannual event where the Gansu Province and the Canton Solothurn got an award for their mutual and outstanding bilateral friendship and cooperation. The truly international atmosphere with all distinguished guests and excellences from 600 partner cities from 154 different countries was overwhelming.





Gansu is ready for economic development and is investing a lot in cultural exchange and mutual understanding. With high speed trains you will be able to reach major cities like Shanghai or Beijing within 4 hours. China has already become the 2nd largest economy of the world in a very short period of time. Reaching Rotterdam from Shanghai by high speed trains rather than by ship will have further game-changing effects on the European market. We should be careful to understand the global challenges and changes of today and be prepared to contribute to a sustainable future and global vision of tomorrow.


Dr. Stephan Jüngling
Lecturer Business Information Systems

Dr. Stephan Jüngling ist auch Projektleiter des 4-tägigen Seminars „Doing Business in China