We woke up to a bright, beautiful and warm morning in Shanghai. The nice weather was greatly appreciated as the Delegation was up and out early, traveling to the Shanghai Pudong Software Park (Park). The Park is only 12 years old and is currently home to 1,086 companies. Two of these companies are in Forbes’ Top 20. Additionally, companies such as Citi, Texas Instruments, Olympus, Sony, Kyocera, Tell Labs and Qualcomm, each have offices within the Park.
During our visit we were taken to the first location and given a short presentation describing the size of the Park, the various campuses that comprise the Park and the development cost of each campus. After the presentation, we traveled to a second location which was quite stunning, as it contained a central lake surrounded by several buildings and beautiful landscaping. The lake contained docks that were staffed with paddle and small motor boats. Interestingly, the campus was very quiet; there was very little activity, at least on the outside, and strangely, we saw very few people during our visit.
After completing our visit to the Park, the Delegation traveled to a restaurant in downtown Shanghai specializing in Peking duck. The duck arrived after course number two, each course being anywhere from 2-3 different dishes, and was followed thereafter, by four additional courses. Favorites among the Delegation included the duck skin and meat, which were presented on separate plates, deep-fried fish in red sauce, and wheat rolls stuffed with duck. I particularly enjoyed the spicy jellyfish, which was a new experience for me.
After lunch, we boarded a bus to travel to the town of Suzhou. Suzhou was founded in 514 B.C. and its history dates back more than 2,500 years. Suzhou is frequently referred to as the “Venice of the East” or the “Venice of China” for its beautiful canals and stone bridges. Suzhou also has a number of magnificent gardens. In fact, several of Suzhou’s classical gardens were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.
Upon our arrival in Suzhou we were taken to Dushu Lake Hotel. The hotel blends traditional Suzhou architecture with cutting-edge contemporary design. There is a beautiful story the locals tell regarding Dushu Lake:
“Ancient stores tell the tale
of a small branch that fell
from the moon into the lake
and grew into a large single-branch there.
Locals believe that those who live
around the lake will be
Blessed with happiness.”
The hotel is located in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). The SIP is the largest cooperative project between the Chinese and Singapore governments. SIP covers an area of 288 square kilometers, of which, the China-Singapore cooperation area covers 80 square kilometers.
After a wonderful buffet dinner, the Delegation was treated to a nighttime cruise on Jinji Lake.
Tomorrow the Delegation will participate in the 2012 China Service Outsourcing Innovation Development and Investment Promotion Summit and China-Europe CIO Summit.
In addition to reporting on the day’s activities, I thought it might be interesting to profile some of the people comprising the Delegation. Therefore, I will try in each blog to introduce you to one or two people in the Delegation.
Delegate Spotlight: Thomas Gephart from Irvine, California, US.
Tom is the founder and managing partner of “Ventana,” which is Spanish for “window”. Ventana was founded in 1974 and is a leading multi-stage equity firm. Specifically, Ventana invests in the best of breed innovative companies with technology products and services that meet the challenging global demands of commercial industrial, technological, federal, and international customers. Most impressively, Ventana has provided more than 30 years of syndicated financing for 100 plus portfolio companies totaling 3.2 billion US dollars from Southern California to Latin America, and Europe to Asia.
Tom has an engineering degree and worked for several years for Hughes Aircraft and then TRW, Inc. After TRW, Tom was hired to find and develop new products for AMP, Inc. After AMP, Tom started his own electronic components business that ultimately had two divisions. Three years after Tom started his business he sold it and founded Ventana.
Tom is currently working on forming a China-US strategic alliance and innovation region cross-border fund and hopes to launch the fund later this year. In working on forming this fund, Tom has observed that the Chinese government seems particularly interested in moving technology to China, and once here has no problem paying for its commercial development. Specifically, in Tom’s opinion, the Chinese government is interested in things that are “explosive” and beneficial to Chinese society and is willing to pay for them. Once this China-US fund has been completed, Tom hopes to form a similar fund between India and the US.
Delegate Spotlight: Martin Venzky-Stalling from Hamburg, Germany.
Martin works as a senior advisor for the Technology Development Center for Industry (TDCI) at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Martin’s role with TDCI is to assist with the development of a Science and Software Park and creating links between government, universities and private sectors. In addition to the Science and Software Park project, Martin also supports the local government with a creative economy initiative called, “Chiang Mai Creative City.” This initiative aims to establish Chiang Mai as the international center for creative industries, including software, crafts, and graphic design.
Prior to moving to Chiang Mai, Martin was Senior Vice President for International Operations at PCCW (Hong Kong Telecoms), Director of Consulting at Ovum in London and Associate Director with the Global IT, Communications, and Entertainment (ICE) Strategy Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Martin specializes in strategy development, market entry, technology enabled business transformation, and launching new entities.
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