Meet Jean and Edward, two wonderful people from ABV that have been taking such good care of us. They sort out where we eat, address any questions, ensure we have what we need and basically make sure we don’t get lost, in trouble or starve. They have been truly wonderful and have made sure that we have experienced the best that Gangzhou and Foshan provides. The restaurants that they have taken us to have been great and I have posted many of the great dishes we have been eating. Its been down to them with the choices of dishes that we have eaten, they have made sure we experience the local cuisine.
Not sure what we would have done at some of the restaurants we have eaten at, since some of the menus are without pictures.
Not sure what we would have done without Jean and Edward. Thank you!
Its amazing to think that its three weeks since Jim, Karen, Anatolie and I met at JFK to start our journey to China and the Smarter Cities Challenge! We have done and experienced so much of the culture and certainly the food! We have also worked together as a team to build our recommendations that we are now finalizing into a report that we shall be sharing with the Director of BEIT tomorrow. So we are working with the translators to translate the core sections of the report. Jean very kindly bought in for us some wonderful freshly baked egg custard tarts to keep us going. Once we have had the meeting tomorrow we shall be on the home stretch with only some fine tuning and packaging to be done for the final presentation to the Mayor on Thursday – at least that’s what we hope!
The weekend was spent working and we didnt have opportunity to do any more site seeing although a few of us decided to have a Chinese massage which was heaven. It made it difficult to get back to work but we did.
After a long week we first met up on the 50th floor to have a drink before going out for dinner
We all wanted to get out and walk around Foshan, so we walked around before having a great noodle supper…. There are many unusual shops or perhaps I should say different shops. The following is a picture of a Tea shop, what you see is a shelf of different teas, the older they are the better. The ones in this photo are from 2005
Then going to the extreme – who would have thought you would find a Hello Kitty Cafe!
On Tuesday we participated in a community service project which turned out to be a great success. We partnered with Nanhai Youth League and held a workshop with 50+ young entrepreneurs from Nanhai Junior Chamber. The Six of us from the ESC and Kenny Guo, GM of IBM South China, had a very lively conversation for the whole afternoon.
Karen kicked off the discussion with an IBM transformation story, followed by Kenny’s introduction of IBM in China. It inspired great interests from the audience. Questions came one after another, ranging from IBM’s offerings for SMBs, service innovation, leadership development, e-commerce, and marketing etc. A perception that IBM is for large companies and that we only sell Hardware is a consistent theme I see in many conversations. This type of event helps to break down those myths and demonstrate to these companies that we have solutions to help make their companies smarter and increase their efficiency
Those young entrepreneurs were interested in further relationships with IBM. The Local IBM team, including Foshan Branch and GB team, also participated in the workshop. The afternoon was followed by dinner and the heat of the conversation went even higher during the dinner.. Both sides had planned follow-up activities in coming weeks.
It was a great experience for the team to meet with such talented people, a very impressive group of young entrepreneurs
On Saturday we left Foshan, and visited an area known as Kaiping Diaolou – a World Heritage Site. The villages were developed in a relatively recent time in China’s 5,000 year history. The tour celebrates the remnants of these expats returning home after living abroad during the early 1900’s. With the earnings from their success abroad, they built these buildings – partly as a display of their new found wealth, and partly to guard against bands of marauders looking for a quick buck. This leaf was one of many – often larger than a basketball, flourishing in a garden next to one of the towers.
This student/teacher relationship got me thinking about what I used to tell my kids: “the key to life is balance” – but this little man was taking it to the next level! We visited the Foshan Ancestral Temple and around the back of this courtyard is a museum exhibit to all the grand masters of Wing Chun, including Yip Kai-man and Bruce Lee. Although they spent a considerable amount of time perfecting and socializing their skills in nearby Hong Kong (now about 60 minutes away via a new subway to Guangzhou and high speed rail link to HK) it all started right here at their birth place in Foshan. The night before our visit I rented Ip Man for the team, which crystallized the role that the Kung Fu tradition plays here. Beyond the sport, spiritual and self defense aspects – there is certainly an educational system metaphor waiting to be burnished in here…
Foshan is a city that is experiencing massive growth. It is ranked as the number one most competitive city in China among it’s peers of prefecture-level cities, and the 8th overall by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences It’s no wonder that the world is flocking to it’s 5 districts – and the place is booming with construction to support the opportunities here. The Smarter Cities challenge team has spent the past week researching the rapid urbanization and the systems that support it including the changes in the quality of life for it’s citizens. Around every corner there is something new to learn and experience – last night I saw some cement trucks doing a pour after dark. It’s been so hot that the cement would set-up too quickly during the day. All in a day’s work…