Day 17: Hong Kong Trade Development

The day started off at 8.00 am in the morning. Everybody was glad to finally be in Hong Kong, in one of the most prosperous cities in the world. This morning, there were two speeches on the program at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, one by Mr. Jackson (an English businessman having lived and worked in Hong Kong for more than 30 years) and the other by Dr. Hans Roth, General Consul of Switzerland in Hong Kong managing China. To get to the HKTDC building, we boarded a ferry which dropped us right next to the building.

We were welcomed by Mr. Jackson’s assistant in the 39th floor guiding us to the meeting room from where we had a splendid view on the city of Hong Kong. Mr. Jackson depicted the history of HK in a very eloquent, lively and fascinating way, spiced up with his British sense of humor.  We learned that HK developed from a once highly corrupt municipality to a role model and what the methods to achieve this have been. Furthermore, Mr. Jackson explained how HK was affected by the Asian crisis in 1997 and reminded its authorities that even if business runs smart, you always have to think about the worst case from an economical perspective.

Mr. Roth on the other side described his personal experiences in regards to cultural differences between the Westerners and Chinese people. One of his speech’s highlight was that if you have to sack your workers, you have to do it in a friendly and sophisticated way rather than just lay them off as we would do it in Europe.  After the meeting with the two gentlemen, we were shown around on the HKTDC premises. Coming from a small country like Switzerland, we were really impressed by its sheer size.  After the HKTDC, we proceeded forward to the Wan Fo Shek Temple with its 10’000 Buddhas. Due to time constraints, some of us refrained from climbing the stairs to the Buddhas in order to have enough time for lunch. After the excursion to the Wan Fo Shek Temple, we hopped on taxis taking us to the science park. They showed us some of the new technologies, which had been invented here. Also, they guided us through the laboratories and offices, available to start-up companies. One of the main reasons why the science park is attractive particularly to start-up companies is that they are provided the infrastructure and subsidies needed to be successful. Again, it was the size which impressed us.

Then, the official mandatory program ended. Some of the students took their time for individual activities and the bigger group headed for the Victoria Peak. After lining up for a while, they managed to go on top of the hill to see the beautiful sunset and the impressive skyline of Hong Kong.

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