Our last day on this trip started at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It is a fully granted and public University since 1994 with roughly 32000 students and is ranked by QS World University Ranking as the 25th best university in Asia. We met Prof. Man-kwong Leung and some of his academic colleagues who gave us a presentation about their study program of the Business faculty. First Dr. Man-kwong Leung introduced an overview about Master programmes followed by an introduction in China Business Studies by Dr. Yang Lei as well as an introduction of Investment Management by Dr. Allen Ng. Afterwards we had a visit in the House of Innovation where we got presented some of their own projects. Later on we moved to the Hotel Icon which is totally mangaged by students of the Hotel and Tourism Management faculty. Hotel ICON is located in Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, one of the city’s most convenient and exciting areas, at the hub of the highly efficient transportation network.It is a five star Hotel and according to Trip advisor it is rated 2nd of 613 Hotels in Hong Kong. Mr Steven Lau showed us the beautiful lobby with the ‘hanging garden’ on the wall, as well as some hotel rooms and the restaurant at the top of the roof.
After lunch we moved to the ICC building where we had an appointment with Mr. Simon Kuehne for visiting Leonteq, a “swiss investment engine” company. It is specialized for selling structured products in the financial sector.A structured product is an investmnet product packaged by financial institutions which cover every market expectation and investment class.
After Leonteq we got a presentation about citychamp a watch and jewellery group. Citychamp is primarily engaged in design, production and sales of watches and timepieces. The Group possesses proprietary brands, including “Rossini” and “EBOHR,” two of the four major Chinese watch brands, as well as renowned global watch brands “Corum,” “Eterna” and “Rotary.” Mr. Fong Chi Wah, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary, talked about challenges and strategies of his company facing the watch industry. in the past they acquired some swiss watch manufacturers to stay competitive and become leader in this market.
The day, respectively the study trip ended in the evening having some good farewell drinks at the beautiful bay of Hongkong.
The final week of our study trip started gently by getting picked up at 8.15 am by bus. After an hour of driving we arrived at the Jiangnan ancient town Zhujiajiao. The Zhujiajiao ancient town is located in suburb of Shanghai city. The little fan-shaped town has more than 1700 years of history. In this village we have visited the Kezhi Garden which represents a property of a wealthy family 100 years ago. Large spacious houses, surrounded by small lakes, ricefields and bridges showed impressively how they must have lived. After the visit of this garden, we got some free time to explore the village any further on our own.
The main attraction in Zhujiajiao is the Caogang River which keeps the village alive. The citizens organize boat tours and deliver the local market in the village via the water. The market basically winds through the whole village and offers Chinese food specialties such as pork legs, frogs, shrimps and fish as well as traditional clothing and various accessories. The group individually ate lunch in the village to be strengthened to meet after noon at the village-entrance to head for our first company visit of the week.
Another one-hour bus-trip brought us to the local Research Center of Saint-Gobain, a multi-national Company with French origins which is one of the Worlds Top100 industrial corporations. Saint-Gobain is best known to research, develop and produce parts for construction and building. After a warm welcome of Site-General-Manager Muthu Jeevanantham and an interesting company-presentation we were taken to a site-tour. Therefore we experienced a look into a modern and state-of-the-art research lab which engages around 250 employees where from roughly a quarter are from each of the three degrees bachelor, master and PHD. The employees age averages at 32 years which means they are a very young and well-skilled team.
After the tour we went on to have an insight to one of Saint-Gobain’s subsidiaries here in Shanghai, Saint-Gobain Sekurit, a leading manufacturer of car glazing. We had an exclusive tour through their large factory where several millions of car glass parts are produces every year. Our impression of the factory is that the site is highly automatic, modern and well-equipped.
Overall, it was an interesting day with a good mix of cultural and business impressions. A lot of us had a first significant insight in a research lab where parts of Chinas future leading innovation will come from.
We started the day with a welcome of Masaji Ono, Assistant Section Manager of Uda City, and Sei Ando, Cooperation Staff of Uda City. After they took us to the city hall all the employees gave us a warm welcome. They showed us their excitment of our visit by standing at the entrance and waving with Swiss flags.
Following by that the mayor of Uda City, Mikio Takeuchi, introduced us to the staff and to the invited presenters. Mainly the presentation was held by Isao Miyagawa, Director and General Manager of Dai-Ichi Seiko Co. Ltd. He talked about the Japanese business life and the business condition in the past 60 years. He came to the conclusion that both countries, Switzerland and Japan, have to look out for “lucky spaces”, like in football.
We were invited to have lunch also with students from Nara University. The students Yuko Fujii, Eri Shintani, Yuri Takentaka and Kurumi Murata gave us some information about Nara and its sightseeing places at the end of lunchtime.
After lunch, they accompanied us when we went to Mr. Kajiya, one of a few katana sword crafter. He gave us some insights about the production and the use of these swords. Impressive was the fact that the completion of a Katana sword can take up to a whole year.
The final stop was at the Todai-Ji Temple where we can see the great Buddha. This temple also served as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism and it is listed in UNESCO as a historic monument of ancient Nara.
On the whole it was very interesting to experience the differences between the crowded, noisy Tokyo and Kyoto and the countryside of Nara. This day was a compensation to the other busy days we had before and it was a pleasure to meet the polite and open-hearted people in Nara.