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.

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 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 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 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