Day 14 – HaLong Bay from a bird’s eye

After two interesting weeks in China and Vietnam we all arrived well in Halong Bay. There, we had the pleasure to board a very nice ship and cruised through the idillic and beautiful pillars and islets. Halong Bay is known as a world heritage since the year 1994 and it is the number one tourist hub in northern Vietnam. After lunch, everybody took a kayak and discovered the little caves that are situated in the sea, later on we climbed up one of the many hills and enjoyed the view over the pillars and the uncoubtable cruise ships in the sea. Back on the boat, our study trip photographer let his drone up in the sky to capture the beauty of HaLong Bay from a bird’s point of view. These amazing pictures can also be seen on his instagram @swissbirdseye and on Youtube at Swiss Bird’s Eye.

Our ship from a bird’s eye.

Our group enjoys the sunset on top of the ship.

In the night we had the pleasure to learn more about the vietnamese kitchen from chefs. They teached us for example how to do vietnamese springrolls, all on the top deck of the boat. Meanwhile, everybody could enjoy the amazing sunset before heading to dinner. After dinner a happy sit together on the boat ended this nice day.

Day 15 – Goodbye

Last Day

After a wonderful night in this ship the next activity in programm was Tai Chi at 6.15 am.

Our mates had the opportunity to experience an inner material art. Tai Chi is viewed as a system of movement theory or gymnastic, which can serve health, personality, development and meditation.

The attendance on this Tai chi lesson was “limited”. I would say my mates were very interested in Tai Chi but the desire of sleep was more preferred. Anyway this Tai Chi lesson began with the basic steps, and the meaning of it were explained. It demanded balance and concentration which was not very easy at 6.15 am, but my colleague Luca and I managed it very well.

So the next activity in programm was the suprise cave which is located inside Bo Hon Island, in the middle of Halong Bay and it is one of the biggest caves. For those with imaginative minds, the inner space can be seen as a theater made by mother nature.

After this programm we checked out early and a lunch were served for us, where we had conversations about this Field Trip. So following a review…

Field Trip Review
We learned a lot about the emerging markets and had the chance to experience it in China and Vietnam. So we learned that the knowledge about the Culture is one of the most importand key factor for beeing successful in emergin markets. Another key factor is to keep up with changes because China is growing very fast and you have to follow up in each aspect of business. So we experienced this culture not on books, blogs or on websites but in China and Vietnam itself. We had the chance to visit very interesting compays and had a very warm welcoming in each of these. If you are wondering which companys we visited and what we learned from them, you can read the daily blogs my collegues wrote. All this special experiences we made was thanks to our teacher, so…

Special thanks to Mr. Braun
Mr. Braun gave us an “introduction” in the modul “emergin market” which was very interesting and we were also perfectly prepared for the Field Trip. He gave us the opportunity to organize this Field Trip on or own and helped us wherever he could. So I can not imagine another teacher could have done all this like Mr. Braun did. Without Mr. Braun and Mr. Wei we could have not visited all this interesting companys and had this amazing unique experience. He was always fair and cooperative. I hope he enjoyed this Field Trip with us, as much as we enjoyed it with him.

 

Group Hanoi: Beqiraj Naxhije, Egli Andrea, Huruglica Mejreme, Lapanashvili Mariam, Schneider Thomas

Day 13 – Elevator

The second day in Hanoi started early at 8.00 am and was strictly planned with three visits. But at least we got a bit used to the motorbikes. To the first visit we went due an invitation from the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), which is a governmental organization of Vietnam.
Because the meeting room they arranged for us was on the fifth floor, we took the elevator to get there. But not all reached the top. Nine of us were stuck in the elevator and had to be freed by the security guards. We had to learn this way that “Max. 9 people”, maximale 9 vietnamese people were meant!

Finally they are free again!

After this “small accident” we had the pleasure to listen to two really interesting presentations about the economy in Vietnam and what VIETRADE does. They do a lot of activities to assist Vietnamese and foreign enterprises in their business development and expansion in Vietnam. One of the founder of VIETRADE Mr. Alain Chevalier, a native-born Swiss with a Swiss watch, showed that since the foundation in July 2000 the exports in Vietnam have been raised in a huge amount.

Mr. Alain Chevalier

After one and an half hour we had to leave VIETRADE due to our tight schedule as mentioned before.

At 11 pm the company Habeco welcomed us at their conference room. The meeting was less a conference because we didn’t listen to presentations nor a speech, but were shown a selfmade movie about Habeco, Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corporation. After that, we were directed to the production of the beer to have an inside view. It was very impressive because Habeco is the third largest beer company in Vietnam and has a strategic partnership with Carlsberg Group. 15 minutes before we had to go, Habeco kindly invited us to a beer. And because we did not want to ruin the hospitality, we could not say no and enjoyed the „Hanoi Beer“.

After an hour at the factory, the last but not least visit to a company in this Field Trip was waiting for us. The Sofitel Legend Metropole, which is a Luxushotel, build in neoclassical colonial style, welcomed us with lunch. Especially I would like to thank Ms. Hang Pham for the whole coordination until the last minute. After lunch we could have an inside view of the most exclusive suits Sofitel has. And finally, Mr. Anthony told us about all the challenges and his personal experiences the hotel business brings with it.

After the three successful and interesting visits, the students had free time to explore the wonderful and cultural city Hanoi. At the end we had dinner all together and enjoyed once again the company of each other and said goodbye to Philemon, Floriane and Richard and wishing them all the best, because they were not coming with us to Halong Bay.

“MJ out!”

Group Hanoi:

Beqiraj Naxhije, Egli Andrea, Huruglica Mejreme, Lapanashvili Mariam, Schneider Thomas

Day 10 + 11: Credit Suisse and KPMG/UBS

This Tuesday was everything about Banking. In the morning we took the metro so we could get an impression of the Hongkong rushhour. After a short but intensive ride we arrived at 10am at the International Commercial Center, where Dr. Urs Buchmann and Credit Suisse Hong Kong received us. The offices are situated in the upper part of the ICC tower so we could enjoy an amazing view over the Victoria Harbour and the entire city.

Dr. Buchmann shared some of his asian business experience with us. He spoke about the Chinese / hong kong economy in general and some topics linked to banking. After 2.5 very interesting hours with a lot of questions we had to leave due to our tight schedule. Of to our the second company visit of the day.

At 2 pm KPMG welcomed us together with UBS at their office. After a short welcome with coffee and tea we could listen to three banking related topics. One part directly from UBS and two from the advisory departement of KPMG. Matteo Bernardis started with a comparison between the banking business in China and Switzerland from an UBS perspective. After that James Harte from KPMG gave us an insight into the asian wealth management business. To end up this informative afternoon Simon Topping and Isabel Zisselsberger spoke about the regulatory landscape in China and how this is related to the banking business.

As a perfect finish of this day and our Hongkong stay we headed out for a drink at the Eyebar and could enjoy the impressive city skyline for a last time. As we had to fly to Hanoi on the following day it was time to end the Chinese chapter at least for now. We all got an first impression how challenging it is to do business in this huge country, now we are looking forward to explore another fast developing emerging market.

Group Hong Kong:
Luca Amann, Stefan Graber, Yannik Ryf, Tim Signer, Kevin Temperli

Day 11/12 – Hanoi, where are your motorbikes?

Motorbikes, motorbikes, motorbikes… Whereever you look.. motorbikes. We arrived on wednesday late afternoon in the Vietnamise capital Hanoi, a city which populates 7 mio people and 5 mio motorbikes. Except one of our mates, who lost his passport somewhere in HongKong’s airport, all of us could finally leave the impressive People’s Republic of China and enter the south-east asian world in Vietnam. Quickly, it was realized that the country here is very different to China. Everyone could feel the warm welcome of a charming city. Not only the streets, buildings and landscapes look different, but also the people behave in another, more open and warm, way. It is not only the “make money” and “produce” and “GDP-growth” as it was in China. After checking in at the very central located Hotel, we could enjoy an amazing dinner on a rooftop with view over the Hoan-Kiem-Lake.

View from our restaurant.

 

On day 12, we once more had to learn “It’s the early bird that catches the worm”. After meeting at 7.30 we drove to the renomated FPT University of Hanoi. Next to providing educational services, the FPT Corporation is active with IT-services, telecommunication and technology retail. The FPT University of Hanoi is famous for its IT education, however we were going to meet economy students with majors in marketing and finance. Arriving at the campus we learned that every room provides space for at least one tree. With this measure, the FPT University could already earn certificates for beeing sustainable. During our visit we were pleased to be a part of the local students daily life and could enjoy a very interesting presentation about Vietnam’s economy. To mention is that a Vietnamese economy teacher likes to compare his country to Singapore and Japan. From a Vietnamese’ point of view, the gap to those economically strong nations doesn’t seem to big.

Better chairs than the ones in the SW building in Winterthur!

A Swiss contribution followed the Vietnamese presentation. Mr. Braun and two students delivered an excellent presenation about the ZHAW and Switzerland with its culture, economy and so on. When waiting for questions from Vietnamese students, only one student asked the Swiss “boys” to provide their Facebook details to the Vietnamese female students. After that, a nice exchange in small groups of Vietnamese and Swiss students was held, where we learned something about the daily life, the ambitions and, of course, the Facebook details of a student in Vietnam. All in all, it was very exciting to get an insight into studying in this country. The rest of the day was free, which most of us used for a relaxing massage somewhere in the old quarter of Hanoi.

P.S. The student, who was left behind in Hong Kong, eventually found his passport and could rejoin the group in Hanoi.

 

 

Author of this entry: Thomas Schneider

Day 9 – Huawei and the electronic market

After everybody had a day off on Sunday with some sightseeing in Hong Kong, the second week of the Field Trip started early at 6:45. Till everybody finished his Monday morning sport program it was 7:15 so we left a little bit later. Most of the students appreciated this delay, because the breakfast in the City View hotel starts at 7:00. On the program was the visit of the company Huawei. The Headquarter of Huawei is in Shenzhen, which is a special economic zone. This means we had to re-enter China and buy a one day Visa. Till everybody could pass the border it took quite some time because a boarder guard had the urge to examine a cell phone (probably he don’t like Monday’s).

Finally we arrived at Huawei where we got a warm welcome from David Harmon who is the Vice President of global public affairs. The presentation was very interesting and informative.

Huawei has 180’000 employees of whom 80’000 work in research and development. As a consequence Huawei has the largest number of patents in China. In the campus we visited, work and live around 60’000 people, what is a really impressive amount. We also get insights in the future of the 5G internet, the collaboration with swiss companies like Swisscom and Schindler and the importance of the internet of things in the future. After the presentation we bumped into the delegation of the swiss entrepreneurs and some people from swissnex, which was a funny second encounter. In the showroom of Huawei we get a deeper insight of the sectors in which Huawei is active.

Huawei isn’t just a cell phone producer as many people think. Keywords of the products we saw in the showroom are city management, safe Railway, smart aviation, smart grids and many more. After the walk through the showroom Huawei invited us for lunch. In the afternoon we spent our time at the SEG electronic market. In this place hundreds of small shops sell their electronic devices.

We explored the market individually and the students, who were not in shopping mood played some cards. At 17:00 we entered the car to get back to Hong Kong. Luckily this time without some time consuming border guards. At the time we arrived in the hotel it was already 19:30 and everybody was a little tired after the long but interesting day.

Group Hong Kong:

Luca Amann, Stefan Graber, Yannik Ryf, Tim Signer, Kevin Temperli

Day 7 – Macao visit Galaxy Entertainment

On the first of July we were invited by Mr Chan who is the facility manager of Galaxy Entertainment. For the transport to Macao we took the speedboat from the harbour in Hong Kong at 10:15 a.m.

The journey took about one hour and then we were transported by the bus to the Galaxy Casino where we were warmly welcomed by Mr Chan and his team. First of all he showed us the famous and breathtaking diamond show.

After five short presentations about the several departments in the casino which have given us students a brief and extensive understanding of the whole casino, we were divided into two groups. In Mr Chans presentation he mentioned that the Galaxy Casino itself makes more revenue than the whole casinos of Las Vegas together. Furthermore the hotel offers more than 3000 rooms of which 97.5% are averagely booked.

The casino arranged exclusively for us a tour through the casino and its different departments which included the whole heating and chilling system, facility processes, gambling halls and rooms.

We were honoured that we were even allowed to have a look in the private rooms which were normally only allowed by black and diamond cardholders. Moreover we have to mention that this was the best organized and intensive company visit we experienced on this study field trip so far. At six o´clock in the evening we enjoyed a wide and tasteful selection of food in the restaurant of the resort. We were located in a separate room were we could have a flashback of our tour and having wild discussions on the impression of the casino that we experienced during the day. It stuck out that all students were overwhelmed by the immense facility management that has to be fulfilled in order to keep the customers and other stakeholders satisfied in such a massive casino. According to this matter the students have decided to show and to sing their appreciation in a spontaneous song named “S´Vogellisi”. One of our students received even a cake from the casino due to his birthday. After a short but impressively speech of Mr Chan we had the possibility to enjoy the casino as gamblers. Some of the students took this chance and capture the roulette and black jack tables. The others went back to Hong Kong with the speedboat to savour the nightlife of Hong Kong.

Group Hong Kong:

Luca Amann, Stefan Graber, Yannik Ryf, Tim Signer, Kevin Temperli

Day 6 – Swissnex: Our outpost in China

On our last day in Shanghai we went to visit Swissnex.

Many people in Switzerland may have never heard of Swissnex but Swissnex does actually an import job for Switzerland abroad. Swissnex is a public-private venture and has offices in Boston, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Bangalore and Shanghai and many science counselor locations all around the world. They work together with the Science, Education and Technology Section in the Embassy of Switzerland in China and regional consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Their goal is to promote Switzerland’s excellence as one of the world’s leading countries in the fields of innovation, research, technology and higher education, to connect academia and business and to facilitate cooperation between, in this case, China and Switzerland. Along with individual science and technology counselors around the world, they work on behalf of Switzerland to expand education, research, and innovation. Vital financial support is provided by donors and sponsors for the respective country of each outpost. In other words, without Swissnex many people in China may not know Switzerland.

Once we arrived, we received a warm welcome from Isabel Götz, General Manager, ad intermin of Swissnex. The first speaker was Erwin Lüthi, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland. He gave us an understanding of what the Consulate of Switzerland is doing in China and why a Consulate is important next to an Embassy. Isabel Götz introduced us to Swissnex and gave us a deeper understanding of their work and operation in China in the second speech. At the Q&A she was able to answer a lot of our questions regarding the life here in Shanghai. For example, she always has to think twice whether she really wants to lower the window shutter on a sunny day as it might lead here Chinese neighbors to hang out their clothes on it.

Leo Peng, Promotion Officer, Swiss Business Hub Shanghai, explained us the function and work of Swiss Business Hub China. The Swiss Business Hub China is a part of the Embassy in Switzerland the representative of the official international trade and investment promotion agency Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE). It is responsible for implementing Swiss export strategies in China and for promoting Switzerland as a business location. On the one hand, they inform Chinese companies about the key advantages of Switzerland as a business and investment location. On the other hand, they are the key contact point for Swiss SMEs looking for export opportunities in the Chinese market.

The last presentation of the morning was, in our opinion, the highlight. Michael Lehmann, Managing Director of Selective International Management [SIM], introduced us to services of his company. SIM is a Swiss consultancy with its main operations in Shanghai providing support to European and Chinese Companies. They provide transparent and pragmatic professional solutions to their clients with their internal and external experts through Management Consulting, Corporate Services and Project Management. One of their key activities is the yearly Swiss Week which is the only platform in China for Swiss companies to promote their products directly to the public. On the second part of his speech he illustrated in a fun way his own developed strategy of how you should start a business in China and what you should be aware of the differences in culture and life in China.

After the four interesting presentations, we had lunch at a nearby by Japanese restaurant together with some of the speakers and people of Swissnex. After this it was time to say goodbye to Isabel Götz and her team and also to Shanghai.

Our journey went on to Hong Kong where we happily arrived in the evening by plane.

Group Shanghai
André Birri, Floriane Bopp, Sergio Galli, Philemon Gschwend, Richard Lauper

Day 5 – Ship Ahoy

On the fifth day, our program was slightly different compared to the previous days. Instead of visiting companies, participating in exciting presentations, exploring different parts of cities and cultures, or spending the evening at the local Swiss embassy, we were allowed to visit the port of Shanghai – by now the biggest port of the World!
After a good night’s rest from the previous evening, we were picked up at the hotel to be driven to the port. As we later were told the port of Shanghai is not a consecutive site but rather split up in several unique sites that were located around the Shanghai area. Indeed, we were brought to the newest expansion of Shanghai port infrastructure – Yangshan Port. Located on an island surrounded by 15-meter deep water to allow even the biggest of all transport ships to dock and load their precious goods. To get there we were heading southwards to the ocean right through the city of Shanghai. This journey once again enabled us to try to grasp the unbelievable vastness and growth of this city or rather China as a whole. Grasping the sheer speed at which China grows (or has grown so far) became even harder once we realized that the by fog engulfed bridge we were driving on was not simple any bridge. It was a 32.5-kilometer-long bridge right through the ocean that connected the main land with Yangshan Port. This alone already made an impressive achievement (2x the length of the Gotthard tunnel), but the fact that it was built in only 2 years (!) finally made most of us realize the true commitment China invests in its growth.


The Yangshan Deepwater Port Project commenced in June 2005 and Phase I Terminal put into operation already at the end of 2005. Yangshan Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III Terminal were fully completed in 11 years. For the time being, the three terminals totally have a 5.6 kilometers quay length and equip 16 berths. To further consolidate and improve the status of Yangshan Phase IV Terminal began construction in 2014. Planned is a fully automatic terminal with five 50 thousand tons container vessel berths, two 70 thousand tons berth, one working vessel berth and other facilities. It will be put into operation at the end of 2017. In the near future, there are almost no people planned in the dock site of Phase IV Terminal as all the operation will be intelligent and automatic. The group was astonished by the size, the efficiency and the huge numbers of containers. Finally, our bus driver was able to drive us directly through the port between narrow corridors and in the midst of thousands of containers – an impressive sight indeed.

After a delicious meal we looked forward to spend the rest of the afternoon back in the downtown of Shanghai. Unfortunately, we had to realize that our driver was not able to meaningfully increase his driving skills over night as most of us were suddenly kicked out of their sleep at a particularly bumpy section of the road. After this shock we were free to spend the afternoon individually. Many small groups formed and discovered Shanghai on their own for the rest of the day and night.

Group Shanghai

André Birri, Floriane Bopp, Sergio Galli, Philemon Gschwend, Richard Lauper

 

Day 4 – Welcome to Shanghai

After three days in Beijing, it was time for us to move on and explore more of this exciting country. Just as we were getting ready to leave for the railway station the air started to get darker and coarser – the famous Beijing Smog that we have rarely encountered during the previous days seemed to be coming back. Or as our tour guide Eric put it: “When you were coming to Beijing the sky was washed clear and blue by the rain and now that you are leaving it turns gray with smog again – so come back soon!”.

The newly built high-speed rail network between Beijing and Shanghai reduced the travel time between those cities from 10 to 5 hours. Our train was racing through the country with a top speed of 350 km/h. While some took a nap and recovered from previous days and nights others enjoyed the diversified landscape that our 1318 km drive right through mainland China had to offer.

We arrived at noon in Shanghai at one of the biggest railway station in Asia. After meeting our new guide Issac and a quick lunch break at the station we were already on our way to the next company visit at Autoneum. Sadly we had to realize that our new bus driver was not as qualified and gentle as our previous one in Beijing as he was driving at top speed through several bumpy sections of the road. Still, we arrived as one piece at the local factory of Autoneum in Shanghai. Autoneum is the global market and technology leader in acoustic and thermal management solution for vehicles. The company was founded 2011 in Switzerland as a spin-off of Rieter Holding AG. The Autoneum Group holds several strategically placed factories all around the world – in Asia, Autoneum currently employs around 1900 employees. The factory we were visiting in Shanghai was relatively new and regularly expanded and updated on a yearly basis. After a short presentation, we were guided through all relevant process steps that were executed in the four factory building on the plant by the Product Manager.

 

Here we were getting our first taste of the manufacturing industry in China. It was interesting to witness the manufacturing process from raw material to finished goods first hand. We appreciated that Autoneum provided us the opportunity to experience how international companies do business in Asia.

After leaving the factory we were driving right to the hotel in the middle of Shanghai – the Bund Riverside Hotel. After Check-In most of us were swarming out to explore the surrounding area. Later we all met again in the hotel lobby to go for a drink at the famous Bar Rouge with a beautiful view of the modern skyline of Shanghai.

Group Shanghai

André Birri, Floriane Bopp, Sergio Galli, Philemon Gschwend, Richard Lauper