Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday in Hangzhou, Wednesday in Shanghai

Our final day in Hangzhou started with an unexpected detour - Zhejiang's School of Management Dean Wang had to attend a contract signing ceremony and could not lecture on the topic of entrepreneurship as had been planned. So the group boarded the bus and traveled a short distance to the National Tea Museum, where they were able to walk the beautiful grounds and view the intriguing exhibit on the history of the region.

Some students participated in a traditional tea ceremony inside the museum's gift shop.

After the museum visit, the group traveled back to Zhejiang University for lunch at the cafeteria. Our students once again mingled with the Chinese students and continued to learn more about each other.

Then early in the afternoon both groups of students traveled to the headquarters of Wahaha, the largest beverage company in China and the fifth largest in the world. To start the tour, the company allowed the students to select one beverage from their vast arsenal to try. Next, the group headed to a massive conference room to watch a promotional video about the company's history and their future aspirations to move into emerging economic areas around the globe. Their primary motivation within China has been to directly compete with Coke and Pepsi in order to take a greater portion of the market share. Afterwards, the group walked through the company's museum to learn more about the strongly paternalistic relationship of the leadership with the workers and the strong collective mentality promoted. Workers in the recent past were married in a mass wedding ceremony, and the company has even flown groups of workers on vacation to exotic locales. To finish the visit, the group toured a bottling facility on the corporate grounds.

Finally, to close out the day, the group returned to the hotel. Our students spent their final evening and night in Hangzhou hanging out with their Chinese counterparts, experiencing what typical life is like for a Chinese college student.

Then early Wednesday morning, the group packed up, checked out of the Lakeview Hotel, and headed for Shanghai. After a two hour bus ride, the group arrived in the bustling city of over 20 million. Literally dumped off at the Bund to start the day, the students got to immediately see some of the most breathtaking parts of the city. After a brief walk down the famous Nanjing Road for lunch, it was on to Charms Hotel to check in. Soon the group will have a couple of very busy days visiting local companies and international companies with Shanghai offices.

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