Preparatory Seminar: Day 1

The eagerly awaited Preparatory Seminar started with an exciting day!
After a joint introduction by Prof. Dr. Ruedi Nützi, Insight China and its sister projects Focus India, connectUS and exploreASEAN headed to kick-off their individual Seminars.
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Further, Prof. Dr. Ruedi Nützi, Director of the School of Business at FHNW, has given our Delegation various insights on the long-lasting and fruitful relationship that the University of Applied Sciences (FHNW) has strengthened for nearly 25 years with China. Some years ago, the FHNW has established the SSRCC (Swiss SME Research Center China) where Swiss professors and students work on mandates for Chinese companies. However, the collaboration sometimes seems tricky as Prof. Dr. Nützi explained. Chinese Executives tend to look for deals whereas Swiss negotiations partners are rather looking at what they can offer.
Thereafter, we welcomed Prof. Dr. Peter Abplanalp whose speech focused on the history and the development of China within recent years, the events that currently are burning for the Chinese economy and what challenges the biggest economy in the world faces in the future.
Until the late 1970ies, China was barely accessible for foreign economies which then changed when Deng Xiao Ping came into power. Deng – the architect of China’s economic success – has enabled the country to develop and start becoming what they are today, the world’s largest economy.
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In the afternoon, Mrs. Fan Neifer-Yang and Mrs. Yangbo Seiler-Zhao have prepared a workshop for our Delegation in order to introduce us to the Chinese language and Chinese business etiquette.
With Mrs. Neifer who is teaching multiple courses at FHNW, we practiced the pronounciation of Chinese syllabus and gave us insights on the different initials and tones of the Chinese language. We then also have been introduced to Chinese calligraphy and have written our names on rice paper with a bamboo brush and black ink.
Furthermore, we learned more about the traditions and what ideal behaviour is in Chinese business life, such as business meetings, dinners and gifts. This will be a very important take-away for our Delegation members who travel to China in a few weeks. As Silvan, Delegation member, explains: “Knowing what behaviour is appropriate in China is absolutely key when travelling on site and it is fantastic to connect learnings from this week with our trip.” Many Delegation members were surprised by the fact that it is unpolite to bring an ordinary clock. The interpretation of this item in Chinese culture is the closeness to death and that time is running out.
We would like to thank our speakers for their valualbe inputs and for sharing their experiences which made this first day a great success.

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