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A Journey in China

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Day 1: Wednesday May 4

First Day in China, the sky is not blue. The streets in Beijing are tremendously wide. The first impression and also the first question that I had was: where are the 70 millions habitants that compose this city? My level of joy and happiness were outstanding by the reality.

Day 2: Thursday May 5

Today we went to one of the biggest and most valuable company in the world: Nokia China. What marked me is to see, hear and attend to an amazing situation where china is overpowering his greatness through his people and company.

Nokia is one of the biggest company in the world, know for being the top leader of the mobile pone market for almost 15 years, they have been dethrone from their seat with the arrival of many competitor in every areas of the mobile phone. The Smartphone's Era bring down the company to be the number 8th mobile phone company in the world now. Though, they own 9 factories in the world, and have between 70 and 80 millions of devices in service in the world. The reason that Nokia China was an interesting visit is because Nokia has 3 Research developments centre: one in Finland, another one in the Silicon Valley, and the last one in Beijing.

The power of Nokia is to be close to the market, means they have an excellent understanding of the local market. But they also wanted to show that their competitive advantage was not limited to marketing knowledge. One of their fierce assets is their leadership in hardware, as the speech man drops twice his Nokia's cell phone on the floor as a proof of solidity. Yet. In the first quarter of 2011, China represents 27% of the global net sales and 22% of the device in volume (compare to Europe who represents 29% of the net sales and 22% of the device volume).

To measure the size and the importance of china for Nokia, we can see that Nokia had build 2 factories in china: It is one of the Research and development centre, with 14 000 employees. As the size of the Chinese market is almost the same as the one in Europe, Nokia cannot let down such a big part of his cake: 30% of the market share in china, competing with Samsung the second leader in China with 20% of the market share.

The truth is that Nokia has been doing a policy of "Catch-Up". They created many platforms and software to respond a demand of the new generation who uses more internet and all the softwares connected to internet such as social network application: Ovi Store and moving map were created by Nokia to counter the AppStore and Maps applications created by Apple.

Indeed, the future of the mobile phone is oriented to the Smartphone. And competitors such as Apple and HTC are very though for Nokia because Nokia had one, and only one huge problem: "Symbian". This program to develop the system in their mobile is almost older than me; it has made their success in the past but it is way too old now to build smartphones.

Therefore, one of our questions was what is the strategy of Nokia for the next 5 years: "Smartphone - 3 billions people without phone - Investing in future". As they know their weaknesses, Nokia is working now with Microsoft to build new software that they will be able to use for they Mobile phone. The second point of their strategy is to aim the people who don't have a mobile phone. This market represents almost 3 billions of people in the world: Basic mobile phone is mainly the top product sold this people. And of course their last strategy is to invest a large amount of money to develop new programs and new phones for the future users. The visit at Nokia China was very interesting as we were able to ask every question we wanted about all the business strategy and company's troubles. But the only thing that I regret was that we didn't go into the testing lab or factory, to see how Nokia manages this very big site.

But socially it is so different. Indeed their culture is so different but not so different from mine. The patriotism in this country is amazingly high, for instance I made a mistake today by saying to someone "our china" in Chinese mandarin; china does not belong to me or to we, china belongs to china, it is a way of life, it is a level of commitment, it is one part and only belongs to his subject as one nation.

After the Nokia's meeting, we went to the CITS (Chinese international travel service) a very short visit but it leads me to make one of the most interesting meetings: Wang Xiao Juan. To summarize with few words, CITS is making money through his visa services and also all the duty free shops that it owns in several airports. But as the numbers and figures rolled out of Peter Zhang's mouth, one person caught my attention. Wang Xiao Juan is working at the CITS, and with a blitz good impression she gave to me her business card sharing a look that last at least 10 seconds (it seems that they last forever). She took me out this evening to Wangfujin Street and all its secret alleys and markets. She told me about Beijing and I told her about France and Australia. At that point I realize how much my image of china was so wrong.

Day 3: Friday May 6

Today, we discover a company called "I&G" China National Investment & Guaranty co., LTD. Their role is to provide a credit guarantee to SME and Foreign companies. This area wasn't familiar to me. I did understand that I&G guarantee the bank the payment of the credit by the SME or other client. It was pretty much interesting to see such a new company doing well, except that the product is not well known on the market and it is pretty much hard to promote and communicate on it, as they don't spend much money on marketing their product. But the good point is that, because I&G is institution accredited by the government, they benefits of the government aura and guanxi who brings foreign companies to them.

Day 4: Saturday May 7 - I become a Man

The Great Wall - Mantinyu: I become a Man today. It's the first day that we went to visit one of the uncountable monument in China. It was such an honour and such a pleasure to finally step on the biggest man enterprise. I knew before we got there that the Great Wall was build to push back the repeated attack from the Hun's Mongolian. But that day was very special to me because it was the first time that I felt the History of china synchronising with me...

The great wall is not famous for its architecture or either its aestheticism, but for its history and its power to gather the whole china against a common enemy. It is the backbone of china. It is the glue of the nation. The edifice is extremely hard



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