By Gabriel Bishop, Junior Project Manager for Academic Relations
Every few months, SwissCham and swissnex China invite a seasoned Swiss professional based in China in the scope of an event series called the FiresideChat. This interactive format is an opportunity to share experiences and practices, notably on the topics of setting up a business or settling in China as well as on many related cross-cultural considerations.
On April 8, 2019, we had the pleasure to welcome the Swiss Architect Daniel Heusser. After graduating in architecture from ETH Zurich, Daniel Heusser has worked as senior architect and project manager in China for 25 years, first in the role of the Vice General Manager of a Sino-Swiss Joint Venture company for Architecture and Urban Planning in Shijiazhuang and Beijing, and from the year 2003 onwards as founder and managing partner of Virtuarch in Shanghai.
He took the opportunity of the chat to reflect on his journey and his learning experience since he arrived in the Chinese context of the 1990’s. He was able to highlight the challenges he faced, first in the establishment of the joint-venture and then in taking the big plunge of swimming on his own when he founded his own company in 2003.
He was further able to touch on a number of aspects, including the managing of Virtuarch, laying out strategies as well as planning and overlooking well designed projects, stressing the importance of trusting his gut feelings to prevent problems and having the flexibility to adapt – and to readapt – to ever changing circumstances.
Daniel Heusser’s key to success can hardly be summed up in a few words. Nonetheless, on that evening it appeared that without denying his “Swiss way”, he managed to grow by being receptive to and learning from a “Chinese way”, which is a point he expressed when answering questions during the Q&A session that followed his speech.
For the occasion, our community was joined by a delegation from the EMBA of the School of Management of Fribourg, and all the guests were able to further exchange and connect during the networking reception that followed.
On this note, we would also like to thank ETH Zurich and the ETH Zurich Alumni Chapter for supporting the event.
The swissnex China team looks forward to seeing you at our upcoming events.