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.
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Day 17 – Shenzhen: BYD, Lenovo and leaving China

After more then two weeks of traveling through China mainland, our last day in this large country has arrived. At 7am everbody had to be checked out. Unfortunately not all of us got their laundry back which caused a dalay of  20min. Enough time to get a cup of coffee from Mc Dondalds to strengthen us for another busy day. The visits of the companies  ‘Build Your Dreams’ and Lenovo was sheduled for this day.

Arround 10am we arrived in front of the gate of BYD in Shenzhen. First of all, the company was introduced in a short speech where they clarified that BYD is more then just a car manufacturer. BYD embraces three businesses: IT, automobile and new energy. Everybody wanted to see the production plant but due to their strict rules we could not visit it. The disappointment was only short-lived because BYD showed up with a big surprise. We were given the unique opportunity to drive with the electric car e6. A strange feeling since there was absolutely no sound of engine. This proved us that China is also preparing their future, zero emission & zero noise.

After a short stopover at Mc Donalds, specialists from Lenovo showed us the production of the well-known  ThinkPad notebook. Hundreds of Chinese workers stood at the assembly line, doing not more then one or two actions, an engraving impression. Thanks to this, the picture of a simple and standardized notbook became its face. Now we know all the procedures behind it.

Another intersting day, packed with a lot of impressions reached its end. We left China mainland behind us as we crossed the border to Hong Kong.

Day 13 – Yangshuo

Today was a wonderful day. Having been able to get a little bit more sleep than normally the students could explore the township of Yangshuo on their own. Yangshuo is where also chinese domestic tourism takes place. Every Chinese wants to take a ride on the Li River and then stay a few nights in this village. Due to this fact there are myriad stores where you can find whatever you are looking for. As the township is pretty small the students ran into each other every other block.  After a few hard and tiring days finally some kind of holiday feeling came up.

At 2.45 PM all the students met at the hotel lobby to welcome Dr. Rüttimann with various cakes. A touching Happy Birthday was sung what the birthday child appreciated. After a few bites from the delicious cakes we boarded three mini buses, which took us to a secret place. Dr. Rüttimann organized a surprise.

After arriving at a River we took traditional bamboo boats with two seats each. With these bamboo boats we drove down the river. Some took the chance to hold and reflect about the experiences made in China others preferred to let come out their inner child and started huge water fights until everybody involved in these fights was completely wet.

We had dinner together and went to a light show afterwards. It was a very impressive light show with lots of actors and how were singing Chinese songs. In the European ear it sometimes sounded a bit wired but the Chinese tourists seemed to enjoy the music quiet a lot. Nevertheless the performance with the lights was spectacular.

Hopefully we will have a nice and safe trip to Guangzhou tomorrow.

Cheers

Day 12 – Li River cruise & Yangshuo

After one night in Guilin the next day started with a boat cruise on the Li river in order to go to our next destination: the town of Yangshuo.

Lijang River originates from Cat Mountain in Xing’an County in the North of Guilin. It flows 437km down through the towns of Guilin, Yangshou and Wuzhou. The distance between Guilin and Yangshou is about 83km. Along the river banks we travelled through spectacular landscapes composed of hills, towering peaks, cliffs and odd-shapped crags, all reflected in the water of the river.  Continue reading

Day 10 – Yiwu City

We met early in the morning, at 7.15 am in the lobby. Throughout the day we were accompanied by DJ, who is a local Chinese student who studied for one year at the ZHAW. After a two hour drive with the coach we arrived in Yiwu city. Yiwu city is a city that was pushed by the government as a trading area and is nowadays the largest global commodities wholesale market. The business area of “China Yiwu City International Trade Market” is over 4 billion square meters with approximately 130 market halls. We visited two market halls. The first market hall included show rooms selling goods from Chinese suppliers whereas the second hall is offering products from foreign companies. After a delicious traditional Chinese lunch we took the coach to Neoglory Jewelry Co., Ltd. We were warmly welcomed by the CEO of the company. He introduced us to his company who is number one for fashion jewelry in China and presented us his show room. We even had the chance to buy jewelry with a generous discount.

Last but no least we visited Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College (YWICC). We were shown a presentation about the school. After the presentation we had an interesting discussion with two students from the College which offers a degree in Entrepreneurship. Lastly, we were guided through their innovation park on the campus. The innovation park is an exhibition of the innovations of several students. Then, we drove back to the hotel by bus. After the arrival at the Ramada at around 7 pm everybody enjoyed their free evening.

Day 7 – Shanghai: Shanghai VW (SVW); Artwell (Cashmere) and Wuzhen (Venice of China)

Ready for another long and interesting day around Shanghai we met early in the morning in the lobby and boarded the bus for heading to the first company visit of the day. After driving out of Shanghai for quite a while we arrived at the VW factory where we had the chance to have a look at one of the company’s high-quality production plants producing the brands VW and Skoda for the Chinese market. We had a quick instruction by a video-tap followed by a ride through the production and they showed us two of the three main production areas. It was fascinating to see all the robots working on the cars and especially the pure form of just-in-time production was impressive. Unfortunately it was kind of a standardised visit and it was not possible to ask detailed questions about VW in China.

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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 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.