Day 07 – Shenzhen

After a delicious breakfast at our Hotel “Shangri La”, we went to see Wu Qubo from the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission who told us a lot about the Industrial Zone in Shenzhen. He was the first host to use a professional translator which made the conversation seem more formal. He said that Shenzhen is continuing its efforts to grow economically, yet they will try to do so without exploiting the environment further. He said that they are very much aware of the pollution problems as well as water shortage.

After this meeting with a political representative, we visited the Swiss company Schurter which is producing electrical devices in the local factory. Managing Director Martin Bannwart was the one giving us a tour of his factory. We were surprised at the relatively small size of the factory and the low number of employees. This shows that even small businesses try to profit from the Chinese low-cost labour. The factory was rather basic. This showed us the difference between a high-value good such as a Phonak hearing aid where the factory was more modern and more suited to the needs of the employees in comparison to the simpler setup here. There was a whole floor that was not in use as the company originally planned to have a higher demand for their product and now they had to downsize production.

The third and last company visit was at Huawei, a huge Chinese manufacturer of high-tech electronics, especially in the telecommunications market. We were shown around be a guide who was fluent in German to our surprise as he studied in Zurich. We were shown all the main products they have and their advantages. The example of Huawei shows that China is moving from the mere copying of western products towards innovation and this in Huawei’s example with great international success. After this we were shown around the companies server room and also their logistics centre built by Siemens, which is one of their main competitors.

This busy day ended with our flight from Guangzhou International Airport to Saigon.

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