This morning we got up early to catch the bus to the railway station, where we had to say goodbye to our charming guide “Lucy”.
The bullet train with its stunning average speed of 305 kilometres per hour took us in approximately five hours to the city of Hangzhou.
Upon our arrival in Hangzhou we were warmly welcomed by our new guide “Yolanda”. She introduced us to the history of the city and its current development, while transfering to our new accommodation: Hotel Best Western.
We are still very impressed by the contrasts of the city’s modern and ancient architecture.
After the check-in we had the remaining afternoon to our own disposal. We used our spare time for a spontaneous city stroll, before continuing our tour by boat on the West Lake – the city’s best-known attraction.
We started our third day in Beijing with a visit at the Swiss Re China premises. There we got an overview of the Chinese insurance market, Chinese legal & regulatory environment and talent in the insurance industry.
After a short lunch break we went to University of Business Economics. There we had an interesting lesson and discussion about Chinese company strategies investing abroad, in particular in Switzerland. The session was hold by Professor Wang.
Afterwards we went to Claudia Masüger, who is from Switzerland and set up the two companies MQ wines (b2b) and cheers wines (b2c) in China. There we had the opportunity to try her wine and champagne. And it was a great pleasure to listen to her presentation.
Our second day in Beijing started at Zhongguancan Innovation Way, the Chinese Silicon Valley. In this creative street we met local representatives, who guided us through selected startup-coffees, incubators and co-working spaces. This hotspot for start-up businesses is heavily supported and promoted by the Chinese government, who wants to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. In the end of our visit we benefited from a young Chinese entrepreneur, who held an impressive presentation about his personal journey from being a student to become a start-up founder.
In the afternoon we were invited by the Swiss Embassy in Beijing. After a warm welcome by our host, Michael Waser, a series of presentations and discussions took place. Representatives of SwissCham, specialists of the Embassy and from the Swiss Business Hub China provided new insights about China and its market and engaged us in Q&A sessions.
Last but not least we had the honor to attend a Gala Dinner with Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann. We used this unique opportunity to build long lasting relationships with the Swiss Business Community in Beijing.
The 2015 study trip of the module ‘Doing business in Emerging markets’ was kicked off by the optional cultural excursion today.
Despite the hardship of getting up early to hit throw road and the jet lag, the programme attracted almost everyone to join. Thanks to the early hours we enjoyed a smooth ride to the first part of the Chinese Wall, the J. With great determination and endurance the group climbed the numerous amounts of steps (after some hundreds we gave up on counting), conquered various beacon towers until we have reached its end. The people sharing the pain with us varied from little Chinese kids crawling up the steps, aged folks overtaking us, women taking the double challenge to climb the wall in high heels to an American who coached us by saying ‘Come on guys, you can do it. Go, go, go!’
As Mao Tsetung once said ‘A hero is only a true hero if he has climbed the Chinese Wall.’, we are all truly proud to present to you the new generation of ZHAW’s approved student heroes!
On the way back to the city our your guide linked the experience to Mandarin: ‘The wall is great for the eyes but unkind to the knee’, on short ‘wall – eye – knee’ which resembles the pronunciation of saying I love you ‘Wo ai ni’ in Chinese.
The efforts were rewarded by a rich lunch at Ramada Paradise Beijing which served a 7 course menu.
Defying the humid summer temperature the group took a walk through the Summer Palace including strolling along the world’s longest art mile consisting if some thousands of antique Chinese paintings and concluded the excursion with a ride in a dragon boat on the Kunming lake. The fresh breeze of the lake was warmly welcome for the change.
Not only did we enjoy the historic site but many Chinese people enjoyed having us as visitors just as much!
In the evening the study trip was formally inaugurated with a welcome apero. Dr. Braun held a speech and it was confirmed that the coming 14 days offer a great programme with many exclusive company visits and other activities.
Keep following this blog to get first hand updates and timely reports from our study trip!
Hello and welcome to the blog of this year’s emerging markets field trip to China which is organized by ZHAW – School of Management and Law.
The purpose of this trip is to:
- Experience the Chinese way of life through real on-site exploration
- Explore the cultural heritage of the country & learn how to do business in emerging markets
- Understand the buying power of China
- Learn the first steps to expand one’s individual business network beyond Switzerland
- Expand the horizon for a future professional career.
The trip of our group, which consists of 25 business school students, one professor and a mandarin-speaking research associate, starts in Beijing, where the Great Wall and its Creative Street will be explored. Also the Swiss embassy, the University of International Business & Economics and a wine dealership called “Cheers Wine” will be visited. After spending 3 days in Beijing, our group travels to Hangzhou by high-speed train where Alibaba will be visited the day after. Alibaba is the world’s biggest e-commerce company. Later that day, our study group will catch a bullet-train to Shanghai, where Huawei (producer of electronic communication equipment), Autoneum (automotive industry supplier), Meyer Burger (technology, especially photovoltaic), Swissnex (aimed to connect Switzerland with big & innovative hubs) and Novartis (pharmaceutical company) will be visited. Also the students will have some time off during the weekend – the scheduled Mandarin language lesson however will have to be attended by everyone. After exploring Shanghai for 5 days, the group travels to Guilin and later to Longsheng in order to hike across the dragon back terrace fields, where ancient rice fields were discovered. Our study group continues to travel to its final destination Hong Kong, where the convention center and Credit Suisse will be visited.
This travel blog will be updated daily and we hope you enjoy reading about our experiences and discoveries during this study trip.