Exploring Opportunities (Qingdao, Jinan and Beijing)
From 15 to 23 December 2018, 18 Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) members embarked on a 9-day China Learning Journey to Qingdao, Jinan and Beijing.
Supported by Business China, the annual BCYC China Learning Journey is in its eighth run and aims to provide a useful platform for bicultural and bilingual Singapore youths to keep themselves abreast with the developments of contemporary China. Participants not only had the opportunities to visit, explore and experience the up and coming cities and industries in Shandong province, but were also able to explore a first-tier city of China and learn some of their the best practices. This Learning Journey provided an effective platform for aspiring members to build friendships and networks that may serve as a basis for potential cross-border partnerships and collaborations in the future.
The 18 members of the BCYC delegation are of diverse backgrounds, with a mix of students from higher learning institutes of Singapore, UK and China, and young adults in the nascent stages of their careers.
Qingdao – Internationalisation of Chinese companies
In Qingdao, participants visited Qingjian International Group Co. Ltd. (CNQC). CNQC is one of the leading property developers in China, with an outstanding track record in real estate, construction, and smart home and community building. CNQC started in 1952 and slowly raised its brand through various landmark projects in China, such as the Olympic Sailing Centre and Qingdao Municipal Government Building. CNQC has expanded successfully into overseas markets, with establishments in over 30 countries across the world. In 1999, CNQC ventured into Singapore and has established itself as a dominant player in Singapore’s private and public housing markets. During the engagement with BCYC members, CEO of Qingjian International Group Mr Liu Zhenlong attributed CNQC’s success to having the vision and values of producing quality infrastructure alongside a low-corruption corporate culture. Mr Liu also commented that CNQC’s experiences in Singapore have given them meaningful lessons and practices that can serve the company well in its future expansion efforts into other regional countries.
The participants also got to visit Tsingtao Brewery Museum and learnt about the rich history behind the world-famous Tsingtao Beer. Tsingtao Beer was founded in the early-1900s by the German occupiers for their stationed troops in Qingdao. After China’s liberation in 1949, Tsingtao Beer grew in demand and eventually became one of the best-selling beers in whole of China. The participants got to experience the taste differences between two types of beer, and learnt about the interesting evolution of Tsingtao Beer’s logo design, and how the Germans tailored their marketing strategies around local customs and culture.
Jinan – China’s pursuit of technological independence
One of the two corporate visits for the participants in Jinan was to Inspur, the leading producer of cutting-edge servers, as well as provider of cloud computing and big data services for both public and private sectors in China. Inspur is among the first in China to produce a PC in 1983 following a mission to Singapore. Later, Inspur shifted their emphasis from home electrical appliances and invested heavily in IT-related research. Through the years, Inspur achieved many other breakthroughs, including the first Chinese character pager, and broke the long-time monopoly of foreign server manufacturers in China by developing the country’s first micro-server in the early 2000s.
In Jinan, the BCYC participants were warmly welcomed by members of the Shandong Youth Federation and Young Entrepreneurs’ Association over a hearty dinner. Despite their cultural and nationality differences, youths of both sides were able to quickly establish rapport and friendship, and engaged each other on issues relating to entrepreneurship and pop culture. The dinner concluded with a friendly exchange of gifts from both sides.
Beijing – China’s unconventional investment strategy
In Beijing, participants had the privilege of visiting Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). AIIB is a multilateral development bank that focuses on improving social and economic conditions across Asia through sustainable infrastructural projects. It was first mooted by the Chinese government in 2013 and launched in 2014. Besides, the participants had the opportunity to interact with two of the seven Singaporeans working in AIIB, Mr Pang Yee Ean and Mr Thia Jangping. The participants learnt that Singaporeans’ management and working styles remain a valued asset in the Chinese market and that young Singaporeans should embrace the opportunity to venture more into less-treaded international markets.
Finally, to round off the journey, the BCYC delegation visited Peking University (PKU) and held an interaction session with students of Yuanpei College, a college of PKU that inclines towards liberal arts education. While casual, the discussions were nonetheless meaningful and touched on how the unique education system in Yuanpei College can enable young Chinese to contribute to the society in unique ways. Youths of both sides also contrasted Yuanpei’s liberal arts pedagogy with Singapore’s education system while casting their sights on the future of liberal arts education.
From Qingdao to Jinan and finally Beijing, the BCYC delegation discovered the deep historical and economic linkages between Singapore and China. The various corporate visits and interactions with both local Chinese and Singaporeans based in China also provoked them to think what the future entails for Singapore-China relations, and how they in their own capacities may contribute to this long, broad yet complex relationship. It was an enriching and memorable experience that will be carried by the participants in their future academic and career endeavours.
About Business China Youth Chapter
Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) is a voluntary group of youths which envisions to be the leading Singapore-based community that inspires youths to be China-savvy and facilitate their connections with China. Supported by Business China, BCYC has a vibrant calendar of activities which serve the needs of the BCYC community.
To join BCYC, please email your enquiry to email@example.com. Membership is free.
Join as a member to be part of the initiative to nurture an inclusive bilingual and bicultural group of Singaporeans.