SIB EWMBA: China, hello and goodbye Xi’an

The last three days have been pretty busy. We arrived to Xi’an after a short two hour flight. We were greeted by our cheerful guide Tony “The noodle man”. Our impression of the airport was that it looked really new and Tony confirmed that Xi’an’s new airport opened three weeks ago. On the ride to the hotel we saw some of the new building developments that are now considered “ghost” cities as are all empty. Apparently developers have been hesitant to lower prices, so instead they give your more room, for example buy a two bedroom condo and they give you a third room free. Developers also don’t feel very worried about the empty cities and to understand why this happens, we only need to look at the influx of people in the cities. Xi’an has 8 million people today, of which four are in the city and the rest in the farmland. By 2015, they expect the population to increase by 2 million people and they believe they can get their investment back.

On Sunday, we ventured to see the impressive ruins of the Terra Cotta warriors. The scale of the work done in there is impressive, even more knowing that it’s more than 2000 years old! The group was pretty tired by the end, especially after doing a massive search for one of our lost team members who will remain anonymous :p I was particularly tired, but the hour ride back to the city helped us regain some energy for the next two sights we saw.

The first was a Buddhist garden more than 1000 years old. It’s supposed to be the oldest garden in the world. In it, one can find the Small Pagoda (a 15 story high Buddhist library), a rose garden, a huge bell where you can buy your good fortune, but most of all you can find peace. From there, we ventured to the City Wall which was an extremely memorable experience as we decided to ride bikes on it. How can it get any cooler than riding bikes on top of a thousand year old wall!

In terms of the business visits, this was a very interesting experience and definitively very different than Beijing. We were greeted as an official delegation and we were all impressed by the cordiality. There were a couple of key things we took from it, first is that the government here has a full development plan and it’s extremely interested on getting new businesses. The buildings where they present you with the city’s plans are very professional and something that would even impress Walt Disney. In one presentation they had a huge screen on the wall (probably about 20m high) coordinated by 30 projector that projected on the floor. To me personally, it made me think how much of a difference that the government can make in helping businesses. It’s not about reducing or expanding but an attitude change.

New food micro blog: no new ingredients, but amazing food in the muslim street
Visits: Honeywell, Applied Materials, Gov officials in the High Tech Zone & Economic Development Park

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