On the 22nd of July 2018, 22 members of Scintilla arrived in Beijing, China. The study tour ‘Kē jì zhī lǚ’ (‘Technology Road’) visited China for three weeks. In those three weeks, Beijing, Xi’an, Wuxi, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong were visited. China was chosen to see the great advancements in innovative technological development in the big growing economy. During the study tour several companies and universities were visited to get an understanding of the newest technology.
The trip started in Beijing, which is of course the capital of China. On our first days in China the program was not that intensive as everyone was quite jetlagged. On our first official day, we planned to visit the forbidden city. Unfortunately, we were not allowed in. Not that the city was forbidden – as in the dynasty era. But only 80,000 people were allowed to go in per day, so we had to come back another day. Furthermore, we went to visit the Beijing Zoo to see great pandas. They were big but not that great, as they were sleeping all day. We also did a very nice but difficult hike up the Great Wall guided by a 63-year-old woman. Even though it was very warm, she did not look exhausted at all. Especially next to us, as it seemed like we ran a marathon. Besides all the sightseeing and culture, we visited two universities as well, Tsinghua University and Beihang University.
While staying in a luxury hotel in Xi’an, we explored the city. The first thing we did was a tour on tandems over the old the city wall of, crossing over the wall, way faster than the Chinese. Luuk and Raymond even decided to do another round. One of the main attractions of Xi’an is of course the Terracotta Army. Together with uncountable Chinese people we visited the halls with excavations. Our very enthusiastic guide, Stefanie, showed us around through the halls. Afterwards, we had to hurry to be on time for the Tang Dynasty Show, which ended up in driving through the city as you would do in GTA.
On Monday we visited Huawei and the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), where we got a presentation about NPU and their prominent role in China’s aerospace engineering program.
In Shanghai we stayed in the well-known hotel Hyatt on the Bund. From the rooftop bar on the 32nd floor of our hotel you had a great view of the river and the nicely lit skyline of shanghai. Among many company visits, we had a nice and inspiring visit at Philips. The CEO told us a lot about the healthcare system in China and asked us how we managed healthcare in the Netherlands and how we would change the Chinese system. Although we were in China, we ran into a German themed bar, so we drank some nice German (half)liters crafts beer served by Chinese bartenders dressed in Lederhosen and dirndl.
Our stay in Shenzhen started off with a visit to the Shenzhen Electronics market. Which isn’t just your regular Dutch food and clothes market where sellers shout their reduced prizes all over the place. The difference starts even before entering. It was like taking a journey through Mario land with tunes every 50 meters cast by an intercom. Spontaneous dancing occurred very often when the LED strips and other electronics were spotted. Like enthusiastic children we swarmed over the first floor of one of the many skyscrapers that was packed with electronics. It felt like a real-life Ali express. As Shenzhen is one of the major manufacturing capitals of China, we visited some really cool companies that showed us how they make semiconductor components (mainly diodes and other small stuff) and giant LED screens. This even included 2 clean room tours. During the last one it was even possible to get so close that you literally could put your nose in the bonding machine.
Directly after coming from the boat, we had a warm welcome at the Dutch consulate where we had an insightful presentation about the 2 systems on country construction that the Chinese and Hong Kong government came up with after the British gave Hong Kong back to China. We also visited another university, PolyU. We got a tour through the Aviation Service Research Centre that’s working with the university on commercially sponsored research, mainly to reduce wear and tear in the aviation industry. When you are in Hong Kong it is almost a must to go to Macau, the gambling capital of Asia, or actually the world. Macau has 4 time the annual revenue of Las Vegas with half the number of casino’s. We ended the study tour with a private boat with an almost unlimited supply of drinks, plenty of food, nice music and lots of stuff to entertain ourselves. This included a slide into the water, a trampoline, a surfboard, kayak and some random other stuff.
Overall, we spent three amazing weeks in China, filled with lots of technology and culture. We would like to thank UFonds for their contribution to make this study tour possible.