Day 16 – Crossing borders: Last day on Chinese soil

Just before departing for some final miles on the road of the People´s Republic of China, a bakery just around the corner of our hotel was discovered. While loading the bus, everybody got their supply of breakfast and coffee and on time, we headed out strengthened to pick up Professor Rüttimann and prepare for the next company visit.

On the way to Lenovo, Professor Rüttimann informed the class about the circumstances of the visit. We were made aware of the fact, that Lenovo will not let us into the factory due to the rising competition with the kind of products manufactured in the computer-branch. Esspecially in an industry like the computer industry, products experience a very short life-cycle and therefore information has to be kept as much inside the company as possible.

Another reason is the fear of a badly interpretable image of the production site. Workers appear to be handcuffed to their working station with a bracelett and a cable. This may remind the visitor of the image often in mind in our culture about Asian working conditions. But this measure has other origins; due to the handeling of electronics and statics, this cable is always attatched to the worker to ground any electric tention and protect the highly sensitive material es well as the employee.

At the end of these short introducing words, another event had to be taken into account. Stefan Ackeret celebrated his 24th birthday, today. Therefore, the whole class got their voices warmed up by chanting a cheerful “Happy Birthday” for him.

 

 

Warmly welcomed at the headquarter of Lenovo in Shenzhen by Nora Lin, we were taken into a meeting room for a company presentation.

 

The insights given painted a picture that many of us did not expect to get. Lenovo has worked itsself to a market leader and seems to be looking at a bright future. Ms. Lin pleasantly informed us about the news she recieved yesterday from her supervisor: Lenovo became the number 1 PC vendor worldwide.

 

After getting to know some of the new products, such as the smartly developed IdeaPad Yoga, we moved to a Lenovo flagship store in one of the many malls of Shenzhen to experience the whole range of products. We even got to know the Lenovo cellphone line, which is rather unknown in the European market.

 

Lunch was for convenience’s reason held in the mall’s food court. The need for western cuisine appeared to be everybody’s craving. The whole class headed straight for the well known restaurant chain Pizza Hut for some good old American Pizza.

 

After lunch, the class met again at the bus and headed for the next destination: HEAD:

After 1,5 hours we reached the city of Huizhou’s outskirts where we were expected by HEAD. Mr. Roland Wögerbaeuer, the plant manager himself, greeted us in a friendly, Austrian manner and showed us the way to the conference room. There, a vast variety of snacks, foods and drinks awaited us.

Following a quick introduction to the company, we watched a short movie about the manufacturing process of tennis balls and were informed that we were about to find out whether the movie showed the real thing or not. Amazed already by all the steps it takes to finish a  ball we proceeded to the production hall. It was very interesting to see that the video we had seen before was not just a marketing gag but it resembled the truth as well. We saw the whole line; starting with the rubber mass being formed into raw pellets, their forming into half balls as well as the coverage with the fuzzy stuff all the way to the final check and packaging.

 

 

We were particularly amazed that every single ball was being manually checked for its qualitative suitability.

After this already very interesting visit, we were further pleasantly surprised when we all got a selection of tennis balls as gifts. Sadly, after an interesting Q&A session we had to leave for the border to Hong Kong.

The generosity and friendliness that we had experienced during our stay with HEAD was very refreshing and we would like to once again extend our warmest gratitude for the invitation.

 

After we got back to Shenzhen we had to go to the Luohu trainstation where the border to Hong Kong lies. We first passed the Chinese border control and after a short walk we had to pass through Hong Kong’s immigrations. We took a short break to withdraw the local currency as well as for some small snacks. Then we boarded the subway to Hong Kong downtown, which took about 40 minutes. Having arrived in the hotel we checked in quickly and headed out to celebrate Stefan Ackeret’s birthday to round off a very interesting day with some drinks.

 

Thiss entry has been written by group 5: Philipp Kern & Pavel Soukal

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