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Understand China’s second-tier cities

Mentee: Jim WHITTINGTON
Mentor: Irene Jin, Deputy General Manager,  EuroCrane Lifting Equipment (Suzhou) Co., Ltd

At the end of February, our mentor, Irene Jin, organized a trip for us to Wujiang Economic Development Zone (WEDZ).  Situated at the southernmost region of Jiangsu province, Wujiang city is located about 100km from CEIBS.  We kicked off with an introduction to WEDZ by the staff from local Investment Promotion Bureau. We asked them about the reasons why WEDZ had been so success in attracting foreign investment.  That afternoon we visited a local high-tech company and Irene’s own factory.  We stayed the night in the beautiful Tongli Lake View hotel and on the following day WEDZ staff showed us around Tongli old town.

The entire trip was a great learning experience. 

Firstly, we got in-depth understanding about the motive forces behind China’s rapid economic development.  Because of its outstanding progress, WEDZ has recently been promoted from a provincial zone to a national one. According to WEDZ staff, their success was mainly due to the local cheap labor and the convenient transportation.  I believed that the friendly business climate fostered by the WEDZ staff themselves should be another account. 

Secondly, the scenic area there was just a perfect representation of China’s traditional aesthetics.  Through the sightseeing tour, we learned how to appreciate rocks in different shapes, and more importantly, we got to understand some essential elements of traditional Chinese values.

Lastly, we were deeply impressed by the hospitality of local people.  It was the first time for me to experience such an official banquet featured with exotic cuisine, the cordial treatment, as well as frequent “bottom-ups”.  We were completely overwhelmed by the hospitality Irene and the WEDZ staff showed to us.   I shouldn’t be so surprised since she has always been so warm-hearted during the interactions with her mentees.  Thank you, Irene!