Gonzaga in China

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A fruitful visit to Shanghai

Blog Monday June 5th

By: Julie Baker

Following a very action-packed day of sight seeing yesterday, I was very excited to experience some of the business aspects of Shanghai today by visiting both Nike and Asia Pulp and Paper.  Our group had been anxiously awaiting the chance to visit the Nike office since the beginning of the trip.  First of all, we had already visited a Nike office and factory in Shenzhen, so we were awaiting the chance to ask more questions and learn about their presence in both Shanghai and the larger China area.  Additionally, a father of one of the students in our group, Coby, works at this Nike office, and we were looking forward to his presentation.  We had also heard that the group last year had the chance to shop at the employee store and receive the 40% employee discount, and we had been hoping to receive the same opportunity.

We headed to Nike fairly early, since it was quite a long bus ride to get there.  Nike is located in two beautiful buildings in Shanghai, and I became very excited as the bus approached the offices.  We were greeted by two women who gave us a tour of the buildings, and all of us agreed that this would definitely be our ideal office situation if we could work anywhere that we wanted.  The Nike Campus includes a large gym, a basketball court, a soccer field, as well as artwork and statues everywhere all of which relate to Nike.  For instance, there was a statue in the grass that showed the path of a tennis ball in Li Na’s match, which revealed the intensity of the match.  There were many pictures of important Nike donors and athletes as well.  We were all very impressed by the tour and agreed that this Nike campus would be an ideal place to work!

Next, we were given a presentation by Coby’s dad, Dennis, who is the head of the retail owned operations of Nike in China and a man named Gavin Lindberg who is the CFO of Nike in China. The presentation consisted of three parts: “Who we are,” “How we serve,” and “Why we are winning.”   Nike originally started with the mission of serving athletes by making them better, and both presenters said that when Nike goes off track, they need to return to this mission and then it will continue to succeed.  Nike, however, is definitely a growth company and believes that it can serve everyone with the statement that “If you have a body, then you are an athlete” and the goal of bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.  This gives Nike the chance to target every demographic, from all genders, ages, and geographic locations.  Nike finds it extremely important to establish a presence in China for many reasons.  China has the second largest market for Nike in the world, following closely behind the United States.  Also, the Chinese millennial is no doubt one of the largest and most important consumer demographics to target, since it has a population of 450 million, which is larger than the entire United States. Nike serves by always targeting the consumer first, who is the athlete and then serves through inspiration, innovation, and enablement. The office in China takes the innovation that is created in the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and transforms this to fit the Chinese consumer’s wants and needs.  Specifically in China, Nike has had to work closely with the government as well as use the Chinese modes of communication and shopping such as Alibaba, Tmall and WeChat.  They have furthered their presence in China by getting involved with the community and, therefore, establishing brand identity.

After the presentation, we were given the chance to ask Dennis and Gavin anything that we wanted, which ranged from questions about Nike, Nike in China, as well as their personal lives in China.  As we had seen yesterday in the underground markets, one of the huge problems for companies in China is that people recreate their products and sell them for a cheaper price.  So, someone from our group asked how Nike deals with this issue.  It turns out, Nike recognizes that there are always going to be fake Nike products being sold, and believe that the people buying these are not the consumers that they want.  Nike does have a team working to find and attempt to stop these underground companies, but it is not one of their main focuses.  Instead, they are working to increase the amount of people buying their actual and higher-quality products.

After we finished at the factory, our dreams were met and we were allowed to shop in the employee store with the discount!  Most of us bought at least one item, some of us bought closer to 10 items.  We also stopped for lunch in the Nike buildings, and I ate at a sandwhich shop that had actually just opened today. It was very good, so I imagine it will do well there.

Next, we headed back to the bus and drove to a very modern building which housed the company Asia Pulp and Paper.  I had never heard of this company before, but was excited to hear that they are one of the largest paper producing companies in the world and that they produce all sorts of products ranging from tissues and notebooks to toilet paper.  Jeff Lindsay, head of intellectual property at the company, presented to us about both the company as well as his own experience working in China.  He has worked in China for 6 years and went to law school to specialize in writing patents.  He informed us that China is leading the world in terms of patents, so it is a very interesting place for him to work.  Asia Pulp and Paper’s success is largely due to the fact that they have invested millions of dollars into their production process in order to be able to produce paper at the cheapest price possible.  For example, they own the world’s largest paper producing machine, which costs $200 million.  Jeff explained the paper production process, which has actually increased China’s forestland from 8% to 21% through afforestation. This transitioned Jeff into stating that despite common belief, China does have very strict environmental regulations, and Asia Pulp and Paper strives to be sustainable and an environmentally friendly company.  Very few, if any, companies that we have visited so far have talked about China’s environmental regulations, so it was comforting to learn about them.

A woman named Sue spoke to us about her charity work in China through a company called the Yi Cong Foundation, which Asia Pulp and Paper supports.  This was an interesting presentation, because we had not heard about a prominent charity in China before, or had seen the type of poverty that she described.

Since we were all pretty hungry following two long, but very informative business visits, we headed to Yershari Restaurant for our “Closing Dinner.”  This restaurant is known for its lamb, so we had a lot of lamb skewers and lamb fried rice. We also ate doughnuts that had cantaloupe in the middle, which were definitely something that I had never tried before.  We ordered a ton of food, and so we all left full and satisfied after a great day!

Coby, Cory, Proffessor Xu, and Justin at dinner

Tennis artwork at Nike offices

Artwork on the walls at Nike

Shanghai – where East meets West

Blog Post #2



Shanghai is our last city on our China adventure. They say Shanghai is the city where the West meets the East, alluding to its first-class skyline and western cultural influences such as large shopping malls filled with designer stores, and yet the city still feels very Chinese. Getting in last night, driving through the city full of buildings that flash with LED lights, was a refreshing contrast from the quieter area of Ningbo that we found ourselves in a day before. Today was simultaneously our first full day in Shanghai and also our free day, and it surely was packed with things to do. Shanghai is a huge city, and you could probably spend a month here and still not run out of things to do. But from everyone we have talked to, three things that we must do include: the underground markets, Yuyan Gardens, and Shanghai Tower. So that is what we did.

Shanghai’s metro system is really easy. There are lines that can take you all over the city, and knowing where you are and where you are going is pretty easy. A group of us wanted to make our way to the underground market in the morning, so we got a location of where we thought it was and made our way to the nearest metro station, buying an all-pass metro pass for a mere 18 yuan. After about 30 minutes of traveling, we found ourselves in a district southwest outside Shanghai. It did not take us long to realize we did not have the right location, and when we finally did find the correct location, we all hopped in taxis and drove to the underground markets.

The markets themselves were interesting. On the ground level, you see a beautiful park with unique art and the architecture of the Science and Technology Museum, which the markets reside under, is a reflection of Shanghai’s modernity. Underground, is a whole new world. The air is hot and stuffy. The shops are packed tight and close together. Merchandise is everywhere and if you are not bartering with a very persistent salesperson, you are probably walking by a designer bag, jewelry, or sports jersey store. Bartering is the name of the game here, because there are no price tags. I noticed that the salespeople liked to ask where I was from, probably in an effort to develop a relationship with me and (more importantly) to gauge how much money I had in my wallet. More often than not, my name was Matt and I was from Canada on holiday. Seeing all the merchandise, although presumably fake, was still fun to shop around for. And if you are like me and get a kick out of bartering, this is the place for you. I personally had a lot of fun trying out different bartering strategies, and also watching my friends barter in their own unique ways. My biggest piece of advice to anyone who goes to these markets would be this: always be willing to walk away. Firstly, if you show them that you really want that fake Kate Spade handbag, they have the advantage and are going to charge you a lot for it. Second, I have found that whenever people start walking out of the store, the salespeople get desperate and usually come down to your price point. Finally, even if you do not make a deal, I guarantee you can find that exact same LeBron James jersey a few stores down.

Bartering sure works up an appetite, so we decided to make our way to Yuyan Gardens which is a preservation of Old Shanghai with traditional Chinese architecture and great dumplings. I certainly got the sense that this was a large tourist destination, mostly due to the many shops that sold the same trinkets and souvenirs that we have been seeing this entire trip in China, but also with the crowds of foreigners that were buying them. Luckily, one of the guys in our group knew of a local dumpling place that was unknown to most tourists, and so that is where we ate lunch. We knew this was an authentic place because no one spoke English and the menu was completely in Mandarin. As expected, the dumplings were filling, which was needed for our next journey: a trip up the second tallest building in the world, Shanghai Tower.

Rising 2,023 feet in the air, this megatall building is one of the most prominent buildings in the Shanghai skyline. Not only is it the tallest thing in the city, but the building’s architecture beautifully twists up in a spiral and slowly tapers down into a thin crown on the top. It is even cooler at night, where the entire building is lit up with LED lights that writes out messages which can be seen from all over the city. The cost for students to go up to the top was 120 yuan, which was acceptable for us. To get to the top, you take the fastest elevator in the world, which gets you up 128 stories in less than 30 seconds. The viewing deck provides 360 views of the city, and we stayed until the sun went down, taking pictures and reflecting on how amazing vast the Shanghai economic area is.

From our free day today, we learned that there is a ton to do in Shanghai, and one day is not enough to see it all. My advice to anyone traveling in Shanghai is to use the metro system because it is really easy and quick. But also, be sure you are going to the right place or you may find yourself on the opposite end of the city. The underground markets are a fun opportunity to try out your bartering skills as well as get gifts for friends and family back at home. The Yuyan Gardens is a nice throwback to Old Shanghai that is full of food and touristy things to do.  And finally, the Shanghai tower is definitely something that cannot be missed if you have a free day in Shanghai. I look forward to visiting some of the businesses that call this city home in the upcoming days.


-Cody Lippert























Hidden Gems of China

Blog Post #1




In the short amount of time I have spent here, I have quickly learned that China is a land full of hidden gems. Of course, everyone knows about the unhidden gems: The Great Wall, The Forbidden Palace, the Shanghai skyline, and the jagged picturesque mountains that we see adorning the walls of our local Chinese restaurant back in America. But discovering the unheard of gems, the ones that not many people see, is where the real adventure begins.

For me, one of these hidden Chinese gems is the City of Xi’an, about a 6-hour train ride west of Beijing. I had not heard of this city before coming on this trip, but it is full of important history. Xi’an used to be the capital of ancient China, home to four different ruling dynasties, and the beginning of the famous Silk Road. It recently became a tourist destination because of the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in a nearby rural area, where there are approximately 8,000 life-sized clay sculptures of warriors that were tasked with guarding the soul of Emperor Qin Shi Huang 2000 years ago and have since be buried, but remain relatively well preserved.

Despite the fact we are here for class credit and a large part of our responsibilities involve presentations and business-related activities, I have found that our free days are jam packed full of “street learning”. Simply going out and exploring the city on my own with only a map and a language barrier has taught me more about the city of Xi’an than a classroom could. I found myself lost more times than I could count, but walking around the city without knowing where you are, or frantically pointing to a spot on the map to your taxi driver who speaks another language is what makes this trip fun. After failing to hail a taxi early on in the morning, I walked over to the Wild Goose Pagoda, which is an ancient Buddhist Temple and holy site for Buddhists in China. Surrounded by tall office buildings and apartments, this park is a nice change of scenery that evokes a sense of peace amid a bustling city. The Pagoda itself is very tall and sits high above the monastery walls. Outside the walls are various statues that symbolize important Chinese virtues, as well as dancing water fountains, and vendors who are quick to entice tourists to buy their souvenirs. What stood out to me most about this place was the dedication it must have taken to build this Pagoda in ancient times, especially considering they did not have the technology or tools we have today to make structures like that possible, and yet here it still stands today.

After admiring the Pagoda and surrounding park, I headed downtown and into the “inner city” (inside the Xi’an wall), to walk down Art Street. This is the street where various artists and craftsmen come together to sell their figurines, paintings, sculptures, clothes, or whatever else they created. As I began to walk down the street, I noticed that a lot of the people sell the same things. For instance, there could be one old lady who has a paint brush shop, and right next door is another old lady that sells the exact same paint brushes. While it is interesting to walk in and see their products, you begin to look for shops that sell one-of-a-kind items. I found myself in one shop that sold a bunch of jewelry and small statues. After 20 minutes of charades between myself and the woman behind the counter, I managed to get a custom-made bracelet that will serve as a memento of this trip and of Xi’an in particular.

The culture of China is a lot different than the United States. I think that observation is fairly obvious and should go without saying, but you never truly realize how true it is until you experience it firsthand. As a group, we were lucky enough to talk about living and working in China with a local husband and wife Tim knows. Their names are Tiffany and Javad, and they have a unique background. Tiffany is from the United States and teaches English to university age students here in Xi’an. Javad is from Iran and has a Ph. D. in mechanical engineering where he teaches and occasionally consults businesses. They met here in Xi’an and have been in China for about 7 years. One of the biggest things they noticed about business in China is that the Chinese love to build relationships up before doing business. This typically involves going out to eat large dinners and ordering alcoholic beverages with their business partners or potential clients, all before actually discussing any business. In contrast, it is generally frowned upon to drink in front of clients or business partners in America. But the reason the Chinese do this is because they consider relationships to be very important. They refer to it as “guanxi”, which means connections or as we would probably refer to it in America as networking. In Tiffany and Javad’s experience, laws may exist in China, but it really comes down to who you know, because laws can be bent in some instances. To illustrate, Tiffany told us a story about her first pregnancy, in which the school she was teaching at wanted to release her because the maternity leave she needed would have been too much for the University. Eventually, she negotiated a favorable deal to keep her job and extend her paid time off to care for her newborn, and that was all because of the people she knew within the University, as well as her knowledge of the Chinese laws.

For someone like myself, who grew up entirely in the United States and had never been out of the country before this trip, hearing stories from people like Tiffany and Javad, or exploring a foreign city all alone are unique ways to learn about a new place like China. We are only 11 days into this trip and I feel like I have learned so much about China already. I cannot begin to imagine where else this adventure will lead, but I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for this trip. As Javad and Tiffany said: China is addictive. Once you come to China, you want to keep coming back to see what other hidden gems it holds!


-Cody Lippert


































Our 3pm Bus Ride to Shenzhen

Justin Lau

May 21, 2017


Waking up this morning, I came to a realization that Hong Kong was one of the coolest cities I have ever been to besides my hometown of San Francisco. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express that had an amazing view of all the skyscrapers. The last couple days in Hong Kong have been so interesting. Experiencing the culture of British influence on Hong Kong was eye opening. As we went to different places throughout Hong Kong such as the Victoria’s harbor or Lama Island I could not really compare it to anything I have ever seen in America. It was a real slow morning. As I went downstairs with my roommate Cory, we had breakfast and although the breakfast usually is great, we were still hungry and wanted one last taste of Hong Kong. We walked out into the humid air and trekked throughout the city. Wandering from bakery to bakery, we had to get something from each store. If you ever do come to a place like Hong Kong, do not forget to visit a bakery because it will not disappoint.  As we were waiting for our bus to come pick us up to take us to Shenzhen, we were looking forward to the next city and the next adventure. It was just a really long morning as we were still coping with the jet lag. We typically woke up around 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. A funny thing that happened that previous night was that I attempted to take a nap at 5:30 p.m. and woke up at 4 a.m. The wait til that 3 p.m. bus ride lasted forever. As all of us eventually boarded the charter bus, eyes eventually started shutting. People were out late walking around and exploring the city and were exhausted. Eventually, we had to get off the bus and go through customs twice to cross the Hong Kong and China border. The one thing I noticed in the customs was that it was really like we walked straight across the border. It did not feel anything like security. The security guards carry the metal detectors and they scan you, but it just did not compare to American security at all.  After the long bus ride and long day of traveling, we arrived at our next hotel. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. As I checked into my room, I was expecting something like the Holiday Inn Express, but let me tell you that this room was the biggest hotel room I have ever stayed in. This room had a huge bathroom, a living room, and then two beds. I wish I could post more about my day for today, but I just wanted to share some of the experience with you all. It has been a wild journey so far and we have only been half way across the world for four days now. I can’t wait to see different cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Hope you continue to follow along with this Gonzaga in China blog as we are such a passionate group of individuals. Who else would live out of their suitcase for a month in a place like China!




Our Trip to IDFL.com

Justin Lau

June 3rd, 2017


It’s interesting to reflect on the trip so far. As we are nearing the end of our trip, I feel really engulfed in the culture of China. I grew up speaking mandarin, so it has been interesting to hear and talk to different people from around China. Each city has their own specific style of mandarin and it has been hard to understand because I learned traditional mandarin. All in all it has been great to be able to communicate with the locals and I feel that the Gonzaga-in-China program should hold a one-day class that just teaches simple phrases in mandarin. Today was a really early morning as my roommate and I woke up around 7 am. We were still in Ningbo, which was a really interesting city. It is a quickly developing city and we could notice the differences between the developing city compared to Hong Kong and Beijing. We were staying at Ningbo University hotel and went downstairs for the free breakfast. I could not eat much, so I grabbed some of the really good bread buns stuffed with vegetables and meat they have. We have experienced a lot so far and Hong Kong feels like a year ago, but I found myself even more excited to get to Shanghai and experience that last bit of China. It was another long day of traveling for the group, but we took a lot of side trips to make it more interesting.

Our first destination after Ningbo was IDFL.com. We arrived there around 11:30 a.m. Their mission statement is: We will be the premier global laboratory and testing institute for filled textile products. It was a really interesting place and it was great to hear from a BYU graduate. His name was James Moore and h was the Managing director in China. He gave us some background of what the company was and their history. One thing he also did was talk to us about living in China and the different things about the culture compared to America. Some facts he gave us were that there are four offices in Europe, U.S. and China. They have over 5000 clients such as consumers, governments, and manufacturers. The client list ranges from Gap to Target to IKEA.. He also noted that there were a lot of competitors in the market, so it is important to stay ahead and deliver quality service.

Moore used to be a sales and marketing manager in Taiwan before coming to China. When asked about why he chose to move to China, he brought up his religious background. He decided to do a service trip after high school because his father did the same thing. His father got sent to Australia and said it was the time of his life and he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. He turned in an application for the service trip and they sent him to Taiwan and he fell in love with the place. In addition to that, he talked to us about life in China. He brought up how Americans might view the Chinese people as rude, but its not being rude. Its about surviving and getting from one destination to the next. That’s the one thing I noticed because we have been taking a lot of public transportation. Everybody just pushes and shoves each other, but Moore said that it was normal and nobody takes it personally. After talking about that, he brought up the key to a great life, which is being positive and loving within one’s home. It is important to marry right.

After hearing about life in China, we headed back on the bus, but we took a side trip to the original Green Tea Restaurant. We went to a chain restaurant in another city and it was really good, but the original was an intricate building on a lake. The meal was delicious as always and after we went to tour the Green Tea museum. We went tea tasting, which was really neat as well. There was so much history rooted just from tea drinking. After we headed back to the bus and traveled to Shanghai. It took us a really long time and didn’t get to the hotel until really late. We stayed at Howard Johnson hotel also called HuaHai hotel. We all turned in early because of the long exhausting day of traveling.  I cannot believe we have arrived to our last destination of China. We have to remember to keep open-minded and take every city as a whole new country. I’m looking forward to our next couple days and hope to make the best of the rest of the trip.

A Great Last Day in Beijing

Caroline Hamilton

May 31, 2017

Today was a very eventful last day in Beijing. We spent the morning at Qualcomm, and it was very interesting learning about the wireless technology company. Mainly known for “Snapdragon,” which powers many smartphones, Qualcomm ultimately is short for Quality Communications, is the world’s widest semiconductor company, and is based out of San Diego. I really enjoyed learning about this company that I had never heard of before, and realizing how big of a role they play in today’s society. The first thing Qualcomm created was a satellite for driving, and the company grew from there. Qualcomm’s technology is found in smartphones, tablets and more. Qualcomm is a leading company in innovative research and development, with cumulative research and development spending at around 41 billion dollars. They have had many milestones as a leading company, and one specifically is that they had the first processor to break the one gigahertz speed barrier.

Qualcomm was inspiring for me from a job standpoint and seeing a company and its environment that I potentially would like to work at. According to employees, Qualcomm is a very collaborative environment, which I find inspiring. In addition, Qualcomm is not just innovative in their technology; they support children in STEM and the FIRST program. The emphasis that Qualcomm places on the future is very important and something I find inspiring. Qualcomm states that they are “inventors, visionaries, risk takers, and pioneers.” The three pillars of Qualcomm’s vision seem to be very cohesive with their statement of who they are. Their three pillars are: enhanced mobile broadband, mission-critical services, and massive internet of things. The seven founders of Qualcomm essentially wanted to create a company that brought a revolution to society and make life better. This extremely innovative company “challenges boundaries” and one way they are doing this is leading the path to a 5G network. The presenter displayed to us a chart that shows where Qualcomm is on the road to 5G and what the world standard is. In 5G, speed is a key change; things will simply be faster. In 5G the goal is to also communicate with machines, as opposed to just humans. I really appreciated Qualcomm’s clear vision of who they are, focus on what they would like to do next, as well as the global scale of Qualcomm as a whole, with close to 30,000 total employees, 110 locations worldwide and 67 languages spoken.

In Xi’an, we visited Micron, which is a memory company. While both Micron and Qualcomm work with chips, Qualcomm is not in competition with Micron; they are actually complementary to one another. It was however, interesting to note that both companies stated that Intel was a major competitor. Another major competitor for Qualcomm is MediaTech, while we learned that Apple is not a direct competitor. I think it is easy to generalize what a company does by categorizing the company, and this visit to Qualcomm clearly showed me that Micron and Qualcomm are not just “technology” companies. Each company is much more specialized than I had previously thought, which was really beneficial for me to learn. I look forward to continue comparing other businesses we visit to companies such as Qualcomm and Micron, and learning about just how much variation there is between companies and occupations available within these companies.

After learning about Qualcomm through a presentation and having a good understanding of what they stand for, what they do, and who they are as a company, we had the opportunity to observe some of Qualcomm’s research and development testing lab. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing some programs they are developing that are really beneficial in everyday life. One specific program that Qualcomm is working on implementing into cars is a tracker that informs the driver when it is unsafe to pass a car on a two lane road. Previously in the presentation, we learned about how many items are now tying into digital intelligence and how computers have a sort of “6th sense.” This simulation with the car tracker provided a very clear example of this digital intelligence and a preview of what technology in the imminent future can do.

After the morning at Qualcomm, we had a delicious dim sum lunch which was located in the same building as Qualcomm. I can confidently say that it was at this lunch that I had the exciting revelation that I had become a semi-expert in using chopsticks! This realization truly was a highlight of my day, and the fun continued when I was able to implement some Mandarin words when ordering my food. While the phrases only equate to “thank you,” “sorry”, “you’re welcome” and “yes,” these are four more phrases than I knew coming to China, so I was content.

Spending the past couple days at places such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the Olympic Park, the Great Wall, and Summer Palace has given me a good glimpse of Beijing and all the history that comes along with it. However, with an afternoon free after Qualcomm and the great lunch, I knew there were so many possibilities for me on our last day in Beijing. I love pandas, and had originally planned on spending the afternoon at the zoo, but with a group of me and three others, we ultimately decided to adventure to the Temple of Heaven. The taxi ride to the Temple of Heaven was half of the fun, as we got to observe Beijing along the ride. The city has interesting roads, with four “rings” of roads around the city, with the first ring being the closest to the center of Beijing. We traveled to the Temple of Heaven, and the very urban surroundings continued when we arrived. It amazed me that Beijing, a huge city with land that is expensive to obtain, is able to have a huge park with a temple in the middle of the city. The Temple of Heaven was beautiful, with a palace in it, the temple itself, and very well-kept greens with flowers. At the Temple of Heaven, we saw a group of three young girls who said “hello” to us, and when we responded with “hi, how are you?” to them, I was reminded of what we had learned about Chinese children and what English they are taught right away: “hello”, “I’m fine thanks”, and “thank you” being the main ones. Because of this, it was humorous that they responded to our “how are you?’ with an “I’m fine, thanks,” very cohesive with my guess for what they would say.

Overall, our last day in Beijing was a successful day learning about the future of technology at Qualcomm, and observing the beautiful Temple of Heaven. I am excited to see what Ningbo and Shanghai bring and how they compare to the cities we have already been to.


Temple of Heaven

Learning about 5G

Arriving at Qualcomm

A Visit to Shanghai American Center

By Austyn Askman

Jun 6, 2017


Today we spent some time at the Shanghai American Center. We were able to hear a presentation that was about the relations of China to many other cities and world events. Along with the world events, we were able to hear how those events impacted China and the politics and government within it.

Our conversation started with our presenter telling us that everything he says is completely off the record. None of the things he was saying was publicly disclosed, but more of his personal opinions and what he chose to talk about regarding each individual topic. He started by working as a consul in Jerusalem and then eventually moving to Bangkok. After traveling around with similar style of jobs, he ended up in Shanghai working at the Shanghai American Center. He has a background in management information systems and majored in that during his years in college. He worked in the political-economic section and did a two year intensive training program including Chinese. Within this time, he learned many skills, routines, and ideas that gave him the knowledge to move forward in his career. He explained that he knows 5 languages; he first learned English then learned more based upon the need. He told us that something that pushed him to continue working in the field is his love for languages. He has always had a passion for different cultures and languages and appreciated them to the extent that he wanted to continue his education in the language area.

We were taught the different sections that one could work in based upon the area and the specific needs. One area is the political and economic section. This section focuses on the political and economic happens of the area as well as other areas and look for ways to connect the two. Another section is public affairs. This primarily focuses on the media. This covers press conferences, Facebook, twitter, and other forms of social media, as well as getting out the information that the government feels needs to be shared. The consular works with relationships between businesses. Individually, every section acts as a business and the different locations act as businesses as well. This section focuses on bringing those sections together and creating and maintain the good relationships between them. During our time in China, we have learned that relationships mean everything. If there is no relationship, it is hard to get things when they are needed. The consular has the job to keep all of those in place and to keep things going well so they are able to support each other and ask favors when needed.

He also talked a lot about bilateral relationships and why they are so important. He feels that with China, there should always be a bilateral relationship. By that he means that it’s a give and take. When it comes to trade, paths, and resources, when one country is able to use a trade route to get to China, China should be able to use that route to ship their own goods. Things should be equal and a part of having a good relationship is making sure things are equal and ensuring that countries are happy with what they are giving and receiving. Along with that, when other countries impose new policies that involve China, China has the ability to impose new policies that affect the country that affects them in the same format. The goal entirely between countries is to resolve problems peacefully. Although different countries have issues with each other, a goal between them is to solve their issues without having to bring in military equipment or having to fight each other at all.

Within China, there have been huge developments over the last 30 years. The country as a whole has gone through endless development to get it where it is today. Many resources have been allocated to ensure that areas throughout China are incredibly developed. This is very visible throughout many coastal cities. The issue with this lies in the facts that the wealth is not distributed very well. A few select cities receive the benefits of all of the money and government resources while parts of the country suffer with starvation and poverty. This brings up issues with the one party political system. There is only one way within the country and people do not have the option to vote to change anything. Overall, all the decisions that are made about the distribution of wealth and resources are all made by the government and no one else.

A big issue we learned about that goes along with the wealth is the issues of money and real estate. For the most part, everything is government owned. It makes things incredible hard when people want to own their own pieces of land or houses. A typical small apartment can cost millions of dollars in big cities like Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen, etc. That means the average apartment costs 50x what the average person makes. Based upon this, it seems nearly impossible for anyone to own their own home and most of their money goes to renting property for a family to live in. A few years ago, this was recognized as a huge problem. The government tried to relax the rules that they were imposing hoping that people would eventually begin to be able to purchase property. This lead to a bubble which turned out to be an economic disaster.

A big issue that the government is beginning to see is the effects that the one child policy will be having on the country as a whole. With the need for so many jobs to fill, there will be less people entering the work force while still so many are exiting. Since each family was only allowed one child, there are not enough people rising to the positions that are either currently needed or will be needed in the future. Since the one child policy was seen as so necessary for so long, it became a cultural norm. Now, the policy has relaxed to 2 children. Even with that, the idea that a family is perfect when composed of a mother, a father, and their one child seems to linger and many people wonder why they would wanted to have more than one child. This will continue the issue of what to do with all the excess jobs and the lack of people to fill them.

Overall, it was very interesting to be able to hear his views on all of the issues we were curious about. He really took the time to ask us what we wanted to hear and was very open to giving us his opinions of how those issues are playing out in China and how it might end up effecting us back in America.

A Visit to Renmin University of China in Beijing

May 28, 2017

             By Cory Cravalho


This was our second day in Beijing. We took taxis to the university in the afternoon and were off to visit our second school, Renmin University of China. Here we would be hearing a few presentations from the graduate students attending the university’s Executive MBA program as well as presenting a few of our own.  The students that attended this program would work during the week (many for large corporations and companies) and then attend school for their Masters on the weekends.  It was so funny to see how excited and ready these Masters students were to talk to us about business and life in general.


We were welcomed with a large round of applause and smiles all around.  The two presentations that the Gonzaga students presented were dealing with Alibaba and WeChat.  Alibaba is the Chinese equivalent of Ebay where anyone can go online in order to sell or buy a desired item.  While WeChat is an application downloaded by almost every smartphone user in China.  This application is all popular American apps (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) but put into one platform.  This application is also commonly used for maps, texting, as well as a way to pay friends or a business.  Wechat is growing at an incredible rate and may very well expand to places like America and Europe within the next decade.  It is such a good platform for anything a user needs.  It is amazing to see how different the appl;ications we use in America are to those used in China.  Wechat is basically the only app used. This has to do with functionality but also the fact that the government regulates what citizens can and can’t use.  Hearing about these upcoming companies was very interesting, especially from the perspective of students that have not necessarily used the products they were presenting on.  For example, all of my classmates as well as myself had never heard of Wechat before studying our cases on the app.  We also all downloaded Wechat as a form of communication amongst ourselves as a group in China. The MBA students gave very good insight to us on both presentations and filled us in on some of the future of these companies.  Many of the Renmin students were curious about the future of these companies in America, which does not seem likely due to all the existing competition already in both marketplaces.  One of my favorite presentations from the Renmin University students was on JD.com.  JD is a marketplace similar to Amazon in the United States.  The presenter really focused on comparing the two companies and it was very cool to see the similarities and differences.  Amazons layout is much more simple while JD.com has a lot going on and many products being pushed on their website.  I realized that there is a huge difference in how things are presented in Chinese culture vs. American culture.  Chinese consumers really want to see everything and want all aspects of a website or company laid out for them right off the bat.  In America, it is more about being aesthetically pleasing and more organized even if it means having to search a little more for what a customer is looking for.  The MBA students were so welcoming and eager to learn from anything we had to offer.  It was refreshing to see a group with such enthusiasm and excitement to study and learn new things.


After the presentations from both University students, we had a short Q & A and then concluded the session.  We then split up into small groups to get dinner with the students.  My group went to a small restaurant on campus where me as well as a couple other classmates were treated to a very large dinner by one of the students.  I have learned a lot about Chinese culture throughout this trip and one common theme is how generous they are to any guests as well as how friendly and welcoming they are.  We ate fish, noodles, rice, pig ear, and many other interestingly flavored dishes that I would not think I would try before this trip.  The food was all so amazing and the conversations we had were very insightful.  We shared some things about American culture and they shared many of their own culture.  It was very funny to be complimented on my use of chopsticks while usually I struggle to pick up anything with them.  We talked sports, politics, and their business lives as well.  Connecting to students through WeChat has been a very cool way to keep in touch with some of the students that we meet.


Once we departed for dinner the Masters students had to rush to take their final exam for the class we were visiting.  It was crazy to see them go from presenting to foreign students, to going to dinner and then going straight back to take a Final Exam.  The dedication they show to school is unparalleled.  After saying goodbye to our new friends, we journeyed back to our hotel, which was harder than usual due to a windstorm.  Many Zags stayed inside and waited for the storm to blow over but a few of us stayed out and ventured to find a ride home. After about 30 minutes of trying to call a taxi to get home, we finally were able to flag one down and get back to our hotel safe and sound.  Beijing is such a large and cultured city and we are all very excited about the rest of our stay here with so many attractions to see.  The Great Wall, The Olympic Village, and the Summers Palace just to name a few! More than halfway done with our trip and we have already seen and learned so much about Chinese culture and Business.  Next stop is Ningbo where we will visit our third and final University and finish up with our presentations

Visiting Deans/Nike shoe Factory (Shenzen/Huizhou)

May 23

By Cory Cravalho


Today was our visit to the Nike/Deans shoe factory in Shenzen, China! We were all up early and dressed in our Nike attire to show our support for the company we would be visiting.  It was really cool to see how much all of my classmates as well as myself support and are loyal to the brand Nike.  Nike has more brand loyalty than almost any other company in both the US and China.

The bus ride from Shenzhen to Huizhou (where the Deans shoe Factory is located) was about two hours.  Finally, we arrived to the factory that was very isolated from any shops or big cities and we were eager to go inside and see what goes into the making of a Nike running shoe.  Each Deans Factory in China deals with the creation of different type of shoe.  For example in Huizhou, they had only running shoes, while other factories may focus on basketball, baseball or skating shoes.  The factory we visited had over 15,000 employees working and it was almost like its own little city.  Employees of Deans factory had dorms as well as a restaurant but not much else in terms of entertainment. We were amazed at how isolated and far away from everything this factory was.  Many employee’s try to get away and go into the city life of Shenzhen on the weekends from what we gathered.  The dorm style living quarters were built straight up and housed more people than our entire school of Gonzaga.

Once welcomed into the offices of Deans we sat down and listened to a few short presentations on the aspects of the factory.  We were also asked at this point to put our phones in a locker where they would be kept the rest of the day.  This was for security of product and technology purposes as well as maybe based on the fact that the working conditions in the factory may reflect poorly on Nike or Deans. Nike chooses to not have any of its own factories because if any bad press comes out about the factory it is on Deans shoes, not necessarily the Nike brand.  After the presentations we had Pizza and KFC and chatted with some of the people at Deans who run the factory.  It was funny because some of my friends that had been to China before had told me how different places like KFC and Dominoes were in comparison to America.  We enjoyed all the food that was given to us and many classmates actually liked the pizza more than in America.  We were able to ask questions about Nike as well as the factory itself.  Dean’s shoe factory had a little giveaway of prizes for individuals who answered their questions correctly.  Some of these prizes consisted of Nike bags, backpacks and soccer balls! One of the most interesting aspects of the making of these shoes I found was that up to 400 employees physically are a part of the making of one shoe.  There are so many processes and little aspects on the assembly line that consumers do not even think about.  A typical worker is working all day shifts and is doing the same process over and over again.  In my opinion, a factory like this would simply not be possible in the U.S. and outsourcing to China is necessary in some aspects.

When we were done with lunch we started the tour of the factory and got to see all aspects of the creation of Nike shoes.  It was very crazy to see how hardworking and skilled the assembly workers are.  They are able to work multiple machines and stitch the shoes with such consistency.  The actual manufacturing of the shoes is such a cool process, especially when we got to see the Nike ID section of the factory.  Nike ID is where customers can customize a shoe to look however they want it to in terms of color, sole, shoelaces and anything else you can think of.  This Nike ID aspect of the factory was very different from the rest of the factory.  It requires employees to scan the tag on the shoe throughout every process of assembly to ensure that the right shoe and the right customization is going into the shoe.  If not, customers will be unhappy and return items that they customize.  I remember when I was younger Nike had just came out with ID and many of my friends as well as myself loved it.  The process however, would take 2-4 weeks to be delivered.  It is so cool to see how much faster and more efficient Nike has gotten with Nike ID. Managers at these factories are expected to propose 2 new ideas per week that would increase speed on the assembly line.  This really shows how much effort these managers have to put in to shorten the process of manufacturing and shipping so that the customer receives the product as soon as possible.  The manager of the Nike ID factory was currently working on getting an order processed and shipped to the customer from 5 to 3 days.  This trust in managers also shows how much the factory must rely on and hire the best managers possible to get the job done.  With so many employees working in the factory at Dean’s it is very critical to take input from all of these assembly workers to see how the delivery time can be improved.  I feel like as a class we learned so much about the manufacturing aspect of Nike as well as got a better insight into what factory life is for the employees on the assembly line.  It is very smart for Nike not to have its own factories in terms of how they are viewed by the public so we were also able to see how important outsourcing is in a multitude of industries.

As a class we loved the city of Shenzhen and are excited to move onto the next city! Our next stop is Xian where we will explore the city and gain more insight on businesses in China.  We have a flight bright and early and are almost halfway done with our adventure in China! Keep following along with the blog and see where the rest of our trip takes us.

(Lobby of Dean’s Shoe Factory)

(The factory required us to lock away our phones and no photos were permitted)



Hong Kong, Here We Come!

Caroline Hamilton

May 18, 2017

Hong Kong, Here We Come!

It has not been a full 24 hours here in Hong Kong, yet we, as a group, have experienced so much. From unconference presentations in the airport, to a 14-hour flight, to visiting Cathay Pacific, to exploring Hong Kong in general, this day has been packed.

One of the four presentations we have seen in the airport before our flight that particularly stuck out to me was a peer’s presentation on “Chinese Women in Business.” Many times, we tend to think of the United States as the world’s leader, and being ahead of the curb in most aspects, so it was interesting for me to learn that 51% of senior management in China are women, compared to 20% in the US and Europe. This statistics and unconference made me eager to go to China and witness Chinese women not only in senior management, but women in business in general in China.

The 14-hour plane ride was an adventure in itself, in that this is the first time on our trip that dual-language began to be implemented. All announcements were in both Cantonese and English, and this brought to surface the fact that passengers on our plane were from both the US and Hong Kong. When we landed and exited the plane, this dual-language continued to be present in the airport, which was a nice transition into China. In my research for Hong Kong, I saw that there are more Seven Elevens in Hong Kong per square mile than in any other place in the world, so it was humorous and seemed fitting to me that the first store I saw in the airport was a Seven Eleven.

After taking a bus and arriving to the hotel, we as a group decided to get an “Octopus Card,” after professor Olsen advised us that transportation and other services would be easier with one. I had never heard of an Octopus Card before Hong Kong even after doing extensive research on this city, and this lack of knowledge made me realize that when traveling to new areas, especially as a professional, it is extremely important to research how to ease the transition to the new country, and this particularly applies to transportation. Along with getting the Octopus Card, I needed to withdraw cash from an ATM. One of the times that I really had to be independent was when I was attempting an ATM withdrawal but the ATM declined my debit card twice. I was ultimately able to analyze reasons why it was not working due to the work I had done prior to the trip. For example, I had contacted my bank prior to the trip, so I knew that the issue was not related to the bank’s lack of knowledge of my whereabouts. I also knew that I had money in my account, so the issue was not related to lack of money. The same issue was happening to a peer of mine, and we were able to deduce that it was an issue specifically related to our bank and the ATM bank. By reading mall maps, we were able to find our way to another ATM and successfully withdraw cash.

The next morning, after our delicious buffet-style breakfast served in the hotel, our group took a double-decker bus to Cathay Pacific. I was thankful for my Octopus Card and its easy usage when we entered the bus. I have never flown Cathay Pacific Airways, but was extremely impressed with the company itself through the tour we received. We went through many areas of the company, including a flight simulator, which we learned that it takes 9 months to assemble and about a year to be examined and certified. The flight simulator is Boeing, but I found it interesting that Cathay Pacific has both Boeing and Airbus airplanes. The fact that Cathay Pacific has two different airplane carriers is not the only thing that makes this company unique. They have an interesting layout of the building itself- not only does it include offices and training rooms, there is also a salon, a gym, a doctor, and more, almost completely reducing the need to go outside. Also, I found it unique that the pilots and flight attendants check in by correctly answering a question before each flight and the Cathay Pacific building is where the employees go through customs and security. It is straight from Cathay Pacific that all crew members are taken to the airplane. I really enjoyed learning about this company and felt that it gave me a good base for what to expect of Chinese business in general.

When we arrived at our first hotel, I thought that the surrounding area was big and we were near the city, as we could see some tall buildings from our hotel room. I quickly learned how wrong I was on the bus ride to our next hotel after Cathay Pacific. It took about an hour to get from our old hotel to the new one, and along the way I saw just how vast Hong Kong really is. We passed the port in Hong Kong, and soon after saw the skylines of both Hong Kong island and Kowloon. I was in awe of just how big the city is. And once you enter the city, one really feels the flow of money from the ports to the city. This is because the city is always moving and appears to be very fluid.

We also went to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. Walking there in itself was very interesting, as we got to observe what was going on around us in the huge city. While the trip to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was not very long, it was informative. We watched a couple videos on the Stock Market and got to see the trading floor itself, as well as ask questions.

Hong Kong is extremely exciting and I look forward to our hike tomorrow, and travelling to Victoria Peak and to see Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha.

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