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The Chinese economy is currently in a phase of consolidation and especially the former growth engine of consumer exports has been struggling. In this light the focus of the Chinese government for future growth has shifted to developing the domestic consumption, where the service sector takes in a key role. While the sector is still underdeveloped compared with western economies, it is estimated that the service sector will surpass the industrial sector by 2015 and account for around 50% of China’s GDP.
In recent years the rising disposable income of Chinese citizens has gone hand in hand with an increased demand for higher quality. Paired with the large trade surplus and the Chinese government’s focus on the service sector, this should create opportunities for foreign service providers.
While the Chinese market certainly offers opportunities to foreign market entrants, it is important to keep in mind that these chances as well as the associated market entry barriers and difficulties are very much industry specific and can change within the same country from province to province. These facts should be carefully considered before making a decision to enter the market. For some sectors such as finance the regulations will be the key issue, unfair competition in public tendering is an obstacle in the engineering field, while gaining access to Chinese clients is the main issue for foreign consulting firms.
While not being able to comprehensively cover all areas within the services sector, in this study we highlight 5 sectors we believe to hold potential for Swiss companies: Engineering, Finance, Tourism, Design & Architecture, Consulting. Each sector is individually analyzed and an overview is given including the current state and future trends, the competitive landscape, the regulations and challenges, as well as the general considerations and opportunities for Swiss companies.