Northeastern University (NEU) and their Executive MBA program
visit Hong Kong and China in 2008

Runckel & Associates supported the visit of Northeastern University (NEU) and their Executive MBA program to Hong Kong and China again in May 2008.  Although the stops were similar to those of the year earlier that Runckel & Associates also arranged, the schedule was also different at several key points.  A further difference, was the change that China has continued to see over the last year.   In 2007, the Chinese government restricted subsidies previously given to exporting companies, passed a new tax law which intends to treat domestic and international companies essentially similar.  Passed a new labor law that according to many sources upped labor costs by 30 percent for companies based in China and adopted new policies to withdraw support from what the Chinese government calls "processing industries" which is defined as essentially labor intensive industries that use China mainly as a place of processing and where benefits are less to China than to the offshore company, partners, etc.  Additionally, the Chinese currency, the Yuan or RMB continued to increase in value rising to 6.9 RMB to one US Dollar just prior to our visit from over 8 the previous year.  All of this is creating a changing environment in which even major companies are finding that management must aggressively look for new opportunities and relentlessly focus on controlling costs in a high inflation environment.

Below is a short pictorial summary of some of the highlights of the trip:

Pictures above and left: Dr. Enright, students, Jeffrey Lam, a local business leader, Mark Michelson of InvestHK and Eddie McPhillips of Hasbro Far East speak to the group.

On the first day of the program, there are series of lectures at the Miramar Hotel for orientation and introduction to business and industry environment in Hong Kong and China.  The morning sessions included:

Professor Michael Enright with topics of interest including: (1) what the rise of China has meant, and will mean, for US society/firms/managers (2) what foreign (incl US) companies have done well or badly in responding to the China opportunity/threat; (3) Lessons about using china as a supply base and a center for innovation.

This was Followed by an introduction to Hong Kong and foreign investment in Hong Kong by Mark Michelson, Asst. Director General of InvestHK . Mr. Michelson's lecture is followed by a topy of Political Environment by Hon. Jeffrey Lam, Member of the HK Legislative Council and CEO of Forward Winsome Industries Limited.  Before the lunch break, the group listened to Joel Spevack, President, Hasbro-Far East and Eddie McPhillips, VP, Hasbro FE for an overview of "Hasbro and Shenzhen suppliers".

Picture above: Later on the EMBA students have an optional city tour of  Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen.

Pictures above and below: On the next day, the group leave for Shenzhen (Guangdong, China) to visit a toy company, Moonpo Development Ltd. or Tech Sen Electronic (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.  Joel Spevack, President of Hasbro-Far East speaks to the group.

Back to Hong Kong (picture above), the group went to PCCW Headquarters and met Janice Lee, Executive Vice President of Now TV who briefed the group on the progress of Now TV in building a highly successful business.
Picture above: After departing PCCW, the EMBA group proceeded to the Legislative Council Building to meet with Mr. Martin Lee, QC, SC.  Mr. Lee is the most prominent exponent of further democracy for Hong Kong.

Picrure above: Barbecue lunch and Q&A with NEU alum and former LegCo member David Chu at Deep Water Bay Golf Club.
Morgan Stanley briefs the group on their operations in China, Hong Kong and the region.

Professor Ravi Ramamurti and and Dr. Hanson Liu, a China based economist and entrepreneur discuss China's economic development.
Charles M.W. Chan, Director of Business Development, of Shui On Development Limited briefs the group on the company's leading role in property development in China.

Shanghai, China was the third stop on the tour.

Pictured left: Chris Runckel, President of Runckel & Associates, who arranged the trip, standing at the Bund in Shanghai.

Pictures above: A short tour for the students to Xin Tien Di area, the Bund and Yu Garden.

Left: Jonathan A. Krane, President of EmmaTicketmaster talks to the group about his experiences in building a highly innovative and entrepreneurial company in China

Above:  Members of the group at a lunch with Jiaxing Economic Development Zone

Jason Lin, CEO, of Zhejiang Zhengyuan Electric Co., Ltd. and Professor Ramamurti.
On Saturday, the group traveled from Shanghai to JiaXing Industrial Park - above, one of the factories in the park.

Last stop for the study trip was Beijing, China.  The group had a chance to visit the Great Wall and the Forbiddent City but are shown above at some of the three lecture sessions in the capital.

On Monday April 27th, Jack Perkowski (Left), Chairman and CEO of ASIMCO, one of the largest automotive parts company in China spoke to the group on what it takes to build a China based business.

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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