China is vast, and when entering the Chinese market, Swiss companies must decide where to establish their presence in China. Criteria for this decision are proximity to business partners and customers, ecosystem of the specific industry, availability of talents, local subsidies and tax incentives, employee and rental costs, and how fast and easily the location is accessible internationally and locally.
For a brand owner of consumer and luxury goods that wants to sell its products to the growing Chinese middle class, it makes sense to establish in or close to one of the economic free zones in or close to the first-tier cities Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.
For a manufacturer of an industrial product, a suitable industrial park or development zone where companies from the same industry are already operating, is suitable. There are 6 different types of development zones. The largest and most comprehensive types of development zones are special economic zones (SEZs) and economic and technological development zones (ETDZs), which are both large in scope and focus so that many investors are not likely to find specific services or tailored benefits to meet their needs. The other four types provide specific services and offer an investment environment more fitting to the needs of particular industries.
All development zones and their corresponding features are depicted in the following graph. This document from Swisscham provides you with detailed information and contact information to all development zones in China.