After spending a month in Europe, the country that caught my attention the most was Switzerland. It is a small country, but there is great diversity there. The city I visited was Geneva and I was amazed by the gorgeous nature as well the high prices. However, what surprised me the most was the fact that high end stores such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci were enjoying a decent amount of customers and getting dinner at a restaurant around 8pm was impossible without a reservation.
That is to say that the Swiss enjoy a very high standard of living. While enjoying some delicious Swiss chocolate in front of the Jet d'Eau, I asked myself "Why is lifestyle there so expensive?" The answer lies in the country's strong economy. It is one of the most liberal and competitive economies in the world and has always maintained close economic ties with other countries.
Besides cheese, chocolate, bank accounts, and expensive watches, the country is home to several multinational corporations including Nestle and The Swatch Group. In 2010, "Fortune Global 500" featured 15 Swiss companies.
Some of the most important industries are banking, tourism, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Banks and financial institutions are key players in the Swiss economy and the Swiss franc is one of the world's most stable currencies. The two major banks in Switzerland are UBS and Credit Suisse. Furthermore, the country is a leading producer of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The chemical industry focuses on dye-stuffs, perfume essences and food flavorings. This industry is a perfect example of what Swiss economy is built on - high-quality specialty products.
The Swiss domestic market is small and the country is lacking in natural resources, therefore international trade is essential to bring wealth into the country. Most of the output is exported. This has pushed Swiss companies to become increasingly more competitive in world markets. The main trade partner for Switzerland is the European Union. Although it is not a member of the European Union, the country shares close economic and political ties with the EU. The economic policy is free trade with low duties and almost no quotas.
So whether you are looking for a new ski location or a place to do business, Switzerland should be on your list!