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June 5, 2008

Tuesday 03 June 2008

Professor Zheng Qi gave us an interesting lecture entitled “An Overview of China’s Economic Environment? which offered lots of macroeconomic numbers and trends leading to yet more questions. The migration of rural workers to the cities and the manufacturing sector is evident. He says that the earthquake, with its 55-70,000 casualties and millions of people now homeless may decrease this year’s economic growth by up to 1%. That coupled with the fallout of the sub-prime mortgage debacle in the US and elsewhere will lower this year’s economic growth to around 8-9% (boy would I like to see this kind of growth in the US!). The inflation rate is estimated for the first half of the year at 8.1% (quite a jump) due, primarily to the cost of oil and subsequently food—this despite the 18% cumulative appreciation against the dollar since the end of the pegged exchange rate to same. He also mentioned the effects on food prices of the US’s desire to use corn to manufacture ethanol and the fact that farmers will produce even less wheat as they switch their fields to more profitable corn in the US. Food prices in China have reportedly doubled in the last year; putting this in perspective-- a bowl of spicy noodles at the market next door to our hotel in Tianjin costs less than 50 cents (US). Due to government subsidies, the price of Chinese premium gasoline equates to $2.85/gallon (compared to our $3.95 back home, currently). The government is attempting to exert price controls on food—stores must get permission to raise their prices on certain foods (good luck). Good lecture.
The afternoon took us to TEDA (Tianjin Economic Development Area) again to visit a joint venture (60% Fujitsu Ten Co., Ltd, 35% Tianjin Zhenmei Electrical Equipment Co., Ltd, 5% Toyota Tsusho Co., Ltd.) Fujitsu Tianjin (est. 12/21/95 with $10,720,000 in capital) whose 3,003 employees make electronics (i.e. (6,245,000 in 2006; airbags, audio, speakers,DVD and CD players) for Toyota. They are a lean, 6-Sigma manufacturer with flashable red lights everywhere, pink hats signifying new hires (for 6 months), blue hats for regular workers, yellow, orange, red showing differing supervisory positions and purple as quality control. The sign in the lobby states that the “customer is God.? Younger-looking girls in the vast assembly area, take a 10 minute break for every 40 minutes they work. New workers reportedly make 1/3 that of regular workers who make on average 1,500 RNB/month (6.9 RNB/$), though the other group heard 1,100 RNB/month. The writing is on the wall for some employees who work in view of some capital equipment that can automatically make the internal guts of the electronics for less cost than the relatively cheap-labor assembly line.
Posted in the lobby of this 19,800 square meter facility on 50,000 square meters of land: the company’s “slogan? is to “aim at international enterprises, create world favorite products, the “management concept? is to “pursue brand-new enterprise culture to be the No. 1 in manufacturing industry? and “enlarge business scope, make contribution to regional prosperity and industrial development.? The “general guidline? is “1. Persist in the “Customer is God?, provide excellent QCD products with the principle of high quality,? 2. Utilize the advantage of international joint investment, develop high-efficient enterprise culture ideology, make contribution for region and society, 3. Devote ourselves to introducing advanced technology and realizing parts domestic, make contribution for region.?

June 2, 2008

Martial Arts show

I would say that everyone else missed out. One evening in Beijing we had the option of going to a play/musical that told the story of a young boy who wanted to become a monk warrior. The actors were all trained in Kungfu, and there were a lot of performance kungfu moves. There was also some ballet and other dancing in the performance. The ballet was used by women to depict temptation. The young monk was overcome by the temptation of a women, and couldn't concentrate on his training. It was a little spendy (in fact probably the most spendy thing I've done since being here), but it was worth every penny. (It was still only $25 or so, not bad for a show).

Morgan Meets Sandy....

By: Stacy Jorgenson

Wow what an adventure we had in Beijing! We were picked up by our tour guide (what a nice guy he was) on Friday morning and headed down to Beijing. The bus ride wasn't too bad. We finally got a larger bus to ride in. Morgan and I were bus buddies and we pretty much talked the entire time. I was pretty tired from the night before... due to Morgan and his story... He came to our room Thursday night to tell us all about his ride on the back of a motor scooter with a gentleman named Sandy. I just like to give him heat for it... Typical for me! But the second we got into Beijing it was go, go, go!

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A Hint of Tradition With a Handful of Progression

It is an interesting perspective being in a country that has an extremely rich history dating back through several thousands of years, making the United States seem like just an infant. Remnants of ancient culture still show through in Chinese society, but is all that's left just aspects of their psychology, such as some beliefs and behaviors? The main cities we have explored so far have shown a very contemporary image in architecture and basic city life. Concrete and steel buildings stretch upwards while the honking of passing cars drown out any other noise. On the surface, these cities would not be too out of place in the United States or any other "developed" nation.

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Friday-Sunday Beijing

Friday morning we left Tianjin for Beijing on a much larger (full sized) coach bus, leaving around 8:00 a.m. The trip took a few hours and we went straight through until we reached our first visit of the Temple of Heaven. This was an amazing place filled with many architectural feats. Some of them were pretty amazing with embedded meaning such as the use of nine or multiples of nine on many of the stone/marble layouts. This was a symbol of the longevity that we found to be a pretty recurring theme in ancient Chinese design. Our tour of Beijing was guided by a tour guide who was incredibly knowedgeable in the history of the Chinese culture. After we walked through the temple and its surrounding grounds we met up with Tian, who joined us on our tours for the rest of the day. This was definitely an exciting thing for many of us who know Tian from Duluth, to hang out with him in his home country and city! Next we drove to the Forbidden City, which was amazing. I was astonished by the size of the city, thinking the name didn't really apply, but it really was a small city. The size was about 87 hectrs, or about 261 acres!

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June 1, 2008

Wednesday-Thursday

Towards the end of the week I found myself thinking where the time had gone. Time has an interesting affect on me here in China where at some points this trip feels like it is an eternity and I have so much time to experiece everything, while other times I feel I am too rushed and haven't any time to do even a small portion of the things that strike interest in China. We have been super busy with Jason and Rina organizing many adventures/business visits for us during the week and even another organized visit to Bejing this weekend. We had a morning lecture on management/philosophy which proved to be quite different than some of our own practices in the west. A basis for a lot of thier management philosophy techniques have a direct relation or backbone if you will, of religion. This was extremely interesting to find how open they are to teach on, and even mention religious ideals in a teaching/educational environment.

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Beijing v. Tianjin

Put it this way...in a smack down battle royale wrestling match between Beijing and Tianjin...Beijing would dominate. Don't get me wrong I enjoy both cities very much, but when I was in Beijing I felt like we fit in a little better among the rest of the tourists. It was a nice change to be able to speak English for the weekend and have people actually understand you. Beijing was a much cleaner city than Tianjin as well. I don't know if it always looks like that or they are just keeping it clean and beautiful for the Olympics. It was very beautiful in that there were flower gardens eveywhere and it was not as polluted as Tianjin. The other thing I noticed is people actually know how to drive in Beijing...they are not on laying on their horns at all times and acutally follow the line painted on the roads. Not to mention all of the awesome tourist attractions in Beijing. The Great Wall, Tien'amon Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Ming Tombs. Well, we are back "home" in Tianjin and I was reminded of that when Courtney and I headed down to the KFC last night. It was very crowded and we were lucky to find a little two seat table. Next, a father and son walked in looking for a place to sit down and there was only one small table open in the entire restaurant and it was next to Court and I. The little boy looked about 5-6 years old and he looked terrified when his father told him to sit next to us. I'm sure he had never seen anyone that looked like us before or very rarely if he had. He was so nervous that his father moved him to a dirty table to eat, rather than sitting by us. WELCOME HOME!!

melting pot (1)

We went to Beijing this weekend and it was full of entertainment. My favorite moment of the whole weekend was when Cassie, Leon and I all made it to the highest point of the Great Wall of China. I am amazed at the gumption of the northerners/Mongolians that tried to make it over that wall.

It was a relief this weekend to be somewhere new, a place where we are not stared at constantly and where there were more foreigners speaking a variety of dialects. A place where where you could ask sales people questions in English and they would be answered in English. We visited several major tourist sites, which contained some of the daily items that we take for granted in them. For instance, in the bathrooms there were western toilets instead of squatters, had toilet paper and even soap!

May 29, 2008

Book of Changes

I found it very interesting that our lecture about Management Theory and Methodology was all about Chinese religion and culture. I love learning about those things, don't get me wrong, and I see how they apply to business, but I still wasn't expecting it to be that in depth. I know a lot of people found it hard to understand the lecture, but I found it very interesting and insightful. The Chinese people base the choice made in a vague decision on something called Taoism which is explained in the Book of Changes. The Taoists believe in 64 iterations of 6 lines each containing both the female and male characters. For example, 6 solid lines means all male, and 6 broken lines means all female. The Taoist believe includes all iterations in between all male and all female. From these iterations, a sequence of characters is made, and they can predict the outcome of an event. (In theory, anyways).

I'm reading a book right now called Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, and in it he describes how we came to believe what we do. Whether it's Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, or Atheism, we believe what we do because we were told one way or the other at some point in our lives. We may have no physical proof, or first-hand proof of what it is that we believe, but we do believe it. There is no logic behind our belief, no concrete evidence, necessarily. It floors me that Taoists believe what they do, but that is what they believe because it is the tradition that they were taught.

Trying new things

This has been a busy and fast second week of our trip. I cannot believe how many new experiences I have had the opportunity to try. I have now tried duck, dog, turtle and a wide array of different Chinese food that I am unsure what it is called. I enjoy the style of eating meals here. Laura and I were talking at dinner this evening about how convenient a circular table with a rotating glass center is. It is easy to think that Chinese people can be rude in some aspects, but I think they are right on the money when it comes to eating. I still have not mastered the art of chopsticks, so eating takes me a little longer than usual. I am also amazed at how much the Chinese students (males especially) can eat. This evening at dinner, Erik from Hong Kong, was still eating 15 minutes after the rest of us were finished. It amazes me that they can stay so thin after eating mostly carbs.

Today Jen, Meghan and I had a first-hand experience of being a bike passenger. We were trying to get to the other side of campus and had minimal time to accomplish our task. We met up with some students from our class and they were willing to "drive" us part way to the other side of campus (not a small feat by any means). We felt bad that we were all heavier than they are used to escorting people, but it was fun! Jen fell off the bike before we even started to go, we wished we could have had a picutre of that! The low quality of their bicycles also suprises me, I have not seen many shiny or new bikes. Another thing I noticed is that very few have bikes with gears, which explains why many of the riders go at a leisurely pace. We also saw our first car-bike accidnet yesterday while driving by in the taxi. It appeared as though no one was hurt, which was quite a relief.

To absorb the culture even more, my goal is to learn a new word each day. Today the word of the day was breakfast, don't ask me how to spell it, all I know is that it rhymes with thousand. In addition to the things already mentioned, this week I went for my first run outside (inhaling smog cannot be good for the health), played soccer wtih Chinese studets, and attended a Chinese engligh business class; no wonder I am so exhausted.
I am very excited to go to Beijing tomorrow, I think we are all looking forward to a change of pace.

Language and Globalization

Thanks Morgan sending this link Blog at NYTimes.

May 28, 2008

Lines

I am a person who likes order, feels that everyone needs to takes turns, and that things should be fair and equal. Well, this thing about Chinese’s people not believing in lines is driving me crazy. A few of us were at McDonald's the other night (we needed a break from noodles and rice), we waited in line as it was quite busy but soon realized we had not moved any closer in about ten minutes, everyone was budging in front of us. So we decided to stand our ground, put our elbows out and not let anyone past, well these people bumped into us and just went around. At first we though it could have been that we stood out and were being taken advantage of, but we shortly realized that people were walking in the door and moving straight to the front of the line. Unless you state your place and budge in front of those budging in front of you you’ll never get any food, you have to fight for your food and also fight to eat it as chop sticks are not the easiest utensil to use.

Buying Snacks- Branding and logos!

Today was a wonderful day! It started out with a very interesting lecture about Chinese Business Methodology and Philosophy. Then we went to a business that produced batteries for cell phones, bikes, and many other products. After we got back from the business we all headed our separate ways. Some girls went shopping at the mall near Nankai's East Gate, Andrea and Bryn and all the guys went to play soccer with the Chinese boys. Laura and I went to the hair salon to get my hair cut (after Laura cut her hair, I had to get my hair cut too!!! It was way to cute, to pass up the opportunity!) I usually get nervous when anyone cuts my hair and ironically, I wasn't nervous at all! And it turned out cute!! I definitely stepped out of my box doing that!

After, my hair was finished, Laura and I went to watch the other students play soccer. We watched them play for about an hour and then Laura, Andrea, me, and Leon went to meet some of the girl Chinese students to go to one of their lectures. On the way there, we decided to pick up a snack because we knew we wouldn't be eating supper until late. Every time we walk into a convenient store we have to pick out things by the pictures, and/or logos. One of my favorite drinks here is their orange juice, so I grabbed my orange juice and went to the counter to pay. Laura noticed a Hershey's candy bar with mint leaves on it, so I said I would try it. After we bought our snacks, we proceeded to go to the Nankai Business school to meet the Chinese Students. The class we attended was called, "Business in English," or something similar. It was basically a business class taught in English about American brands. It was very interesting. So once we introduced ourselves with the professor and other students we sat down. I opened my candy bar and broke off a piece, the inside green part was more sea green than usual minty flavored candy were. So I asked the Chinese student what kind of flavor chocolate I bought. She told me it was green tea chocolate flavoring. I laughed and smiled and shared my snack with Laura and Andrea. In class, the students were learning about brands and logos and it made me think about and realize even more how much we American students rely on the logos to pick out different things to buy. And sometimes, we are not even right. Because, I could have sworn those green leaves looked like mint leaves. Being in China, I try to look for logos that I am familiar with, such as: Nestle, Hershey's, Dove, McDonald's, and etc. I know I can trust this brand because I am use to it. And this was the same concept the Chinese professor was teaching to the Chinese Students. It really put into perspective how important marketing brands and logos are.

Cho

Last night a few of us were taking a stroll and eating ice cream from mcdonald’s (or macdon’s). We talked about how the American and Chinese cultures contradict themselves; they are not what they perceive to be. America has a very individualistic culture, we only think about ourselves. We are not team players, we only think about making our life better, getting ahead. However, we are very generous and courteous, and always say please and thank you. If I bump into someone, even if it was my fault, I say excuse me. We wait in lines, take turns, and let people in front of us on a busy highway. China is just the opposite. They are seen as a very collectivistic culture. They do everything in groups, and work well in teams. On the other hand, lines do not exist. There is just a crowd at the front with everyone trying to get there. Although, I think I’m becoming quite a good budger. Lanes on the street do not matter, people just go, honking to warn others they are moving. When walking down the street, no one moves out of the way or says excuse me/ sorry. The man at Carrafour who dropped the liter of pop on my foot did not seem to care even when I yelled “ow.? They find it weird when we say thank you for something, because it is not the custom here. But in America people would think it was rude or insulting if people did not say thanks for everything. I find this contradiction of cultures very interesting. Then, we saw about 30-40 middle aged people working out in a bike lot. They had music blaring and were doing a dance in sync. It looked like a cross between the hokey pokey and aerobics. It was so cool, I tried to get pictures but they didn’t turn out very well.
I met the cutest girl in class today named Cho. She asked me write my name so she could pronounce it better. When she saw that I was writing with my left hand she did the same thing and asked if had been using the wrong one. I said no, I’m just the weird one that’s left-handed, and most people are right-handed (it can be tough living in a right-handed world). Cho said that people in China write with their right hand and eat with their left hand, like me, at which point I immediately felt cooler.
Shannon

A good start to a busy day

Today’s lecture has been the most interesting thus far. Dr. Qi Anbang discussed Chinese Management philosophy and methodology; it blew me away. The idea that their philosophy behind business could be so different then our own was extremely interesting. The use the ying and yang to guide them through the decisions they make and account for the results. In the beginning he reminded me of the Greek Father from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He went into the meaning behind the word management and it sounded a lot like "the word arachnophobia come from the Greek root word arachnid meaning spider..." He was very detailed in explaining the meaning behind the Chinese characters that make up management.

Lets see if I can explain this correctly. There are 2 main characters that create the word "management" one character means officer or governor, the other means the work of the governor or officer. Then those two characters are broken down. The first character governor or officer has three meanings (upper, middle, lower). The upper=motivation, the middle=power, the lower=decision and communication. For the second character there are only two parts (left and right). The left=jade and the right=inside. Dr. Qi explained this to mean to find the jade you must look inside, to do this you must break the rock that holds the jade to see it. Its much more complex then the English meaning, but it is fascinating to look at business through another culture.

The ying yang was very cool. I have only learned about it once before in high school in a world's religion class, but here they don’t consider it a religion, it just is that way. It is basically a belief in dichotomies and everything has an equal resistance, the sun and the moon, male and female, good and bad. For Chinese people, they try to remain in the middle and stay as neutral as possible to balance the two sides. I wont go into much more detail on how the 2 sides can be broken down because that needs visuals to explain anything.

Today will be busy, but full of fun! We are going to a battery factory at 2pm and as soon as we get back we are playing soccer with the Chinese students. I am especially excited because I am a fan of the sport and have played all of my life. I am also excited to play because the Chinese boys never play with girls (they have only played with one other, but she was also foreign). Girls here don't play soccer they play badminton or table tennis. It should be interesting.

More Later!
Bryn

TEDA, etc.

Wes and I have been whittling down our paper topics, we decided on one Monday: architecture. So it was awesome to go to TEDA and see stuff. Don't want to disclose too much though -- I'm sure everyone will be clamoring to read it. When we told the Chinese students about our trip they knew all about the place and dreaded the bus ride for us. It probably would have been much worse if we were familiar with the terrain, but, being new to the area it was fun to look around.

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Monday-Tuesday

Monday we were all pretty tired from such a busy weekend, and went to Nankai for our first lecture which was interesting, and had a focus on the Chinese economic transition/upgrade. This was cool to learn some of the things about how ebay and other companies can be so successful in a certain area and fail when introduced into a new culture without doing enough necessary research. This was not something I had learned about last semester in consumer behavior, however i have never got the true reasoning behind internationalization failing in the eyes of the introductory culture, and why their culture rejected it. After class we went on some business visits to a steel manufacturing plant which was very nice, and the upkeep of the buildings/machinery was above anything we've seen thus far. We saw mounds of recycled metals that were compacted into 6,000 pound cubes for shipment to another plant where they would be melted down into long sheets, then sent back for cutting/selling to consumers.

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May 27, 2008

Western Names in China

Source: http://www.china-biz-leaders.com/How_To_Translate_Business_Names_into_Chinese.htm

Executive Summary

For an international company serious about the China market, it is imperative to have its business names (including its corporate name, brand names, and product names) translated into proper Chinese. The majority of the Chinese people do NOT read English and the Chinese translation is the only reference they have to address a western firm's corporate/brand/product identity. Also, as some recent legal cases demontrated, having a registered Chinese name can help a foreign company to guard against potential Chinese copycats from infringing upon its intellectual property rights. Furthermore, the lack of an official Chinese name can "force" some Chinese to start using an unofficial translation, which can damage a company's brand image. For example, the characters used in an unofficial translation for the name of a major western high-tech company actually mean ancient dogs!

In this report, we systematically analyzed the challenges associated with developing effective Chinese translations of western business names (both from a linguistic and cultural perspective). We also discussed the most prevalent translation methods, for example, pronunciation based, literal, and function based approaches. Based on our experience in helping western firms (particularly consumer companies) to set up businesses in China, we then explained a step-by-step process that would help a western company to create powerful Chinese business names such as "Benchi" (Mercedes-Benz) and "Kekou Kele" (Coca Cola).

In the appendix of this report, we also listed more than a dozen examples of highly effective Chinese translations of international business names . This appendix includes the original names in English/other western languages, the Chinese translations (in characters), the pronunciation of the Chinese translations, and the meanings of the Chinese characters used in the translations.

27 May 2008: TEDA's ACS, Soccer, Coke

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Chen Wei is the Vice President of Affiliated Computer Services, Ltd. (ACS) www.acs-inc.com located in the Tianjin Economic Development Area (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TEDA or http://www.teda.gov.cn/cms/html/5/index.html if you would like to translate the Chinese) about an hour and half from our Hanting Hotel which is situated north of the west gate of Nankai University in Tianjin. She currently earns about $70,000 per year in this position while her entry-level employees earn about $3,800 to $5,500 per year depending upon their software or operations expertise. She referred to a “passive acceptance? (with respect to the pay disparity between team members from abroad (however, we could more than double [I estimate 217%] the figures above given the increased purchasing power in China). This acceptance is perhaps an example of the Chinese phrase of “eat the bitterness?--they are taught at a young age to suppress their emotions (McGregor 19).
She began her career journey many years ago when she was placed into the scientific tract at her secondary school. She learned “scientific English? and advanced math? In college and was placed into a state-owned enterprise that produced “fork lift trucks? (this was her assigned ‘work unit’); she had no choice as her school-teacher parents had no connections to counteract the centralized planning of the state. This enterprise then engaged in a joint venture with a company from Denmark. She had attempted a transfer to this joint venture, but again she was not allowed to exercise her will as the government controlled the “head counts.? She managed to be placed in a Coca Cola Joint Venture as a translator/secretary, then somehow spent 2 years in Denmark while her son remained behind with her parents. She worked (’99-’00) on an integrated platform for HR at the various locations of Motorola in China, India and England. In 1993, she had joined Motorola in China and stayed with them for 8 years. ACS had signed a contract with Motorola in 2002.
Her unit is a $2,000,000 cost center with 120 employees, 90% being university graduates at an average age of 27 years; her unit is evaluated on a cost per employee basis with additional employees approved by corporate in Dallas as business requires. Their business is growing significantly. Currently their business is split 50/50 between government and corporate businesses with 26% of revenues coming from Information Technology outsourcing (ITO) and 74% from Business Process outsourcing (BPO). Clients include the states of Texas and Iowa, the US Air Force (though the US branch handles that account due to security concerns), and many other large companies like GM Global (procurement and payments) who have disaggregated their business processes and information processes sufficiently to allow lower-cost outsourcing. She reported a meager 15% turnover rate to be significantly below that of India to which she claims to have a cost advantage; the Chinese government is really pushing to diversify from manufacturing into services and thus is doing much to facilitate these businesses.
They have 750 locations in 100 countries (including Bangalore, India as one of the 17 outsourcing branches) and 50,000 employees with around $6 billion in sales. Their sales and marketing function remains in the USA along other functions such as legal, facilities management, IT networks, HR, SBU’s, and leadership. In 2005, they acquired Mellon Consulting in the US thus adding a lot of HR services to their offerings. Her most challenging leadership challenge is managing their matrix structure, SBU’s and subsequent dual reporting, etc… Given that sales and marketing is in the US and does not call on Chinese companies AND given that Chinese companies are interested in ‘getting bigger and stronger’ as opposed to reducing costs like US companies, ACS does very little to no revenue-generating business in China as these companies have not taken the time to disaggregate their information or business processes sufficiently to outsource them. The only reason that a Chinese company might use the services of ACS is if ACS could help ‘make the Chinese firm bigger and stronger’ (even at greater expense). This local branch of ACS had 17,000 square feet, 150 cubicles, a conference room, a training room, 4 breakout rooms, and a cafeteria. The VP’s office had a Chinese phrase on the wall that read something along the lines of fresh breeze and breath, suggesting that if you take time to breath and appreciate the breeze that you will come up with fresh ideas (Dahui Li).

The Tianjin Economic Development Area was started on vacant land in 1984. It is now the core of the Bin Hai (Shore of the Sea) economic zone of 33 square kilometers. Tianjin has 600 years of history as the “harbor of the heavens (or emperor, who was the son of the heavens)?. The rivers were used as arteries of transport for years thus increasing Tianjin’s importance, along with its proximity to Beijing.

Lunch was at the cafeteria located at the Nankai University campus for first-year students. I sat with a couple workers: one who worked in Marketing for China Mobile and the other in something technical for Tianjin TV downtown. They had both graduated from the Tianjin Institute of Technology together. We talked about Chinese society, culture, communication styles, differences and similarities. They both seemed to prefer the American direct style of communication to the nuances of Chinese.

The conversation continued via cell phone text messaging as we moved onto the TEDA soccer stadium that was opened in 2004 after 2 years of construction. Tickets range from 50 RMB (6.9RNB/$) to 180 RMB for the RED VIP seats (red is a great color for the Chinese). It was reported that the seat colors randomly alternate between red, orange and grey so that if there aren’t a lot of people in the stadium as the camera pans, it will not be that obvious. Though there may be a few fights, fans aren’t that roudy. Beer is sold in paper cups only.

There was a lot of construction going on around the stadium. New buildings, roads, etc… I noticed a fair number of vacant, yet new, buildings as well. The sky there was bluer than hazy Tianjin. The streets were less dense (though those of Tianjin seemed to be less dense than Mysore or Banglore in January 2008).

We have observed no students with physical handicaps. According to Dahui Li, this is because they must pass a physical exam prior to being accepted into schools in China.

The Tianjin Coco-Cola Beverage Co., Ltd. Relies on the phrase “make yourself happy by making your mouth happy? as the loose translation of Chinese Coca Cola. Sprite translates to “snow jade? while Fanta translates to “scent reach? (per Dahui Li). Pepsi, on the other hand, translated to “hundred things? which sounds very close to a way that Chinese think about how to make a fortune in business. The plant has 300 people working the production line (100 per shift). There are two warehouses with one there and the other near our hotel in Tianjin. We observed the water treatment plant, the syrup mixing, the sugar dispensing, the movement, filling, and capping of glass and plastic bottles… Very little Diet Coke is present here. Apple soda is, however.

A Realm of Contrasts

I am constantly amazed at all the diversity and contrasts that exist in even just a brief glance around the city here. It seems like the basic nature of the Chinese here is just to contradict itself on many levels. There's one picture I've taken here that illustrates this contrast very well. The picture was taken during the first week we were here down on Golden Street (one of the main shopping areas). A large section of the photograph is dominated by a little shop for Daphne, which is a fairly well established company, one that wouldn't be associated with more of a developing company, but right next to this image is a roped together, wooden ladder. For me it shows how China is trying to imitate the more "established" or "developed" countries, but at the same time can't even provide for the basic technology such as a manufactured, metal ladder.

Photobucket

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Hanks Sports Bar and Grill/Bejiing

Although I have really enjoyed trying many new foods while in China, there is only so much Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc. food that my stomach can handle and I really have been craving some greasy American food. :o) So yesterday Stacy and I went on a search for American Food...and fortunately we found a GREAT place that served "American" food the "American" way. It was called Hanks Sports Bar and Grill. I was able to have chicken strips and fries with BOTH honey mustard and RANCH! We were also able to meet Hank himself. He informed us that he was originally from Chicago, IL and came to China nine years ago. He used to own "The Upper Deck" (a story for another blog, but this is the place we looked for three nights ago that "didn't exsist"), however he was forced to shut it down by the Chinese government because it was getting too big. So he opened Hanks Sports Bar and Grill instead...He was also very helpful in telling us about some of the foreign bars around town, including one called Scooters. We're thinking about trying it out on Thursday?

This weekend we are going to Beijing which I am VERY pumped to explore and experience. I think (and hope) that it will have a much different feel than Tianjin because it's more cosmopolitan. I've really enjoyed being in Tianjin as it allows all of us to see a more realistic picture of China, but I think Bejing is going to be beautiful (minus the smog) with it's large skyline. I am very curious, however, to see if there is a larger number of people who can speak some English and if the toilits are still "squaters" (a term coined by the females on the trip) with no tissue. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out...

International Business

By Stacy Jorgenson

Today showed to be a fantastic day. We had a chance to visit a few international companies. I was really intrigued with the first organization we went to. I thought it was really interesting to hear the lady speak about her past experience. I am really interested in getting involved with international business in the future. Having the chance to understand how this business operates internationally allowed me to have a quick preview to what I may encounter one day. We then went to the Coca-Cola plant! We were able to see the bottling process, but we didn't get a chance to learn any about the business practice. Dahui also took some time today to explain to us how the government intervenes with the businesses.

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May 26, 2008

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday we had a lot of fun; I don’t know if anyone heard, but, I bowled a 211. The combination of imbibing at Golden Hans (a German-themed, Chilean-style, Chinese food restaurant) and taking my shirt off while bowling probably had a lot to do with it.
Today it was extremely hot, somewhere around 96 degrees. It drove me to get a new haircut. Leon helped me out and told the guy how short to cut it. Hopefully when we go for our business visit tomorrow the forecast is correct at 84.

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"Make Big, Then Make Strong" -The Chinese Mindset

Since I haven't mentioned it yet, I feel a need to bring up the environment as it is here in Tianjin. Gazing around at our surroundings help to give you a brief glimpse into the mind of the people here. The first thing we noticed upon entering Tianjin, even though it was 2AM here when we did, was the smog. The viewing distance is greatly reduced compared to what it would be elsewhere, even from the Tianjin TV Tower we could only see about a tenth as far as we should have been able to. After the smog, the next aspect that snags your attention is the sheer amount of construction going on. It seems that almost every other building is hidden by scaffolding, which in a city of 10 million people, is quite an undertaking. Are the Chinese eager to impress the world as the spotlight shines on them for the Olympics? Is this just the beginning of things to come? Will the development of environmental policies catch up with the physical expansion, or is he need for industrial growth too ingrained into the Chinese psyche?

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business visits and massages

We had our first two business visits today. It was also the hottest day we've had thus far. We visited a seat manufacturer for Toyota and a steel plant. Neither were air conditioned, and I think if I had to work there for 8 hours I would have passed out. We found out that the Toyota factory offers complete healthcare, though, for their employees, and the best benefits package compared to all similar companies. Neither of the companies we visited reminded me of my idea of a sweat shop, and the working conditions were fairly good for that kind of position. If the company was in the United States, I don't think the working conditions would change much, except maybe offer air conditioning for their buildings. The floors were clean, their uniforms were fairly new, and their spirits seemed to be high. Even though labor may be cheap, they get paid fairly well for the kind of job they are doing. Most of the employees at the Toyota company were high school graduates but never went to college, and I did not ask that question at the other company.

Yesterday 7 of us went and got massages at a spa down the road. We did not have a translator with us, so that was an experience. We were pretty sure they were talking and laughing about us the whole time, but it was fun anyways. All of our feet were really tired from walking around all day, but the massage was mostly on our feet and legs and felt amazing!! I will probably go back and get another before we head home to the States.

A glimpse into Chinese business

Today we had our first lecture by a Nankai professor, she taught us about some aspects of the Chinese economy. The most interesting part of her lecture was about the failure of Chinese eBay. It is amazing how those involved in flattening the world can be so oblivious to major cultural differences. For instance, the Chinese service called Taobao has proven to be prosperous whereas marketers from eBay were unable to sustain business in the same country. One difference is the relationship between the buyer and seller and the lack of trust the Chinese people have for one other. Because of this difference, they feel the need to have face-to-face or some type of contact prior to a sale. eBay does not have such a service available, so that was one cultural barrier that stood out.
Another difference is the color of the website, colors mean a great deal the Chinese people, they highly enjoy bright colors. The English version of eBay is seen as cold and boring because o the lack of color. The final difference she emphasized is that Taobao makes it easier for people to shop by category such as in a department store for mens, womens and childrens items.

It really made me think about how nieve Americans (among other cultures) can be about other cultures' behaviors. We think that what is good for us will be good for everyone, which is definitely not the truth. I think it will be increasingly important to have people who specialize in the changing behaviors of various cultures. This is especially true for multinational organizations for someone to provide imput as to what is important in each society.

Also today we toured the a branch of the Toyota company, the branch that manufactures seats and the interior roof pieces for Chinese Toyota vehicles. This was a neat experience learning about their shiftwork, turnover rates and people employed. It was difficult not being able to ask questions while touring the plant, but just to witness the process was interesting.

Hanging with the students

So after basketball on saturday the students were still anxious to hang out with us which was cool because I have learned the most from talking with them. I have been pushing for situations where we can interact with them individually and as one big multicultural group. We took Angel, Pass, June, and John to the Golden Hans which is a really cool buffet next to the bowling alley and pool hall. It is fun and incredibly helpful in learning their culture to take them out and interact outside the classroom. Not ony do i have all sorts of questions but they usually follow up with similar questions to those i ask. This is fun for both sides and i think this is why they have been around and apt to doing things with us. The free time outside the classroom and trips is like the tutoring center for what we have learned in lecture, where we address any unknown gray areas to the students for rephrasing or clarity.

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