Switzerland as a Business Location


The Economic Center of Switzerland

The Greater Zurich Area is the business center of Switzerland – not least due to its high quality of living, strong innovation and unique culture of precision. The economic region surrounding the world-famous financial metropolis of Zurich employs around 1.5 million multilingual and international workers in 150,000 companies in industries such as life sciences, cleantech, high-tech, ICT and financial services. GDP per person: CHF 76,000 with simply unbeatable tax rates.

The Greater Zurich Area enables your business to grow successfully because:

  • It is located in one of the most competitive economies in Europe.
  • You can count on liberal business and competition regulations.
  • You have chosen a desirable location for knowledge and high value-adding industrial sectors. Many renowned companies use the Greater Zurich Area as a location for the European-wide bundling of key corporate operations – such as holding companies, intellectual property management (IP), finance and supply chain management and R&D (Success Stories).
  • You are located where innovations are created: The internationally renowned research and academic institutions and the close cooperation between research and industry have turned the Greater Zurich Area into a hub for companies in the sectors of life sciences (biotechnology, medical technology, pharmaceuticals), information and communication technology (ICT), high-tech and mechanical engineering.
  • You have a direct link to the most important trading partners in the GZA: the EU, and Germany in particular.
  • You profit from the corporate diversity: The Greater Zurich Area is home not only to companies from the service sector but also from precision technology.

You can see which industries are especially attracted to the business climate here.

Switzerland Quick Facts

8.0 million
Population

$363.4 billion
GDP (PPP)

2.9%
Unemployment

$3.6 billion
FDI Inflow

Global Competitiveness Index

Nation Score
Switzerland 5.67
Singapore 5.61
Finland 5.54
Germany 5.51
USA 5.48
Sweden 5.48
Hong Kong SAR 5.47
Netherlands 5.42
Japan 5.40
United Kingdom 5.37
Market Access

Switzerland: Your Gateway to 500 Million Customers

In the Greater Zurich Area, you can reach more than 500 million customers in the EU – thanks to the central location with its first-class infrastructure and multicultural setting that is an outstanding test market for your products or services. With its numerous trade agreements, Switzerland and the Greater Zurich Area are ideally integrated in the European market.

The Greater Zurich Area facilitates your market entry into the EU because:

  • You profit from bilateral agreements with the EU: free movement of goods, persons and services, free movement of capital and payment transactions.
  • 60% of Swiss exports go to the EU, while over 75% of Swiss imports come from the EU (2012, PDF).
  • Switzerland is a member of the EFTA and WTO.
  • You are guaranteed complete market access thanks to the first-class infrastructure.
  • In the multilingual, multicultural setting of Switzerland and the Greater Zurich Area, you will find representative target groups that are open to new offers; it is practically impossible to find a better test market than Switzerland and the Greater Zurich Area for your new products and services, especially in heterogeneous Europe.
Switzerland Global Enterprise

Switzerland Global Enterprise works all over the world to support entrepreneurs and promote Switzerland as a business location. Its role as a center of excellence for internationalization is to foster exports, imports and investments, to help clients develop new potential for their international businesses and to strengthen Switzerland as an economic hub. Website

Exports from Switzerland to World Regions 2012 (in million CHF)

Continent Amount
Europe 125000 mio CHF
Asia 47000 mio CHF
America 33500 mio CHF
Africa 3500 mio CHF
Australia/Oceania 3500 mio CHF
Job Market

Swiss Job Market - No. 1 for International Top Executives

Google, IBM and Microsoft know their stuff, so it is no coincidence that these renowned companies have chosen the Greater Zurich Area to set up shop. They can find top-qualified, highly productive and motivated employees for all their corporate operations as well as a flexible job market with minimum regulations. This makes Switzerland the world's number one job market and a magnet for international top executives. 

The Greater Zurich Area is the perfect location for you as an employer because:

  • Swiss labor laws are among the most liberal in Europe. There are practically no strikes thanks to a traditionally strong social partnership.
  • Multilingualism, international experience and top education can be expected from employees in the Greater Zurich Area, and the high quality of living makes the Greater Zurich Area an attractive place to live and work for international top executives, making recruiting efficient and effective (Our Service).
  • Employees from the EU and other parts of Europe can be recruited easily thanks to the free movement of persons, and recruiting from the USA and China is also a routine procedure.
  • The period of notice, unless otherwise agreed, is one month during the first year of employment, two months for two to nine years of employment, and three months thereafter; furthermore, all employees in Switzerland are guaranteed by law four weeks or 20 days of paid vacation per year of employment.
swissinfo.ch

swissinfo.ch is the international branch of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Its role is to report on Switzerland and to provide a Swiss perspective on international events. Website

Attractiveness for highly skilled workers

Nation Score
Switzerland 8.87
Ireland 7.92
Luxemburg 7.81
United Kingdom 7.78
Netherlands 6.96
Swiss Infrastructure

Your Connection to Success

The Greater Zurich Area lies at the heart of Europe and boasts ideal mobility connections – whether by air, road or rail. Zurich's international airport is a European air traffic hub and has been declared the best airport in Europe for the past ten years by the World Travel Award. Efficient mobility in the private and public transportation sectors along with an extremely reliable data and communication infrastructure are among the business location advantages for you.

Everyone knows that time is money. Thanks to the Greater Zurich Area's infrastructure, you will save time – and thus money. Travel times are short and methods of transportation are reliable, punctual and efficient.

Headquarters operations in particular benefit from the Greater Zurich Area's central location in Europe. Business associates in Europe can fly in for meetings and fly out again on the same day without having to pay for overnight accommodation. Zurich Airport is accessible within an hour by car from most locations in the Greater Zurich Area. A large number of airlines offer direct flights from Zurich Airport to numerous destinations outside of Europe.

In addition to all of this, the Greater Zurich Area’s realestate market is impressive.  No matter what size, location or price you are looking for, you are guaranteed to find the right property.

There are business centers located all over the Greater Zurich Area and they can offer you office, conference and service solutions tailored to your individual needs. Many companies that choose the Greater Zurich Area appreciate the cost savings that they can achieve with long-term office rentals.

Top-modern data and telecommunications technology rounds off the location benefits of the Greater Zurich Area. When it comes to coverage and the standard of technology and services, Switzerland is a global leader. 

Zurich Airport

From Zurich Airport, you can fly directly to 188 destinations, 130 European destinations in 36 countries and 58 intercontinental destinations in 28 countries. Website

Quality of overall infrastructure

Nation Score
Switzerland 6.6
Finland 6.5
France 6.4
Iceland 6.3
Austria 6.3
Research and Development

Knowledge Hub with a Future

The Greater Zurich Area is recognized worldwide as a leading center of research and knowledge. The institutionalized exchange between academic institutions and industry make this location especially attractive for research-intensive companies.

Academic innovations need companies in order to successfully establish themselves on the market. To facilitate this, the Greater Zurich Area offers a variety of technology transfer points that form networks between universities, colleges, technical universities, spin-offs, start-ups, investors and private companies.

In Switzerland, the protection of intellectual property is given the highest priority. Switzerland has an extensive system of patent, brand, design and copyright protection and is a member of the most important international conventions, including the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). This means that your intellectual property is protected all over the world. The Greater Zurich Area is thus an attractive location to take out patents.

Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest level of government spending per resident for research and development (R&D), as evidenced by its wealth of renowned research institutions: ETHZ, UZH, PSI, EMPA, EAWAG, ZHAW, ZHW, FHNW, HTW Chur, etc.

Liberal and research-friendly legislation ensures that the Greater Zurich Area remains a knowledge hub with a future.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. It is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for putting its results directly into practice. Website

Global Innovation Index Europe 2013

Nation Score
Switzerland 66.6
Sweden 61.4
United Kingdom 61.3
Netherlands 61.1
Finland 59.5
Switzerland's Financial Center


Switzerland's Financial Center: A Guarantee for Success

The Greater Zurich Area is one of the most significant financial service centers in the world. Excellent financial services, a long tradition of banking and insurance, and favorable legal framework conditions make the Zurich region a leading global financial center. The attractive taxation rates, a traditionally stable Swiss franc and an efficient financial market supervisory authority ensure security and predictability.

High standards, guaranteed security and lasting stability: If these criteria are decisive as you choose your business location, the Greater Zurich Area is the right place for you. More than a third of all Swiss banks have their headquarters in the Greater Zurich Area – including the two major banks, UBS and the Credit Suisse Group. Numerous Swiss and foreign financial institutions with highly specialized services such as hedge funds have also set up offices here.

Besides large banks, the Greater Zurich Area is home to countless Swiss and foreign insurance and reinsurance companies and boasts the third-largest insurance sector in the world.

The SIX Swiss Exchange is among the most technologically advanced stock exchanges in the world, and is also located in the Greater Zurich Area. It is the European leader in cross-sector biotech and pharmaceutical IPOs. More than 370 Swiss and foreign banks based in Switzerland along with a balanced mix of institutional and private investors are active on the Swiss stock exchange. The stable Swiss franc is in demand internationally and is considered a safe haven for investors.

You will find an overview of the finance cluster in the Greater Zurich Area here.

Swiss Banking

The SBA is the leading professional organisation of the Swiss financial centre. Its main purpose is to maintain and promote the best possible framework conditions for the Swiss financial centre both at home and abroad. Website

More Information

Swiss Financial Center

Global Financial Centres Index Europe 2014

Region Score
London 784
Zurich 730
Geneva 713
Frankfurt 709
Luxembourg 707
Federal and Legal System


The Swiss Federal and Legal System: Uncomplicated and Secure

Switzerland is known for its stability, in particular in the areas of politics, social cohesion, private property and security. The authorities in the Greater Zurich Area work in a service-oriented and non-bureaucratic manner – a decisive advantage for your investment projects.

The Swiss authorities provide rapid, non-bureaucratic and expert assistance for business owners and investors in implementing their investment projects. Regulations are flexible and kept to a minimum to facilitate the rapid implementation of your business ideas.

Switzerland is among the countries with the lowest level of corruption. Neutrality, security and stability have been and will continue to be the basis for Switzerland's distinctive humanitarian tradition, which is why many international organizations such as the UN and the Red Cross have their headquarters in Switzerland.

Switzerland is one of the oldest nation states in Europe. A federal state with a modern constitution was formed in 1848 from a loose state confederation of autonomous cantons dating back to 1291.

Decisions are made based on consensus and coalitions. This guarantees broad-based political support among the people.

swissworld.org

swissworld.org is published by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, General Secretariat, Presence Switzerland. Presence Switzerland promotes an authentic image of modern Switzerland worldwide. Website

More Information

Swiss Political System

Economic Freedom Europe

Nation Score
Switzerland 8.3
Finland 7.98
United Kingdom 7.85
Denmark 7.78
Germany 7.68
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