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 17: Hong Kong Trade Development

The day started off at 8.00 am in the morning. Everybody was glad to finally be in Hong Kong, in one of the most prosperous cities in the world. This morning, there were two speeches on the program at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, one by Mr. Jackson (an English businessman having lived and worked in Hong Kong for more than 30 years) and the other by Dr. Hans Roth, General Consul of Switzerland in Hong Kong managing China. To get to the HKTDC building, we boarded a ferry which dropped us right next to the building. 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 11: Subachi and Tea Plantage

The day started early because we had to catch the 10 am plane to our next destination Guilin – the countryside of China. Once more travelled safely and landed on time, we arrived at probably the most beautiful place in China. The area is so popular due to the wonderful sceneries of hills separated by rivers. Continue reading

Day 9: VW and Suzhou Industrial Park

After a delay due to the non acceptance of international credit cards in the hotel check out in the JinJiang Hotel we finally arrived at Shanghai Automotives Volkswagen (SVW) by bus. We were impressed by the sheer size of the plant. The tour of the company was very well organized and structured and started by a video presentation which explained the history of SVW. Unfortunately the whole visit was not very personal as the Secretary left the room. Continue reading

Day 7: World Expo in Shanghai

After a relaxing Sunday, we met at 8 am at the lobby. While heading to the Expo by Metro, one could tell that all participants were very excited to explore this huge exhibition, where many fantastic pavilions were built during the last year. Even though the Expo opened its doors at 9 am, the queue was already enormous twenty minutes before this time. Continue reading

Day 2: Forbidden City and Swiss Embassy

Our second day in China started with a typical Chinese breakfast which would be for Europeans more a lunch or dinner. After this cultural experience we drove to the biggest public area in the world: the Tian´anmen square. The government showed parades with millions of people but there were several incidents. The last one was in 1989, where thousands of people demonstrated for democracy, freedom of press, against corruption and censorship. At the end the army ended this demonstration with a massacre. Continue reading

The Chinese Way of Doing Business

As our day started on 10.00 am, many of the group members took their chance to sleep a bit longer. We began our last day of the trip with a harbour cruise. It was quiet surprising that we did not have a normal „tourist boat" for this cruise. Instead we had a private yacht for us alone which was absolutely fantastic.

On our 3-hour-trip through the harbour of Hong Kong, we could enjoy the amazing skyline, the very impressive container harbour (which is one of the biggest in the world) and the old airport.

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TWO CHINESE COMPANIES – ONE VERY BIG, ONE RATHER SMALL

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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First day in Guangzhou

Very early in the morning, 7 am to be exact, we met each other in the lobby of the Lido hotel in Guangzhou. Topic number one was our first impression of the city and the hotel. The tenor was not very positive at first. At the arrival on the previous day at around 00:25 all the streets were empty and the city looked like a ghost town in a certain way. Our hotel did not really change the opinion.

At 9 am we arrived at Lonza and were introduced to several managers of Lonza by Mr Lim, the general manager. Lonza is one of the worlds leading suppliers to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life science industries. Lonza is the global leader in the production and support of active pharmaceutical ingredients both chemically as well as biotechnologically. Mr Lim gave us a brief introduction of the company. Lonza was founded in 1897, as Lonza AG Electricity works in Gampel, Valais (Switzerland). The joint venture in Guangzhou was signed by Lonza in 1996 to build up a plant to satisfy the regional market needs in China. Further he gave us a short impression of China and the business of the company in China. After asking a few questions we enjoyed a coffee break with dragon eggs and litchi’s followed by a tour through the facilities. Generally the machines offer the same standard and quality as the ones in Switzerland because they used exactly the same technology. They, however, did not think of the temperature differences between Switzerland and South China. This made the management of the machines more difficult.We also gained an insight in the monitoring-system of the facilities which has the same security standards as in Switzerland.

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