As many of you know, I frequently travel between Ann Arbor and China and come back with a lot of stories. Here are some bits and pieces from my most recent trip:
- One of our valued clients, ADR-ISM Supply Chain Management China held their first conference in Shanghai, and I was able to meet up with my friends CEO Bill Michels and Vice President Cindy Urbaytis. I am glad to see that their organization continues to grow in China by helping companies develop better supply management and procurement strategies.
- I have never been exposed to so much curiosity about Detroit! At least five people asked me if rumors were true about Detroit’s incredibly low real estate property values—someone told me that they heard you can buy two houses in Detroit for the price of a pair of shoes. I later found out that a Chinese national news journalist reported that investors can buy a house for next to nothing near downtown Detroit (see here). Some people are even organizing property shopping spree tours (watch out Mr. Gilbert…here comes your competition)!When I visited in January, everyone (including international mass media) was talking about China’s air quality. It was not good at all—I could barely see things 50 yards away. My friend who moved to Tianjin (30 miles from Beijing) said that he felt like he was living in poisonous environment.
The air quality has improved some since then, but now the environmental news is focused on dead pigs. Over 16,000 dead pig carcasses have been discovered in the Huangpu River.
Logic’s Quantum EH&S software features a module for air quality management. Maybe we should develop one for dead pig management and sell it in China?
- The new leadership in China is pushing full steam to enforce measures against corruption and waste. Now when I go out to dinner with public officials or company executives, they order a more reasonable amount of food and always take home leftovers. I think this is a good thing.
- I read the news that Entertainment Publications filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Entertainment Publications makes the Entertainment Book (it’s filled with great coupons) that organizations sell while fundraising.
On the other hand, Orbitz’s financial performance and stock prices have been going up and up since the beginning of the year. They attribute their success to their focus on mobile strategy—about 30% of orders are processed from the Orbitz mobile app.
I thought to myself…isn’t this the reason that Logic publishes so many materials stressing the importance of mobile strategy?
- The day before I left China, our friends at Tweddle invited me to lunch at a Korean restaurant in Shanghai. At first glance it seemed no different than one of the many Korean restaurants in Shanghai…
I was first impressed by the hostess’ politeness, when she said welcomed us in Korean and then Chinese, but with a strange accent. I asked my friend about her accent, and he told me that is North Korean, and that we were at a real North Korea government-run restaurant in Shanghai. Everyone from the dishwashers to the waitresses are from North Korea. They are all well trained in their manners and language; I was really blown away.
There were all very careful in what they said, but extremely polite and accommodating. When I asked to take some pictures, they said that their leaders don’t allow any photos inside the restaurant, but they agreed to take a photo outside building with me. They specifically pointed out the flag above the restaurant as the symbol of their “great nation.”
- But the most exciting part of my trip happened when I was able to find a streaming video channel to watch the Michigan vs. VCU basketball game live. That pretty much kept me up all night before I came back to the U.S.—winning made it well worthwhile. Go Blue!