Gonzaga in China

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Month: May 2017

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.

Shenzhen!

Monday May 22nd, Shenzhen China

Julie Baker

Last night was the first night that we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, and so we got to experience the wonderful breakfast here this morning! This breakfast buffet was delicious and it had the best authentic Chinese food yet, so it was a great start to the day.

Next, we boarded the bus and drove to a location for our Microsoft visit.  We actually met at a shared location between the Chinese government, Microsoft, and a company called Makeblock.  The office space had new and old Microsoft products that we were able to try out, including a smart board, laptops, and virtual reality goggles.  After we looked around for a bit, we went inside a meeting room to learn about why Microsoft chose to operate in Shenzhen, as well as to learn more Microsoft as a company.

Microsoft had many different speakers present to discuss different aspects of their company and production.  Cindy Liu, manager of the sales team, spoke about why it is important for Microsoft to be present in Shenzhen.  She informed us that one of the major reasons is that Shenzhen has an astounding number of exports and imports.  The second reason is that Shenzhen has the highest concentration of billionaires in the world, who are mostly people that started startup companies that became very successful.   Microsoft wants to establish relationships with these entrepreneurs, in order to hopefully be a part of both their companies and their success. Finally, the third strategic reason that Microsoft is in Shenzhen is the speed that things are able to happen in the city.  Typically, in Shenzhen, the cycle of a product from conception to production is only three short months, compared to the typical 9 month cycle everywhere else.  Cindy’s presentation gave me a much better idea about both Shenzhen as a city, as well as the places that Microsoft wants to be a part of.  Since I am from the Seattle area, I have been around Microsoft my entire life, and perhaps Microsoft has kept its campus in the Seattle area, Redmond, in order to be a part of the entrepreneurial spirit of Seattle as well.  Today I learned that companies have offices in strategic places, in order to match the goal of the company.

Other speakers presented to us about Microsoft’s latest strategies and expectations for the future.  Since the PC market is not growing much anymore, Microsoft has been focusing on its Business Development, and areas such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.  For example, as I mentioned earlier, the space that we were in was shared between the government, Microsoft, and a company called Makeblock.  Microsoft wanted to be partners and work with Makeblock because it included the aspect of artificial intelligence.  Makeblock strives to help children learn programming at an early age.  In short, Microsoft wants to continue expanding its markets, since it already reached its original goal of every desk having a computer.  Microsoft’s current goal, according to Ken Huang, HR manager of Microsoft, is to empower everyone to achieve more.  This is a good mission statement for Microsoft because it is very broad, has no limit, and enables Microsoft to ultimately change the world for the better.

The Microsoft employees also gave us updates about the Windows 10 Update and other exciting projects that they are working on.  The Windows 10 Update allows users to unlock their computer with a facial recognition software instead of the use of a password. This update also includes 3D features, gaming security, and a Microsoft edge input.  Next, Mr. Mingjie Wang spoke about the Microsoft Asia Center for Hardware and innovations that are happening with accessories.  He stated the fact that every 2 seconds, someone buys an accessory in the world.  Accessories for things such as tablets and laptops are a rapidly growing market, which is continuing to become more advanced as well.  For example, the first mouse was invented 33 years ago, and has since undergone 50 innovations.  Microsoft has been the first company to market on many of these innovations.  These innovations are coming at a much faster rate than they were before.  In the past, products were planned three to five years ahead of time before they went to market.  Now, according to Microsoft, products only are planned for about 1 year before they are being sold, due to the amount of competition and speed in the market.  This type of speed will be present, and possibly even faster, when I am in the workforce, so I will need to be prepared to deal with this type of situation.

After getting this background information about Microsoft, we had a lunch break and then headed to the factory for a tour.  We went to the Emdoor factory, which is a partner of Microsoft.  Emdoor creates and ships 8 million tablets per year, and has 500 workers in the factory with 5 production lines. Before entering the factory, we had to put on a poncho, hat, and even go though an air shower to ensure that we were not bringing any unwanted dust into the factory.  The factory was fascinating to see, because I had no previous knowledge of how laptops/tablets are made, and I had also never experienced a working assembly line before.  It was amazing to see the amount of work and raw materials that go into creating a piece of technology that many people take for granted.  Also, during multiple times in the process, the products are tested to ensure that they are working properly, and at the end they endure quality control procedures.  Emdoor puts an enormous amount of work and thought into creating the fastest and most efficient assembly line possible.   This parallels the efforts of many businesses in order to keep costs low and revenues high.  After the factory tour, we boarded the bus and drove to the technology market.

The technology market in Shenzhen is a group of 5 large mall-like buildings, which all sell electronic parts. Many of the people shopping at these stores are entrepreneurs who are looking to create devices in the cheapest way possible and then sell them to other people.  It is custom to barter at these booths in order to get the cheapest price possible.  The technology market was a bit of an overwhelming experience, because there were so many booths, people, and items for sale in a small amount of space.  We were given some free time to walk around the market in smaller groups, and I purchased a pair of headphones and was able to barter the price down to a reasonable amount.

After walking around the technology market, we went to dinner as a group to a restaurant called Green Tea.  The food was absolutely delicious and pretty traditional Chinese food.  I tried everything, even the shrimp that did not have their heads removed.  I definitely hope to go back to Green Tea at another point on the trip, because it was delicious.

 

 

Julie, Hope, and Caroline before entering factory

The Group at the Alliance Center

Factory workers making tablets

Group eating at Green Tea Restaurant

Nike Factory Tour

-Austyn Askman-

Going to the Nike Factory today was something I was very excited about. It seems everywhere we look, the loyalty to the Nike brand is prevalent. Just walking around the Gonzaga University campus, it seems just about every student wears something with the famous “Swoosh”. If they don’t own it, they are sure familiar with it. Our sports teams have all of their practice jerseys, accessories, casual clothes, and game clothes made by Nike. We all wear it, see it, and hear about it, but none of us really knows and understands the process that goes into it.
Today, we had the opportunity to visit the Dean Shoes production factory. The two hour bus ride there filled the bus windows with many different sights and an inflow of Chinese culture. Leaving our hotel, we were immersed in tall buildings filled with lights that blinked and attracted attention from everywhere. Once we got on the freeway, our views quickly changed. It seemed to go from a densely populated city to very rural. There were no tall buildings and things looked more worn down. Also, I noticed more honking than anywhere else in my life. It seems that people honk on the road just for fun. Anytime any change occurs, a little honk is let out to let everyone on the road know.
After arriving to Dean Shoes production line, we learned so many things. Not only are Nike shoes produced there, but so are Hurley brand, Converse, and Jordan. These are some of the top brands for younger people, and all of them have a production line within the Dean Shoes production company. Most of the products manufactured within the company is produced and exported globally. The examples we were given of Nike, Converse, Hurley, and Jordan, we see daily in America. I was interested in the fact that Nike was started by a man who was a Track and Field coach, someone who invested time and energy into wearing shoes especially made for running. Another key player in the company is Mark Parker. He is the president and the CEO of Nike. He is beneficial to the company because he not only runs it smoothly, but he doubled sales after being appointed.
Dean shoes has a few locations world-wide. The one that we went to today, known as XE headquarter, has 15,000 employees on the campus. They have 15 buildings in which production occurs, as well as many dormitories for their employees to live for little cost to them. In 2004, production for Dean began to boom. Between the four factories they have in the world (JE, Indonesia, XE China, VL Vietnam, and VE Vietnam), they produce 60 million products. That has risen over previous years, finally making it to 60 million in 2016. For XE, the key models produced are the performance running shoe and Nike Sports ware. The performance running shoe makes up 70 percent of production while Nike Sports ware makes up 20 percent. A specific key model produced by Nike is the Pegasus shoe. World-wide, 50 million Pegasus shoes are produced. Of that 50 million, Dean produces 80 percent of that. As we found out today, many different processes go in to the creation of a Nike shoe. There are various components and steps that must happen to get the shoe from long strips of fabric to the retail store. The basic steps are cutting, pre-fit and no-sew, stitching, simplify components, sock-fitting, quality-check, and packing and shipping. Although there are small factors that play into each step, each one of those whole steps must be followed to achieve the shoe. After the process is completely over, about 400 employees have their hands on each shoe. The workers work 9 hours a day and six days a week. We saw on a sign it has been 415 days since their last on-floor injury. It would seem in a factory that many people would get hurt based upon the tools they use and repetitiveness that they go through. Stepping into the factory, we were all hit with an intense heat wave. We could not help but notice there was no air conditioning anywhere throughout the factory. There were a large amount of fans to keep the employees cool, but it was still more than many of us were able to handle. Although the heat conditions were tough to handle, I think that we were all surprised in a good way with the working conditions of the workers. There have been famous headlines in the news in the past about negative working conditions for Nike employees. Although they were tough at times, the conditions were not nearly as bad as possibly expected. Each employee has a good amount of space surrounding them and were allowed to wear their own personal clothes which I thought was interesting. When I picture a factory, as well as seeing the factory after the Microsoft visit, it was common for all the workers to be wearing the same thing. There were hairnets, coats and pants, and shoe covers. It all seemed very orderly and coordinated. At the Dean Production factory, everyone was wearing their own clothes, only covered by a light layer on their front. From the back, we could see each individual’s style. There were even a few women who chose to wear skirts and heels to work. Another thing fascinating to me was the number of women that populated the work campus. There were noticeably more women working on the production line than there were men. Not only on the production line, but also in the office, there were many more women than men on the computers and wandering through the office. Although I am not sure of their specific job titles, it was interesting to see how women were not a hidden factor in the workforce and held jobs and big companies.
Overall, the visit today was an interesting one. I was so fascinated with all of the people and components that go into the creation of our shoes we own and see so frequently. When wearing the shoes, most people do not think about what goes into them and who controls all of it, I know I never have. Seeing it unfold before my eyes today shifts how I see the production of the shoes that I wear every day, and the brand that is behind it.

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