Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

Are you interested in or currently doing business in China?  In this post are photos and information from my recent China trip.

Over the years, I have read various articles and books about China and, in particular, about doing business in China.  As in other places where I have visited or done business, in China, one of the most important things is to build relationships with people.  Relationships are extremely important in every culture.  Investing time together, face-to-face, is the best way to build relationships.

It was my pleasure to first visit China in October 2002 and I have lost track of my number of visits since then (I quit counting after a dozen trips).  Typically, I visit China a couple of times a year.

Creation Technologies established our Creation Technologies Asia Pacific Limited (“CTAPL”) international purchasing office in Shenzhen in 2006 and we welcomed our Business Unit in Changzhou into our Creation family in 2008.  Our business in China is growing significantly and we are blessed with a great team of people in Changzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

On my most recent trip, I met people in Shanghai, Changzhou, Wuxi, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Doug Besse, Creation’s Executive Vice President – Global Supply & Asian Operations, Regional Leader & CIO (now that’s a mouthful), and Ron Euer, our Quality & Lean Leader and Regional Leader – Chicago, and I were together for most of the trip with Kevin Meier, our Customer Business Leader – Asian Manufacturing, joining us in Changzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai.  We enjoyed time with many of our China-based Creation team members as well as with colleagues from North America who were also travelling in China.  A few years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would be walking through a hotel lobby in China meeting people I knew from Vancouver, Santa Clara and Milwaukee.

I met Ron at PVG (Shanghai / Pudong’s large and modern international airport) and we took the Maglev (magnetic levitation) train to Longyang Station where we caught the Shanghai Metro which, with one transfer at People’s Square, took us to the Shanghai Train Station.  I like riding trains in China; especially the Maglev as it reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/hour.  Our train from Shanghai to Changzhou was also impressive reaching a top speed of 300 km/hour.  Over the week which followed, we rode several trains which make the transportation network in North America seem rather antiquated.  China is also doing an impressive job expanding its highway system and investing in infrastructure to encourage economic growth.

Over the course of the week-long trip, we:

  • Met with dozens of great people;
  • Rode several trains, spent hours of being driven around in vans and taxis, hopped a few buses and flew from Pudong to Shenzhen;
  • Toured seven factories including electronic, metal, plastic, antenna, PCB and customer plants;
  • Enjoyed meetings with several customers and potential customers;
  • Visited various suppliers (some also included plant tours noted above);
  • Met government officials (who have been very supportive over the years in encouraging our growth and investment in China);
  • Visited some other business contacts with whom we would love to do business;
  • Squeezed in a little sightseeing on Friday evening in Shanghai and Sunday in Hong Kong;
  • Checked into four different hotels on five occasions; and
  • Consumed way too much tasty Chinese food (fortunately the hotels all had great fitness facilities so I was able to exercise enough not to gain any weight).

It was wonderful meeting so many terrific people and was a great trip overall.  I particularly enjoyed watching Ron being impressed by China (it was his first trip to Asia) as one really can’t appreciate China until you go there and see it for yourself.

Here are a few photos:

Photo of Ron Euer taken from the Seagull on the Bund restaurant in Shanghai looking across the Huangpu River towards the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong

After dinner, Kevin Beckett, P.K. Chow, Ron Euer, Doug Besse, Hugh Kelly, Kevin Meier and I enjoyed a nice walk along The Bund

On Sunday, we walked from our hotel in Mong Kok through the Kowloon area of Hong Kong to Tsim Sha Tsui. Doug Besse insisted that we stop at this Starbucks on Nathan Road for “a little taste of home” (he denies being addicted)

Me, Doug Besse and Ron Euer at the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

Doug took this photo from Victoria Peak looking across Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour towards Kowloon using his HTC smartphone – it is actually several photos stitched together and is rather impressive for a smartphone

Yarak Yan, Daniel Tang, Sally Ye, Arthur Tymos, Vicky Qiu, Fiona Zhang and Ron Euer at Creation’s office in Shenzhen

Kenny Zeng, Wendy Li, Doug Besse, Arthur Tymos, Daniel Tang, Ron Euer and Shelly Zhang at Shenzhen Shennan Circuits’ impressive PCB manufacturing campus

Doug Besse, Ron Euer, Daniel Tang and Arthur Tymos all suited up and ready for a plant tour – just too good not to share

If you would like to check out a few more of my China photos, please visit the China set in my Flickr Photostream.

Have you been to China and if so, what did you think?  If not, would you like to visit China someday?  I welcome your comments.

7 Comments to China Trip & Doing Business in China

  1. Sep 29, 2011 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I like the wording of “one really can’t appreciate China until you go there and see it for yourself.” It is absolutely true!

    The photos are nice, too.

    Enjoyed my reading and thanks for sharing.

  2. Sep 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your insightful description of your trip and great pictures. Its always nice to see the numerous buildings of Shanghai’s concrete jungle. Our company has an office in the background of your bund pictures where we are in the business of apparel manufacturers. I look forward to reviewing your blog again in the future.
    Thanks, Mike Roberts

  3. Dwayne Bernitt's Gravatar Dwayne Bernitt
    Sep 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I had the pleasure of spending a week in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in 2006. The excitement of Hong Kong, crossing Hong Kong harbor on a ferry to cross into Shenzhen and experiencing the culture was extremely rewarding. If you ever need someone to assist on a future trip, sign me up!

  4. Timothy Johnson's Gravatar Timothy Johnson
    Sep 25, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I have not yet been able to travel to China but I’d really like to. I agree that building relationships with the people of all cultures is important and it is a huge factor when dealing with international purchasing. Thanks for sharing your trips to China, it’s been a pleasure to see these beautiful pictures and read about your adventures. Can’t wait to see China for myself!

  5. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    Dec 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I like this youtube video (link removed) about someone who went to china to partner with a factory. It was amazing that he could vet them just by finding their name at a trade show. Everything worked but it could have easily gone sour. Making sure your partner has the same values is really important for smooth business and will also help your conscience.

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