Day 7: Last day in Chongqing

The last day in Chongqing was a relaxed one. At 9 o’clock we got a transfer to the Chongqing municipal financial regulation bureau, which is a part of the financial departement of Chongqing government. They have set up a very professional discussion room with all necessary equipment and information. Director Zhang Hong Ming and three colleges were present at the discussion.

After an introduction of the financial regulation bureau by Mr. Zhang Hong Ming we as ZHAW also got introduced by Mr. Braun. After we got an insight in facts an figures of the fast and strong growth of Chongqings economy. It was very interesting to see the diffrences between China and Switzerland in terms of governmental investment funds and financial stability management. After the discussion at the Chongqing municipale financial regulation bureau we were invited to a local restaurant. And as every time we got served a lot of tasty food.

After lunch we made a small excursion into a supermarket which uses facial recognition AI to simplify parts of the shopping process. But the most interesting in this market was the water tanks with living animals to buy.

Back at the hotel we all get some free time to enjoy our last day in Chongqing. Of course we had also a little bit time to do some sightseeing in Chongqing. Therefore a little impression of the skyline of Chongqing.

-> Bye Chongqing, it was a pleasure!

Day 6: Autoneum, ABB and Hot Pot

We all knew we’re going to have a long day with two company visits and a dinner. So we met at 7 o’clock at the hotel lobby to embark our shuttle bus for a two hours trip. The first 30 minutes Mr. Braun shared some very interesting facts about our next stop: Autoneum.

At Autoneum the General Manager of Autoneum Chongqing, Mr. Liu Zhisheng, introduced us to the business and their high expansion in Asia with exports even to Africa. They are specialiced in heat and sound isolation for various customers in the car industry. Autoneum proudly presented their certificates for eco-friendly production with high recycling percentage and also quality certifications awarded by their customers.

As soon as the presentation ended, we got safety gear, which included safety goggles, high visibility vest and a pair of safety shoes. Safety measures are very important and they stated that they had no accidents the last 3 to 4 years (except one incident this year).

For the tour, we were splitted into two groups to walk around the production facility. It was highly interesting, because all the machines were in use and the processes were demonstrated to us.

After the first company visit everybody was hungry. Again our host, Ms. Wei Xia, told us a fine restaurant which was perfect to eat in a group. It was very delicious and a real experience with some chinese specialties.

Our second visit was the ABB Transformer in Chongqing. At ABB Mr. Frank Eggmann, Swiss Consul General, and the Swiss Economic Officer, Ms. Jasmine, joined us.

After video of safety the newly selected head of ABB transformers presented us their business and biggest projects f.e. the contribution of twelve big transformers for the “Three Gorges Dam”. After second changing into safety clothing (with helmet) we started our tour through the ABB production facility.

Frank Eggmann was so kind to answer any of our questions regarding China. For that we organised a conference room in our hotel and had a lovely and highly interessting discussion. And so togheter with Mr. Frank Eggmann and Jasmine we proeeded to a delicous “Hot Pot Meal”.

We would like to sincerely thank Mr. Frank Eggmann for his time and his contribution to our experience in China.

Day 5: Bye Beijing and hello Chongqing

We left Beijing early in the morning to visit our next destination: the metropole Chongqing. After a rather long domestic flight we arrived exhausted and hungry at the Chongqing airport. The shuttle service waited for us already and we arrived an hour later at the newly opened SinoSwiss Technopark (SSTP) at lunchtime. The first impression was a mix of being stunned and surprised. In front of us was a modern complex with some security guards at the entrance.

Hungry and two hours too early at the SSTP, our host Ms. Jojoe Xu, Executive Assistant, ordered for us pizza and french fries to the conference room and we had an enjoyable lunch together. At the presentation of SSTP we got a deep insight into the idea of the ambitious concept. SSTP targets Swiss innovative companies and will provide business development services to mainly Swiss SMEs and startups. Therefore, SSTP facilitates access to the Chinese market. We understood that the complex, which is already opened and accessable for the public, is getting filled with business life by the end of the year and negotiations are being made with different Swiss SMEs. Negotiations are on the way with diffrent Swiss SMEs.

The transfer to the World Traders Hotel after the visit of SSTP was fast and easy. During the transport we got a first impression about the biggest city of the world with its 32 million people which equals 4 times the population of Switzerland!

Chongqing is a breathtaking city like no other, full of hills and skyscrapers on different levels of altitude which gives a new style of skyline which we all have never seen before.

After a long day we arrived at the Hotel in Chongqing. Even if it was the first evening in Chongqing the most uf us just wanted to get some rest.

Day 4: Last day in Beijing.

Our last day started with a very interesting Q&A with Matthias Müller, a senior journalist who is working for Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) in China. He provided us unique insights of his daily life in China. Furthermore, we got the chance to ask an a wide range of political and economical questions. At noon, two luxurious buses arrived at the hotel. They took us on a highly anticipated visit to the Huawei testing Center. Different testing processes i.e. sound and connectivity were explained to us in the labs.

After the interesting tour, we headed back to the hotel but not before getting a generous gift in form of a book about the history of Huawei. In the evening we went for a splendid Beijing duck dinner to conclude our Beijing trip.

Day 3: Beijing: The city of innoway-tion

On the third day we had the opportunity to visit Innoway. Innoway is a successful accelerator for Tech-Startups in Beijing. They helped a lot of young firms to grow out their ideas and compete in the market. One of the most noticable examples is Face++.

On our visit we got to try out new technologies and saw different innovative products in the show room. Afterwards, the guide showed us the offices, where cutting edge technology is being developed. In the end, the guide answered our questions. Officially, the day ended with Innoway, but a large group of students decided to visit a famous rooftop bar to sip on fancy drinks and enjoy the breathtaking view from the 80th floor.

Day 2: Visit Great Wall

After a night with a solid zero hours of sleep because of jet lag and excitement, we headed to the Great Wall of China. On the way to the wall the tour guide informed us about the history of the monumental structure. When we first layed our eyes on this marvelous architectural piece of history, we were awestruck by its beauty. The lush green surrounding created a stunning contrast to the brown wall. After an exhausting walk to the top we gazed onto the far reaches of the wall and felt as we looked into the past. Our trip to the Great Wall ended with adventurous ride to the bottom.

SML Study Trip 2019: China and Vietnam

China is situated in Eastern Asia on the Western shore of the Pacific Ocean and encompasses an area of 9.6 million square kilometers. China’s continental coastline extends along 18,000 kilometers, and its vast sea surface is studded with more than 5,000 islands. More than 1.4 billion people live in China. In 1949, the Communist Party of China established the People’s Republic of China.

Thanks to its reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China has become stronger and stronger in economy, science and technology. The nation’s economy has been growing rapidly. China’s economy is gradually shifting from a merely production-oriented to an innovation-led economy. Thus, the Chinese markets will continue to open up and Chinese companies will internationalize as Western companies will explore China as a future market and supply source to an even greater extent.

China is the world’s largest manufacturing economy and exporter of goods. It is also the world’s fastest-growing consumer market and second-largest importer of goods. China is a net importer of services products. It is the largest trading nation in the world and plays a prominent role in international trade and has increasingly engaged in trade organizations and treaties in recent years. China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001. Major projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative are testimonial to China’s long-range plan to play a pivotal role on the geo-political world stage.

Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia and is bordered by China to the north. 96 million people live in Vietnam. Its capital city is Hanoi.

Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939.The nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the First Indochina War, eventually expelling the French in 1954. Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides intensified in what is known as the Vietnam War. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.

Vietnam was then unified under a communist government but remained. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms which began Vietnam’s path towards integration into the world economy. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with all nations. Since 2000, Vietnam’s economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world. Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.

Students in their final semester at the ZHAW School of Management and Law (SML) embark on this study trip to China and Vietnam following attendance of the seminar “Doing business in Emerging Markets”. The objectives of this study trip are:

  • Experience the Chinese and Vietnamese way of life through real on-site exploration
  • Explore the cultural heritage and learn how to integrate the findings into doing business in emerging markets
  • Understand the economic thrust of China and Vietnam and its neighboring countries
  • Learn the first steps to expand one’s individual business network beyond Switzerland
  • Expand the horizon for a future professional career.

My heartfelt thanks goes to all organizations, companies and business partners in China and Vietnam who generously invited our SML student group. We deeply appreciate your support.

Moreover, I would like to thank the entire student group who co-organized this trip and in particular the core organizing team Fredrik Rüegg (CEO), Jasmin Schleeh (CTO) and Nicola Zimmermann (CFO). We are all looking forward to this no doubt rewarding and memorable journey.

Best wishes

Dr. Markus Braun

ZHAW School of Management and Law / Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Looking back and Thank you

SML Emerging Market Fieldtrip 2018 to China and Vietnam

30th June to 14th July 2018

After fifteen days of travelling 2’600 km from Beijing to Hanoi on buses, trains, ships and in airplanes, we look back with great gratitude on a challenging, but highly rewarding journey. It was a unique experience to meet so many entrepreneurial people, to visit the Swiss embassies in China and Vietnam, high-tech Chinese companies in Beijing, consulting practices and financial institutions in Hong Kong, universities and manufacturing companies in Chengdu and Chongqing, an entertainment complex in Macau and textile companies in Hanoi. In addition we were able to discuss topics such as family business and wealth management as well as possible consequences of the harsh trade dispute evolving between the US and China with financial experts, students and company representatives alike.


Students of the SML Emerging Market Fieldtrip 2018 with Ambassador Dr. Jean-Jacques Dardel and Lecturer Dr. Markus Braun at the Swiss Embassy in Beijing, July 2018.

Students from left to right: Gino Mächler, Nico Wyss, Marc Andersen, Lukas Bachmann, Christoph Bänninger, Simon Bärtschi, Davor Gavranic, Robin Chahal, Alessandro Paradiso, Luka Devcic, Jessica Stocker, Michael Trautmann, Nicole Schlierenzauer, André Vonmentlen. Not shown on the picture: Michael Sebastian Henschel, Rubén Ramirez Garcia and Wei Sun, ZHAW Research Associate


There is no doubt that the objectives of getting a real onsite insight into the rapidly growing Asian economies where present and future business partners and employers of today’s ZHAW students and tomorrow’s business people reside were fully achieved as the feedback by the students confirmed.

Despite the packed time table we were also able to take in the natural beauty of China and Vietnam as well as to visit the old cultural heritage monuments and to experience the new traffic and building achievements in Asia’s mega cities.

We sincerely thank all contributors for their generous support in making this unique journey possible. In particular and in order of the companies visited we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to

  • Ambassador Dr. Jean-Jacques Dardel, Swiss Embassy to China, Beijing
  • Dr. Nektarious Palaskas, Head, and Ms. Chenchen Liu, Project Manager, Science, Education and Technology Section, Swiss Embassy to China, Beijing
  • General Consul Frank Eggmann, Swiss General Consulate, Chengdu
  • Axel Menning, Director Public Affairs, Huawei, Zurich
  • Marc Goomber, General Manager, JV Volvo-Geely, Chengdu
  • Danyi Wang, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu
  • Kurt Lötscher, Head Group Public Affairs, ABB Headquarters and John-Hanping Zheng, ABB Transformer Co. Ltd, Chongqing
  • Ms. Zhang, Senior Partner, Ms. Jenny, CIO, and Ms. Alice, Swiss China Corporation (Wealth and Asset Management), Chongqing
  • Dr. Urs Buchmann and Ms. Vanessa Bergqvist, Credit Suisse Greater China, Hong Kong
  • Tom Wilson, Partner, and Mr. Tom Leisinger, Manager, KPMG, Hong Kong
  • Symon Tilberis, UBS, Hong Kong
  • Chan Chee Pong, Facility Manager, Galaxy Entertainment, Macau
  • Ambassador Beatrice Maser, Swiss Embassy to Vietnam, Hanoi
  • Jean-Paul Hässig, President Swiss Business Association Vietnam and Head of Cotton Asia, RDMA Cotton, Singapore

Thank you so much! We will never take your support for granted.

Day 15 – Goodbye Hanoi

After 15 days, 6 cities and more than 11,000 km, the SML Emerging Markets Field Trip 2018 officially ended on Saturday evening in Hanoi.

While for some early risers our last day started with a swim in the sea, many took advantage of the rainy weather to enjoy our comfortable rooms on board of the ship to rest a little longer. After a hearty breakfast our boat chugged back through the rain towards the harbor.

We enjoyed the last moments on the ship before the bus transported us back to Hanoi. Once there, we all signed the banner that accompanied us on our two-week trip through China and Vietnam. After a few final words, we said goodbye to each other and the group split. While some drove directly to the airport, some stayed in Hanoi.

The Emerging Market Field Trip was a complete success. We would like to thank everyone involved for the work and hospitality. The last two weeks have given us a very impressive impression of how exciting and different the culture, the countries and the way one does business in these countries is.