Archive for December, 2012

Located just an hour drive north from Central Hong Kong, Shenzhen (in Guangdong Province) was the first (and most successful) “Special Economic Zone” in China.  This special status allowed western industrialization — more than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures initially in manufacturing but more recently in service industries as well.  One of the fasted growing cities in the work, it is a teaming with a population of 15 million — and all of the traffic that goes with a population that expands faster than infrastructure.  Because of its proximity to the capital markets, legal system and economic stability and diversity of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is the logical first step for many foreign companies into China.  Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is one of the busiest container ports in China, and has the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies.  Once established in Shenzhen through a representative office, use of a contract manufacturer, or operation of a factory, moving further into mainland China is the next step.


300px-Shenzhen_CBDDespite being in Shenzhen for less than 24 hours, I met both with colleagues at HLB Wu Zhou Song De and with a client.   I saw two offices and toured my client’s R&D and Quality Control operations.  One cultural business difference I learned was of “rest time” over the lunch break.  Chinese workers are given about half an hour to rest after lunch.  In one office, this meant turning off the overhead fluorescent lights and literally putting your head on your desk to relax.  In another office, space was found for ping-pong tables, and office-wide tournaments are held daily.


HLB Wu Zhou Song De in Shenzhen has worked with over 35 Chinese publicly traded companies.  The firm has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years — what in China hasn’t?


To my eyes, Shenzhen had all of the energy of Hong Kong, without the upscale retail shops and overly expensive hotel rooms.

Read Full Post »

The site is instantly recognizable — La Tour Eiffel!  Here, it is seen from the top of La Louvre — looking over the Seine, with the Musee d’Orsay in the foreground.  Paris is a beautiful city during the day and is even more impressive at night.   When in Paris, we walk — everywhere.  The Métropolitain (or Metro for short) is an extensive, clean and reliable source of transportation and taxis must be caught at taxi stations and are expensive — but walking back, especially after a nice lunch or dinner is a must.  The streets are frequently cobbled and the street map can be labyrinthian, but don’t let this scare you from bringing a good pair of walking shoes and exploring this city by foot — both night and day.

Post 7 Photo

On a recent trip to Paris (this time for a family wedding instead of business), I was impressed by how vibrant the city remains despite the EuroZone crisis — the restaurants are full, nary a shop window is vacant.   Certainly, the French sense of style and the French way of cooking contribute to keeping the stores open and the restaurants full.


What would I not want to miss in Paris?


1.         La Louvre — and don’t miss the new exhibit on Islamic Art (opened on September 18th, 2012)

2.         The Musee D’Orsay (or the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee de l’Orangerie des Tuileries or another of the many amazing art museums throughout Paris).

3.         La Tour Eiffel — get to the top on a beautiful day, although it’s still impressive in less spectacular weather.

4.         Visit a Church:  Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, La Madeleine

5.         Sit at a café and watch the people go by (Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots, both in the 7eme, are touristy but fun and worth a visit).  Breakfast at a Café, Lunch at a Bistro.

6.         Fois gras, MouleFrites, Steak Frites, Croissants, Bread, bread and more delicious bread — why is the bread so much better in France?

7.         Montmartre and Sacre Coeur — soak in the neighborhood and have soup for lunch in a tiny restaurant on a side street

8.         Walk from La Louvre, through the Tuileries to the L’Arc de Triomphe

9.         Window shopping on Rue Faubourg Saint Honoré

10.       Real shopping at Le Bon Marché or a street market

Vive la France!

Read Full Post »