At day 8 we dived into the Vietnamese culture. After a long trip from Shenzhen, China, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, we finally reached the tropical climate. Due to a delayed arrival, we cancelled the first sightseeing part of the city. The day started at ten o’clock with a modest breakfast compared to the impressive one at the Shangri-La in Shenzhen. However, the friendly atmosphere of the city warmly welcomed us right from the beginning and we went to the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of Ho Chi Minh City. The presentation was held in an unusual surrounding as it took place in a display room in between teddy bears and other Vietnamese export products. The woman holding the presentation was talking about the general economic situation as well as the influence of the WTO entrance. Additionally she focused on the emerging sectors and provided a broad outlook into the economic future in the year 2020. One major focus is set on the service sector, accounting now for 38% of the GDP, including the fields of finance, tourism and infrastructure.After this meeting was over the whole class went on for the first Vietnamese lunch. After a rather monotone cuisine in China this chance was highly appreciated by the whole class. In the afternoon, after having swapped the business cloths with shorts and flip-flop, we started our sightseeing tour in Ho Chi Minh City. Fist we went to the independence palace which has an enormous historical significance for the city as well as the whole country. We were welcomed by two tanks in the garden marking the victory of the northern Vietnamese army over the US troops. The entire history was impressively displayed in a photo exhibition and we also had the chance to walk around the whole building. Furthermore we visited a traditional art craft factory which uses eggshells as their main resource.
The next stop on the sightseeing tour was at the old cathedral which is a copy of the Notre Dame in Paris and was built by the French during their colonial occupation. The whole tour was rounded up with a unique shopping experience at the city market. There we could find all kind of things such as fake watches or dried snakes. Our negotiation skills and cultural competence was challenged by the local market vendors. Back at the hotel we had the opportunity to tailor customized suits and shirts which hopefully will improve our future business appearance. For most of the group the evening started with a massage followed the very intense and cultural diverse and long lasting nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City.
Day Team 8 – Ramon Schalch, Christian Naef, Mark Schweizer