Doing Business in the Pacific Rim

Winter Term 2009

Day 12 – Wine Tasting!

We started off the day by going on a tour of Leeuwin Estate. The guide explained how they produce wine at this particular winery, especially about the differences in producing each type of wine. They explained how the climate of the area was similar to that of Bordeaux, France and as a result Leeuwin wine is often compared to the famous wines of Bordeaux. Thus they attempt to create their wines in the same manner and method employed by their precursor. After the tour we were able to view some artwork do a wine tasting. The wine was amazing, and most of us bought a few bottles to take home to share with our friends and family. Finally we were treated to a delicious lunch at the restaurant. Afterwards we visited another winery, Watershed, where we were taught the correct way to taste and judge wine. After a group photo we climbed back on the bus and hurried home to get ready for the beach. The beaches of Margaret River were gorgeous, and we all had a great afternoon under the sun. After the beach we all returned to the hotel to make dinner and brainstorm with our groups for the Leeuwin Estate Project.

Credit: Emily H. & Ryan S.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Days 10 & 11: Traveling to Perth & Margaret River

Enjoying the beautiful trees, summer time weather and interesting foods in Singapore, it was time for us to head out to our last leg of the trip- Australia. We had all been looking forward to getting a taste of down under, which probably helped the 7 hour flight seem to be more exciting than it really was. It also seemed to make the time go by that much slower. Flying from Singapore to Hong Kong, making a pit stop in Hong Kong, changing planes and many people grabbing a taste of home- a burger, we set off to the land of kangaroos, beautiful beaches and intriguing accents. Unfortunately we lost two people along the way, Professor Benson had a severe case of food poisoning from something in Singapore… So much for being adventurous with foreign food anymore. Maria Wyka volunteered to stay behind and nurture Benson. Arriving in Australia late that night, thankfully all of our bags made it through customs. They even opened some bags in search of illegal wood, but I am sure we snuck away with some chopsticks from Singapore. Off to a night’s stay in Perth, merely a few hours of shut eye and then waking up coffee, bags, and sleepy smiles eager to travel to Margaret’s River for a few days of beaches, sunshine, and vineyards! Managing to fit our tremendous amount of luggage into the bus, we all jumped on with no idea of where we were going. Looking out the window, we kept our eyes peeled for kangaroos… Needless to say sleep took over and many of us awoke to a broken down bus at a middle of nowhere gas station called “ Center of the Universe”. We were refreshed with local cherries, mangos, slushies and ice-cream while the heat of the day sunk in and we kept our fingers crossed for the bus to somehow work again. After some sweat and a few popscicles, we hopped back on the bus and made our way across the desert and barren three hour trek to a beautiful, small, surfer, laid back town where locals walk about barefoot with sandy toes. Let the good times roll….

 

Credit: Brittney W. & Stef M.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 9: NUS, 3M & the Singapore Night Safari

On Tuesday January 13th, the class began the day out early by visiting NUS, the National University of Singapore.  We met with students from the NUS Business School and they gave us a tour of the facilities.  The school currently has approximately 25,000 students enrolled.  It costs Singapore $6,000 for Singaporean residents and $9,000 for international students.  This equates to about U.S. $4,000 and $6,000 respectively.  Therefore, many students were interested in their MBA program and possible semesters abroad at NUS because of the price and reputation of their school.  The business school is currently ranked as one of the top five schools in Asia and has been ranked as high as 20th in the world.

 

The group then returned to the hotel for lunch and a few hours of leisure time where students caught up on laundry and sleep.  We then continued our travels to 3M.  3M is a very successful Fortune 500 company headquartered out of Minnesota and Texas.  They have invented many products including Scotch Tape, Masking Tape, Post It notes, reflectors for our sneakers, and films that are used on street signs, televisions, cell phones, and computers to increase brightness.  They also have invented the security films that help prove that licenses and passports are authentic.  We were given an in-depth description of their business, its operations, and their business plan.  One interesting thing we learned about their business is that 15 percent of every employee’s time is dedicated for working on projects that are of interest to them.  This method allows 3M to keep their employees motivated while opening the possibility for new innovative products.  We then were given a tour through 3M’s labs which were top-of-the-line and even included a weathering lab where products are put through accelerated weather cycles to show what the effects weather will play on their products.

 

After our visit to 3M, the students had the rest of the day off and everyone split up to do multiple things on their last night in Singapore.  I personally went with a group of three other students and both professors to the Night Safari in Singapore.  At the Night Safari, we watched a fire breathing show performed by aboriginals.  They even happened to select Andrea Melone from our group to go on stage and give her shot at using a blow dart to pop balloons.  We then went on the safari ride which took us through many African and Asian regions and allowed us to see many animals in their natural habitats at night including hyenas, tigers, elephants, giraffes, anteaters, and many forms of cattle and deer.  After the safari ended, we found front row seats for the Creatures of the Night show.  During this show, we saw many animals performing acts for the audience.  One hilarious part of the show was when the sea otters came on stage to recycle the garbage the raccoons had just spilled.  One otter struggled mightily trying to get his aluminum can in the recycling bin and even fell in the bin himself at one point.  Another student earned his five minutes of fame when Andrew Youssef was selected to be the “macho man” and go on stage to hold a boa constrictor.  Although being very frightened, Andrew stood up to the macho man persona.  Finally, we then traveled through the walking paths that took us to parts of the safari we could not see on the tram.  Our favorite stops were the bat room where the largest bats in the world were flying just inches from our face (luckily, they only eat fruit…).  We also enjoyed walking through the room with flying squirrels that are monsters compared to the many squirrels on Elon’s campus.

 

Tuesday was a very informative and fun day that really ended our great visit to Singapore.  I know that everyone really enjoyed the country and many are already talking about returning for a ten year reunion!

 

Credit: Andrew S. & Mike K.

January 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 7: Sentosa Island, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) & the Asian Civilizations Museum

On Sunday we had a free day where most of our group went to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is a series of beaches and islands packed with restaurants, resorts, and other venues for all ages. We got dropped off at the furthest point of the island and walked to the other end to see what was there. The island was beautiful and the water was extremely refreshing. There were palm trees and enormous cruise liners, shipping barges, and yachts could be seen on the horizon. Because it was a Sunday, the beaches weren’t packed but I can imagine on a Friday afternoon it would have been much different. We spent most of our day at this resort called Café Del Mar. It had a pool, an area with cabana type beds, and awesome music. After a while a couple of us rode the Sentosa island luge, a sort of alpine slide you would find in the US. The luge was awesome. After we were through there, we went to another resort called KM8. This resort also had a pool and more people started showing up as the night went on. The food was amazing (Me and a couple others sampled the Diablo pizza, Calamari, and house specialty wings). Once the sun went down there were fire dancers that put on quite the show. After the show most of us started to get taxis home because we were tired from being in the sun all day. I would recommend Sentosa Island to anybody in Singapore.

Credit: Chad B. & Currie B.

 

On our free day, we took a four and a half hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur to meet with Andrew’s sister Rachel, who is a sophomore at Elon University as well.  The day started out with a 7:30am departure time from Singapore.  We arrived in Kuala Lumpur around noon right at the foundation of the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers, featured in movies such as Entrapment.  From there, we had a very cultural lunch experience – Indian Marsala Pizza from Pizza Hut (stuff crust) – our first “American” meal in the Pacific Rim.  After lunch, we haggled with a taxi driver and got him to take us to Batu Caves, a Hindu landmark featuring several Hindu figures representing stories within their religion.  This was a particularly notable experience – thanks to number of monkeys along the cave entrance’s staircase that could be comparable to the amount of squirrels on Elon’s campus.  From the caves, our driver took us to Templar Park, where we, along with hundreds of local friendly Malayans, cooled off in some of Malaysia’s natural waterfalls.  We ended the day with some tasty Arabic food and drinks amidst a spectacular view of the illuminated Towers before embarking on our trip home.  Overall, this gave us a great new perspective on the region.  Amongst all the economic hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and Singapore and other key cities, we were exposed to the untamed jungles that are home to many of our favorite zoo animals such as tigers, elephants, and monkeys.

Credit: Andréa M. & Andrew Y.

January 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 6: Singapore City Tour

Today was our first full day in Singapore. Our flight landed the mid-day the previous day and we enjoyed delicious food and drinks at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel for most of the evening. Afterwards, most of the students in the group took time to settle into their rooms at our hotel, the Peninsula-Excelsior. The hotel is extremely nice and is arguably one of the best in all of Singapore. It is made up of two towers, the Peninsula Tower and the Excelsior Tower. The Peninsula tower was recently completely renovated and, luckily, Elon arranged for everyone to stay in the new tower. The accommodations are definitely top of the line.

After settling in, many of the students ventured out into the beautiful city of Singapore. After our first night in the hotel, we got to sleep in a bit and our wake-up call rang at 9:30. We all made our way to the lobby and enjoyed an abundant (free) breakfast. After finishing up, we made our way to the “Singapore Flyer.” The Flyer is comparable to the London Eye in that it is an enormous Ferris Wheel with 28 baskets each capable of holding 28 patrons. Twenty-eight may sound like a random number but the number 8 is very lucky to the people of Singapore. The number seemed to keep re-appearing throughout the day. Once we arrived at the Flyer we boarded some very interesting vehicles. Similar to “duck-tours” in the states, the truck that we were touring on was capable of traveling on roads and then transitioning to water. The group got off the bus and onto the “duck” (a combination of a truck and boat) and the tour began. We traveled throughout the city and our tour guide pointed out things like the towering skyscrapers, several historic landmarks, and many shops and markets. After a 15-20 minute tour on land of the city, we made the (surprisingly smooth) transition to Singapore’s Marina Bay. On the water we passed some extremely fascinating sights such as the world’s largest floating stage surrounded on one side by 28,000 multi-colored seats. When we saw it, the stage was being set up for an enormous new year’s celebration. Apparently, 2009 is the year of the Ox so many of the decorations found all around the city were themed accordingly. Lastly, we saw a famous statue of a symbol found throughout Singapore, “the Merlion.” This odd creature was made off half lion and half fish. The lion is meant to symbolize the lion that Prince Sang Nila Utama first saw when he arrived on Singapore and the fish is meant to remind everyone of Singapore’s modest beginnings as a fishing village. After seeing this beautiful statue, which was positioned on land but was spewing water out of its mouth into Singapore River, we returned to the ramp and made our way back onto land and back to the Singapore Flyer. We said our thanks and goodbyes to our tour guides, re-boarded our bus, and returned to the hotel.

Theatres on the Bay

Theatres on the Bay

 

Merlion

Merlion

 

Duck Tour

Duck Tour

The students were free to explore the city independently for the rest of the day. Many of us got dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants in Singapore while others rested at the hotel or walked the streets. After relaxing by the beautiful pool at the hotel, we traveled to an amazing part of town called “Clarke Quay.” This area is made up of many restaurants and bars. After a delicious meal and a few hours out with friends we made our way back to our amazing hotel and rested up for the exciting days to come.

Credit: Nick W. & Dylan B.

January 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 5: Raffles Hotel

After sitting on a three and a half hour direct flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, we were informed that we were going to meet at the famous Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel. At the Raffles Hotel we met up with an Elon alumni named Hilary Corna, who is an employee of Toyota Singapore. Along with Hilary we met a few of her coworkers who filled us in on all of the fun and interesting places to visit in Singapore. This was an extremely helpful meeting and we all wish we had something similar to this in all of the other countries we were going to visit.

The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel is the birthplace of the famous drink “The Singapore Sling”. We all agreed that this drink was really nothing more than a Shirley Temple, but the presentation of the glass with various fruits hanging off the glass made it seem more eccentric. The Raffles Hotel also had an outdoor restaurant that provided a plethora of fish on ice where customers were allowed to pick their meal. The hotel was incredible, and it provided us with a glimpse of Historic Singapore architecture.

Credit: Jack M. & Tim O.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 4: Modern Terminals – Port of Hong Kong

Today we visited Modern Terminals, Inc. which manages the majority of Hong Kong’s port terminals.  We observed a presentation and question-answer session with Mr. Kelly, CEO, and Gavin Dow.  Mr. Kelly talked in depth about the economic realities of Hong Kong and China, the purpose and operations of Modern Terminals, and explained how Modern Terminals strategizes and implements its plans.

Presentation from Modern Terminals

Afterward, we were taken up to the control tower from which we could view 9 different shipping terminals and watch as hundreds of cargo containers were transported.  Modern Terminals provided us with a delicious lunch and allowed us to ride on a company yacht back to Kowloon Peninsula.

Visit to Modern Terminals

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MODERN TERMINALS – HONG KONG PORT – SLIDESHOW

 

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Credit: Matt W. & Kevin O.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 3: Trip to Mainland China

Our morning started off bright and early aboard a ferry leaving from Hong Kong. Once we arrived at the border of China and went through customs we were greeted by Albert, our tour guide for the day. Almost immediately we noticed how differently things were going to be throughout the day as compared to Hong Kong. 

 Our first stop was a local kindergarten where we met children who sang us songs and showed us around. Next, we went to see the terracotta warriors which turned out to be slightly a tourist trap as they promptly led us to a jewelry shop. After that, we got back on the bus to head to the zoo to see the giant panda. The panda seemed to be more interested in eating than having its picture taken, but the sight was still exciting.

Our two-hour bus ride through rural China to Guangzhou allowed us to get a glimpse of villages occupied by farmers and factory workers along the way. Farmland, housing, and highways filled the view on both sides of the bus on the way to an authentic lunch after our visit to the zoo. Lunch consisted of fish, beef, chicken, and other various local dishes. The group separated to tour the main street of Guangzhou, which was crowded with many local people who seemed very interested in seeing visitors. A trip to the market followed, in which we were led down back alleys filled with vendors. Crafts, food, live chickens, scorpions, and even a street barber shop were among the many foreign sites.

 Live Chickens In Market

After regrouping at the end of the market streets, Arnold led us through a Buddhist Temple where we were able to get an inside look at the local religion. It was very interesting and different to see monks and the shrine where Buddhists go to pray.

Buddha In Temple

Our final stop was to the memorial hall dedicated to China’s first president. Not much was going on other than a rehearsal for a performance going on later at night, but the lobby had an interesting timeline of artwork to look at.

Memorial Hall Garden

A short bus ride followed by a two hour train ride ended the very unique and informational visit to mainland China.

 SLIDESHOW OF MAINLAND CHINA
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Credit: Tommy A. & McDonnell B.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 2: Hong Kong Trade Development Council & Textile Alliance Limited

Hong Kong Trade & Development Council

January 6th we visited the HKTDC which is responsible for bringing together different businesses from Hong Kong and around the world. With the help of HKTDC businesses are able to find other businesses who can help them to produce and transport their products around the world. Most of the businesses that are associated with the HKTDC are small and medium enterprises within the Hong Kong area. Our host Wylie So, also took us to visit the HKTDC Info Center which is filled with information about different industries and how businesses can get involved in doing business in Hong Kong.

HKTDC also hosts trade shows for different industries so people from around the world can come and see what products and services will be available in the coming years. We were lucky enough to conclude our visit with a visit to the 2009 Hong Kong Toys and Games show. See the attached pictures for some of the toys which may be hot in 2009!  After the show students went to lunch on their own before returning for our afternoon business visit.

Textile Alliance Limited 

Harry Lee, CEO of TAL
Harry Lee, CEO of TAL

Day 2 also included a presentation by the CEO of TAL, Harry Lee. The company was founded in 1947 by Mr. CC Lee. It changed its name a couple of times during its history and in 1983 focused primarily on apparel. The products of TAL mainly are dress shirts for both men and women, pants, outerwear, tailored suits and more. In fact, 1 of every 6 dress shirts of the USA market are made by TAL.   TAL is a high-end manufacturer, supplying over 60% of all dress shirts priced at $50 or more in the US market.  

TAL Factories are located across the globe, from Ramseur North Carolina to Vietnam. Revenue per year ranges from 630- 768 million. Many times during the presentation, Harry Lee mentioned how the company is people driven vs. profit driven. The company works hand in hand with its customers, which include Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Burberry, L.L. Bean, etc., to tailor it to their needs and values driven mission for these strong brand names. Harry Lee showed us the mission statement which focused on improving the customers business and even to “know the customer business better than the customer themselves”.  TAL is a ‘Total Solution Innofacturer’, meaning that the company strives to maintain a closer partnership with its customers and does this following a 12 step integrated supply chain cycle, rather than the typical three steps.

Some special TAL products are made with the SofTAL fabric that originated with them. These wrinkle free products, pucker free seam technology, dot.TAL: Anti- Microbial finish and dual action stain repeller fabrics all are innovated by the company. The presentation included a brief overview of how efficiently the company does with its ‘Pick to Light’ and ‘Fire Truck’ systems. The most interesting part of the presentation to me had to do with the RFID and PPG (parametric pattern generator) models which showed how clothes are tailored to meet different body types. 

Dr. Harry Lee’s presentation was fabulous with many different graphs and models depicting their growth over the years. Attached is a picture of CEO Harry Lee and a link to the website http://www.lawson.com/wcw.nsf/pub/Cust_6FA9CC.

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At the Asia Toy Expo

At the Asia Toy Expo

 

Credit: Jeff C. & Erin H.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Day 1: Hong Kong City Tour

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Hello from Hong Kong!

We have all arrived in Hong Kong safely, checked into our hotel and have had a nights rest. Today we had the pleasure of taking a few hour bus tour around Hong Kong and site seeing some of the main attractions:

ABERDEEN

One of our first stops was Aberdeen, which is a small town that houses thousands of fishermen. We had the opportunity to take a boat ride into the  “marina” and look at the contrast between the large yachts and then the smaller fishermen boats that are also used as homes. We also saw a floating restaurant, “The Jumbo Floating Restaurant,” that is suppose to be infamous for it’s seafood dishes. The weather is treating us wonderfully and allowed us for an enjoyable water adventure!

HONG KONG JEWELRY MANUFACTURING LTD.

We took a quick stop at a Jewelry Manufacturing company where we had a short introduction in the jewelry business. We also had the opportunity to walk through their show room and even purchase small gifts.

SOUTHERN HONG KONG

As we ventured into the Southern part of Hong Kong Island we saw places such as Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay, with a variety of private and public beaches scattered among the shores. This area is known as the “Beverly Hills” of Hong Kong. It is where the more prestigious own houses, such as Jackie Chan’s “castle.” The statue “God of Mercy,” overlooks Repulse Bay in order to keep peace and harmony among the community members. This area was once invaded by pirates, until the British fought them off. We were also able to stop at a local market, Stanley’s. This was a place for great bargaining and becoming more familiarized in Hong Kong’s culture.

VICTORIA PEAK

Victoria Peak was a climb, for the bus of course! We ascended into what seemed like the clouds for the most breathtaking panoramic view of Hong Kong. At the top of the peak there was a interesting looking building structure that is referred to as “wok-like.” From this location we were also able to identify the building from where Batman Returns was partially filmed. At the peak there was also a mall and a variety of stores, cafes and restaurants. Many of us grabbed lunch at a french bistro. Some chose the more American and popular food choice, McDonalds! In order to descend from the mountain we took a steep tram ride down and met our coach bus at the end.On our way home we got a glimpse of the U.S. Embassy and Ocean Park (equivalent to our Disney Land) from the bus.

DYNASTY RESTAURANT- RENAISSANCE HOTEL

Tonight a large group of us went to a restaurant with a wide variety of local food. The restaurant is a new establishment located in the Renaissance Hotel by the Convention and Expo Centre. We ordered numerous dishes and placed them on a spinning dish in the middle of the table in order to share with the whole group. The food varied from shrimp, duck (head included), fried rice and BBQ pork. We then ventured out to the water and caught a glimpse of the buildings on Hong Kong Island lit up with neon lights. The view was spectacular! We had just missed the Laser Light Show and plan to see it tomorrow.

 

VIEW SLIDESHOW ABOVE!

Credit: Maria Wyka

January 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment