Northeastern University's Executive MBA Trip to China 2011

This was the fifth year we arranged Northeastern University’s EMBA trip to Asia.  The trip followed the traditional routing as in years past starting in Hong Kong and then visiting Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.  This trip allows the group to follow the historical route of China's development where trade started initially in Hong Kong and the south and then expanded to coastal areas and finally to the interior.  Professor Ravi Ramamurti and Professor Carolyn Boviard and trip arrangement, coordination of speakers and advice on sites visited and on speakers presentations was supplied by Runckel & Associates principal, Chris Runckel.

In Hong Kong, we started with a broad introduction to the region at the hotel (HK/China) by Professor Marcus Schuetz , Executive in Residence, Adjunct Professor Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (on sabbatical with VW China) and Iris Wang, a prominent financial consultant, who gave us an introduction to doing business in China with a particular focus on the automobile sector.  This was followed by a presentation by Mark Michelson, Formerly with InvestHK and now with APCO Worldwide on Hong Kong’s Economic Performance, Opportunities and Challenges involved with integration to the Pearl River Delta Region in China and a presentation by Rob Dorfman of Herald Holdings, Hong Kong who talked about Hong Kong's remaining viability as a place for investment and as what the Hong Kong government and business groups saw as the needs for future adjustments in business strategy and government laws and policy.  Finally, we ended the morning with a presentation by Amit Chakraborty, Hasbro-Far East sho talked about how Hasbro and other toy and other manufacturers were responding to developments in China.

On Monday, the group traveled to Shenzhen and met in the morning with Mindray, China's leading manufacturer of medical monitoring equipment.  At Mindray,  Ting Yang, Senior VP of International Marketing spoke about his companies growth and future prospects.

Later we traveled to a Hasbro vendor – Early Light - for a factory tour and to learn more about the challenges that many US suppliers were facing in the new competitive environment that has come to dominate Pearl River delta operations.

In the afternoon, we met with Yantian Port officials and toured the port.  Yantian is one of the largest ports in South China.

On Tuesday, the group met with Now TV at their Chaiwan Headquarters for a presentation by Janice Lee, Executive Vice President, Now TV and tour of Now TV's Chaiwan studios

This was followed by a presentation by Federal Express where we met with Malcolm Sullivan, Vice President, Marketing, FedEx Express Asia Pacific

Then later, followed by a stimulating talk by NEU Alum and former Leg Co member David Chu at Deep Water Bay Golf Club.  Support of former alums like Mr. Chu are critical to NEU programs.  David also gave a detailed  commentary on Hong Kong and China developments and what he sees as both the challenges and future advantages of Hong Kong and of China in a rapidly developing Asia.

Following this always pleasant and stimulating lunch, the group visited Hang Lung Properties where the group heard from Philip N.L. Chen, Managing Director, of Hang Lung Properties, who discussed property development both in Hong Kong and in China.

Our program in Hong Kong usually end with a visit to Li & Fung.  This year we heard from Spencer Fung and other Li & Fung staff about developments in Asia and challenges for the coming year.

Finally in Hong Kong we ended our visit by hearing from Honorable Martin Lee, QC about the Rule of Law and the Future of Democracy in Hong Kong.  Mr. Lee is the leading democracy advocate of democracy in Hong Kong and was eloquent in his defense of democracy and the need to Hong Kong to gain the rights and duties promised by previous governments. 

On Wednesday morning we flew from Hong Kong to Shanghai and took the MagLev train into Pudong and from there by bus into the city. 

That afternoon we had a presentation at the hotel on Chinese Economic and Political Issues by former NEU Alum Jesse Parker who has spent years focussing on China.

The last presentation that afternoon was by Tom Reilley, Rockwell Automation (www.ra.rockwell.com) who spoke both about Rockwell Automation and some of the issues to keep in mind in terms of doing business in China.


The next morning we visited KIC (Knowledge Innovation Center) which was created and managed by Shui On Properties in Yangpu District where we heard from Charles Chan and his staff about development of this exciting property developments

Presentation by Mr. Charles Chan, Director of Shui On and Project Manager of KIC

Later we heard from Michael Cannon-Brookes, Vice President, Global Strategy, IBM Growth Markets and an Expat Panel (All have years of experience in China)  about living and working in China.

The next day we visited Kunshan, a city known for both its industrial prowess and also its enlightened leadership and environmental protection where we heard first about Kunshan Industrial Park and later about KONE, a highly successful international company with operations in Kunshan.
  Then, visited KONE  (Private company - one of largest manufacturers of elevators and escalators in the World.
Our final visit in Shanghai was to Honeywell where we got a presentation by Honeywell on their East for West innovation policies and also a factory tour of their turbo facility.

In Beijing: Saturday morning we flew to Beijing where the group toured the Tiananmen Square and the Imperial Palace, well known as the Forbidden City.  The next day the group visited the Great Wall in the morning.  Later that day, the group visited the newly built National Stadium, well known as the Bird Nests for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and took a Hutong Tour to visit local family.

Monday our presentations started with a presentation by Pang Jin, Phd, Deputy Director Department of Trade, National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC), People’s Republic of China – NDRC studies and recommends new policy to the National Council.  Speaker described role of the NDRC, how policy is made in the Chinese government, major economic and other challenges facing China such as deciding on how best to allocate foreign reserves, new plans for fiscal stimulus, how to restore export industry, etc.

This was followed by a presentation by Jon Aloisi, Former Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy and longterm Old China Hand.  Mr. Aloisi is currently teaching at the University of Washington and several institutions in China.  He is an expert on China’s Green movement and is writing a book on the movement.

The last presentation of the morning at the hotel was by Jack Perkowski, Chairman and CEO of
ASIMCO, a U.S. company based in New Jersey that is one of China’s largest auto parts suppliers.  Mr. Perkowski and his company ASIMCO are portrayed in the book Mr. China, which deals with their early formative years.  He is also the author of Managing the Dragon, his recent book on his work in China.

In the afternoon we visited Baidu where we heard from Kaisar Kuo, Head of Investor Relations and Media at Baidu on the internet in China and on Baidu and its development.  Kaisar is one of the most stimulating speakers on many aspects of the internet and the group really appreciated the insights given and the background discussed.  Later we visited Lenovo which also runs an innovation center in the same region.

On Tuesday, we  visited the US Embassy where the group met with Daniel Greene Director of Market Access and Compliance, U.S. Embassy who discussed economic developments in China and helped to answer final questions and to assist students with balancing all they had seen and heard over the last two weeks during their visit to Hong Kong and China.  That afternoon the group proceeded back to the airport and from there back to Boston.  Most agreed that the trip had given them a new perspective on Asia and would be instrumental in assisting them with better responding to the new interenational markets that challenge and reward us all.

About the Author and Organizer:  

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.


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