Day 4 – Bejing: Zimmer/Montagne, Olympic Stadium and Fast Train to Shanghai

Our last day in Beijing started in the morning, where we had to check out of the Novotel and be ready for boarding the coach. Around 8:30am the coach took us to the Zimmer’s (US company) new acquisition, the Montagne factory in Changping District. We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Robby Kissling (Integration Director) and his team. After a detailed presentation, that contained information about the changes, which had been made since the time Zimmer had acquired the company, we were shown those changes while walking through the factory. As earlier described by Mr. Kissling during the presentation, Montagne produces orthopaedic implants for the Chinese market. Even as those products are in the mid range, seen from a global prospective, those product are on the higher end for the Chinese market, as the sell around USD 3,500. When Zimmer was taking control over the factory in the beginning of the year, post-merger integration process started. Continue reading

Day 3 – Bejing: Visit of Swiss Gastro Bakery / Great Wall / Olympic Stadium by night

This day started early, too early for some to realise the urgent need of an umbrella. With our private bus we drove to Swiss Gastro Bakery, located north of Beijing. This company is focused on frozen bread and mainly owned by Alfred Hiestand known as “Gipfelikönig”. There we had the honour to meet Mr. Andreas Weih, General Manager of the bakery.  Starting with the tasting of delicious pastries we received valuable information about a Swiss company which entered the Chinese market and faced several challenges.  So to mention is the fact that Chinese people do not have the custom to eat baked bread, therefore Swiss Gastro Bakery mostly supplies hotels and enterprises. After a tour through the factory we had the possibility to experience a Chinese lunch the way the factory workers had it.

The afternoon program included a walk on the Great Wall. We drove with the bus to Mutianyu and had perfect weather conditions. Geographically this small village is located in the Hurairou District, characterised by few tourists. After a two hours walk on the wall itself, , the organisation team surprised us with cold beer. At the end we skidded down to the bus which was a great deal of fun.

After another bus ride we arrived at the Olympic stadium and could enjoy the breathtaking lightshow at the olympic area by night. Totally exhausted we are now back in the hotel and looking forward to the guided tour inside the Bird’s Nest tomorrow.

Day 2 – Bejing: Forbidden City, Swiss Embassy and Beijing duck restaurant

Our first official day in Beijing started with a wake-up call at 7am. After breakfast with sushi and noodle soup we met at the lobby to walk to the Forbidden City. With myriads of Chinese people we walked through the large historic sight. Our kind tour guides gave us interesting information about the Chinese history. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five hundred years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. In ancient times, there were over 8’000 houses within the walls and it would have take about 6 days to see the whole place. After the tour we climbed the “Kohlenberg” which is located right behind the Forbidden City. Everyone was exhausted when we reached the summit, but the view was teriffic. Continue reading

Day 1 – Bejing: Start of trip Tue. June 28

Today our trip started 10’000 miles away from home, in Beijing. Everyone arrived on time and we could begin this trip with a welcome drink and a getting to know each other. People are very enthusiastic and can’t wait to start into the real program tomorrow morning. Prof. Dr. R. Rüttimann held an touching speech to align everybody to the goals of the trip.

Some students already arrived a few days early and could adapt to the Chinese way of doing things. Others just arrived on time and were still a bit jet lagged after the welcome get together at Shichahai lake. Eventhough we had some problems to manage that all the students arrived on time and at the same place with nine different taxis, we finally succeded to cheer on an awesome trip in China, where we are going to see a lot of different companies and will have various different insight views into Chinese business.

What some of the students already experienced during the short pre-trip time:
– food on the night market (scorpions/snakes/etc.)
– taxi drivers who can’t read English nor Chinese and therefore drove through the city for about half an hour without any clue where to go to.
– visit to a few awesome sightseeing spots
– beer prices differences between 40RMB and 2.8RMB.

Tomorrow we will have an official visit at the Swiss Embassy and a speech will be held by a Correspondent of a famous Swiss Newspaper. Everyone is looking forward to that.

And now it’s time to call the night. Please read more tomorrow.

Welcome Drink

Trip to China 2011

This year, the ZHAW School of Management and Law again organizes a field trip to China. The class led by Prof. Dr. René Ruettimann will visit between the 28th of June and the 16th of July interesting places with valuable contributions to understand better the “Kingdom of the middle”. This year’s trip focuses on the cities Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Yiwu City, Guilin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hongkong. Basically, the trip focuses on four main areas:

The main attractions will be large and midsize Chinese companies, Swiss subsidiaries in China, historical and cultural attractions as well as speeches and lectures at two universities. The organization team exists of M. Lehmann. J. Brzezek, A. Naeff, S. Haelg and M. Colle. For all interested in the progress of our trip, please read our daily addition to the blog 2011 and receive more details about our activities.

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 15 – Beijing and the Forbidden City

Day 15 was the final day of the International Management 08 class in China. After numerous check-ins and check-outs in various cities and hotels we packed our bags for the last time and left the splendid Prime Hotel.

Our first stop of the day was the Tiananmen Square. It is the largest city square in the world with 440’000 m2. It is named after the Tiananmen Gate which translated means Gate of Heaven’s Pacification. The gate separates the square from the Forbidden City in the north. On the southern side, the square borders to the Qianmen gate. After we crossed the Tiananmen Square we entered the Forbidden City at the south gate, walking underneath the oversized, 1.5 tonnes heavy portrait of Mao Zedong. The Forbidden City was China’s imperial palace from the Ming dynasty until the end of the Qing dynasty. It comprises 980 buildings and covers an impressive area of 720’000 m2.

The next stop of the day brought us to Tian Tan, the temple of heaven. The temple complex was built during the same time as the Forbidden City and was used by the reigning monarch to pray to heaven for good harvests.
Since the temperatures in Beijing were rather low, the students were looking forward to the warm restaurant and a last traditional Chinese lunch.
The afternoon brought another interesting insight into the Chinese culture with a visit of a traditional Chinese tea-house. We learned about the importance of tea and its ceremony.
Our last sightseeing stop before dinner was the Hutong area of Beijing. It is known for its traditional buildings and the small narrow streets.
The most famous dish you can get in Beijing is probably the “Beijing Duck”. To round off a successful study trip, we went for a last dinner and enjoyed and exquisite meal and reflected on the past two weeks.

Day 14 – Quiet Beijing & Near Sights

One day after Lunar New Year, Beijing was empty. But the fact that there where just few cars driving was a perfect precondition for our sightseeing day in and around Beijing. We got to our destinations quickly and there was almost no smog! The first stop was at the Badaling site of the Great Wall. It was simply impressive to see a small part of the 8851km long wall. We were very astonished by the imagination of how many hours of work had to be put into this monument. Sporty people of the group started to talk about how it were if one would organize a (half) marathon on the wall; those were also the people who felt the urge to run instead of walking slowly. The decision to take the steeper route rewarded us with an even better view, plus we had a good laugh looking at the other side, where the majority of tourists went.

After an unsatisfying lunch (one of many in China so far) at a huge tourist restaurant, we proceeded to the Ming Tombs where 13 emperors are buried. One of them is Zhu Di, also called the Yongle emperor, who changed the capital from Nanjing to Bejing in the 15th century. To have a glance on his burial place, one has to pass various gates and buildings. Continue reading

Day 13 – Happy Chinese New Year!

First of all, happy Chinese New Year to all! 2011 is the rabbit year, a lucky year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves, so congratulations and good luck to all those bunnies out there!

Getting ready to celebrate!

This day was very particular for each one of us, given the fact that it was our free day when we landed in Beijing.
Wake up call was at 3:00 AM and already at 4:00 AM we were on our way to Ho Chi Minh Airport. Everybody was very tired, but to our surprise some were still full of energy from the night before. Our flight was leaving at 7:05 AM so we had some time to sleep at the airport. After almost 3 hours of flight we made a “quick” (almost 1 hour) stop in Shenzhen, which resulted to be quite funny by the fact that we were asked to abandon the aircraft with all our belongings in order to pass security, while they were disinfecting the airplane. Apparently this is very common in China when a flight arrives from southern Asia. The Chinese tend to disinfect aircrafts arriving from these regions to prevent any germs and virus from entering the country. Afterwards we had another 3 hours flight until Beijing. When we arrived all noticed the drastic climate change, it was freezing cold! However, it was impressive to see parts of rivers frozen by the cold weather.

Chinese New Year

We were transferred to the Prime Hotel. The hotel was located in the center of Bejing, very near from the Wang Fu Jian district, Bejing’s most famous shopping street. After we checked-in into the hotel, everybody was free to plan their late afternoon. Some stayed sleeping, some went to shop in the center and others to explore and taste some odd delicacies at the special food street, as scorpions, maggots or snakes etc. Others passed their time bargaining for souvenirs at the Chinese market, which was also located in the Wang Fu Jian Street.

Christine Kolp, Corinne Bayer and Eléonore Ost

Day 12 – Chau Doc to Saigon & New Year

Day 12 started with a busride back to Saigon and the students had the rest of the day off. Since we had been in this hotel before, we all felt like coming back home. Some days before, many students had ordered a tailor to come to the hotel. By now on day 12, the suits, shirts & ties were delivered – some were ok, some were not.

The highlight of the day clearly was the new year spectacle.The

streets were jammed. Music at every corner, wild dragon dances and beautifully decorated trees let us feel the magic of Ho Chi Minh City. The park near us was packed with flowers, orange bushes and bonsai trees (a bit like their version of our christmas tree custom), the main street was also filled with flowers, lanterns and sculptures of all different sizes and colours, and there was a general party atmosphere.

The wonderful firework concluded the night and increased our excitement for the following adventures in Beijing.