swissnex China Takes Part in EU-China S&T and Innovation Seminar 2018

swissnex China was pleased to participate in the EU-China S&T and Innovation Seminar 2018. The Shanghai Science and Technology Exchange Center (SSTEC) organized this seminar to contribute for the development of science and technology, economy, and society of Shanghai. Over 40 stakeholders attended the seminar.

 Our CEO Dr. Felix Moesner presenting Swiss innovation during the seminar.

Our CEO Dr. Felix Moesner presenting Swiss innovation during the seminar.

swissnex China presented the research and innovation landscape in Switzerland and potentials for collaboration with partners in Shanghai and beyond.  Exchange and cooperation of a wide have been launched by SSTEC to nurture exchanges in main areas with key countries, regions, organizations, universities and industries.

 Delegates from 20 countries attended the seminar, including Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, UK, and the US.

Delegates from 20 countries attended the seminar, including Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, UK, and the US.

The 20 key countries and regions include Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, UK, and the US. SSTEC is closely following the mission of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

We would like to express our special thanks to Zhu Junhao, Director as well as Yvonne Zhang, Project Manager of SSTEC for hosting the event.

Visit to Huawei R&D Center with the S&T Diplomatic Circle

swissnex China joined its peers from the S&T Diplomatic Circle on a memorable visit to the Huawei Technologies Shanghai R&D Center to gain in-depth insight into Huawei’s R&D strategy. Founded in 1987 with its headquarters in Shenzhen, Huawei Technology saw its rapid ascension into a leading Chinese multinational information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider in recent years. The company became the largest worldwide telecommunications equipment manufacturer in 2012, and takes a very proactive stance on innovation with its 14 research centers and 80,000 employees worldwide dedicated to R&D, with an annual US$13.8B invested in R&D which accounts for 10% of the company's revenues.

 swissnex China joins its peers from the S&T Diplomatic Circle for a memorable tour of the Huawei R&D Center in Shanghai.

swissnex China joins its peers from the S&T Diplomatic Circle for a memorable tour of the Huawei R&D Center in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Center in particular has given birth to some of the most successful solutions in the history of Huawei, including distributed base stations, SingleRAN and the brand's flagship smartphone. The institute gathers high-profile experts of the highest calibre, and is one of the most sophisticated research labs in the world.

 S&TDC Meeting with Jack Li, Vice President of the Research Center.

S&TDC Meeting with Jack Li, Vice President of the Research Center.

 Huawei demoing enterprise drone technology operating on 5g network.

Huawei demoing enterprise drone technology operating on 5g network.

One of the fundamental cornerstones of Huawei's strategy revolves around the development of proliferation up of the 5G ecosystem. In this domain, we were presented with five interesting use cases: connected drones, connected vehicles, VR with cloud processing, connected healthcare and wireless robotics. The 5g network allows for low-latency massive connections, which in the case of the drones enables them to send high-definition, real-time data to the cloud.

Huawei also showcased its developments in rural network construction, presenting solutions such as RuralStar and TubeStar which target emerging markets to help reduce customers’ total cost of ownership (TCO) while increasing their return on investment.

 Huawei's Smart Lamp Post solution plays an important part in the mass-deployment of IoT solutions.

Huawei's Smart Lamp Post solution plays an important part in the mass-deployment of IoT solutions.

 With cloudified VR, logical computing and image rendering are processed via the cloud, improving user experience and reducing the cost of terminals.

With cloudified VR, logical computing and image rendering are processed via the cloud, improving user experience and reducing the cost of terminals.

On the consumer side, Huawei presented the newly-launched P20 Pro which features a three-lens camera optimized with AI. The phone is equipped with the world’s first smartphone SoC chipset Kirin 970 with dedicated Neural-network Processor Unit (NPU).

We were delighted to have participated in the visit with 20 peers from 15 countries, and would like to express our special thanks to Ms. Anna Romsicka (Consulate General of Poland) and Ms. Einat Lev (Consulate General of Israel) for their great work in coordinating this visit.

Visit to the Alibaba Headquarters

By Valentin Beuchat and Sébastien Quadri, Junior Project Leaders

On May 25, swissnex China joined SwissCham in visiting the headquarter of Alibaba in Hangzhou which gathers more than 16’000 employees!

It was a great opportunity to learn more about the most well-known Chinese success story, with deep insights and impressive figures.

 

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Data is the new natural resource

Just to name a few examples, Alibaba Cloud is the backbone of their operational activities with large amounts of data being received and processed through the numerous platforms (e.g. Toabao, Alipay, Yokou, etc.).

During the single-day shopping festival that occurs each year on 11.11, cloud records demonstrate highest peaks of 325,000 orders and 256,000 payment transactions in one second. In only 1 day, Alibaba sees more sales volume and revenue than the entire USA during the black Friday!

Originally founded in Hangzhou, Alibaba is also improving its hometown with its innovative program dubbed “Hangzhou City Brain”. With the extensive network of CCTVs in town, the Alibaba Cloud can monitor and analyze various traffic parameters (e.g. traffic jam, car’s speed, plate, etc.), predict the traffic and then optimize the traffic lights to smooth the traffic.

This ever-growing flow of data is used by Alibaba to build an entire ecosystem around its products. On a B2C level for instance, Alipay is not only a financial services provider, but also a social platform; a life- and city-services provider; a guide to restaurants, leisure activities, travel destinations, and shopping experiences, etc.

 

Alipay goes international

As more and more Chinese travel abroad, Alipay follows them during their entire journey by having its own booking agency, then by recommending shops and restaurants that accept Alipay at the destination, by offering some coupons and special offers, by making the VAT refund process smoother (everything is done in the Alipay app), and by updating consumer profile and further recommendations based on the data acquired.

In Switzerland for example, the holiday resort Davos now has many businesses (restaurants, hotels, shops) accepting Alipay for Chinese tourists (for more information, see https://technode.com/2018/01/29/davos-alipay/)

 

An “H&H” vision

An interesting culture of “Health and Happiness” can quickly be noticed on the campus. Jack Ma, perceived as a great leader, implemented various creative ways to enjoy the working time and to give a “family feeling” to the employees.

Thanks to Alibaba for the invitation, SwissCham for the organization, and Quintus Dienst for the great presentation!

Artificial Intelligence in WealthTech – Great success for the 2nd edition of the Future of Money Series by swissnex China

By Valentin Beuchat, Junior Project Leader

swissnex China launched the second edition of the “Future of Money” series in China.

【 Click to Play the Video 】


The disruptive force of new algorithms and big data seems to reach the financial world and is forcing the latter to innovate, primarily as a response to the 2008 global financial crisis. Switzerland is at the cutting edge of FinTech and has gained interest around the world, including China. Combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), the potential is enormous, and swissnex China has set itself the goal to put the spotlight on the Swiss FinTech scene. So stay tuned to find out the swissnex China story about AI in WealthTech and how we connect the dots between Switzerland and China and continues to build an active community to discuss the future trends in FinTech.

 Picture        SEQ Picture \* ARABIC     1       : Shanghai, April 9

Picture 1 : Shanghai, April 9

 Picture 2 : Shanghai, April 9

Picture 2 : Shanghai, April 9

AI is the power of a machine capable of replicating an intelligent human behavior and can then learn and make predictions based on data. This automation process is used to assess client risk profiles and allocate and rebalance portfolios. Not only can AI monitor the risks, but it can also mitigate them at an early stage. Moreover, AI technology allows a dynamic segmentation of clients based on parameters such as behavior or risk aversion, identifies product opportunities, provides portfolio decisions and personalized client dashboards with performance analysis, and delivers tailored reports, news, and alerts to mention few examples. This new core technology lowers fees, enables real-time portfolio rebalancing and portfolio transparency with easily understood products, and minimizes - and even possibly removes – human intervention. All these disruptive FinTech features is a way to serve and acquire investors of today and tomorrow, in other words, the millennial investors.

What does this imply for the traditional banking system? What are the scientific underpinnings of this innovation of “FinTech”? How is crowd and data intelligence going to change the relationship between financial institutions and customer? Are traditional portfolio management, decision making, and risk taking replaced by artificial intelligence?

These and many other key questions about the future of this innovation were the focus of a panel discussion of both Swiss and Chinese academics and opinion leaders in the framework of the second edition of the Future of Money series, which took place from April 9-11 in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong.

 Picture        SEQ Picture \* ARABIC     3       : Shanghai, April 9

Picture 3 : Shanghai, April 9

The Swiss expert panelists included Dr. Thomas Puschmann, Founder and Head of the Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich, and Alexandre Gaillard, CEO and Founder of InvestGlass and General Secretary of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce Geneva. Dr. Puschmann gave the audience a taste of the origin of both artificial intelligence and FinTech topics and where the research is standing nowadays with its leads for the future. On the other hand, Mr. Gaillard shared exciting insights and comparisons about the traditional wealth management industry, as he is a former private banker, and the new technology-driven bank services, as an entrepreneur with his startup. Having perspectives from the public and private sector were enriching, as opportunities and challenges are not the same, but overall both experts highlighted the Swiss FinTech landscape for its dynamism and innovation, and that Switzerland is perceived as a leading nation when talking about finance.

 Picture        SEQ Picture \* ARABIC     4       : Shanghai, April 9

Picture 4 : Shanghai, April 9

In addition to the two Swiss speakers who participated in the three megalopolis conferences in Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, several more experts and opinions leaders joined the panel in each city. In Shanghai, Frank Wang, Managing Director of CreditEase Wealth Management, and Dr. Ming Liao, Adjunct Professor of Business & Economics at NYU Shanghai, explained where China stands in the field and gave concrete examples based on their own working experience. The panel was moderated by Jerome Eger, Managing Director China of Ginmon, a financial service company providing automatically managed ETF portfolio.

The next day in Beijing, Tao Lei, CEO & Founder of BeagleData, and Ling Huang, Adjunct Professor in Tsinghua University and CEO & Founder of AHI Fintech Inc., joined the panel discussion. They shared and interacted with the audience about topics such as the dilemma between the quantity and quality of data gathered by AI machines and the data security for customers. The moderation was greatly done by our Swiss expert Alexandre Gaillard.

 Picture        SEQ Picture \* ARABIC     5       : Beijing, April 10

Picture 5 : Beijing, April 10

 Picture        SEQ Picture \* ARABIC     6       : Hong Kong, April 11

Picture 6 : Hong Kong, April 11

The last stage in Hong Kong welcomed Cat Rüst, Head of Innovation Technologies at UBS Wealth Management Greater China, Gerardo Salandra, CEO of Rocketbots and co-chair of the AI society of Hong Kong, and the moderator Desmond Marshall, country MD for The Floor in Asia. The panel discussion was oriented towards topics including, but were not limited to, the requirements of WealthTech developments in Switzerland and Asia, the significant differences and similarities, the decision-making power of machines, the integration process of AI for financial institutions and its challenges, and of course the customer needs and its role within the whole investing process.

Many interesting and sometimes challenging interrogations were raised during the three events from the 379 highly-focused audience: how will traditional portfolio management, decision making, and risk taking be replaced by AI? Does the customer need that much of AI to handle its wealth? Am I not the best person to make decisions on my own? Does this technology help me making a decision or does it make one for me? What will happen in 5 years? Is AI technology a game changer and will it be mass-adopted in the finance industry?

In the framework of these events, it is also an excellent opportunity for various institutions representatives to connect, exchange, and build some potential partnerships for the future. At least one company is seriously considering setting up its activities in Switzerland, the main reason being its attractive and stable regulatory system regarding the FinTech scene. This story would be a tangible example of how swissnex China contributes to the creation of value in Switzerland and abroad by connecting the right people at the right place when organizing these kinds of events.

Overall, AI in WealthTech is still at an early stage, but rapid improvements are transforming the financial services landscape, which implies opportunities but also challenges. Key players have already identified the emergence of the trend, and new business models are being developed to integrate this cutting-edge technology.

 Picture          SEQ Picture \* ARABIC       7       : Hong Kong, April 11

Picture 7 : Hong Kong, April 11

Testimonials

“It was a great honor to be invited by swissnex China, as a speaker on Artificial Intelligence in WealthTech. Great interest from a huge crowd from different countries.” Frank Wang, Managing Director of CreditEase Wealth Management

“Today I’m very excited actually to have the opportunity to learn a lot more about AI regarding Wealthtech in Switzerland and what is new there.” Jerome Eger, Managing Director China of Ginmon.

“Many thanks to swissnex to meet with Chinese investors, business owners, and bankers.” Alexandre Gaillard, CEO and Founder of InvestGlass and General Secretary of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce Geneva

“I’m excited to be here to discuss with some representatives from Shanghai and also from Switzerland and to draw comparisons and find similarities among two countries.” Dr. Thomas Puschmann, Founder and Head of the Swiss FinTech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich

“Very excited to be able to be talking to other people from Switzerland and have participants from all types of nationalities to really address where the trend is going and what we could benefit from.” Cat Rüst, Head of Innovation Technologies at UBS Wealth Management Greater China

“Great to be around here because we’re talking about AI in WealthTech, which is definitely the next trend in terms of FinTech.” Desmond Marshall, country MD for The Floor in Asia

Sponsors

This second edition of the Future of Money series would not have been possible without the generous contribution of our sponsors. Many thanks to them and please find some more information below:

Presence Switzerland: Presence Switzerland is competent for the image of Switzerland abroad and implements the strategy of the Federal Council on Switzerland’s communication abroad >> website.

Greater Zurich Area: As the international contact partner for promotion and marketing of the Greater Zurich area economic region, Greater Zurich Area AG (GZA) acts as a liaison between international companies looking to settle in the area and local interests and requirements >> website.

SF Innovation Center: SF Innovation Center is an industrial transformation and upgrading demonstration base and international innovation enterprise center established by SF Group - one of China’s leading comprehensive service providers of express logistics. It integrates the Commercialization Center of Research Findings, Innovation Incubation Center, Brand & Hi-tech Experience Center, Supply-chain Finance Center, E-commerce Advanced Business Park HQ Base and Enterprise Innovation Service Platform. SF Innovation Center is dedicated to linking global industrial innovation Resources to promote industrial development >> website.

Synpulse: Synpulse is an established, globally active management consulting company and a valued partner to renowned international financial services companies >> website.

Squirro: Squirro is a modern cognitive insights engine that uses predictive analytics, machine learning and more to enable you to turn even unstructured data into actions >> website.

CryptoEasy: CryptoEasy is your personal crypto advisor to cover your entire investment journey as a due-diligent investor >> website.

Shanghai is trying to position as innovation hub for startups

Shanghai innovation and entrepreneur center, which is under the Shanghai Science and Technology Committee (STCSM), is responsible for scientific and technological development of the city as well as supporting startups from home and abroad by offering incentive policies and services.

To echo the Mass innovation & entrepreneurship move from central government, “overseas startup gateway programme”, a platform to coordinate and access to local resources for overseas startups has been initiated since 2016, with first 18 accelerators, co-working spaces selected as members to join the platform to offer soft landing services. Such as Station F mainly for French startups in China, Landing Pad for Australia startups, Xnode with Netherlands’ project HighTechXL, etc. The recruitment criteria is based on level and scale of the internationalization such as partners, joint projects, funding etc.

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By end of 2017, there’re 378 international events & workshops has been organized by these members, with over 200 leads developed for overseas collaboration. During the annual summary event of Gateway programme on Dec 19th, a series of Top 10 rewards have been granted to members to appreciate their contribution and achievement.

Meanwhile, a list of international projects also are announced such as Sino-Germany clean water innovation center initiated by Germany association for water, wastewater and waste ( DWA) and Tongji University, Saint-Gobain from France with Caohe Jing Hightech Park, Belgium healthcare park Biowin with Juke science park, private incubator TechCode with Russian science park etc.

More info about Gateway program, please click here.

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Blockchain in Fintech, the successful launch of the Future of Money series in Hong Kong and Shanghai by swissnex China

By Martin Stürchler, Junior Project Leader

In case you have not heard of the blockchain technology, blockchain gives the internet user the possibility to transfer a piece of digital property to another internet user. The Blockchain guarantees the transfer to be safe and secure. Due to the fact that the blockchain is transparent everyone knows that the transfer has taken place and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer.

Switzerland as a leader in innovation and with crypto valley Zug on the rise in the Blockchain scene has gained curiosity around the world including China.

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On November 20 & 21, swissnex China successfully launched its first “Future of Money” series’ event themed “Blockchain in Fintech” with a great exceptional panel of Swiss and Chinese Blockchain & Fintech experts. The topics that have been discussed are the revolutionizing technology of Blockchain in Fintech and the future outlook of how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger have the potential to affect different industries and shape the world of tomorrow.

The panel was moderated by the FinTech expert Zennon Kapron, Director of Kapron ASIA. In the panel seven Blockchain experts joined: Da HongFei, Founder of NEO the largest Blockchain project in China, gave interesting insights how digital identity can digitalize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts aiming to create a “smart economy”. Furthermore from Hong Kong we welcomed Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX who explained the next generation of Bitcoin derivates. Ms. Qijun Wang a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of crypto asset management startup Queschain representing the voice for women in the industry. Last but not least we had Mr. Rong Chen, co-founder of Elastos Foundation who works on a smart-web powered by Blockchain,  and Mr. Jason Inch who shared with us his most recent insights of his book “China 4.0” and his latest Blockchain project Genaro.

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Switzerland was represented by Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems CSG of the University of Zurich and Manuel Stagars, movie maker of the documentary “Blockchain and Us”. Mr. Bocek gave the audience a taste of the technological background on peer-to-peer, distributed systems, including Bitcoins and Blockchain. On the other hand Mr. Stagars, due to his documentary movie and many interviews with key players in Switzerland, shared interesting insights of the Swiss Fintech landscape and its opportunities and challenges for the Blockchain technology.

Many interesting questions were discussed during the two events: Is Blockchain technology a game changer? Which industries will the Blockchain in particular influence? Is Switzerland going to play a key player in this Fintech industry? How long does it takes for mass adoption? What are the opportunities and threats of Blockchain technology?

The panelists actively replied to questions throughout the conference. The conclusion was that blockchain technology is still at the beginning of a revolution, which will have the power to change our everyday life.

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Testimonials

“I have to say this has been one of the greatest events I have had and I appreciate the invite from swissnex and the opportunity to share the stage to learn from my fellow panelists so much.” Ms. QJ (Qijun) Wang - CEO and Founder, Queschain Capital

“swissnex Future of Money event, industry sharing is comprehensive, audience is great, Q&A communication is fantastic.” Johnson Zhao Chen - Head of Business Development and Operations at NEO 

“The event was great. For the future, let us plan some Fintech events together, I think that would work great.” Johan Uddman - General Manager & Investor at JadeValue Fintech

“First of all thank you for this great event! It was impressed about the organization and the event itself. Keep going!” Celina Eisenring - Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai 

“Many thanks for putting on a great event and fantastic to meet you all.” Manuel Stagars - Founder of Blockchain & Us

“Thanks for the superb organization!” Dr. Thomas Bocek - Head of P2P and distributed systems at the CSG of the University of Zurich

 

To get more information please find the detailed list of the panelist below:

Dr. Thomas Bocek, Head of P2P and distributed systems at the CSG of the University of Zurich, Dr. Thomas Bocek is mainly interested in communication systems and networks, especially focusing on peer-to-peer, distributed systems, including Bitcoins and blockchains. Thomas has published several papers on these topics and his PhD topic has a strong focus on Peer-to-Peer and distributed systems.

Manuel Stagars, Founder of Blockchain & Us, Manuel Stagars is an author, film director, economist, and serial entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in consulting and startups in Switzerland, the United States, Japan, and Singapore. His documentary films focus on technological innovations and their potential to improve the lives of people.

Qijun Wang, Founder and CEO of Queschain, Co-Founder of several blockchain startups, open-source blockchain projects such as MakerDAO, community education initiatives, and charity programs with a focus of connecting China and the rest of the world.

Da Hongfei, Founder of NEO & CEO of Onchain, Da Hongfei came across Bitcoin in 2011, and worked fulltime in the industry since 2013. In 2014, he founded NEO, a blockchain to register, transfer, and exchange digital assets, and led the startup to become the benchmark in the Chinese blockchain community.

Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, In January 2014, BitMEX – Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange was formed. BitMEX is a trading platform that gives retail investors access to the global financial markets using Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and financial derivatives. BitMEX through the use of Bitcoin as collateral, allows anyone anywhere to trade any type of financial asset.

Jason Inch, Serial Entrepreneur & Author of China 4.0, Jason is also an accomplished writer with several books about China’s economy. His most recent book is called China 4.0 and he is also the founder of the China Business Events meetup community.

Rong Chen, Co-Founder of Elastos Foundation, Rong believes that a smart-web powered by the blockchain technology is the future for Elastos to create the scarcity of digital contents. He established the Elastos Foundation with his partners in June of 2017.

E-Payment Power in China

In a country that surpassed the United States in 2008 in term of number of internet users and where online purchase seems to be the new favorite way of shopping, E-payment has obviously a great role to play in China.

Read More

China’s Tech Start-up Boom

China has the second largest consumer market in the world. Its population of 1.35 billion, of which more than 50% live in urban areas, will generate an estimated GDP growth of approximately 7% over the next 10 years. 

Read More

Innovation in China: Fast Times and Faster Companies

On March 4, the swissnex China Beijing office within the Embassy of Switzerland co-organized a panel discussion on Innovation in China with the title Fast Times and Faster Companies, hosted by Swiss Ambassador H.E. Jean-Jacques de Dardel. The exclusive event, which generated a huge interest among the Beijing start-up community – exceeding the seating capacity by six fold – has welcomed distinguished speakers and tech-savvy guests for a lively exchange on the latest developments within China’s start-up and technology scene. The moderated talk by Andy Mok, co-organizer and Managing Director of Red Pagoda Resources, was joined by:

  • Julie Makinen, Fast Company contributor & Beijing correspondent for the Los Angeles Times
  • Dr. Zhang Yusheng, CEO & founder of Apricot Forest (2nd most innovative company in China)
  • Frances Du, Director of Microsoft Ventures in the Greater China Region
  • Jason Zhao, Vice President at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers China, and 
  • Olivier Glauser, Co-founder and CFO of Shankai Sports

The panel discussion highlighted that innovation is a term, which continuously innovates itself. It strongly relies on social structures, educational institutions, government policies, technologies and their accessibility. A fast moving world requires faster moving companies, able to anticipate and dynamically act to developments in both the near and far future, and to pursue the aim of continuously improving people’s lives or create value within a society. While some critics may argue that China does not innovate particularly well, others like Mrs. Makinen state that China is about to change and to take the lead in innovation. She approaches innovation with an emphasis on technology, accentuating that the access to advanced equipment in, for instance, a hospital, may significantly raise the efficiency of medical doctors dedicating their lives to curing diseases and injuries. Hospitals, unlike humans, act in an institutionalized way, and organizational structures may vary from one place or country to another. It is therefore crucial to engage with new scenarios and domestic institutions in order for a foreign startup or established company to become successful in an unfamiliar market. In a broader sense, the innovative challenge lies not in simply supplying an innovative product to a new market, but rather in a company’s adaptability and willingness to appropriate technologies to a changing context. TradeHero is a perfect example of a foreign startup company based in Singapore, which has gained a strong foothold in China through the customized implementation of innovative technologies, and has achieved to record a remarkable success. 

According to Dr. Zhang, innovation starts with caring about an existing problem or discrepancy. In fact, to increase simplicity and make technology cheaper, hence more accessible to the general public, enables changes, creates new opportunities, and facilitates innovative processes. In Du’s opinion, China is currently experiencing exceptional rates of developments in these fields and, as a consequence, is taking big and fast steps in speeding up innovation. Building up on these arguments, Mr. Zhao believes that new technologies now only allow new forms of discoveries, but also strengthen either financial or social networks, again attracting successful foreign companies to major investments in China. As a Swiss representative of visionary entrepreneurs and investors, Mr. Glauser actually made a start-up sports company greatly successful in China. However, he clearly differentiates between technology and innovation, and treats them as two separate entities. In his particular case, Mr. Glauser ingeniously connects the strength of Swiss sports innovation with new Chinese market opportunities. As highly ambitious Swiss projects like the Solar Impulse also show, Switzerland offers Excellency in technology in a relatively small market. China, on the other hand, impresses with a huge market, although its technology standards might still have strong potential for growth. With reference to Mr. Glauser’s success, pairing the two spheres could in fact result in unleashing new and powerful innovative ideas. 

In this spirit, the Embassy of Switzerland and swissnex China once again commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Switzerland and China, and promote commitment to research, development, sciences, and technologies all over the world for the benefit of the people and society.  

- Contributed by Marcel Schneider, Attaché of Science, Technology and Education Section, Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing


The highlights of the event can be viewed both on YouKu and YouTube.

Israel Tech are Looking to the East

Israel and China are becoming a close collaborative couple in the tech industry. Chinese entrepreneurs admire the technology innovations Israel has achieved and China is an ideal market for Israel companies to expand beyond their borders.

Israel has invested considerably in China to establish a network facilitating the tech collaboration and entrepreneurial activities. For example, IP Bank-China was created in 2010 in Suzhou under the auspices of the Infinity Group, an Israel-based private equity firm that was created by the China Development Bank and the IDB Group in 1993. It manages over $700 million and RMB 2 billion. The bank is focused on acquiring companies, brands, and intellectual property for licensing and commercialization in China. It has over 15 offices across China with a 90-strong team, whose members work across the Infinity Group and IP-Bank China. The China Development Bank primarily provides the RMB funding while the dollar financing has come in from investors all over the world. The business model is to identify intellectual property from Israel and then scout the appropriate acquirer in the Chinese market who might need these types of assets. One case is a company named Power Paper, a producer of micro-batteries (slender enough to be printed on paper) and already a portfolio company of the Infinity Group. They were struggling with their key product for quite some time in Israel. They had incorporated the battery into an anti-wrinkle facemask for commercial purposes. IP-Bank China carved out the Chinese patent from the global patent and started looking for suitable partners in China for entirely different applications. The result was a partnership with a Chinese printing company and the battery was assimilated into anti-counterfeiting labels which are used in the packaging for cigarettes, wine and other kinds of alcohol. When you open the packet, a light, powered by the battery, turns on, showing the consumer that this is a genuine product.

Usually the deal-making model has a variety of approaches. Some patents are to be acquired firstly and later sold out. Some to license, some are used as currency in exchange for equity in companies, the difference with other IP funds is that IP-Bank China is identifying the IP internationally, and help find a Chinese partner and grow together with that company. It also claims to help Chinese entrepreneurs gain access to the market with a low entry point and then share in the results. Currently IP-Bank China is sector oriented and focuses on clean tech, medical, material and high-end manufacturing technologies.  

   
  
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   Israel (Guangzhou) Technology Exchange Center opening ceremony was held in Guangzhou United Trading Park in June 5, 2012.

Israel (Guangzhou) Technology Exchange Center opening ceremony was held in Guangzhou United Trading Park in June 5, 2012.

From top-down perspective, as early as in 2008, Israel has signed a bilateral agreement with the government of Jiangsu province ( one of most prosperous region in China),to form Jiangsu – Israel program for Industrial R&D with a primary aim to support joint industrial R&D projects and aimed at carry out commercialization in the global market. Afterwards, another three innovation cooperation agreements have signed during MIXiii Israel Innovation Conference in May this year, with the aim to support Israel companies expand into Chinese market by the means of top-down.

Within the entrepreneurial community, more non-government driven match-making have been happened. Intensive and extensive fact finding and study tours are arranged by a variety of business entities from two countries.  Dark Horse Club, a start-up entreprenur incubator in Beijing led a delegation composed of Chinese young entrepreneurs and finished on a seven-day learning journey to study Israel innovation environment and meet with local tech companies. 

More and more such activities fuel the Chinese entrepreneurs zeal to collaborate with Israeli companies and Israel is seen by Chinese as a source of advanced technology with the image of startup nation due to extensive collaboration and PR activities.  Recently a book “ startup nation, Israel” Chinese version is widely promoted and get the traction in China. The Israeli companies are targeting several sectors essential to China’s development plans; hi-tech, renewable energy, water treatments, medical equipment, communications, agriculture and consumer products. According to the “China Global Investment Tracker,” which measures China’s investments and contracts worldwide, the Chinese have poured $1.7 billion into Israel’s economy and most of it went to the agriculture sector ($1.4 billion) and the rest was invested in Israeli high-tech companies between 2005 and end-2013.

   
  
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   China (Shenzhen)--Israel (Tel Aviv) Economy, Trade & Technologies Roundtable Conference in Sept 2012.   Israel and Shenzhen will strengthen more cooperation in Hi-Tech Industries, Technological R&D, Venture Capital and hi-tech talents exchanges and cooperation in the further.

China (Shenzhen)--Israel (Tel Aviv) Economy, Trade & Technologies Roundtable Conference in Sept 2012. Israel and Shenzhen will strengthen more cooperation in Hi-Tech Industries, Technological R&D, Venture Capital and hi-tech talents exchanges and cooperation in the further.

Collaboration in academic and research field also is burgeoning between the Jewish state and the Asia giant. Two top universities from Israel and China announced in May this year that they are starting a $300 million research project focused on nanotechnologies. Tel Aviv University and Beijing's Tsinghua University said they will exchange graduate students and faculty members to work at a joint research center based at the two institutions. The cooperation initially will focus on nanotechnology, particularly with medical and optics applications, but may be later expanded to other areas, including raw materials, water treatment and environmental issues.

It appears that in the coming decade, we are going to witness a rise of quantity and scale of the  joint-venture, co-development cases in the field of academic, innovation and business context, It’s time to look eastward ever more attentively.

Craze in Intelligent Hardware

Food safety is a prevalent concern in China, it’s kind of surprised when IT giant ( Chinese google) Baidu, came up with its smart gadget targeting this problem. Smart Chopstick, made its debut at 2014 Baidu World conference. “In the future, via Baidu Kuaisou, you’ll be able to know the origin of oil and water and other foods–whether they’ve gone bad and what sort of nutrition they contain,” the founder Mr. Yanhong LI said in a speech. The product is claimed to be able to analyze your food before you eat it, testing pH level of common drinks, level of sweetness, temperature, and the quality of cooking oil used, more feature and info such as the origins and varieties of food through Baidu Search, will be developed and the data will be transmitted to the accompanying mobile app through bluetooth.

It is just a gadget of hundreds of thousands of smart devices that pop up overnight across the nation. A craze of intelligent hardware is ongoing fervently. Besides Baidu, nearly all the leading domestic giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi have invested heavily in this sector, let alone a great number of start-ups spring up and venture capitalists used to turned off by hardware’s high startup costs and lengthy start times are making their way to the arena.

Internet giants play a role of smart hardware accelerators

Chinese online retail giant JD.com has become one of the first distributors, smart hardware makers would turn to whenever they are about to ship products. Earlier this year, the company launched JD+, an accelerator for smart hardware products, offering funding, marketing support, online-retailing or other resources individual makers otherwise can hardly access. It is expected that there will be a handful of such platforms in China. Baidu has established one offering Cloud services and others like search traffic, but Baidu doesn’t own a direct retail platform.

Aliyun, the division for Cloud services of Alibaba Group, launched Alink platform  Aliyun has been trying to have manufacturers of consumer electronics products, from smartphone to smart TV, adopt the customized Android system they have developed and use their Cloud services.

Xiaomi, the fast-growing smart device and mobile service provider, will eventually become a similar platform to JD’s. Apart from working directly with manufacturers on designing smartphones, smart TVs, smart WiFi routers and the like, Xiaomi has started introducing hardware products designed and made by third parties, such as a portable battery charger.

Multi-promotion channel for intelligent hardware 

 A screenshot of Demohour website

A screenshot of Demohour website

Crowd-funding is developing quickly in China. The largest domestic crowd-funding Demohour platform is looking to further increase and has transformed to focus on specialized platform for intelligent hardware since August 2014. It also organizes offline fair to showcase the latest intelligent device to the public with over 2000 audience each time.  As Demohour claims, it has set up alliance with over 500 distributors from home and abroad and can help speed up the access to other markets like USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Russia, other Asia countries and Europe. Furthermore, it has set up contacts with over hundreds of component suppliers and manufactures in China, which is key element in terms of cost control and process efficiency, it can help start-ups reach the right partner and manage the whole process, usually the start-ups lack the knowledge of supply chain management and spent a great deal of time on learning curve.

 Tha Makers

Tha Makers

Other platforms like Pozible.com, an Australia-origin, China-entry crowd-funding platform also choose intelligent hardware gadget as its china market entry strategy. The Markers, an online web and TV show specialized in China-origin innovation projects has promoted a variety of projects in smart hardware.

As the new and first platform for start-ups to endorse by themselves, iDaiyan has launched two programs already, all in the field of hardware.

Shenzhen, emerging Silicon Valley of Hardware 

Shenzhen, the largest migrant city geographically adjacent to Hongkong, is emerging as a hotbed of experimentation in electronics and hardware builders thanks to a comprehensive value chain network and unmatched manufacture capacity elsewhere in the world. The powerful ecosystem there is able to offer a dizzying variety of hardware components and therefore builders can put together anything with a creative idea, test the prototype quickly, tinker and iterate speedy. It’s compared that the work done in the States cost one month can be completed just in one week if happened in Shenzhen.

Shenzhen is also dubbed “ origin of Shanzhan”,  because nearly all technical goods in the country are manufactured here, from exceptionally bad copies of iPhones, iPads, BlackBerries and other popularized gadgets to up-to-date telecommunications infrastructure bought by the world’s biggest carriers. The city brags of the strong manufacture base, abundant hard-working engineers, speedy logistics infrastructure as well as most probably the largest electronics component retailing market in the world “ Hua Qian Bei.” There’re over 20 shopping malls located in the Huaqiangbei area which provides about 70 million square meters of business area. Annual sales reaching over 20 billion, and there’s something like 130,000 people employed in the area. Every day, the engineers from the global can be seen scouting the particular components in the vast market although the market environment is not foreigner-friendly and need local knowledge to navigate.

"If you're an engineer with an idea and you're waiting five days or two weeks to test it, that's no way of being creative," said Will Canine, co-founder of OpenTrons, a company building an open-source liquid-handling robot in Shenzhen. "When you're creative you want to try an idea and move on to the next idea and then the next idea. That's the kind of dynamic flow that's possible in hardware in Shenzhen that's not possible in the other parts of world.

Lower-Cost Solar Power, the new EPFL record!

Michael Grätzel laboratory at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Switzerland, built a photovoltaic device that uses sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas with 12.3 percent efficiency using cheap and earth-abundant materials called perovskites.

Perovskite are compounds that can be obtained in the laboratory from various common chemical constituents such as those used in normal car batteries. The device made of perovskites combined with other inexpensive catalysts convert sun's energy into hydrogen with a conversion efficiency of 12.3% and this percentage will soon be higher.

The abundance of perovskites is an advantage that eliminates the need for rare-earth expensive metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel, making the production of solar cells more affordable.

The conversion from sun to hydrogen gas solves the problem of the storage of solar power, because this gas can easily be store in bottles and can be used to generate electricity on demand. 

The research is ongoing and it will take years to get all the data on indoor and outdoor stability of perovskite cells but it could be great to produce cheap clean fuel to power cars in the future!

More info: http://lpi.epfl.ch/page-51005.html

- Contributed by Liliane Gonzalez, Academic Intern swissnex China

A revolutionary advance in the capture of CO2

Scientist from EPFL in collaboration with China University of Petroleum, University of California and Beijing University of Chemical Technology, developed a revolutionary slurry-based process to capture carbon.

Currently, there are 2 approaches to carbon capture: the first one liquid based and the second one solid based. The liquid approach uses amine solutions that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, in order to separate the carbon from the liquid, this one is boiled, this step is highly energy consuming and is named regeneration. 

The solid material approach uses “metal-organic frameworks” (MOFs). MOF are fine powders able to collect the CO2 due to the nanosize pores on their surface. This low cost approach is difficult to transport and are highly engineering demanding.

The combination of liquids and carbon-capturing solid into slurry is revolutionary. The slurry is made of a MOF named ZIP-8 in suspension in a mix of glycol 2 methylimidazole. ZIP-8 pores are too small for glycol’s molecules, but big enough to capture CO2 molecules. The combination of the low cost and energy efficiency of solid nanoporuous with the simple liquid-based separation process successfully address the 2 main challenges in the carbon capture.

Future plan of these researches is to test this new slurry in the field, to collect CO2 molecules from flue gas in order to reduce global carbon emission.

- Contributed by Liliane Gonzalez, Academic Intern swissnex China

Lift China – Make Innovation Happen

On September 10th 2014, swissnex China had the pleasure to co-organize the first LIFT conference in China. The Lift conferences, for those of you who don’t already know about it, have welcomed more than 15’000 participants from over 40 countries since 2006. These conferences explore the business and social implications of technological innovation. They allow explorers, makers, builders and observers to come together during one day and share their creative and innovative ideas through different workshop, master classes and roundtables.

For their first leap in China, Lift chose the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai and its bustling innovation sector. The selected location to host it was the Power Station of Art, a popular space among the Shanghainese community. This museum/exhibition center is situated on the banks of the Huangpu River in a former electric power station that has been remodeled into an art center. 

The conference was scheduled to open at 9:30am, although some of our great visitors started arriving as early as 9:00am, eager to not miss one second of the amazing day that was about to unfold in front of them. The kick-off of the conference was given around 10:00am by the President of Lift Events, Abir Oreibi, who gave more insights to the audience about the mission of Lift, and by Pascal Marmier, CEO of swissnex China, who presented the organization. The visitors then had the pleasure to listen to two guest speakers. First, Thomas Landrai, co-founder of the world largest Do-it-yourself biology lab, called “La Paillasse”, followed on the by David Li, the founder of XinCheJian, China’s first hacker space. Two great speeches, that both put the focus on the idea that there is no need to be an expert in an area to challenge the status quo and create new innovative products or processes.

The rest of the day was two-fold. First, an interactive design exhibition in partnership with HEAD Geneva, which was open all day long for the visitors to enjoy. It regrouped works of young talents from China and Switzerland that all used the interactive potential of mobile computing and augmented reality interface. Among other very creative projects , “Traces”, a table that changed color when in contact with heat, by Liu Yi, and “Binary world”, a physical book made interactive by the use of a smartphone, by Baptiste Milési.

The second fold of the conference was a series of Workshops and Master classes given all along the day in different part of the Power Station of Art. Overall, more than 15 speakers shared their ideas and engaged with their fellow lifters. The topics were varied and interesting and received a very good response from the audience. Among them, a round table about “Chinese Startup Scene; Ingredients for Success”, opened by a presentation by David Ben Kay, a pioneer in China and the founder of Yuanfen Flow, on the entrepreneur’s mindset. It was followed by an open discussion between him, entrepreneurs, angel investors and the audience on the current state of the startup scene in China and their thoughts on its future. A quite insightful discussion for anyone interested in China or entrepreneurship, that led to the conclusion that the startup sector is still very young here and full of space for future ventures. Thomas Landrai from “La Paillasse” gave a very interesting workshop on “Biohacking to Change the World” where the audience was asked to brainstorm about health, environment, energy and architecture. They were then separated in groups to further create crazy stories based on three keywords, for example genetic sequencing, wave and dream. Throughout the day, workshops included topics such as “Open Data for Business”, “Green Energy in Urban Spaced” and “Designing Smart Cities in Asia”, among many others.

To conclude this great day, a Global Pitchfest was jointly organized by swissnex China and VentureLab.  The contestants were composed by a selection of Chinese entrepreneurs and by the Venture Leaders, a group of 10 selected Swiss entrepreneurs that traveled to Beijing and Shanghai for 10 days in order to better analyze the Chinese market and plan effective development strategies. Each team was asked to pitch their company for 1 minute to convince the audience, who was in charge of voting for their favorite startups by test messages. In the second round, the 4 startups who received the most votes in the first round pitched again, to see who would be declared the final winner. The night ended with dinner and networking on the rooftop of Power Station of Art.

Overall the day was a great success. The 450+ visitors all took home with them new ideas, new contacts and greater knowledge about fascinating topics. The day was filled with knowledge, innovation, creativity and interactions, and we surely hope to renew the experience next year again!

Google-Novartis future lenses monitoring glucose levels

A few days ago Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland, and Google begun a partnership to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels in tears. The Google-Novartis prototype lenses contain a device that measures glucose in tears and a wireless antenna transmits the measurements to an external device. This way, they can help diabetics track their own blood glucose levels and hope to commercialize it before 2019.

Novartis and Google are also looking forward to develop other “smart lenses” that can for example detect cancer, thanks to some well-known biomarkers, or use contact lenses to deliver drugs continuously in a lower level than actually deliver.

There is still a long way to go before we see the commercialization of glucose-monitoring lenses, night vision lenses, cancer-detecting lenses or drug-delivering lenses, which need flexible and thin materials to be user-friendly and to go through all regulatory approvals to prove these lenses are effective and safe.

- Contributed by Liliane Gonzalez – Scientific collaborator intern for swissnex China