Press Release

Ranking: China is the top export market

This Asian country is the most attractive export country for Swiss SMEs. This is demonstrated by a ranking that Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) created in cooperation with the Swiss Economic Institute at the ETH Zurich, which is intended to serve as a guide for Swiss SMEs. The USA and South Korea follow China in the ranking.

Exports to Asian countries are promising projects according to the ranking
Exports to Asian countries are promising projects according to the ranking

A total of 15 different criteria were taken into consideration in order to identify the top export market. These included factors such as market size, market potential, export volume and average market growth in recent years. A total of 107 countries were evaluated in S-GE’s ranking. The following export markets make up the top 10: 

1. China, 2. USA, 3. South Korea, 4. Singapore, 5. United Kingdom, 6. United Arab Emirates, 7. Canada, 8. Poland, 9. Japan, 10. Germany

S-GE helps SMEs on the path to entering new export markets

The fact that China leads the ranking comes as no surprise to Alberto Silini, Head of Consultancy at S-GE. “China offers an enormous market for exporting Swiss SMEs. The gross domestic product was already at 11.2 trillion dollars in 2016, and is still rising at a rate of over 6%. The question is not whether there is potential, but rather whether businesses will be able to make a market entry, and how they can do it. Registering a product or finding a distribution partner can turn into a very complex challenge. We advise and support SMEs in that process.”

Exporting to China is also particularly appealing to Swiss SMEs, due to the free trade agreement. “It has been possible to lower or even remove custom duties for a range of industries as a result of the agreement. This gives Swiss businesses a price advantage over competitors, such as those in other European countries,” explains export expert Alberto Silini.

Switzerland Global Enterprise’s survey about export prospects confirms this trend as well. Of the surveyed Swiss businesses, 31% will be exporting to China by the end of the year. 

Evaluation by regions: ASEAN at the top

Alongside countries, the top export markets were also evaluated according to region. In terms of the regional ranking, the Asian countries in the ASEAN region (Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia) were in first place. In 2017, Switzerland Global Enterprise opened its newest Swiss Business Hub in Jakarta.

ASEAN is followed by the Gulf States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg).  

About the study

The study of the top export markets was carried out by Switzerland Global Enterprise in cooperation with the Swiss Economic Institute at the ETH Zurich. A total of 107 countries were evaluated. The 15 criteria included market size, market growth in recent years (2010–16), expected market growth (2017–21), export volume and market potential. The ranking gives Swiss SMEs a broad-based analysis of the various export markets and serves as a guide.

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