Update — I am behind on my postings. We have a student who had to have her appendix removed. I am happy to report she is recovering quickly at the hospital. I will post more later. Just to relieve any one’s concern, we are at a first class hospital in Beijing that is as nice as any hospital I have been to in the states. The surgeon, doctors, and nurses are all excellent and compassionate.
Day 8 – Company visit to Gome, Forbidden City, Silk Market, Wangfujing Pedestrian Street & Night Life
As the title of the day indicates, this day was packed with the only down time being when we were on the bus. I did manage to catch up on a little sleep on the bus.
The morning started by visiting the headquarters for Gome Appliance. Gome is the largest retail appliance store in China.
More to follow…
Wellness update — still very little voice. I remember I had Azithromycin with me and started taking this. It usually takes 3 days for it to begin to work. I really am trying to avoid visiting a Chinese clinic. Other than an inability to effectively communicate and some congestion, I feel fine. Hopefully this will do the trick…
We depart the hotel at 8:25am for our short trio to Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. After a warm welcome from our hosts here, followed by a picture of the group (we should be experts in group photos by the end go the trip). we had our first session led by Prof. Giles Chance, a visiting professor. Here is his short bio I pulled from http://www.speakerscorner.co.uk
Giles Chance Biography
Giles Chance is a professor at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. He is a leading expert on Chinese business, and on China’s new role in the world. He is an adept and experienced keynote speaker on subjects ranging from business and finance to emerging markets and economics.
Background and career
Giles’s experience in China over the last 20 years has given him a unique perspective on the aspirations of the Chinese people and the difficulties that China faces, as China emerges fully into the world economy as a major economic and political player.
Giles’ book ‘China and the Credit Crisis: the emergence of a new world order’, published in 2009, describes how China’s emergence in the 1990’s played a key role in establishing the economic conditions which led to the global credit crisis of 2007-08. The book analyses China’s new global role after the crisis in relation to a number of key topics which include the future role of the US dollar, and the future of relations between China, America, the emerging world, and Taiwan and Hong Kong.
During the morning period we learned more about who and how China is governed and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Prof. Chance’s experience working with Chinese officials to conduct business in China provided us with first hand experiences into this very complex system. Our students were well prepared to discuss many of the issues that Prof Chance introduced. Can you name all the countries that border China? In addition, Harry Genfa Liu from Chinese Executive Leadership Academy (http://www.celaj.gov.cn/english/), a Chinese think tank, joined us through Skype. He shared with us more about the government structure in China. I have added two diagrams that were shared with us. I found them on Chinese Business Review magazine through the UVA.ibrary.
We had lunch at Peking University. There are several international educational programs going on at the same time. NYU has about40 students here. There are also programs for MBAs from universities throughout the world. I randomly sat at a table. Although, I still have little voice I did manage to have a conversation with a MBA candidate from Queen’s University in Kingston,Ontario. Remus Lacatus explained he is here for two weeks as part of his final sessions for his MBA. He and his wife will spend the next two months traveling around Asia. When I asked about what he will due next, he told me he is joining Deloitte in September. What a small world. I told him my son was also joining Deloitte in September n the New York office. It will be interesting to see if they end p in the same training at Deloitte University in Dallas. What a small world???
After lunch, Trey led us over to the Peking University gymnasium.
Peking University Gymnasium nicknamed China’s Spine is an indoor arena located in the southeastern part of Peking University in Beijing, China. The gymnasium was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and hosted the table tennis events of the 2008 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics. The gymnasium is the first in the world specifically designed for table tennis.The gymnasium has a floor space of 26,900 m², 6,000 permanent seats and 2,000 temporary seat. It was completed in August 2007.
We were unable to get on the main floor, but the facilities are very impressive. We had to hurry back for class that resumed at 2 pm.
In the afternoon, Prof. Chance led a case discussion regarding a business he has helped set up a manufacturing facility in China. Again, the discussion was lively and interesting. I am learning a lot.
We returned to the hotel. Trey (who has endless energy) led a student group out to the Houhai area. I was simply too exhausted to join them. On Friday we have some free time so I am planning on taking the subway there. Here is a link about the area http://www.meiguoxing.com/Attractions/Houhai.html. I will have to find some pictures taken by students to post.
First an update on my cold–feeling better but I have lost my voice. Keeping my mouth shut is definitely not one of my natural characteristics and will prove challenging. Not only do I not speak Chinese, now I can barely communicate in English.
We were off early to Great Wall of China at Badaling. Here is a bit of information from Http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china_great_wall/scene/beijing/badaling.htm
The Great Wall is a symbol of Chinese civilization, and one of the wonders that the Chinese people have created. Badaling Great Wall, the most representative part, was promoted as a key national cultural relic, protected under the approval of the State Council in 1961. In 1988, it was enlisted in the World Cultural Heritage Directory by UNESCO. On July 7, 2007, it gained the worldwide reputation once again: it was listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The place was packed with many Chinese as well as foreigners. Although the temperature was quite warm, we were fortunate that there was a cool breeze. The students and Trey were quickly off to make it to the end of the area open for climbing this day. I knew given my lung capacity for climbing steep inclines coupled with this lousy cold were going to keep me from joining this ambitious group. I did make it about a third of the way to the top. I am grateful to Denise for staying with me. It turned out even two middle aged American women are stilled asked to be included in pictures with Chinese visiting the Great Wall. While we enjoyed our view and surroundings, we posed in several family pictures.
Our next stop was lunch at a place known for their dumplings (can’t remember restaurant’s name). Again, more food than we can possibly consume. I really enjoyed the dumplings!! On our way to our next stop, we pass the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Center.
On to the Summer Palace. I was not familiar with this Chinese landmark. Our tour guide Frank kept us entertained with the history of the SummerPalace (“Garden of Clear Ripples”). It was built in1750 for the Emperor to escape the summer heat in Beijing. Frank kept the students attention by explaining the roles of the Emperor, Empress, and concubines roles at the Summer Palace. I extended my knowledge on the Dragon Lady. The film Raise the Red Lantern has been recommended to learn more the relationships among the Emperor, Empress, and concubines. The Summer Palace is quite expansive covering over 742 acres. The architecture and landscaping are very beautiful and magnificent. I can definitely understand why the Emperor would want to stay here. The temperature had definitely increased during our outing and we were all in need of a shower before our evening event. After a great day of sightseeing, we headed back to the hotel for a quick makeover.
We gathered in the hotel lobby to make our way to the St. Regis Hotel for the UVA Reception. The transformation from tourist to well dressed young professional students was remarkable –our students looked amazing — ready to entertain conversations with many UVA alumni and other guests (300 attendees). The evening was filled with conversation, entertainment (The Virginia Gentlemen), and remarks by President Sullivan and key Beijing alumni. Unfortunately, my lack of a voice kept me from making any contribution to the evening. I did get to practice my listening skills.
Upon return to the hotel, I headed to bed. I believe some students were off to experience more of the Beijing night life. Classes begin at Peking University tomorrow.
It official, I have a cold. I packed lots of different drugs to deal with stomach issues — nothing for a cold. One objective today — find a pharmacy. We also are preparing for all the students arrivals today. There were administrative tasks that needed to be completed.
Trey was busy finalizing company visits. We needed to get copies made of the syllabus. The hotel charges $2/page. The syllabus is 12 pages and we needed 25 copies. Denise and I headed out of the hotel to find a place to make copies. Quickly realized that as high tech as this area is, copying services are from the 1990s. We finally found a photo shop that has a copier similar to my small printer/ copier at home. 30 minutes later we have are uncollated copies but is only costs 150 yuan ($.08/page). I also bought some flowers for my hotel room — thought it would be nice to add some fragrance and color to my room. The women selling flowers had a cute young son (I would guess around 3 or 4 years old.). He definitely didn’t know what to make of Denise and me — kept hiding behind his mom.
Later in the day, we headed out again to buy better batteries for students’ cell phones. We went to eWorld — just an adventure finding the right vendor that sells batteries. Finally found a stall that sold batteries. Now we have to communicate that we need 21 batteries. Fortunately, a young boy around 12 came by to make a purchase. He noticed we were struggling communicating. He spoke English and became our middleman to complete our negotiation for the 21 batteries.
Out next stop was to find a pharmacy.
We were successful. I pointed to my throat and hopefully I was making a purchase to help my soar throat. I decided it would be good to go to a second shop and repeat the process. Once returning to the hotel, I asked the concierge to tell me about the products. Again I have a nearby women notice I was struggling with translation about the products and dosage. She intercedes and tells be about the products and which one she would take. She was from Chicago, back home visiting her parents. I am definitely relying on the kindness of strangers for translations.
At 6pm, we all converged in the hotel lobby. There are 26 of us off to our welcoming dinner. Trey has found a nice local restaurant. Menus are very colorful with great pictures of the entrees. We randomly select many different dishes (however they were out of donkey). I am very impressed how most of the students are willing to try whatever is put in front of them.
Back to the hotel for me — I believe some of the students were off to find the nightlife in Beijing. Tomorrow we begin early — off to Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and a formal Reception with UVA’s President Sullivan, Dean Zeithaml, and 250 alumni.
(sorry if this rambles, my head is slightly foggy)
Today I took it easy so the blog will be short. I believe I am coming down with a cold — not what I need.
I learned that the area we are staying in Zhongghaucun is called China’s Silicon Valley. Microsoft has a very large office building. There are also stores that sell every type of electronics you can think of (and many I haven’t a clue what they are used for.) At eWorld every distributor of computers can be found. I went into an electronics market that sold all the necessary components for me to build my own computer — from individual transistors to whatever face plate I would like to put on my final product – Asus, Dell, Panasonic… The market was packed with young people making various purchases.
I also checked out the Zhonggaucun Shopping Plaza. This mall is larger than any mall I have ever been to in America. It also has every type of store a shopper may want. There were all the top designers: Versace, Burberry, Dolce and Gabana … I also noticed that ice cream is big here. I found Cold Stone, DQ, Haagen Das. I couldn’t resist a scoop from Cold Stone.
We have 8 students arriving today (these students went to Korea prior to joining us in China). I spent the remainder of the day lazily around the hotel.
Started the morning by checking out the workout area is the Crowne Plaza Hotel. I managed to convince myself to get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. During this time I watched various Chinese Morning News programs hoping to find out what the weather would be for the day. Unlike my morning news in Charlottesville, I had to wait 15 minutes and finally the weather was discussed. (Learning — the importance of data visualization — this is so true when you can’t understand anything being said. I have a much better understanding of the location of major cities in China now.)
Breakfast consists of many choices, I was overwhelmed with the selection. So many foods and dishes I have never heard of — I realize that this trip will provide so many new food experiences.
Today would be a full day of exploring Beijing. First task of the day was heading to Peking University. We met up with our contacts that have been organizing our upcoming week for our students — Doing Business in China. I can’t wait to attend these sessions with the students — the program looks outstanding. After the meeting, we walked through the university. Students are still in classes with exams the first week of June.
Our next task was to head to the Hongqiao Market (Pearl Market) — time to figure out the subway system. First impression is how clean it is. Next observation is how many stops have the letters Z, X, Q in them (I could score some high scores if these words could be used in Scrabble). Trey led us as we had to change trains 2 times to get to our destination.
First stop at the Pearl Market was lunch — another amazing experience.
Now it was time to practice negotiations skills at the Market. Forgot my belt, so my objective was to find a black leather belt. The woman asked 250 yuan. (Trey has experience with getting goods for less). He looked at the belt and said 50 yuan. Obviously the seller wanted more. We walked away and I got the belt for 50 yuan ($7.50). We walked throughout the market — you have to have lots of stamina as you wind your way throughout all the vendors in the building. Our final purchase was to get cell phones for students to use while in China. This will provide us the ability to communicate at a reasonable costs (verizon charges $1.99/minute for voice and $.50/outgoing text). Again, Trey took the lead and we have 21 iPhones (look similar to iPhones from US — quality to be determined),
Denise and I headed to the Temple of Heaven to explore the park and the Temple. It was a beautiful sunny day. We spent two hours just enjoying ourselves. Definitely getting lots of exercise (especially with all the stairs).
We had planned on taking a taxi back to hotel; however, now it was rush hour. We really didn’t want to spend our time in traffic. Denise and I decide to take the subway back to hotel (lesson here – make sure you know what stop to find your hotel). We managed to retrace our initial trip — changing to all the correct trains but realized we weren’t sure about the last stop. We overshot our destination by one stop. We knew we were in the area of the hotel — just didn’t know what direction to go (next lesson — everyone does not speak English). On our sixth try, we found someone that could provide us with directions to our hotel.
A great day — exhausted — need to find a spa.
I thought we would fly over the Pacific Ocean; however, the pilot thought differently and we flew over Greenland and Russia and landed right on time at Beijing Airport. After collecting my bag, I was able to locate my name being displayed in the sea of drivers waiting to pick up passengers. The ride to the hotel was reminiscent of my drive in DC — rush hour traffic. My expectation was to find smog; however, I was fortunate to arrive on a nice clear day. I checked the Air Quality Index and it is in the Good range.
We are staying at the Crowne Plaza Zhongguancun Hotel Link. Everyone I have met has been very nice — communications will be an adventure. The room is quite spacious. After quickly unpacking, I met up with Trey (lead faculty member on the trip and our China expert), Denise (from McIntire Career Services and going to keep us on time and on budget) and two MS Commerce students Daniel and Kyle. Trey took us through some of the local area near the hotel where we saw the local merchants selling all varieties of vegetables, fish, and other types of food.
I believe the bunny and chickens in the cages were available for dinner. There are lots of small markets selling goods and local food (we didn’t eat here however Trey showed us one of his favorite places for chicken wings). I plan to venture out and try some of the local food. After seeing the rustic local markets, we traveled only a few blocks to an upscale area. Trey treated us to dinner at a very fine restaurant. We shared many plates of all types of food – I wasn’t quite ready to try the fried worms yet. Sorry I forgot to take any pictures. After dinner, we strolled back to our hotel. On the way, we stopped by an outdoor roller rink area — inline skating appears to be popular. We walked by a Pizza Hut and McDonalds. Denise and I stopped at 7-11 to buy bottle water and Trey gave the students directions to some local night life. Off to bed (may take a couple of days for my to switch my days for nights).
After a night of roaring thunderstorms and a morning of DC traffic (good reminder of why we left DC), I made it to Ronald Reagan Airport. Brought back lots of memories of starting my career with Arthur Andersen 29 years ago. One of my first clients M&M Mars had me commuting to Hacketstown NJ — not to be confused with Hackensack. National Airport hasn’t changed that much (other than the name).
Once I returned my Avis rental car, I was off to find Air Canada. (observation – car rental return is much easier than 29 years ago. I had my Avis receipt before I got to terminal on my iPhone). I made an inquiry about upgrading to business class — only $1299. I made executive decision that was a little too steep and kept original seats.
After going through security, made my way to find breakfast and hot tea. I have a goal to get back in shape during the next 2 months — we’ll see. A nice surprise was a gentleman playing patriotic music on a French horn. Retired service men from World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War were returning to DC for Memorial Day. The flight from Springfield Illinois was part of some program to allow these Veterans to come and visit DC and the Memorials. It was very moving, and clearly reminded me of how fortunate we are to live in the United States (as I make my 2 month departure). It also reminded me of how proud I am to have a father that has given so much for our country. (side note – my dad is planning his return to the 70th anniversary in Normandy for 2014 — check out the website http://www.uss-corry-dd463.com/ if you want to know more about D-day and the USS Corry).
I am currently over Buffalo (according to the map — can’t see Niagra Falls but only 4 miles away). I have filled out my declaration card – not sure why this is necessary if I am just passing through – a possible opportunity to make some process modifications.
The cabin bells just rang. More later …
Can’t believe I will be leaving tomorrow. Still have several items that need to be taken care of today. I at least have my suitcase packed.