Student Blog: The China Ten - Business Study Tour of China
Crossing Over Into Mainland China
by Brad Ross '09
After experiencing the city of Hong Kong, the China Ten bid their farewells and boarded a train to travel inland to the city of Shenzhen. Because Hong Kong and mainland China are two separate entities, we had to go through customs upon arriving at the border.
Once everybody's paperwork was squared away, we were introduced to our new tour guide Xian (Shen). Originally from Beijing, Xian has traveled much of China and holds an extensive wealth of knowledge about the culture of each city. So for the remainder of the trip, Xian will be our lead tour guide.
The itinerary for our one-night stay in Shenzhen was fully loaded, so Xian wasted no time to get us on buses and on the road. The first activity for the day was to attend a factory tour of the Kingway Beer Brewery plant located on the outskirts of the city. During the drive, the group got a chance to see the suburban lifestyle that many typical natives of Shenzhen are accustom to. The city itself is fairly new, so there were fewer skyscraper buildings present in comparison to what we experienced in Hong Kong. Also, the Shenzhen housing situation was very different due to standalone houses located in small neighborhoods rather then the high-rise apartments.
Before arriving at the brewery, Xian decided that we should stop and get some lunch. So we took a quick stop at a local Shenzhen restaurant to experience some of area's cuisine. Like previous restaurants we have experienced, they served the food on a big rotating center table for the whole group to share. The dishes served consisted of an array of spicy and mild dishes served in order to achieve a balance of flavors on the diner's palate. For example, one of the dishes served was a spicy celery and beef sichuan, but immediately following it was a cool and mild plate of steamed greens on top of a whole poached fish. Achieving this culinary balance is very important to the Chinese because they believe that it if they eat balanced meals, it will help them live a more balanced life.
Upon arrival at the Kingway Brewery, we were welcomed with open arms by their staff and proceeded on the guided tour of the facilities. Kingway Beer is a local favorite of the Shenzhen area and is produced at the single factory we attended. Owned by the Heineken Corporation, Kingway Beer is brewed with a very similar recipe to its European counterpart, but on a much smaller scale. The factory is run by only 200 employees using primitive manufacturing equipment and techniques. In comparison with other brewers I have toured, an example being Guinness Brewery of Dublin, Ireland, Kingway has the makings for success on an international scale, but they must expand onto their manufacturing aspect to meet the demands of mass production. But on a positive note, their product uses high grade ingredients and goes through rigorous quality assurance testing, creating a very respectful product. And to experience the best of the brewery, we got to taste a glass of three-hours-old Kingway Beer with our group, allowing us to appreciate the hard work that Kingway has done in providing China with a superior spirit.
From all the traveling the China Ten did throughout Shenzhen, we were ready to head to the hotel to call it a night. We had reservations for a one-night stay at the Green Tree Inn located in the heart of the suburbs of Shenzhen. Upon checking in and settling down, many of the group decided to get some shuteye in order to prepare for the 7 a.m. flight to Shanghai the following morning. But group member Alicia Bean was intent to conclude her night in another fashion. The hotel offered a massage service to all of its guests for a very affordable rate of 90 minutes for $25 USD. So with very little hesitation, Alicia took advantage of their services and ended her stay in Shenzhen with a full body massage. Even though the China Ten's stay inside Shenzhen was brief, it allowed us to view the relaxed suburban side of China away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.
PHOTOS: The China Ten: Business Study Tour of China