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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 5: Brenna & Kate

On our forth day in Hong Kong, we visited Shenzhen. We went through customs to get to mainland China. It was surprisingly easy and quick. We visited a shopping mall to see what a Carrefour store looks like. Carrefour is a french international hypermarket chain. It is the largest in the world in terms of size. It is similar to a Sam's Club and Walmart. As we entered the store we were blinded by the bright yellow sale signs lining the aisles. Everything seemed to be advertised and have a "special price". The store carries everything from electronics to live frogs to home appliances to apparel. It is basically a large supermarket and department store under one roof. We were able to buy anything we forgot to pack and get snacks.

Dinner was at an amazing restaurant called Peking Garden. We were served a 10 course meal which included things like: jelly fish, Peking duck, pig's knuckle, and soup with chicken feet and eyes. It was interesting to experience such different food from what we are used to. We also got to watch our chef make the noodles from our meal from a piece of dough.

Becca&Lauren: Top Ten (day 3)

After being in Hong Kong for a few days, we have learned so many new things about the culture and lifestyle here.  This is our top ten list of new things we have discovered!

1. Hong Kong is not actually in China.  It is Special Administrative Region, or SAR.
2. Taxi doors open on their own.
3. Sweet and Sour Chicken and Orange Chicken are not authentic Chinese food.
4. Miracle is a candy flavor.

5. Fortune cookies are not eaten here.
6. People drive on the right side of the vehicle and on the left side of the road.

7. Starbucks and McDonald's deliver!
8. In 1999, China gave Hong Kong two panda bears that hate each other.

9. Hong Kong has the largest light show in the world.

10. Hong Kong doesn't have any sales tax.

Becca&Lauren:The Sights We Saw

Sunday was a day full of sight seeing for us.  We started out on a bus tour to the largest Buddha in the world.  The picture above is of Lauren and I with some other friends at the bottom of the Buddha statue.  We couldn't quite get in the air at the same time... but all fun anyway.   We spent an hour checking out this major tourist spot which had lots of shops and traditions before we got back on the bus to ride back down the mountain.  Our tour guide, William, had lots to share about Hong Kong.

After the Buddha, we headed over to Stanley Market- a beautiful market along a shoreline.  We both bought porcelain bracelets for gifts and picked up some candy for the bus ride.  After the market we headed up to Victoria's Peak which is known for its view of the city.  In the picture above we're at the peak looking out over the city.  We are so lucky we got to see these parts of Hong Kong.

After the sun went down we went to watch the light show over the harbor.  Hong Kong has the largest light show that included lights and lasers on buildings across the harbor that starts every night at eight.  The show is synchronized to music and attracted lots of tourists and locals.  After the light show we took a cruise around the harbor on a boat.  Every day has been full of adventure and today we definitely lived up to the excitement of Hong Kong.

Day 4: Brenna & Kate

On Saturday, we were lucky enough to visit several of Hong Kong's tourist attractions: Big Buddha, Stanley Market, and The Peak. Our favorite was Big Buddha. This is a huge statue of a Buddha on Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. The Po Lin Monastery is nearby.

As we were dropped off by bus, we were able to see the Buddha on the top of the mountain. As we walked closer, there was small market of souvenir shops. We walked up 250+ steps to reach the Buddha. At the top, we were able to see great views of the monastery.

We also experienced the Hong Kong Light Show which involves the buildings of the skyline shooting lasers and lights off the roof to music. We also went took a boat tour at night to see the city from the water.

3.28 & 3.29 of our journey- Nikki Kook and Tina Maly

Today we all stuck out like a sore thumb with our cameras out and ready as we toured beautiful Hong Kong. From Big Buddha to the city light show- the views were all incredible. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I hope the photos below accomplish just that..

Today we learned that not only does Li and Fung strive for a profit and value its people, it also focuses on another "P"- the planet. Bruce Bergstrom of LF was kind enough to give us an overview of the social responsibility efforts LF has made thus far. We then ventured across the Hong Kong border to Shenzhen, where we had to pass thru two customs checkpoints. It was a whole different world in main land China! There was no more English signage, which is prevelant in Hong Kong. In Shenzhen, we met with Dawn Jester, a technical designer at Kohl's corporate office. We also had the opportunity to visit a store, which is comparable to a Sams Club in the United States. Some rare sights were: live swimming fish which like to jump out of their tanks and scare unexpected travelers, fresh tea leaves which smell delicious, fruit that's so oddly shaped and full of color that it almost looks fake. Deborah Vinson even bought us some cookies to tide us over on the bus until dinner- THANKS DEBORAH!

Day 5: Factory Visits + Fantastic Food (again) Kelly VG

Ever heard the phrase a picture is worth a thousand words?  That definitely holds true for our travels today... and pictures only tell HALF the story.

Today we visited a high-end cashmere sweater factory in Hong Kong that was established less than 1 yr ago, called Love + Hope.  They pride themselves in being able to produce high-end clothing using cutting edge technology (like RFID tracking on individual garments), providing superior working conditions to factory employees, and maintaining their claim to fame of "100% produced in Hong Kong."  They've already doubled in size since inception.  Talk about a successful business model!

We ended the night with a fantastic dinner at the Jumbo Seafood floating restaurant in Hong Kong.  We literally got to go see the fish swimming before enjoying them for dinner!  The pic above was one of TEN courses, yes TEN, that was part of the traditional Chinese Dim Sum dinner.

We also found lots of goodies at our impromptu stop at the Carrefour grocery store in Shenzhen yesterday... including this frozen barracuda-looking fish with no packaging whatsoever. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sherry & Stephanie - Day 4

Today was a fantastic day full of sightseeing and shopping (after our lovely breakfast presentation by the Fangs).  The highlight of our day of tourism was the Big Buddha, a large bronze statue roughly 33 meters tall.  The statue is set in the mountains of Hong Kong and you have to walk up 250 stairs just to get to the base of the statue.  Once you reach the Big Buddha you can go inside the statue to see the memorial.  The memorial is full of the names and pictures of deceased loved ones, and the monks say a daily prayer over all those souls in the memorial.   Also inside the statue is a small gift shop, which sells items in exchange for donations to the monastery.   A monastery and tourist Hong Kong village are located at the bottom of the hill from the Big Buddha.  After we left the Big Buddha we went shopping at Stanley Market and took pictures from Victoria's Peak to complete our day of tourism. 

John Whiting - Day 3

Today was actually a pretty short day presentation wise.  We heard from a few people from Li and Fung including someone who runs the marketing for Li and Fung for their license with Toys R Us in China, which includes over 100 stores.  Their claim to fame is their star rewards program.  It was interesting to hear how they have made it so successful and how different the Chinese market is to our own. 

Li and Fung actually own a few stores/licenses in addition to their supply chain business.  They own a few Men’s stores that include suits and nice clothing, license for Toys R Us, and a specialty cake store.  They mentioned that one of the parts of the star rewards program with TRU was to send out birthday cards that included a coupon to the cake store they own.  The stores they own fall under the name Trinity. 

After they talked to us about this, they took us to the largest mall in Hong Kong.  They took us to a Toys R Us and the Trinity stores.  The Trinity stores were set up fairly typical of what you see in the US but TRU was very different.  The largest different was the size of the stores.  They are much smaller than what we are use to walking into.

After walking through the mall we were let loose for the day.  A group of us went to a Chinese restaurant on the top floor of the mall, which overlooked the harbor and gave us a great view of Hong Kong.  Later that night a few of us went back to SOHO, the area where they sent us last night for dinner to try the other restaurant that students went to when they split us up, Red SOHO.  The truffled mac and cheese was amazing along with crème brulee and a chocolate layer cake.  The Hong Kong Sevens are here right now, which is a large rugby tournament.  We kept on seeing guys dressed up in crazy outfits like the one shown below. After dinner we decided to take the escalators all the way to the top, only to get an anticlimactic ending of nothing.  At least we can say we went all the way up the largest set of escalators in the world.

Hong Kong in the background
Hong Kong in the background
A cool looking building visible from the patio on the top floor of the mall.
Hong Kong in the background.
A neat looking mall with a lot of jewelry and watch shops.
A guy dressed up as a girl for the HK Sevens
Creme Brulee with chocolate layer cake
The view from atop the set of escalators 

Sara and Danielle

The past three days have flown by!  We have done so many fun things.  On Day 2we got to hear Rick Darnling and Marc Compangnon speak at the Li and Fung offices in Kowloon.  It was so interested and we learned a lot about the company.  We also got to tour all the Li and Fung offices including all of the showrooms of products they have sourced.  Then we got to go out for cocktails and dinner plus got to see some of the Hong Kong nightlife.  
On Day 3 we learned more about LF Retailing and got to visit the biggest Toys R Us in Hong Kong plus hear about their outstanding Customer Loyalty Program.  Later that night we went out for dinner in SoHO and also rode to the top of the mid-level escalator (the longest outdoor escalator in the world).    
On Day 4 we got to see all the great sights in HK.  Including the biggest metal Buddha, the Stanley market and the view from Victoria Peak.  One of the highlights of the tour was our tour guide William.  I don't think he stopped talking for the 3 hours we were on the bus, but we got sooo many interesting facts about both HK and China.  Later that night we say the Symphony of Lights which is a light show on 20 buildings along Victoria Harbor.  And shortly after the light show we went on a junk (boat) in the Harbor.  
On Day 5 we went to Shenzhen and got to hear from the Kohl's technical designers that were visiting from WI.  Plus we got to see a color lab which was really interesting.  After that we went and had one of the most unique meals we have ever had.  Some of the items included: Pig's knuckles, sea blubber (Jellyfish), Peking duck, and even Begger's Chicken (which is wrapped in leaves and mud and then placed in the ground to bake).  We have been having such a wonderful time in HK- we will definitely be sad to leave on Wednesday!

Lauren and Jessie: Day Four- no bore! Heres some more!

A couple from Hong Kong, the fabulous Fang's, are UW alumni,
presented us with an in-depth look at the Asian retail market, which was pretty fly.

After our presentation we hit the streets for a bus tour,
visting Big Budha, Stanley Market, and Victoria Harbor were highlights for sure!

The south side of HK island is filled with international tourists and glam,
we chowed down on some mango gelato, and baguettes with lettuce, tomato and ham!

As the two textile and apparel design majors, we can't wait for the next few days,
visiting sweater factories, and denim mills sounds like heaven in so many ways. 

Well, the sun is shining today, there is no smoggy,
so we must go hit up HK and end this bloggy!

L & J 

ps: Because we have had to borrow Brians computer, our time has been limited. Pictures to come soon! 

Lauren and Jessie- We blog with poems. Okay dokie?

Well, we're back to keep this tradition alive.
We hope blogging poems for you will jive.

Neither Lauren nor Jessie brought computers on this trip,
which would make many people say we're not too hip.
But here we are ready to write,
even if borrowing a computer means getting in a fist fight! (Jk, thanks Brian!)

On Day 3 we learned all about Toys R Us,
in Asia this store is quite the fuss!

People will "Queue" up for 2 days for certain toys,
this market is enormous for girls and boys!

At night we journeyed through Ladies Market and Temple Street,
The jewelry, food, and chopsticks were quite neat!

We had hoped to go out and celebrate the rugby games,
but we were way too tired, everyone felt the same.

Our cab home was a slap happy ride,
we were full of so much laughter we could not hide!

Wonderful day 3 ended with a dip in the pool,
we don't blame you if your jealousy of our trip makes you drool!

Bloggy Smoggy out,

L and J

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nikki & Tina See the Sights

In the morning former Wisconsin Alums Jeffrey and Christine Fang gave us a presentation about business considerations in Asian Retail. It was really interesting to learn how history and culture impacts the business. The social and political climate of China is quite different than what we are used to and there were many laws and norms that we had not even considered. Finally, it was nice to learn about other Asian markets to get a larger context for the area. The presentation was followed by a brunch at the hotel, then we were off to see the sights of Hong Kong.

We had a tour guide ride on our bus for the enitre day. He was pretty hilarious, but also very knowledgeable about the history of Hong Kong. We drove to another island of Hong Kong and switched to a bus that was capable of driving on narrow winding roads. The mountain scenery was gorgeous, but the winding roads started to make me a bit sick. At the top pf the mountain we were able to go see the biggest Buddha in the world. The statue is very famous, and Nicole was especially excited to go see it.

Next we headed down the mountain to see Stanley Market. There they sold products that were over-productions, or had small defects- sort of like a chaotic outdoor outlet. Nikki and I both bought bags there and stamps with our name in Chinese on them, but it was far too short of a trip to Stanley Market. We drove past Bruce Lee's house overlooking the beach as well.

After the market we went to an outlook point and took scenic pictures of the skyline. Finally, we ended the night with a ride on a pirate-style ship around the bay and watched the lighshow on the skyscrapers. The ride was quite comfy and I met some people from Virginia who were very nice.

Day 3- Megan & Kristi

What an AMAZING day! We woke up today and had a great presentation from Jeffrey and Christine Fang, UW alumni who now own a retail company here in Hong Kong. Their presentation really informed us on the environmental, political, and social aspects of Asia that influence retail today. After our presentation we had an afternoon of sightseeing. First, we went to see the Big Buddha. This was a beautiful experience, walking up the 250 steps to get to the foundation of the buddha we realized we haven't walked to class in a few days.. but the walk was more than worth it. The view from Buddha was gorgeous and truly could not be captured in pictures. After Buddha, we went to Stanley Markets, a huge marketplace area, to practice our negotiating skills. With a few bags each we moved on to our last stop, the Peak. This was an outlook point that gave a beautiful view of the entire harbor and city. We ended our night with the Symphony of Lights show and a harbor cruise. I would love to have added some pictures but my computer refuses to cooperate! Next time!

Crash Course in Retailing in China

The Li & Fung Group is quite extensive with individual segments specializing in sourcing, design, retail.

On Saturday we we given an overview of Li & Fung's retail operations which are only focused within China. The retail operations consist of Circle K convenience stores, Saint Honore (a Western inspired bakery goods operation), Trinity (which holds many high-end men's luxury designer names), and the license to all Toys R Us in Asia. With every passing day the operations of Li & Fung Group seem continue to grow yet with so much involvement in many of our lives with the products we purchase it is amazing that this company goes unheard of.  After an informative breakdown of the company structure pertaining the LF Retailing we were given the opportunity to see first hand these retailing operations. Our first stop was Toys R Us and then to the Ocean Terminal which is the largest mall in Hong Kong and is home to much of the Trinity brand portfolio.

For more information on the Trinity Brand Portfolio:

The following day, Sunday, March 28, we had brunch with two UW alum, Jeffrey and Christine Fang, owners of GRI Retail in China. Mr. Fang delivered a crash course on his outlook for the retail sector in China during the next decade and raised awareness to changing governmental policies affecting Chinese consumerism.

After brunch we headed off to our rooms for a quick change of clothing as we were going to be sight seeing the rest of the day. Our first visit was to the Po Lin Monastery, located in Ngong Ping on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. Originally, the Buddhist monastery was built by three monks and was initially called Da Maopeng. In 1924, however, it was renamed Po Lin Monastery. About 70 years later, the Po Lin Monastery has become one of the most renowned and most popular tourist destinations in Hong Kong.

 Tian Tan Buddha also known as the Big Buddha symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by six smaller bronze statues known as "The Offering of the Six Devas" and are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. These offerings symbolize charity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary to enter into nirvana.

Our next stop was Victoria's Peak which sits atop the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. The panoramic vista from the Lion Pavilion is one of the most beautiful scenes in the world, especially at night. Standing upon the pavilion and overlooking the Victoria Harbor and the Kowloon Peninsula, a spectacular view will unfold in front of your eyes. In the background rows upon rows of skyscrapers stand prominently on the Central District which is Hong Kong's financial and economic hub.  


The final stop after our descent from the mountain was Victoria Harbor where we watched the famous Symphony of Lights. The show is a synchronized building exterior decorative light and laser multimedia display, featuring 44 buildings on both sides of the harbor accompanied by music.


~Michael Nemmetz and Brian Reinke