We began our day with a visit to SMIC. SMIC is a Chinese company that make semi- conductors. They produce semi-conductors that are lagging one generation from the current technology. They are focused on the fabrication of semiconductors versus design. So if you need a semiconductor for one of your products, you contract with SMIC and they that the will produce it. This is a very competitive market with the Taiwan company,TSMC, having the majority of market share. A very interesting fact is that the demand for semiconductors in China far exceed the capacity that China companies produced. The gap for semiconductors is greater than the gap for oil.
We had a very interesting speaker from SMIC, Matthew Szymanski – http://usasiainstitute.org/programs/j-matthew-szymanski-rule-of-law-program/j-matthew-szymanski/ He was previously the U.S. Congress as chief of staff for both the House Small Business Committee and the U.S.-China Interparliamentary Exchange . When the Democrats took over in DC, he and his famIly moved to Shanghai. He definitely has a passion for China and for SMIC. He shared with us the history of SMIC. He also explained about the unique community the SMIC has developed for their employees — Living Quarters. He explained about the schooling for employees’ children. It is a very progressive school for China. In addition, we visited his personal home. Although many homes may look worn from the outside (due a lot from the condition of the air), they are very nice inside. He told us how everything was constructed and any modification was possible. I need to find some of these construction workers for our Kingsmill house.
We were originally scheduled to head to P&G however they had a surprise QA audit so we had to reschedule. We were given the afternoon to explore on our own. I tried to get Sean to join me to visit the Urban Planning Museum but he decided to sleep. I headed to the museum on my own. It was very interesting to see how the city had changed over the past 150 years and more specifically how much it has changed from 1996. The city has been transformed over the past 15 years.
I convinced Sean to walk with me down to the Bund (an area along the Yangzte River. There were many people strolling along the waterfront walkways. On the way back to the hotel, we took a lot of side streets to get a feel of the local environment. We did manage to stumble upon Deloitte’s office in Shanghai (an omen for Sean?). It is interesting how shops are focus on very few products in a certain consumer category. We walked by 12 small shops that sold blow dryers (easily over 100 choices in each shop). I am not sure what differentiated one shop from its neighbor. We also walked by shops that had whole carcasses of meat hanging (guessing cow, pig, and sheep). We then found shops dedicated to fresh fruits and vegetables. I find it all very interesting. As we get closer to the hotel, their are shopping malls everywhere!!! There obviously a lot of money in Shanghai.
For dinner, a group of us followed Trey as he led us to one of his favorite local restaurants — Yue Lai. We had enough people to fill up two tables. We let Trey and Lin (one of our Chinese students) pick out our entrees for the evening. We had learned earlier that the lazy Susan you find on Chinese Tables is often referred to as the Circle of Death during business meals. The Chinese client will select entrees that many Americans will have never tried (or thought about trying.). Some of our entrees included duck tongue, frog, gizzards and string beans as well as more recognizable items such as rice, noodles, dumplings, chicken, and clams. I really enjoyed the clams however there were some potent red peppers in this dish. Sean and a couple of other students tried the pepper — after five minutes their taste buds returned. After dinner, we went to a bar, Barbarossa, in People’s Park. It was a nice evening to sit outside and enjoy a Mojito.
The students headed out for the night — off to bed for me…