September 15, 2014

GIW Shanghai: Company Visits

A major part of the Global Immersion Week are the scheduled company visits. I know that every GIW is slightly different, and for our trip we went to visit three kinds of companies.

Our first visit was to the Nokia factory in Shanghai. It was interesting to see how a Western company operates in China and how the plant fits into the new strategy and identity that Nokia has taken. As many people know, Nokia the consumer mobile handset company has been sold to Microsoft. Nokia now exists mainly as a producer of network systems and deals with corporate entities like mobile networks instead of end consumers like you and I.

Our second visit was to Li & Fung, a Chinese company founded in Hong Kong that has a global footprint via their trading, logistics and distribution businesses. We visited their warehouse facilities in Shanghai and were lucky enough to witness first hand how they operate a warehouse for their Clients. They ran us through the step by step process from receiving the order to picking out the order to packaging and preparing the order for shipment. It was very interesting to see how the company has grown and has strategically leveraged their expertise and knowledge of China and Asia into a dominant position as preferred partner for many Western companies looking for opportunities in Asia.

Our last company visit was to Lonking, a Chinese company that builds and manufactures construction equipment like Caterpillar. The company grew largely on the strength of the local Chinese economy and has now set their sights on further growth by looking at international markets. They already have an international presence but have to admittedly strengthen their marketing efforts as the brand is still fairly unknown to the casual consumer.

Visiting three different kinds of companies gave us three different ways of understanding the Chinese market and I believe the experience was invaluable for future business leaders in a rapidly developing global economy.