By Gwen Gurley
The AdVENTURE Challenge: China crew has spent several days in Hong Kong now. Many of us arrived several days early to experience as much as possible of this fascinating city, and the entire group (28 people!) has been together for the last three days. We’ve walked, metro-ed, bussed, toured, ridden in trams, on boats and ferries, soared through the sky in cable cars and just generally pounded the pavement. Some of us went to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island, while another group of us went for fancy drinks at the Peninsula Hotel (Hong Kong’s oldest hotel), and several of us went out to clubs in Lan Kwai Fong.
The city is huge and delightful, much like New York City only with a million more neon lights, skyscrapers and pepole. Hong Kong has 7.2 million people living in it and it is still growing. The intense amount of commerce and development happening here is incredible to see. It is especially striking when you see the stark contrast of the old villages with the new development happening. On one side of the road you will see incredibly tall apartment buildings and on the other you will see village homes that were built by the people living in them. You can feel the city changing and growing.
Apart from enjoying the city itself and getting to know more about this fascinating part of the world, we took a tour of a Chinese factory yesterday in Shenzhen. Our group was able to visit the garment producing factory of KBL Group International Ltd. In order to get from Hong Kong to China you have to travel across the Chinese border. Once across the border and through customs we traveled to the area of Shenzhen where many of the manufacturing companies locate their factories. This factory employs over 3,000 workers and also houses and feeds them as well. We were able to see all the stages of the production cycle that go in to manufacturing knitwear garments and visit the dormitories of the workers. To top off the day we ate our lunch in the factory canteen and then got to try our hand at operating a garment panel linking machine. It wasn’t easy! The process is amazing to see from start to finish.
Early tomorrow morning we leave for Beijing where will have the final hours to prepare for our competition on Friday. Many of the teams have already made changes to their business models based on the information that we’ve discovered since being here. We will have the opportunity to meet with lots of professionals in Beijing in the next few days and I expect that there will be many more changes for the teams’ plans between now and Friday as well. Now it’s off to bed and then an early start to Beijing!
Gwen Gurley is a 1st year MBA student focused on Marketing Strategy and Business Development. She is a former teacher and small business owner who decided to follow her passion for business and entrepreneurship to the Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is currently working with local DC startup Betterific as their head blogger and content marketer. Upon returning from China she will begin a summer marketing internship with Distil Networks in Arlington.