Today was our first full day in Hong Kong with company visits. We started the morning with breakfast in the hotel. The options included: various dim sum items, western items, rice and noodles, and delicious brownie-muffin! Dim yuuuum! Following breakfast we boarded our bus, driven by the “second best bus driver in Hong Kong,” and headed for coffee and our first stop.
Hong Kong Greater Chamber of Commerce
At our first stop at the HKGCC, we met former WTO representative Tony Miller who introduced us to the relationships between Hong Kong and China in the area of commerce. The presentation included a history and geography lesson on the trade practices in China over the past 2000 years and the influence Hong Kong had upon it. One of the more memorable points of the presentation was the major effect that waterways had upon China’s trade routes and developments. The three dividing rivers in China were part of the reason for increases in trade and settlement over time. Our next stop was the Hong Kong International Terminal.
Hong Kong International Terminal (HIT)
No, HIT is not in the airport, but it does play a strong role in transportation. HIT facilitates the transfer of goods between major ports all around the world. HIT employs about 1500 permanent employees at the Hong Kong branch alone, who monitor the logistics and weather patterns associated with large containers of goods. HIT is located all over the world, but does not run any ports in the US or Japan. It was explained that US ports designate specific berths for each docked slip but HIT does not. This difference dictates where HIT runs ports. In Hong Kong, due to the lack of developable land and space restraints, HIT has reclaimed part of the water to stack 7-9 containers on top of each other. This is much higher than most ports. There are 40+ cranes, some of which are hybrid. We were also fortunate to have a bus tour of the yard. After HIT, we had lunch at a Hong Kong dim sum restaurant and then went to our final tour of the day, CREE.
At CREE we were hosted by Chris Plunket, an NC State graduate and childhood friend of Professor Andy “I ride my bike in wooden dutch clogs” Haile. This company specializes in LED technology and the design, manufacture, and sales of their products. While there, we were split into two groups. Each group was shown virtual tour of the manufacturing facility in China as well as demonstration and presentation on the differences of lighting and LED options. This company seems to be very hands on with their growth and operations in Asia. For example, CREE supplied the lighting for the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube facilities of the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing. Interestingly, CREE is located in Hong Kong and manufactures in China out of logistical necessity for selling their products in Asia. However, they have their headquarters and major R and D in Durham, NC. After the presentation, we were taken to the rooftop of CREE’s very “green” building. The views were amazing. We finished our tour with a group photo.
On the bus ride home, Mike, our tour guide, read a couple of palms. Savannah, may die soon, Crystal is destined for six lovers, and Erin is going to have a career change. Of course, Mike is only a part-time palm reader, so he may be wrong. Either way, our day was busy and fun.