Location Switzerland Geographic and economic issues are among the most important factors for the choice of a business location. Switzerland's geo-strategic position and a well-defined federal structure make the country a meeting point of cultures and languages. Long-term, stable decision-making fundamentals, liberal legislation, protection of free competition and cooperative authorities encourage the establishment of companies and facilities for research and production activities.
Switzerland takes a leading position in international business location comparisons. It is among the countries with the longest working hours, greatest number of patents per resident, highest per-capita spending on science, research and education, and the highest share of exports in gross domestic product (GDP).
The Swiss economy owes its considerable strength to the industriousness and ingenuity of its population, on the one hand, and to close ties with other economies, on the other hand. The competitive pressure this involves, along with a stable political environment, healthy public finances, low cost of capital, and strong purchasing power, all combine to ensure present and future growth.
- High gross domestic product: The Swiss economy is the world's most competitive and is among the most global countries. Switzerland's per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) is among the highest in the world.
- Low unemployment rate - high employment rate: Switzerland has one of the world's highest employment rate. At about 3% (2013), the country's unemployment rate is among the lowest in Europe.
- The strong Swiss franc: Switzerland is not part of the EU and has its own stable currency, the Swiss franc (CHF). However, the Euro is widely accepted.
- Well-defined service sector and new technologies: Switzerland's most important field of business is the service sector.
The medical and biotechnology, micro, nano and high-tech as well as telecommunication technology (ICT) industries also benefit from the excellent educational basis of the federal institutes of technology, universities, universities of applied sciences as well as the combination of school and apprenticeship.
Agriculture is of marginal importance in the country's economy. However, the sector is important for Switzerland because it helps to preserve and maintain the near-natural landscapes and rural structures beyond the metropolitan areas.
- Foreign trade: Switzerland's most important trading partner is the EU. Germany has traditionally been Switzerland's most important customer and supplier.
Close, constructive collaboration guarantees access to 500 million consumers in the markets of the EU and the EFTA. In addition to its free trade agreements with almost 100 countries, Switzerland is a co-signatory of the WTO agreement on public procurement, an accord that opens up the most important public-sector markets in the EU, the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, Norway and Israel.
Swiss infrastructure is among the best developed and most reliable in the world. State-of-the-art IT infrastructure and tools create ideal conditions for the development of new technologies. The commercial real estate market has an ample supply of land and buildings for economic activities, and the restrictions on property ownership by foreign nationals have been considerably relaxed in recent years.
A well-qualified workforce is a requirement for every successful business venture. With respect to overall productivity, Switzerland ranks among the world's leading national economies. The workforce is generally highly motivated and strikes are almost non-existent. Although salaries seem relatively high, the overall labour costs are much lower than in competing countries. Ancillary labour costs and social security costs remain moderate.
Switzerland provides an ideal base for developing both the Swiss and the European market. Having a corporate branch in Switzerland means gaining access to a domestic market of about 8 million consumers with the world's highest purchasing power. Likewise, the European market with its 500 million consumers is ideally tapped and developed from Switzerland - which is why numerous international companies from a wide range of industries have chosen Switzerland for their headquarters, foreign branches and service centres.