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 09 – Ahoi!

Day 9 started with the familiar bus-ride early in the morning, this time in the direction of Cai Be. Due to the high amount of travellers on the road, as the locals were eager to go to their families for the Chinese New Year’s festival, the traffic was rather slow. The majority of the travellers were on scooters, motorbikes, or a form of this two-wheeled transportation. Some rode alone, in thick sweaters and mouth covers, others consisted of the whole family, father, mother and the child in the middle, few were transporting goods, overloading their bikes with boxes on every surface possible. Unexceptionally, all riders wore helmets. Along the streets one notices the poverty reflected in the shabby shacks and run down shops. Nonetheless, they exuded charm and colors from every corner. Once in a while one would see a luxurious villa amidst it all, representing the huge difference in wealth. Either way, the red communist Vietnamese flag with the yellow star was a common denominator along the streets. For resting possibilities, the coffee shops on the sides of the roads offered a relaxing break, with hammocks integrated. “Does one have to pay for the hammock services?” asked a fellow bus-rider. “No,” Nguyen Ngoc Thang, our tour-guide, answered, “the hammocks are free.” Continue reading

Day 08 – Good Morning Vietnam

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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 05 – Visit of the University of Nottingham Ningbo and the Volkswagen Factory

This 5th day of our trip is already our last day in Shanghai for which we have scheduled two different activities. Therefore our group was divided into two teams of 25 students for today. One team went to visit a factory of Volkswagen and the other team went to visit the University of Nottingham in Ningbo China (UNNC).

University Visit: UNNC

First, a couple of words about the university we visited. The UNNC is a leading University in China and ranking under the top 100 worldwide. The UNNC consists of 19 faculties and colleges which cover many disciplines with about 2300 staff members and over 50’000 students in Bachelor & Master Programs. The UNNC was also the very first Sino-Foreign University established in China. More information can be found on the website of UNNC.

Our group of 25 students travelled 220 kilometers to Ningbo in the south of Shanghai to meet the ZHAW delegation lead by Werner Inderbitzin, the president of the ZHAW.  Together, we visited the UNNC to deepen the relationship between the two partner institutions. Nick Miles, the Provost and CEO of UNNC, welcomed us with a detailed presentation about the UNNC in the conference room. Nabil Gindy, Vice-Provost for research and Dean of Graduate School at the UNNC, did also hold a presentation about the research & innovation. Continue reading

Day 04 – The complete package

The schedule of day 4 was comprehensive and allowed broad and diverse insights into various aspects of Chinese business. This included: Visiting the Mayor of Suzhou, a visit at Phonak and a Silk Factory, a tour through the Lingering Garden and a canal tour. A reception at SWISSNEX in the evening completed the day.

As for some events the maximum number of participants was limited, our class was split up into 2 groups. The day started for a delegation of the ZHAW and 10 students with an official meeting with the Mayor of the industry park in Suzhou. The main topic of the discussion was about the recruiting model supplying the needed labor for the companies operating in the industry park. This, to our surprise, is done centrally through a government regulated agency. After the talk we had the chance to visit an exhibition about the Industry Park of Suzhou. Meanwhile, the other group of students enjoyed a boat ride on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the longest artificial river in the world with 1’776 km. Continue reading

Day 02 – First Evening in Shanghai

After a small break in the hotel and freshening up we went off to our first dinner in China. The typical Chinese food like fried chicken, pork and fish, as well as rice and vegetables were served as dishes on a turntable. Getting used to the chopsticks was a challenge for some of the students.

Afterwards we took a boat trip on the Huangpu River, which on one side offered us an impressive view of  The Bund district, which is Shanghai‘s stately street of old colonial era buildings and was once the financial centre of the Far East. and on the other side of the river of  the Pudong, Shanghai‘s newest district , a Special Economic Zone full of gleaming skyscrapers rising out of what was farmland only 15 years ago. Continue reading

IM08 goes China & Vietnam – in a few days…

Welcome to the journey of the International Management Class of 2008 to China & Vietnam.

The exams are almost behind us, and our Study Trip is about to start this Saturday 22nd January 2011.

Throughout the semester the whole class did work on a documenation about our trip to various cities in China and Vietnam, such as Shanghai, HongKong, Saigon, Beijing and many more. This Study Trip Booklet was produced to give every participant a guideline for our journey. The booklet contains of an overview about the programme and some background information about the cities, the sights and the companies we are going to visit.

You can click on the picture if you like to have a look inside the booklet to find out what is ahead of us. Once on the trip we are going to blog daily about our experience if we are not far from an internet access point as might will happen when we are cruising on the Mekong River towards Cambodia.