Day 4 – From Peking to Chengdu

Today we started early on 04:30 AM and went to our inland flight from Peking to our second destination of the Field-Trip Chengdu. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province in southwestern China. The history of Chengdu dates at leasts the 4th century BC. Back then it was capital of the Shu Empire.

After a drive without traffic we arrived as planed after an hour from our hotel Ritan to the airport of Peking. At the airport it was surprising that already so many people where in this early hours on road. As you properly can imagine, the airport of Peking is huge, so it was hard to find out where to go and find your place. But because of the inland flight the Check-In and baggage drop-off went very smoothly. The flight we took with the government-controlled airline “Air-China”. The flight was at all point, very comfortable and enjoyable so many of us took the opportunity to sleep a bit.

We arrived punctually at 10:40 AM at the airport from Chengdu. Our new tour-guide Emile picket our whole group from the Airport up and brought us with a new driver to the hotel “Holiday Inn Express” near the shopping mile of Chengdu.

Now we needed to prepare us hurry, because the next excursion already was planned. At the afternoon we visited the automobile-manufacturing from Volvo in the district Zhongjia. After arriving Lawrence (our contactperson from Volvo) received us friendly.

The tour at Volvo lasted about an hour, and the program was to see the hole first building, where the cars were assembled together.  Car- windows, doors, handlebars, electronics, dashboard and so far, was fitted in different station on the car skeleton.


At the end of the assemble line, there was a completely finished car built, that could be driven. Our visit finished with a Q&A round where Lawrence answered all ours questions.

He told us:
          The manufactory can build 500 cars per day
          The factory is working with a workload of two periods of 8 hours
          The Volvo employees earned between 4000-5000 Yuán
          Volvo build their cars for all markets (europe, america, asia)

At the evening, we had all personal program. The executive-team had the pleasure to be invited for a networking dinner. All others, let’s call them “the peo” could plan their evening personally, and went together to eat chinesefood.

Day 3 – Swiss Embassy

That’s the first day, that we could sleep longer. After two hard days, this was necessary. In the afternoon we drove to the swiss embassy in Beijing. That’s the biggest swiss embassy in the world. In this week the swiss embassy is holding an event, the swiss innovation week. Different swiss companies are here to present their innovations to the Chinese investors and various presentations are done.

Today is the first day of this event. today, teacher from Chinese universities had presentations about chinese companies and their financial structure. It was very interesting.

After a break, the alumni event started. The presentation of Mr. de Dardel, the swiss ambassador, was very impressive. The buffet, that was served afterwards, was very delicious.

After that, another highlight of the evening started. The 1/8 finals of the world cup,
Switzerland vs. Sweden. The game was showed on two big screens. People of the Swedish embassy where invited to watch the football game with us. After an interesting game, the Swedish team won 1:0. Unfortunately the day ended with a loss for the swiss team. The day was still very impressive and interesting. Tired and with new impressions we went back to the hotel.

Day 2 – Innoway & Huawei

We started our day with the trip to Innoway. After a first confusion about the address, we found the right way with a short delay. After a short welcome from a student we went into a room with some fact and figures about Innoway as shown in the picture below.

Facts & figures about Innoway

It was pretty impressive. Innoway is the biggest innovation park in Beijing and a spot where young entrepreneurs meet with investors. Some years ago, Innoway was a street with coffee shops which serve companies with their coffees before it got an hot spot for start-ups. This history is still recognizable. In the first floors are still the coffee shops and on second and further floors are the offices. After the introduction we had the opportunity to test some cool products which are better described by pictures.

Foldable drone

Not sure about the function, but it looks nice

After a short lunch in the area of Innoway our next station was Huawei. As soon as we arrived there, we were impressed of the luxurious and huge exhibition hall of the Tec company.

The tour started with a brief introduction in front of a stunning 16k display. The next two hours we got more information about Huawei, their current market position and product. There was no moment of boringness? And if so, you could always be amazed by the building itself.

The tour ended if a handover of our present and a warm good bye of the tour guide. Our day program ended with the trip back to the hotel.

Day 1 – Welcome to China

The first day is over and, oh boy, we got a lot of new impressions. In the early hours of the morning, our group set off for the Great Wall of China. In the car our tour guide Jimes introduced himself, who covered us over the whole day diligently with information about the sights.

The weather was perfect and the view was wonderful. However, climbing the stairs is no walk in the park. Again and again very steep sections had to be climbed. The biggest challenge was the heat, which reached 38 degrees during the day. The effort was fortunately worthwhile and was rewarded with a fantastic view. The Mu Tiang section of the Great Wall is known for its dimensions and construction quality.

For lunch we had traditional Chinese food, after that the journey went on to the centre of Beijing.

Tian'anmen Square Group Photo

1,2,3 – 3,2,1 CHEESE!


The tour continued on Tian´anmen Square. This place became sadly known through its student massacre in 1989. After a brief introduction to its surrounding buildings we entered the complex of the Forbidden City, where we learned even more about Beijing’s history.

The last sight for today was the Behai Park, which lies northwest of the Forbidden City. The park is a typical Chinese garden where beautiful lotuses grow. Unfortunately, these are not flowered during our stay.

To round off the day, we indulged in a Chinese barbeque. The specialities of the restaurant were the leg of lamb and the beef. The food was fantastic.

SML Study Trip 2018: 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 1.2 billion people live in China.

Thanks to its reform and opening-up policy, China has become stronger and stronger in economy, science and technology. The nation’s economy has been growing rapidly, with the GDP dramatically increasing year by year. President Xi Jinping closing remark of the meanwhile famous speech at last years’ Davos WEF summit is leading the way: “We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity, so we applaud the achievements of others and we wish them a better future. We are not jealous of others’ success and we will not complain about the others who have benefited. We will welcome them aboard the express train of Chinese development.” 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.

Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2014. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1975.

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 impoverished and politically isolated. 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.

Sixteen 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 buying power 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 their support.

Moreover, I would like to thank the entire student group who co-organized this trip and in particular the core organizing team Michael Henschel (CEO), Michael Trautmann (COO), Jessica Stocker (CFO) and Nicole Schlierenzauer (CTO). We are all looking forward to this no doubt extremely rewarding and memorable journey.

Best wishes

Dr. Markus Braun

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