Day 14 – Guangzhou: Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou

The day started in the morning at 6:45 a.m., when we had to catch the bus to the airport of Guilin to fly to Guangzhou. Due to time pressure caused by the delay of the plane we had to rush to the bus and eat lunch on the way to the Sun Yat sen University. There we were welcomed by Ms C. Yan, officer of international affairs. She gave us a brief introduction in to the different departments and programmes they offer. The University offers programmes in Arts, Sciences, Law, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Education. Sun Yat Sen, the man who dethroned the emperor at the beginning of the 19th century, founded the university in 1924. It has four campuses covering a total area of 6.170 square kilometers and is located on both sides of the pearl river. Currently there are 90 000 students enrolled, thereof around 70 are internationals.

Consecutively Prof. Steven X. Shi held a speech about the outsourcing industry in the province of Guangdong. He gave us some insights into the present situation and the near future of the chinese outsourcing industry. The region is facing the problem of rising salaries and therefore higher production costs. Because of this many labor-intensive industries moved to western provinces to benefit still from lower salaries. The region is trying to change from labor-intensive factories to more service-oriented companies. To achieve this goal they firstly need to overcome the lack of education facilities and English skills of the local population.

After a short visit to the library we drove to the East campus where we met a group of local students. We all went for a stroll around the campus and chatted with each other. It was interesting to hear about their daily life at Sun Yat sen University. Then we met Prof. Dr. Christian Stähelin who did a lecture about his work as a biolocical researcher in Guangzhou. At the end of the day we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant with Mr Stähelin, his wife Ping and some of his students in an outdoor restaurant. For dessert we had local lychees, which were very sweet.

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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.


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 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 16: Build Your Dreams and Lenovo

In the morning we left our hotel in Guangzhou and headed south to Shenzen for two further highlights of our trip: The visits at Build Your Dreams (BYD) and Lenovo. At BYD, we were warmly welcomed by Lai and Sophie, two representatives of BYD. First we could see their showroom with all their cars, afterwards they also showed us the other electronic components in their exhibition. The product range consists of mobile accumulators, batteries, cell phone key pads, LEDs, solar panels and energy storage systems. Afterwards we left to visit the charging station where the first 30 caps in Shenzen are able to charge their batteries within 15 minutes at the minimum. Continue reading

Day 15: SGS and Pearl River Piano

After a delicious breakfast in the morning, the group met at 8 o’clock in the hotel lobby. The first meeting was with Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). Kimmo Ahtokari and Jeannette Chu warmly welcomed us and presented the company profile. SGS which has its headquarter in Geneva provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services for ten business segments. It was established in 1878 and employs 59’000 people in 1000 offices and laboratories around the world. Continue reading

Day 14: West Tower and Swiss Consulate

At 8.40 a.m., after eleven hours in the train, we arrived at Guangzhou’s railway station. At 9.00 a.m. we continued our journey with a visit at the International Financial Centre of Guangzhou. The GZIFC is one of the ten tallest skyscrapers in the world: standing 432 meters tall and providing a total gross floor of over 450’000 square meters. It is planned that the main Tower (103 storeys and 4 basement levels) between the 4th to the 66th floor is used for offices whereas the 67th to the 100th are reserved for the Four Seasons Hotel. Continue reading

Trip to China 2010

ZHAW School of Management and Law under the lead of Prof. Dr. René Ruettimann is again organising a field trip to China. This year, the trip will start on Tuesday 29th June with a dinner at a Beijing Duck restaurant in Beijing. In the following weeks, 34 Bachelor Business as well as Business Law students will visit companies, a university, meet with Chinese students and representatives of Swiss delegations in China. Apart from Beijing, the group will visit Handan, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guilin, Yangshuo, Guangzhou and finally, Hong Kong! The trip will end in Hong Kong on Saturday 17th July.

team 2009 in Beijing

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SGS and Leaving China for Hong Kong

After checking out our hotel rooms in Guangzhou, we were looking forward to our last company visit of our China field trip. A one hour coach ride took us to the suburbs of Guangzhou, where we reached the local branch of SGS. SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

In a detailed presentation by a manager of SGS we learnt that the aim of SGS is to help customers all over the world operate in a more sustainable manner by improving quality and productivity, reducing risk, verifying compliance and increasing speed to market. The firm with its headquarters in Geneva employs over 55’000 people and operates a network of more than 1’000 offices and laboratories around the world.

After the presentation, we had a highly interesting tour through the laboratories of SGS. We were very impressed about the variety of products which are tested and evaluated by a wide range of methods. From simple static load tests of office chairs to crash tests with bike helmets to chemical analysis of liquids we explored the wide area of operation. During the tour, several questions regarding chemical analzysis were rised by the students and were competently answered by Dr. Ivan Chan, direcor of corporate R&D

In the early afternoon, the coach drove us to the Guangzhou train station where we boarded the train. At the boarder to Hong Kong our temperature had been taken again. Some of us had been checked twice, for whatever reason… Finally, everyone reached Hong Kong the metropolis located at the Chinese south coast. The rest of the day, we could explore the fascinating city on our own.


Impressive production line at Galance's factory

Impressive production line at Galance's factory

First, the two representatives of Galanz took us to the showroom, where all their products are exhibited. Besides microwaves they also produce air conditioner, small kitchen products and white electronic goods. Then we listened to a presentation about company and its history.

This successful company was established in 1978, the same year as the Chinese reforms took place and even after a disastrous flood in 1994, it took them only 3 month to recover its production. Today, they follow the strategy of lowering cost by enlarging scale. The production works 24 hours a day (3 shifts) and has 40’000 employees. It is more than remarkable that every second microwave in the world is being produced by Galanz.

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