2010 Northeastern University EMBA Trip to
Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing

(Picture above) 2010 Northestern University EMBA in China

This was the fourth year we arranged Northeastern University’s EMBA trip to Asia.  As in years past we started off in Hong Kong on April 17, 2010 when I met the group as they arrived in Hong Kong.  The group arrived on an earlier flight this year and this allowed us to get them into the hotel quickly and then get them back out for a quick tour of the city and the main island before dark which was appreciated by all.

(Pictures above) Mark Michelson, formerly with InvestHK and now with APCO Worldwide speaks to the group

Sunday we started early at 8 AM with welcoming remarks by Professor Ravi Ramamurti and then Mark Michelson, formerly with InvestHK and now with APCO Worldwide set the stage on Hong Kong and its development and unique position in China and in Asia.  He was followed by Marcus Schutz and Iris Wang who talked on the China car sector and its development.  Marcus Schutz is a Volkswagen executive on sabbatical at the University of Hong Kong.  Iris Wang is an investment banker with projects all over Northern Asia.  Marcus has a unique perspective based on his inside experience in the China auto sector and Iris is able to take this experience and add the unique cultural and China business perspective to show how western and eastern business thought by often be similar but far from identical.

(Pictures above) The group visits Early Light which makes an extensive range of toys for Hasbro and other suppliers,
 located in

We then had a presentation by the Honorable Martin Lee, QC who spoke on the rule of law and the future of democracy in Hong Kong.  Mr. Lee who is a well-known advocate on this subject spoke eloquently of his work in promoting increased democracy in Hong Kong, a subject that continues to resonate in the City.

Mr. Lee was followed by Rob Dorfman, Vice Chairman of Herald Holdings, Hong Kong who spoke on the Vision 2047 Foundation and who gave an upbeat presentation on how he and others committed to Hong Kong view the future of the City and of their unique relationship with China.  Eddie McPhilips, Vice President, Hanbro FE, then gave an overview of Hasbro operations in Hong Kong and China and spoke about how the market for toys and Hasbro’s own operations continued to change and evolve over the recent years.  This was followed by lunch.

(Picture above) at Early Light in Shenzhen

Monday we left early for Shenzhen to visit Hasbro supplier Early Light which makes extensive toys for Hasbro and other suppliers.  This was followed by a visit to Shenzhen Dachan Bay Modern Port Development Co., Ltd and then to Mindray where we met with the Vice President for International Sales and learned how this Shenzhen-based medical supplier is making advances in medical imaging and other modern medical based equipment.

(Pictures above) Visit to Mindray, Shenzhen-based medical supplier

Tuesday we were back in Hong Kong starting with a morning session and tour of the Now TV facility with Janice Lee, Executive Vice President, Now TV.  Now TV continues to advance in its evolution and truly is one of the most interesting companies involved in on line TV and video.  US and European companies are following closely the success of this company to consider how this can be implemented elsewhere.


(Picture above) at NOW TV in Hong Kong

At lunch we were again at the Deep Water Bay Golf Club as a guest of NEU-alumni David Chu.  Unfortunately David was traveling this year and so Nick Cofer, Director of Sir Elly Kadoorie & Sons Ltd., one of the oldest and most distinguished names in Hong Kong,  and Chairman of Taiping Carpets talked to us about what brought him to Asia, his life since then and how he saw Asia continuing to develop.  In the afternoon we returned to Li & Fung, a world leader in sourcing, where after a tour we were able to speak to Spencer Fung by video link-up.  Spencer has recently moved to London to head European operations for Li & Fung and with ash from the volcano in Iceland grounding most travel in Europe we were thankful for the benefits of video links that allowed us to ask questions and get Spencer’s candid observation of the economic recovery and his businesses development.

(Picture above) Shanghai

Wednesday was an early day as we left for the airport at first light and flew to Shanghai.  After being met by our new set of guides (Kelly and Tony) in Shanghai, we transferred to the hotel for check-in and lunch followed by and afternoon program that included presentations by former NEU Alumni Jesse Parker who has had a long and varied career in China and who now works with Dragon Invest Partners.  He was followed by Tom Reilley, Country Manager for Greater China for Rockwell Automation who always has been a favorite with NEU groups.

Thursday was our day to focus on Shanghai.  We started in the morning with Charles Chan, Director of Projects for Shui On, the large China property developer headed by Vincent Lo who some have called China’s Donald Trump.  Shui On is the developer of XiTianDi develops first in Shanghai and then later in Dalian, Wuhan, Chongching and elsewhere.  2010 was one of the coldest springs in China in recent memory and although the weather was brisk, we again followed Charles’s outstanding presentation with a visit to Yi Yuan Park and then grabbed a quick lunch before afternoon presentations by Michael J. Cannon-Brookes, Vice President, Global Strategy, IBM Growth Markets and then a presentation of a panel of China-based expats who discussed their life and work in Shanghai.


(Pictures above) The group listens to Nick Cofer in Hong Kong.
(Pictures on 2nd row) The group listens to Charles Chan of Shui On in Shanghai

Friday we changed the program slightly from years past to add a new industrial park.  This one in Kunshan which is a Shanghai Delta area city that is rapidly developing and that has become a magnet for particularly Taiwan-based investment.  Over 100,000 Taiwanese are located in this green and pleasant city as are many European and other companies like Kone Elevator and Escalator which is one of the biggest operations in the High Tech Industrial Zone.

After a pleasant lunch with the management of the industrial park, we then travelled to Honeywell Shanghai where we met with the Account Customers Director and the Operations Manager and discussed how Honeywell is meeting the rapidly changing needs of China’s fast-growing auto market.

(Pictures above) Students sample tea outside the park and inside Yi Yuan.
 (Pictures 2nd row) Panel discussion and at Honeywell

The next day, again very early, we travelled to Beijing where we spent the next two days (the weekend) sightseeing.  Monday we were back in class again for a very strong series of presentations by Pang Jin, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Jon Aloisi, former U.S. Diplomat who recently taught a role play concerning East Asian diplomacy at the Jackson School of International Relations at the University of Washington, Seattle and who is involved as an observer and advisor to the Chinese Green movement.  This was followed by a perennial favorite in terms of presentations by Jack Perkowski, former Chairman and CEO of Asimco and currently head of JFP Holdings, a China-based venture capital firm.

(Pictures above) In Beijing, the group meets with Jon Aloisi and Jack Perkowski

(Picture above) Visit to Bai Du in Beijing

(Picture above) The author, Chris Runckel

That afternoon we toured Baidu in the Xiangdi District of Beijing.  Baidu is the largest Chinese language search engine and six months ago just moved to the new building which already hosts over 4,000 staff.

The finale of the trip this year was a visit to the U.S. Embassy where Teresa Howes, Director of Market Access and Compliance at the U.S. Embassy and a team of Embassy officials briefed the group on China business, economic and other subjects and helped the group to tie together their disparate views of China which had in most cases changed markedly during their 10 days of immersion in China.

About the Author:  

Christopher W. Runckel, a former senior US diplomat who served in many counties in Asia, is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. He served as Deputy General Counsel of President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. Mr. Runckel is the principal and founder of Runckel & Associates, a Portland, Oregon based consulting company that assists businesses expand business opportunities in Asia. (www.business-in-asia.com)

Until April of 1999, Mr. Runckel was Minister-Counselor of the US Embassy in Beijing, China. Mr. Runckel lived and worked in Thailand for over six years. He was the first permanently assigned U.S. diplomat to return to Vietnam after the Vietnam War. In 1997, he was awarded the U.S. Department of States highest award for service, the Distinguished Honor Award, for his contribution to improving U.S.-Vietnam relations. Mr. Runckel is one of only two non-Ambassadors to receive this award in the 200-year history of the U.S. diplomatic service.


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