May 27, 2008

book report

Hey everyone, this is Shannon using Bryn's blog. I haven't been able to get it to work so I'm starting from the beginning. For out trip I read One Billion Customers. It is about doing business in China, how to present yourself and what to do to be successful in a country of over one billion people. To do this you have to understand China's history. One of the reasons they have been able to modernize so quickly is becasue they integrate the past and the present. I thought it was interesting because the author uses companies strategies and talks about why they failed or succeeded. At the end of each chapter is a section called "The Little Red Book of Business," which summarizes key points in a truthful but witty tone. Here are some of my favorites. 1. To be truly powerful in China is to be able to aviod responsibility for your decisions. 2. China is modernizing, not westernizing. The country's goal is to modernize but retain their "essence," which they are still struggling to define. 3. Chinese negotiators are masters of making you feel you need them more than they need you. They will ask you for anything because you may be stupid enough to agree to it. Many are. 4. if you decide to sell your soul and succumb to China's coruption, get a good price and focus on charity work in your old age. 5. Senior party members in China seldom engage in direct coruption, preferring nepotism as the means to building family wealth. For the ruling elite, gathering family assets quietly is quietly accepted. 6. If you don't trust your CFO like your mother, give your mother the job. 7. Stress respect and equality with your Chinese partners and employees. Insults are never forgotten, and retribution is a certainty. Employees are looking for leaders. Choose capable strong minded mentors, not dictators or risk-averse bureaucrats, to run your business. 8. Persistence pays, patience pays, and understnad the fact that most Chinese gov't officials live in fear of being criticized for not upholding China's interests. 9. Relations beween the U.S. and China is somewhere between the Cold War and hot competition, they see each other as a future enemy. 10. The four most important - and troubling- words in a Chinese company are "Up to you, boss!"

May 22, 2008

Our Syllabus

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May 17, 2008


Well, I'm taking a short breather from running around and trying to get everything prepared to travel to China for a month, which the plane leaves tomorrow and I still have quite a bit left to do. I'm extremely excited to have an opportunity such as this and I think it will be a great experience. I will admit, I am a tad nervous since I don't really know what to expect, but it's nowhere near enough to hold me back. Hopefully I have everything squished into my bag that I will need, but if I don't, well, that's just part of the adventure I suppose.

Since there weren't enough books for everyone when they were getting passed out, I went to the library and got my hands on A Reader on China: An Introduction to China's history, culture, and civilization by Su Shuyang. There is definitely a lot of information packed into these pages, from some basic myths, such as how the planet was created, different geographic regions, and even some data on different philosophers and scientific advances. Overall, I thought it was a very interesting and worthwhile read.

Yeah China!!!

Wow, it's actually just sunk in that we leave tomorrow! As I'm packing up my stuff all the questions about what we’re going to be doing and all the things we are going to experience keep running through my mind. It's going to be two different extremes with the aftermath of the earthquake and the hype of the Olympics. We are so lucky to get this opportunity when so much of the worlds focus in on China. But, I’m going to miss my family and friends. I already know it’s going to be very difficult without talking to them every day. But still, I’m excited to see where this trip leads us!

The book I read was Chinese in Minnesota by Fuller. It described the Chinese population who migrated here and how many started their own businesses, laundry mats or Chinese restaurants. It was very interesting to read about how this group differed from those who went to California and worked on the railroads. This book opened my eyes to see how they were treated and the culture shock they overcame.

May 16, 2008

China, here we come!!!

So it is about two days before we take the flight out to China, and to be honest I am uber excited, but really nervous. I am kinda scared that I will get lost or hurt or sick or have my money stolen or something like that. My family is also really nervous, especaillly with the eartqauke that happened. I tell them everything will be fine, and they have nothing to worry about. I am wondering about what to pack and I have gone over everything in my head so many times I hope I don;t forget anything. I want to make this trip to get an idea of what the world is like. I have been sheltered in this MInnesota life, and want to experaince something so big and great, a life changing experiance and I think that this trip is it. I also think that it will help me in thr future in my career. With China becoming so powerful in the world market, I think it will be a perk to know first hand, how thier culture is and what it is like over there. The book I read was the Tao is Silent. Not gonna lie, it was kinda confusing. The Tao is something you beleive in, like a religion, but u don't proclaim it, u just know its there. Its all around at all times, and u know its there but u never see it. It is a faith in something so great, and never having doubt in its power, that never needs to be spoken of or proven or exclaimed. It is the Tao!!

See u guys soon

Jen K

Getting ready to Leave!

Soo... I leave in two days! Its hard to believe tomorrow I walk across the stage to receive my diploma but knowing I still have China to pass before I graduate! I am just finishing up all of my packing... Its so hard to decide what to pack for four weeks to a country I have never been to! I am soo excited to engage on the greatest adventure ever! In a sense I don't know what to expect... but that makes it so amazing. I am happy I have some good friends going and our professor is the greatest! My biggest fear right now is the whole flying thing. Poor Meghan and Morgan will have to witness my freak out as we are taking off... But I figure if I can fly to New Zealand I can fly to China. I am hoping that I will have the chance to reach everyone back home plenty! I hope I can figure out the cell phone thing...

I have been reading the book titled "Culture Shock." It is a book dedicated entirely to China and their culture. I have learned soo much from this book. The things provided in this book range from the history to how to use the bathroom. So I got a chance to get a quick glimpse into the history of China. I am happy to understand some of the past information because I think it will help me to understand the present. There is also a section in the book dedicated to the business world of China. I have a small understanding of what goes on in a business transaction. I am hoping that this information assists me when meeting with business professionals. I am looking forward to meeting business individuals and seeing if the book was true. I also enjoyed the portions of the book that provide background information on what to expect in a restaurant and at hotels. I am looking forward to finally putting this knowledge I have learned into real life!!

Pre-trip blog

Last weekend I went home for the day for Mother's Day to see my family before we leave, I only saw my extended family briefly but they are very excited about me going to China and all have their own input on the subject. My uncle, who works in the national defense sector, of course has to ridicule the communist in me. My grandpa was more concerned with the living conditions and the gross foods he has

Continue reading "Pre-trip blog" »

May 15, 2008


I am beginning to pack today and my nerves are starting to kick in. I'm having a hard time deciding exactly what I will need so I think I am just going to go by the seat of my pants...pack light and hope for the best. I'm also a little nervous about the recent earthquakes, but I was telling my mom I have never been in an earthquake or in China, so I’ll just be killing 2 birds with one stone...she didn't think that was very funny!
As for the book I read on China I wish it would have gone a little more into contemporary China. It was mostly on the history and information about the dynasties.

China: a wonderful place to study

I am very excited and a little nervous about this trip to China. Now that all of my finals are done I can really focus on the trip and start thinking about all the great experiences I will have over there. I'm nervous because being away from home for a month is quite a long time for me and also the earthquake that just killed 15,000 is kind of scary. I chose to study in China because every one I've spoke with says studying abroad is the greates experience. It will be so interesting to learn about China's business practices and how they differ from ours and how they are similar. The United States does so much business with China, it will really be a great learning experience that I can apply to my first job.

I read the book "What is Tao?" I learned it is actually pronounced "dow" and it is not an easy thing to describe. Taoism places great emphasis on the balance between our human awareness and our natural being, as an intregal part of the web of life. Tao kind of means "the way" it also refers to nature as in the sense of one's own true nature. There are many Taoist arts such as poetry, calligraphy, and movement arts.

China: Here We Come!

Like many of the other blogs say, I am extremely excited to study in China. I can't say that China has been the place I'd like to go abroad all my life, but when this opportunity came along, I found it hard to pass up.

I received a "China Travel Book" from a friend (thanks Stacy) and have been reading about all of the exciting things to do, sites to see, and food to eat since. Being a person who is not extremely adventurous and a very picky eater, the book (while exciting) also made me a bit nervous. However, I am going to really challenge myself (and all of you) to try new things. A couple things I would recommend bringing based on this book are the following: hand sanitizer, your own toilet paper, comfortable shoes and an open mind!

I am eager to get to know all of you and I'll see you Sunday at the airport. Also, congrats to everyone graduating on Saturday!

May 14, 2008

Preparing for the trip of a lifetime

I am highly looking forward to studying in China because there is no better way to understand another culture than to be immersed in it. I think it will be interesting trying to learn a new language, explore new territory and be surrounded by a booming economy. The business aspect of the trip will also be great learning experience. As an MBA student, it is more important than ever to be aware of the growing trends of globalization. It will be exciting to be in a developing economy and see the economic trends there. I think it will open my mind to see the world in a different light. I think that a diverse workforce is becoming more common and that this experience will help put me in a diverse situation.

I was sitting by the lake this evening, watching the sunset and listening to the fish jump and the loons cry, and I couldn’t help but think about the change in pace that we are about to experience. It will be eye-opening to get a taste of life without environmental protection; it will be strange to experience the smog of the major metropolitan areas. I hope we are also able to travel outside the city so we can see the differences in the city life versus the life in the rural areas.

It will be a unique experience to pair up with Chinese students. I am curious about their motivation and tenure and how hard they had to work, and what sacrifices both them and their parents have had to make to get as far as they are today. I love to explore so being able to see the Great Wall of China will be a remarkable sight. I think that this experience will change how I view the world, and I am looking forward to every minute of it (except the airplane ride!)


The book I read was called the Changing Population of China and it provided a great deal of stats dealing with the country. I was mostly interested in a few sections, those being the population policy, family-planning program, women in China and the education system.

The Population Policy and family planning program were interesting because I remember doing a report on the ‘Only One Child per Couple’ policy back in my freshman year of college. Since then, changes have occurred with these policies as they have moved from a demographic orientation to a more service orientated. As of 1995, China has been abiding by what is called an Integrated Approach to Family Planning with Development. The policy assesses population quantity, quality, age structure, sex composition and geographic distribution.

Many policies have been intact and are still used in China. The ‘Only One Child per Couple’ policy, began in 1979 and it wasn’t until 1984 that a loophole was created called “Opening a Small Hole? policy that allowed couples to have additional children under some circumstances. What is interesting is that the government grants a monthly stipend to single-child-certificate holders. A couple can actually receive five Yuan for a boy and six Yuan for a girl, as well as other benefits, up until the child turns 14 years of age. The population policy holds that it is meant to control the population quantity and improve the quality of life through improved physical health and education. There is also the Family-Planning Program that is designed to regulate and space the time between births in a family. If a couple fails to abide by the program, consequences such as losing the rights to purchase a flat, loss of subsidies for their children’s education, and denial of employment or promotion. A Fertility Policy is also intact that encourages late marriage, fewer but healthier births, ‘One Child per Couple’ policy, longer space between births, and the postponement of child bearing.


There have been a plethora of articles and research as to why there are a surplus of boys and not as many girls in the population of China. The authors of the book came up with three hypotheses as to why this might be true:

1.Ultrasound-B technology is used to determine the sex of the child. It is suggested that females are aborted in hopes of the parents getting pregnant again to have a male so that family lineage can be secured.

2. Female births and adoptions are under-reported.

3. There is a higher mortality rate of female infants and children.

The authors tend to believe mostly in the first hypothesis, but there is not sufficient data to prove this hypothesis.

Interesting facts:
• The cost of getting married in China has increased to about ¥50,000 to ¥100,000.

• Higher education was free in China until 1994, then a number of universities decided to charge the students for a portion of their tuition bill.

• In 1997, all higher education students were expected to pay part of their tuition.

• According to the 1990 consensus, there were 204.885 million (18% of the population) illiterate people in China. The highest rates were found in southwest China. Adult literacy is above 90% in Tianjin.

• In 1982, about half of the female population was illiterate. In 1995, the female illiteracy rate decreased to a quarter of the population.

• There are 18 ethnic minorities in China. The majority of the population is Han nationality.

May 8, 2008

We are in the News

Read The Statesman

April 30, 2008

Feelings about the trip, book summary

I am feeling extremely excited about the trip, and at the same time am a little nervous because i often experience drastic cases of home-sickness. I keep telling myself i'll be too busy to get homesick, but i often do even on just one week trips. It overall should be an amazing experience well worth a little homesickness.
The book i read parts of was China & Globalization, which was interesting from what i saw. I was extremely impressed with the architectural feats that have been occuring in China in the past 25 years. The author mentioned one city in particular called Pudong that he recalled seeing in the early 90's as being an area of nothing but fields and housing projects. The area today consists of sky-scrapers one of which being one of the tallest in the world. The futuristic design of these areas is very interesting to me, as an architecture minor it compells me to learn as much about these designs being instated into their society. I am interested in the overall success and growth that the book speaks of, that most people know just from learning in school, or even on the news, of China and their economy. It is amazing how rapid they are able to adjust/redesign to have reasonable implimentation of rules/regulation to keep an ever-changing country in a relatively stable state economically speaking. This is going to be very interesting to experience first hand, once in China on business trips to the different local and international organizations.

Why I want to go to China and a brief summary of book.

I want to go to China to experience another country and culture. I don't think I could have picked a better location to truly experience a very different culture than our own. I will admit, I am scared, excited, and nervous all at the same time. I'm scared because I don't know what to expect, excited because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it makes me nervous and excited because I have never traveled outside of the country. Overall, I am very thrilled to have and share this opportunity with all of you!

Continue reading "Why I want to go to China and a brief summary of book." »

Why China?

China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Its working population exceeds the total population of the US. China will be a dominant manufacturer in the world economy for some time to come. This, coupled with a younger demographic and educated workforce, leads US companies to grow their profits by serving the needs of this new group of consumers. China is, or is rapidly becoming, a world power. I heard someone say on NPR recently that 55% of the imports into our country are by US companies as part of their global supply chain. This trend is increasing. Globalization is here to stay. Thus a first-hand knowledge of the economy, business practices, and culture of China can only be considered as useful in the future. I look forward to learning a lot.

CHINESE BUSINESS ETIQUETTE--A GUIDE TO PROTOCOL, MANNERS, AND CULTURE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, by Scott D. Seligman (Warner Books, 1999), though perhaps a bit dated, offers useful information regarding protocol, communications, meetings/greetings, cultural differences, politeness, the business meeting, relationships with foreigners, the typical Chinese banquet, gift-giving, Guanxi (reciprocal interpersonal obligations), mianzi (face), getting things done, and hosting the Chinese. The book is insightful and practical, though probably a bit outdated in larger cities such as Shanghai, for example, given China's exponential growth and change. It is considered a "classic must read" for anyone doing business in China, however.

April 22, 2008

Traveling in China,1,2303281.story

March 27, 2008

Some Youtube Videos about Tianjin

Orientation to Tianjin

Nankai University

March 26, 2008

Official visit of the Secretary-General to China,3343,en_2649_201185_40257309_1_1_1_1,00.html

March 25, 2008

Several Links to China

University of Minnesota has sent people to China already.
UM Morris in China
UM Professors and Students in China
You cannot believe that MN has been in China for a long time.
How Close is Minnesota to China?
Unofficial websites about China. Great fun!
Sexy Beijing and Dan Wei
Official website about China
People's Daily
A US kid speaks Chinese
An Awesome Kid: