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China Express in Beijing and Lanzhou


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                                                                                                                      A students project of

                                                                        China Express
                                                                        in Beijing and
                                                             Exploring two counterparts of China: The
                                                             capital Beijing and growing Lanzhou!!!!

After an intense preparatory                     engineer, who talked about her studies and            Olivier Roth informed us about the
                                                 her occupation at ABB. Our delegation           activities of Presence Switzerland and gave
seminar and with a great deal                    learned that graduates in China do not have     us the latest update on the Olympic games
of enthusiasm about traveling                    the same chance as we have in Switzerland.      in Beijing this August and the World
through China, the Insight China                 Every year four million students graduate       Exposition in Shanghai in 2010. He showed
                                                 with a University degree. The scarcity on the   us that negotiation procedures with the
delegation finally arrived in
                                                 job market leads to strong competition          government of China are intense and clear
Beijing on 15th of March.                        where only a minority can start a career        assurances rare.
China’s capital offered us first                 within an international company.                      Christoph Gertsch, Colonel GS of the
insights into t he countr y’s                                                                    Swiss Defence Attaché gave us an overview
                                                       Beat Bürgi, Managing Director of the      of his work as the Swiss representative in
business and cultural life...
                                                 Swiss Business Hub welcomed us to its           China on military-political matters as well as
      Shortly after arriving in the Olympic      premises. The Swiss Business Hub China is a     discussing the current situation and conflicts
City Beijing, the first genuine glimpse at       sub-organization of OSEC that offers            in Tibet.
China was offered to us at Tiananmen             specific services to Swiss small and medium-
Square, the world’s largest public square.       sized enterprises for strengthening and
The square is truly impressive, reflecting the   developing their business relations with
huge size of China and its architectural         China. “It is helping Swiss companies to
styles. We then visited the Forbidden City,      jump over the wall”, as Beat Bürgi said. He
which stretches out behind the gate with its     and his six Chinese staff members not only
vast Mao portrait. This part of Beijing was      profoundly informed us about the hub but
off-limits to all but the most important of      also offered us a nice and generous
visitors for 500 years and its 800 buildings     reception. In this warm and friendly
and 9000 rooms were home to the                  atmosphere we were given the chance to
emperors. After this remarkable imperial         talk to them personally.
palace, we travelled to the Great Wall.                Jürg Burri, Deputy to the Swiss
There is a Chinese saying that: “A man who       Ambassador in China stressed the                      The aim of Insight China is not only to
hasn’t climbed the Great Wall is no real         importance of Switzerland as a partner for      develop the participants’ knowledge about
man”. Climbing the stunning wall under a         dialogues with China. As a neutral state and    doing business in China but also to enrich
blue sky was a fascinating experience.           host of many important NGO’s, we were           their cultural understanding of this richly
                                                 t old t hat Switzer land’s inf luence is        diverse environment. After our detailed and
     Margrit Reck, HR Director, welcomed         considerable compared to its size on the        hugely informative meetings at the Swiss
our delegation at ABB Beijing. She informed      world map. Perceptions of different topics      Embassy the delegation ventured to
us about the firm’s operations and the           such as migration and environment are           Beijing’s lively night market to experience a
tremendous war of young Chinese talents.         discussed between the two administrations.      quite different vision of business in China,
One of these talents is Jessy, a young                                                           the hustle of the street vendors.


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                                                                                                                        A students project of

     In China it is customary that a company comprises a social           Strengthening our Friendship
recreational club that organizes special events such as golf or
family days. Besides that, however, it is not unusual to work until             “One ought to be happy when friends come from a long
midnight or longer in peak times. This is the case at the China           distance”. With this Chinese saying Mr. Zhou, the Director of the
                                                                          Gansu Training Center for Senior Management Officials
                                                                          (GTCSMO), warmly welcomed us in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. Mr.
                                                                          Zhou and his deputy, Mr. Xu remarked on the long and profound
                                                                          relationship between FHNW and GTCSMO.

                                                                                At Lanzhou Jiatong University we had the opportunity to talk
                                                                          to students and got a better understanding of their lives, education
                                                                          and dreams. For some students it was already a dream come true
                                                                          that they were able to talk to foreigners in English and have supper
                                                                          with them. Furthermore, the professors demonstrated parts of their
                                                                          engineering programs and explained a water purification plant.

                                                                               After a short sightseeing tour through the 3.3 million inhabitant
premises of our sponsor, Ernst & Young. Valuable information about        capital city of Gansu province in the North West of China, the
the company’s booming business, its trainee programs and                  delegation was led to the Nr.1 beer manufacturer of the province.
recruitment practices were presented to us by an Ernst & Young            At Huanghe Beer Co., Ltd. we were given a glimpse at the beer
Partner. She mentioned that even though they are hiring 1,500 new         business, the firm’s joint venture with Carlsberg and their
graduates in China this year, they are still not able to fill all the     production facilities. Of course, also “gānbēi” was part of this visit.
vacant positions. There was also time for a question and answer           “gānbēi” is the Chinese cheers and an integral part of
session about living and working in China as an expatriate or             demonstrating hospitality and friendship.
intern. Andreas and Anja Bodenmann left Switzerland a few
months ago and work at the Swiss Business Center. They told us                 At Lanzhou City University some students of the delegation
what motivated them to work in China, how they were prepared              played volleyball against the university’s best team. Sure enough,
and what daily challenges they face. Verena and Niklas, two               they lost, but honorably. One of the highlights was the ceremony
interns of the German Business Center, illustrated how difficult living   that followed. An audience of several hundred students and
in Beijing can be with limited Chinese language skills. The               professors awaited us in the music hall and amazingly performed
expatriates and interns all highlighted that one should be open-          Chinese folk music, opera, martial arts and traditional dancing.
minded and not presumptuous when working in China. To make us             Also the Insight China students gave their best and sang two
participate in a fine aspect of living in China, they invited the whole   popular Swiss songs.
delegation to an exclusive local restaurant for lunch.
                                                                               In the rural but rapidly developing province of Gansu, life can
      The next company visit took place at China’s biggest computer       be adventurous. This is what we experienced in small boats when
manufacturer Lenovo, where Cory M. Grenier, Project and                   crossing a lake near the Silk Road. We visited a massive, ancient,
Marketing Manager, gave us an insight in their global branding            carved in stone Buddha statue. As mentioned in the Chinese saying
strategy. Afterwards we had a tour through the manufacturing plant        earlier, we were not only called friends but truly felt the friendship
of Lenovo’s desktop computer line.                                        between Lanzhou and FHNW. This friendship was again deepened
                                                                          throughout our stay and at the farewell dinner on our last night.
     Before drawing our stay in Beijing to a close, some of us            Ms. Wu, Head of Human Resources of the Gansu Province, invited
immersed in the traditional way of life in Beijing. We spent the night    us to an outstanding dinner, which then continued in a typical
in the Hutongs, which consist of traditional houses with typical          Chinese karaoke bar. With these impressions, our stay in Lanzhou
Chinese roofs and narrow lanes. This stay can be regarded as a            came to an end. A stay that definitely is a highlight of this year’s
step over the threshold to the next destination of the China Express,     Insight China project and an unforgettable experience for all of us.
Lanzhou.                                                                  Two important people contributing to this experience were Mr. Li
                                                                          and Ms. Wang, who accompanied us, translated and helped us
                                                                          adapt to the Gansu way of living during the whole stay.

                                                                               Our next newsletter will update you on the next destinations of
                                                                          Insight China - Hangzhou and Shanghai.


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                            Brief Facts about Insight China 2008
                            Insight China is an interdisciplinary in-depth seminar of the
                            University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland,
                            organized by students of International Management for
                            final-year students. It is designed for a selected number of
                            graduating students from the Schools of Business,
                            Engineering, Applied Psychology and Social Work
                            Bachelor degree programs. A one-week preparatory
                            seminar in Olten with expert guest lecturers from fields
                            including Management, Culture, Law and Politics offers a
                            thorough introduction to life and work in China.
                            This is followed by a trip through China visiting highly
                            developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as
                            newly fast growing internal regions such as Gansu
                            province, which has been in close cooperation with our
                            school for 15 years. The study-trip focuses on knowledge
                            transfer between senior executives, government officials,
                            universities and students. This is achieved through visits to
                            companies and public institutions, as well as official
                            receptions and discussions.




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