Nihao, hello, yo from another part of China!
Time for us, Björn and Malin, to tell you all about our wonderful experience during our stay in the Megacity Shanghai.
The two of us in front of The Bund.
As both of us comes from quite small cities in Sweden, Karlstad and Gävle, arriving in Shanghai meant some transformation. There are skyscrapers everywhere and the city seems to never end. When night falls upon the city it further transforms into a fantastic cascade of different lights, with the most impressive from the famous Bund-view. When we first tried to go by Metro during work-closing-hours, we had a new experience of the concept “Rush-hour”!
A picture from one of the train stations in Shanghai. Busy hours!
We had our homes next to the office, so walking there was just about two minutes, and made it easy for us to find our way in the beginning. Both our apartment and the office were situated around the 20th floor, quite different from our home sites. In the office our colleagues were so welcoming, and helped us with all different sort of things, from were to have the best meals, to book taxis. We were also introduced to all of the different functions that are present in the office. Sales Managers presenting their job, customer service showing what that meant and controllers displaying what it means financially to have a sales office in China.
We also had the opportunity to join colleagues on different trips. We hanged out at an exhibition for medicals at Shanghai’s biggest fair, which was absolutely enormous. We also got the opportunity to see another exhibition for Beauty, where there was a lot of CartonBoard as packaging. It was really amazing at both fairs to see the awesome packaging solutions that can be created with board and paper!
Malin at one of the exhibitions.
We also followed a colleague to a customer where we could see how the converting process function for CartonBoard. The plant contained around 400 employees, with 5 different printers. However, as many things in China compared to Europe and Sweden, this was considered to be quite moderate size, while we thought it was really big. The boss of the plant took his time to show us around the area, and we finished off in his office drinking amazing tea in a typical Chinese way.
Us posing outside of the TP plant in Kunshan.
Besides joining our colleagues on these occasions we also arranged our own visits and educations at one of our major customer, Tetra Pak. First we got the opportunity to go to one of Tetra Pak’s converting factories to see how they take the paper board, and transform it into their packaging material. They educated us in the different processes at their plant, making it easier for us to understand their demands on the paper board.
After this visit we were given the opportunity to see how the material becomes a packaging solution in their filling machines. It was really fascinating to stand beside the machines, watching them produce packages with our paper board, and what possibilities we create together.
We also managed to travel quite a lot. We visited Shenzhen and our colleagues there, and took a common trip to Hong Kong. During this journey we also experienced the Chinese holidays, and how much people that travels at that time as well, quite an experience!
Together with them, Joakim and Christoffer, we also visited Beijing during our stay in China. Most of all we went there to see The Wall, which was as astonishing as one can imagine, but also of course to see The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Both of our trips included a lot of food focus, which was awesome! We tried a lot of different stuff, from Beijing Duck to Pig Brain. The favorite for us is however the concept of Hot Pot. Just totally amazing food!
The four of us at the Great Wall.
We also went on tourist activities in Shanghai. The famous Maglev train runs in Shanghai, from the east side of the river to the international airport. It was quite a futuristic experience, and really cool for two, a bit nerdy, engineers to hope on the train.
We also checked out the lookout floor in the Shanghai tower, the world’s second tallest building, after the one Caroline visited :) There were quite some views from the 118th floor, 552 meters above ground!
Björn enjoying the great view from the 118th floor in Shanghai tower.
We also found these small streets where we could sit down next to locals and enjoy amazing food. At some places they didn’t speak a word English, but we managed with gestures order quite interesting food.
The most impressive, and probably most Shanghai like experience, was the Bund. With a look from the west side of the river to the east, we could see the astonishing skyline. The office took us on a dinner one of the evenings along this coast, enjoying Teppanyaki with a view over the skyline.
We bought handmade shirts at one of the local markets.
Of course we also tried out the shopping malls, where bargaining is an art, and you could find quite innovative copies of so many different stuff.
So what are our impression after trying one month aboard in China? First of all, in Sweden we have really bad copies of Chinese food! Secondly, there are a lot of people in China. The level of visitors at tourist’s attractions is just completely different from what we are used to. Thirdly, people in Shanghai are very helpful and always tried to help us, even when the language was a barrier. Lastly, our colleagues at the Shanghai office are totally amazing! They really gave us insight in what they do, and made sure that we got the time to understand their work, Thank you!
// Björn & Malin