“Our aim is to link up Swiss companies among themselves and to create a platform for mutual exchange of information relevant to the market,” says the association’s president Bruno Keller, adding a specific example: “If a Swiss company has successfully implemented a construction project in a Chinese city and another Swiss company wants to operate in the same city, they should be able to connect with each other.” This enables them to exchange information about local regulations and experiences with the authorities, or to pass on personal contacts, for example. “This sort of informal network is already a firm feature in China, where it is known as ‘guanxi’.”
Environmental awareness among Chinese growing
Some 18 Swiss companies are now part of the Swiss Green Buildings Association, which was founded in 2016 on the initiative of Bruno Keller. “My company, Keller Technologies AG, had already equipped 2,000 homes, two hospitals, office spaces and a school with greater comfort, better air quality, and energy efficiency, and this involved other Swiss companies such as Georg Fischer, Geberit and Zehnder.” It was this collaboration that gave rise to the idea for the Swiss Green Buildings Association. The association currently focuses only on the Chinese market: “Currently around 1 billion m2 of residential and commercial space is being built in China every year. That’s more than the entire building stock of Switzerland, which amounts to 940 m2.” On top of this, Bruno Keller points out, there is also increasing awareness among the Chinese of environmentally friendly building technologies. “There are no plans to target further countries at the moment, but if there is interest, then we will be happy to help.”
Government sets cleantech goals for 2035
In fact, the Chinese market currently offers countless opportunities for Swiss companies in the construction and infrastructure sector. This is linked to the visions of President Xi, whose “Beautiful China” and “Ecological Civilization” plans intend to bring economic development into harmony with environmental protection and public health by the year 2035. This gives rise to business opportunities for foreign companies that offer corresponding solutions in the areas of cleantech, energy efficiency, transport infrastructure, or green buildings technologies.