Day 18 – Banking industry and welfare dinner

The last day of our China trip started as usual in the lobby of our hotel from where we left for two very interesting meetings with Swiss expats. The visits gave us an insight in the banking industry in Hong Kong and the especially the Swiss banks in this area as well as the life as an expat working for those banks. First we took the boat to set over to Hong Kong island and soon arrived in the Hong Kong branch of the UBS. Due to connections of Mr. Ruettimann we were able to talk to a Swiss expat who worked abroad for 12 years already and therefore was able to give us a unique inside what banking in Asia and Hong Kong is all about. We were received on the 52. Floor in a nice meeting room from where we had a great overview, although most of us first went for the `hen hao chi` croissants they offered us. The speech was great and helped us to understand why the banks rush into this region and opened us the eyes for the fact that we should be more aware of the coming, yet already ongoing competition from Asia to the West.

Secondly, thanks to a contact of one of our students, we could dig in further into the banking sector in Hong Kong by visiting a Swiss expat at the Credit Swiss. This meeting was for some of us of special interest, because it was a former student of the ZHAW and an example of how a career could look like in the first few years after graduation. As a Swiss banker sent to Hong Kong on a two years contract he could tell us firsthand experience about the value of gaining experience abroad, but didn’t hide the difficult side of it. Overall we think he gave us a good and honest overview about what he experienced so far and it will be for sure a help for some of us when the question comes up about going a step further and becoming an expat.
Continue reading

Day 16 – Franke’s Kitchen

After meeting in front of the Lido Hotel at 8 o’clock, we were boarding the bus to drive out of the city to visit Franke, where Peter Spirig and his team welcomed us. Firstly, we were allowed to independently walk around the office building, to see the office workers’ working environment. After meeting again at the conference room, we listened to an interesting presentation about “Franke kitchen supply” business model and general tips of how to do business in Asia. We were furthermore able to get an idea about their products, which involves kitchen facilities, mainly sold to McDonalds, Yam Food and Burger King. The division’s responsibility includes also other countries in Asia and the Middle East. Franke is not only selling whole kitchen units to those clients, but furthermore assists them throughout the whole lifecycle of a fast-food kitchen. This involves supplying the clients with spare parts, hard goods and increasingly with energy management solutions. After this insight, with lots of interaction, by asking questions, we were splitting into two groups and went to the workshop, where the kitchen units are being produced. We were shown the production steps from the initial step of cutting the parts out of the steel, to the bending of the parts and later on the assembly stage, where the parts are being put together to the final product.  After doing so, it was lunchtime at the company’s own canteen, where we were able to talk with the workers. After lunch, we were given some questions to answer and later on presented our solutions to the plenum. After taking group pictures and thanking Peter Spirig for his interesting insight, we drove to the Haihui temple, which was first built in the Ming Dynasty. It was later on destroyed and rebuilt in 1994 to develop Buddhistical cultural tourism. The temple is situated on the Dayan Hill and gave us a nice view over the valley. Far too early, it was again time to board the coach and drive back to the Lido Hotel, where we started to have a reflection on our trip.

Day 16 – Everything has an end

The official study trip ended on the 6th February with the journey back from Beijing over Frankfurt to Winterthur. The voyage back was unproblematic and the group arrived safe & sound but exhausted in Winterthur. I wish all those who extend their Asia trip individually e.g. to Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Thailand or Vietnam a safe and inspiring continuation!

With the end of the study trip, we have now time to reflect on all the impressions and insights we got during the past two weeks and I’m looking forward to further discussions. (Sebastian Scheidegger, Sandro Meier, Stephan Bodenmann)

Day 06 – Hong Kong

The view from Victoria's PeakHaving spent a delightful night at our hotel, we started off the day with a bus ride to the border control station located on the brim between mainland China and Hong Kong. The huge border control station handles immigration checks and also serves as a terminus for Hong Kong’s MTR commuter railway and sees several ten-thousand Chinese commute to their workplace in Hong Kong every day.

Our first stop in Hong Kong was at the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, which is responsible for overseeing the full and faithful implementation of the “Basic Law” (Hong Kong’s de-facto constitution). The Bureau coordinates and promotes closer ties with mainland China. We were greeted by Principal Assistant Secretary Tang who held a presentation about the principles of “One Country, Two Systems”, according to which Hong Kong is governed. Continue reading

Day 18: University visits and Harbour tour

Friday 16th July 2010, the business trip continued in Hong Kong with several surprises. The weather so far has been really great but the Organisation Committee was anxious about a possible Typhoon in the area of Hong Kong for the last day of the trip. What a surprise when all the participants opened the curtains and realised that a sunny day was scheduled! Continue reading

The Chinese Way of Doing Business

As our day started on 10.00 am, many of the group members took their chance to sleep a bit longer. We began our last day of the trip with a harbour cruise. It was quiet surprising that we did not have a normal „tourist boat" for this cruise. Instead we had a private yacht for us alone which was absolutely fantastic.

On our 3-hour-trip through the harbour of Hong Kong, we could enjoy the amazing skyline, the very impressive container harbour (which is one of the biggest in the world) and the old airport.

Continue reading