Aug 13, 2015: China Study Trip

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On the 13th of August, 2015 a group of 20 IBA students departed for a trip to a rather new destination as foreseen by the youth of Pakistan. The group was lead by Dr. Amber Gul Rashid and Mr. Jami Moiz. The China trip included visits to the two major cities of the country including Beijing and Shanghai. While the primary goal of the trip was to introduce students to the Chinese business environment, management styles and consumer behavior; another aspect of the trip focused on the immense growth the economy has witnessed in the past two decades. This was in line with the various cultural and historic site visits that reflected the startling history of the country.

The trip to China spanned over six days with a four day stay in Beijing followed by a two day stay in Shanghai. Beijing, the capital of China, is the political, cultural and educational center of the country. Being one of the most populous cities in the world, the sophistication of Beijing is unparalleled. The city’s history dates back to almost three millennia reflected through the rich architecture in the form of palaces, temples, gardens and tombs. Shanghai, on the other hand, is the largest city in terms of population in China and holds the title for the trade hub of China via its sea port. Shanghai has been a trading and shipping hub since the 19th century. Located on the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai is a popular tourist destination. The historical sites of The Bund, Shanghai Museum and the spectacular city skyline make Shanghai one of the most modern cities in China.

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The tour covered various historic sites as well as corporate visits and one on one interaction with Pakistani expatriates residing in China. The Forbidden City in Beijing is an unforgettable site that must be visited to understand the history. The well preserved landmarks reflect the solid foundations on which China has made its mark at the global platform. The Ming and Qing dynasties are apparent in the rich architecture. Beijing is an epicenter of tradition and culture. Surrounding the Forbidden City were numerous gardens, Beihei being one of them, that are described as the masterpieces of Chinese gardening art. The Tiananmen Square encloses the monuments of the heroes of the Chinese revolution. The Great Wall of China is another staggering construction that leaves visitors surprised and in awe. The series of fortifications were built as protection against invasion from nomadic groups in as early as the 7th century BC. Shanghai, on the other hand, is a more modern and vibrant city as compared to Beijing. The Bund area, that is the waterfront in central Shanghai, is home to dozens of historical buildings blended with modern skyscrapers. At night, this waterfront is transformed into well lit buildings that act as ambassadors for the Chinese growth and development.

Apart from the site-seeing visits, the group also visited two companies in Shanghai, Coca Cola China as well as Maersk Sealand China. Through our contacts we were able to align meetings with notable persons who imparted immense knowledge regarding the Chinese economy, strategies, management styles and future prospects. The first visit was Coca Cola China where the group met up with Mr. Shakir Moin, the VP & Chief Marketing Officer for Greater China & Korea. Mr. Shakir leads the marketing strategy, execution, innovation and marketing capability development for Coca-Cola brands in China and Korea. Mr. Shakir has been with Coca-Cola for the past 17 years and served the company in various marketing and general management roles in more than eight countries. In his presentation, Mr. Shakir highlighted the various marketing campaigns and creative strategies that he used to develop the brand in regions such as Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines. Another interesting aspect of the visit to the Coca-Cola Company was the KO Lab. The KO lab, named after the stock that is traded, was a technologically advanced lab that replicated various public places such as restaurants, bars and retail outlets and worked as testing outlets for the various marketing and promotional opportunities in those environments. The other corporate visit was to Maersk regional office in Shanghai. Shanghai sea port is one of the largest in the world and works as a transit hub for various sea routes. Maersk Sealand has a strong presence in the region and has opened up more trade opportunities not only within China, but also connected China to the rest of the world. Here we met with Mr. Faraz Naseem who discussed the various businesses the company is currently handling and the future prospects for growth in the Chinese economy. Given the double digit growth rates the country experienced, China is on track to beat the United States and steal the title of the largest economy in the world.

The study tour of China added immensely to the knowledge of both the instructors and the students. China is full of culture and historical importance. The country has made its mark at a global platform and emerged as one of the leading economies of the world so much so that a slight change in Chinese interest rates shakes up the global economy as was witnessed recently. The IBA marketing club & QEC succeeded in its aim to conduct a rigorous but fun filled trip that would add to the students' professional profiles and remain memorable for the years to come. We are grateful to Dean & director, Dr. Ishrat Hussain for affording the senior students this opportunity to assimilate an understanding of the regional socio economic dynamics of China.

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