“We have been deeply impressed by the development of internet finance in Shanghai and China. We are glad to have more exchange and collaboration with China in this field”, said Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance at a press conference in Shanghai recently. Councillor Ueli Maurer led a delegation of members of the Swiss federal government and financial institutions to China from April 12-19, 2017.
Ueli Maurer stated that they would push for Alipay, China's biggest online-payment platform to be used in 200 thousand retailers and point of sale locations like airports and railway stations in Switzerland and Europe. Specifically, customers will be able to use the Alipay mobile payment app at airports in the Netherlands beginning this summer.
Joerg Gasser, State Secretary for International Finance Matters, of the Federal Department of Finance said that Switzerland manages 25% of the world's assets. Asset management is one of the core businesses of Swiss banking.
“Yesterday we visited Alibaba in Hangzhou. Ali provides convenient access to online shopping while Switzerland provides high-quality investment services and products”, Gasser stated.
During the week-long visit to China, the two countries discussed mutual openness, cooperation, financial digitization and how Switzerland can play the role of a hub for China’s RMB. As the biggest financial center on the European Continent and the second-biggest one in Europe, Switzerland hopes to be more involved in the construction of Shanghai’s financial center.
The Swiss Confederation president will attend the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing next month. Maurer stated in Shanghai that the “Belt and Road” is one of the most important initiatives for the 21st Century. Switzerland hopes to take an active part in and obtain more investment opportunities through the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
Gasser added that during the summit Switzerland may hold discussions with China in the fields such as infrastructure construction, financing management, risk control, and insurance and reinsurance.
He also revealed that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) would set up a branch in Switzerland. It will be the second Chinese bank established there after the China Construction Bank (CCB) started business in Zurich at the end of 2015. Moreover, the Swiss delegation also held discussions with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank on opening branch in Switzerland.
The Free Trade Agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the Swiss Confederation was signed in Beijing on July 6th, 2013 and came into force on July 1st, 2014. It is the first free trade agreement between China and a continental European country. In addition, Switzerland is one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).