The schedule of day 4 was comprehensive and allowed broad and diverse insights into various aspects of Chinese business. This included: Visiting the Mayor of Suzhou, a visit at Phonak and a Silk Factory, a tour through the Lingering Garden and a canal tour. A reception at SWISSNEX in the evening completed the day.
As for some events the maximum number of participants was limited, our class was split up into 2 groups. The day started for a delegation of the ZHAW and 10 students with an official meeting with the Mayor of the industry park in Suzhou. The main topic of the discussion was about the recruiting model supplying the needed labor for the companies operating in the industry park. This, to our surprise, is done centrally through a government regulated agency. After the talk we had the chance to visit an exhibition about the Industry Park of Suzhou. Meanwhile, the other group of students enjoyed a boat ride on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the longest artificial river in the world with 1’776 km.The 2 groups untied for lunch before separating again for the afternoon program. 15 students were given the possibility to get an insight into Phonak’s production plant that was opened to manufacture hearing aids for the Asian market. The general manager introduced the company and explained how they implement and adopt Swiss business procedures to the Asian market. Very impressive was the tour through the manufacturing plant where nearly 700 employees, mostly women, were assembling the hearing aids.
Suzhou was an important place for the silk industry in China and for this reason the other group visited a silk factory. To complete the trip, this group also went to visit the Lingering Garden. This garden was originally a private garden and is today one of the most famous in China being in the list of world heritage from UNESCO.
For the group visiting Phonak, the day ended with a reception at SWISSNEX. This is a Swiss governmental agency that is a key component of the Swiss strategic policy on promotion of education, research and innovation set by the Central Council. The main purpose of this event was to promote the ZHAW and to enhance relationships. Among the invited guests were the General Council of Switzerland, representatives from both, business and universities, together with a number of Chinese students. One of the main goals for us students on this study trip is to dive into the Chinese culture and building bridges. Some of the students from ZHAW decided, therefore, to have a drink and chat with students and staff from the technical university of Shanghai.
Even though the schedule was tough, we as students could take away many impressions from this day.