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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 22nd

    After nearly two weeks of life abroad, our last full day in China has concluded. It began with a long bus ride, broken only by a trip through customs as we crossed the border between the once British-ruled Hong Kong and mainland China. The two hours were spent in near silence as we all caught up on some sleep. Pictures of the Great Nap were too embarrassing to post here. Our friends on Facebook may be treated to the images however.

    Our destination was the Clever Metals and Plastics Factory, a major producer of picture frames for Kohl’s Department Stores. The factory, while not heavily automated (labor intensive), was incredibly efficient. The approximate output per month was said to be three million pieces, made more impressive by the variety of the frames being produced--the flexible tools at the factory allowed for the use of aluminum, steel, zinc-alloy, and wood as raw materials for the frames. The finishing touches on the products were the most labor intensive. We personally observed the by-hand application of plastic jewels to some more flamboyant frames.

    Following the tour, we ventured forth to our final group meal abroad. The East Sea Seafood Restaurant in Shenzhen was our venue, and the traditional food they served us was a good summary of our diets for the last two weeks. Of note, the final observation of the mysterious orange fish was made. Please whet your appetite with the pictures below...

    After lunch, we headed to our final Li & Fung office visit in Shenzhen. The Li & Fung staff that presented to us worked on the Kohl’s team and presented on the Kohl’s Apparel Production Cycle. Li & Fung manages 28 private and exclusive brands for Kohl’s. We were surprised that Li & Fung has 671 people working with Kohl’s in 25 offices around the world. Li & Fung partners with Kohl’s for close contact with the vendors throughout the process to ensure quality products.

    After going back through customs we had time for a quick dinner and then karaoke. Karaoke in Hong Kong is different from that of karaoke in the US. The main difference was that we got our own room, which was very nice. The room had couches, TVs on every wall, a drum set, and multiple microphones. This was a great group bonding experience and a way for everyone to let loss their last night on the trip.

    It is hard to believe it is our last day and tomorrow we will be flying back to America. We feel fortunate to be apart of this trip, and have memories that will last a lifetime. Not only did we form memories with new friends, but we learned from hands-on experience that will be of assistance in future careers and endeavors. We would like to thank Li & Fung for being gracious hosts, Kohl’s for supporting the trip, the factories that allowed us to go behind the scenes, and the UW faculty who journeyed with us. Thanks for following our trip and we will see you all when we get back. Farewell China and Hong Kong! 

- Jenny Wenzlaff, Avery Wine, & Ben Wood

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