After checking out at the yet best Hotel in Hanghzou, Mr. Bi, a former business partner of Mr Ruettimann, took us to the company `Flockmaster`. This tannery processes cow and sheep skins to industrial leather for mostly shoes and jackets. In huge halls thousands of leather pieces are cleaned, dyed and refined with chemicals. Finally they are being checked and cut to meet customer`s demands. Furthermore, we learned that it is hard to distinguish genuine from fake leather for laymen and professionals alike.
The next company we visited was `Haining City Lili Leather Garments Co., Ltd`. This company manufactures fashion leatherware, especially jackets. They count Tchibo, Esprit and H&M to their customers. Actually, we saw the new
`Weekly Special` from Tchibo which will be sold in fall 2009. This jacket is bought by Tchibo for approximately CHF 40.- and is expected to be sold for more than CHF 150.-. While walking throught the manufactury we handed out candies to the workers who were quite delighted about our Sugus and Feuersteine.
After the owner of the factory, Mr. Wang, kindly invited us to a delicious lunch which we appreciated very much, we went to the Company `NICELINK Home Furnishing`. The Company is a family-run business and headed by Ms Jenny Cao. It produces home furniture focusing on the American market. Interesting facts are that the company exports 100% of its output, employs more than 1600 people and ships 300 containers (TEU) per month. We saw that the taste of European customers for home furniture is slightly different to American one.
The son of the founder of NICELINK, Mr. Lewis Cao, lived in New Zealand for 12 years and is the cousin of Ms. Jenny
Cao. He is head of sales of the company `Haining Nice Flourish Auto Parts Co., Ltd` which was the fourth and last company we visited. Its core business is the production of spare parts for cars, especially wheel hubs for the American market. Despite the current economic crisis this business prospers as people tend to repair cars more than buying a new one.
Then we drove an hour on the highway and another one in small allies to arrive savely in Suzhou at the Youngor Business Hotel.
In all companies we experienced quite good working conditions and hardworking employees. Overall, it was very interesting to see local Chinese companies for a change. But for Mr. Bi`s assistance we would not have had the chance to get access to these Chinese companies. We would also thank all the other people who took the time to show us around.