China Trek 4 | Shenzhen – part 2

From 20-26 April 2024, 23 participants from Cambridge Judge Business School’s EMBA 2022 cohort embarked on a week-long Trek through China. The aim of the Trek was to explore business opportunities, promote cultural exchanges and identify educational collaborations. The journey combined innovation, tradition, business, and cross-cultural engagement, offering unique experiences and unforgettable moments.

Written by Chad Toerien (EMBA 2022)

Day 5 | A technological odyssey (continued)

WEAI: battery charging innovations

WEAI displayed how they solve a novel problem that everyone experiences at some point in their day – a dead phone battery with nowhere to charge. We met the CEO, who shared how their company has created a network of charging stations that allow people to “rent” a portable charging battery pack at their closest station, use it, and return it to another station along their journey. These stations double up as electric vehicle charging stations, increasing their utility. This nimble start-up is an example of China’s robust start-up scene and advanced transition to the electric vehicle future.

North-eastern cuisine: a culinary adventure

One of my memorable experiences was dining like a local. Guided by Anyu and his cousin, we visited an authentic North-eastern restaurant, enjoying warm flavours from a region of China that gets some of the coldest temperatures in the country—a must-try if you visit China.

Group dinner at North-eastern cuisine restaurant

Day 6 | Following the money: from capital injection to execution

Shenzhen Capital Group: investing in tomorrow

A leading investment firm, Shenzhen Capital Group, has returns that rival those on Wall Street. Mr. Liu shared insights into the pivotal role that Shenzhen Capital played in helping finance the tech giants that exist there today through their innovation fund, ‘Red Soil.’ As we delve into finance and entrepreneurship, we were inspired by the potential for growth and prosperity that lies – and what felt like within – our grasp.

DJI: elevating perspectives

Our visit to the world-leading consumer drone company, DJI. We had the privilege of touring their extensive exhibition hall, witnessing the evolution of their products, from traditional consumer drones to revolutionary applications in agriculture and conservation. From spraying on crops pesticides to tracking animal migrations in Africa, DJI’s drones are not just tools – they are positively impacting the world.

DJI evolution of products

BYD: driving towards a sustainable future

One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to BYD. Our journey started with an unexpected turn as our coach broke down on the highway. We were rescued in record time by the team at BYD, who transported us to their headquarters close by. As a fan of EVs (electric vehicle), I was captivated by their exhibition space and showroom. From cutting-edge battery safety to autonomous driving technology, and their wall of patents, which left an impression on me that BYD are going to lead the way with EV technology. Anyu took the wheel of one of their luxury SUV models, which can autonomously turn 360 degrees. Viewing some of their exclusive-to-China luxury models, we were given further glimpses of the possibilities ahead. After the showcase, Professor Albert Wu shared his insights into the future of mobility, his time at Huawei, and his thoughts on Chinese innovation, which was an eye-opening experience at the end of our trip.

As we wrapped up our trip, we enjoyed the last cultural visit at a traditional Chinese spa where we enjoyed local fruit, karaoke, Chinese board games, delicious food, and spa treatments. During our dinner, we all took turns reflecting on our highlights and expressed our huge thanks to the organising committee. The trek presented a well-rounded experience exploring the diversity that China has to offer. Our discussions and demonstrations provided insights into how these companies are not just participating in the tech industry but actively driving its evolution. These visits highlighted Shenzhen’s unique trajectory – from a modest fishing town to a world-class city of technological marvels.

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