Return to the US

Hong Kong was my last destination on my trip to China.  From there I flew back to the U.S.

Because the primary purpose of this trip was business, I traveled without my wife or family.  Because of that I felt quite lonely at times, particularly on the sight-seeing portions of the trip.

Certainly the highlights of the trip were the work portions:  seeing our product being manufactured in Shinzhen, and working with our software team in Dalian.


In Hong Kong

View from my hotel room



The hotel I stayed in in Hong Kong had a tiny room with no place for a laptop, so it was inconvenient to write anything there.  So I’m actually writing this at home upon my return.

I traveled from Shinzhen to Hong Kong on Friday morning.  It was faster than I had thought–only slightly over an hour from hotel to hotel.

I wasn’t very happy with the size of the room.  There was barely room for two single beds;  no closet, no tables.  But it had a great view of Hong Kong harbor.  (See above.)

After I got settled, I decided to explore the neighborhood.  The hotel is actually located in a quaint Chinese neighborhood filled with small food shops, each specializing in one type of food:  vegetables, fruit, or–predominant near my hotel–fish markets.

I ate lunch in the hotel–chinese noodles with beef–and then set out to find the hotel’s concierge.  The hotel has an unusual layout, although probably not too unusual for Hong Kong where land is at a premium and everything is vertical.  There is a covered driveway on the ground floor that is so small that once a vehicle drives in, they use a turntable to turn it around so it can drive out.  The restaurant is on the 3rd floor, and the lobby is on the 5th floor.

So I went down to the driveway to find the concierge.  I found out there is a free shuttle bus that takes you to a few interesting places.  I rode it to the area where the Star Ferry is located, and rode the ferry to Kowloon.  I wandered around Kowloon for some time.  I had thought to stay for dinner but it was too early and I was tired of walking.  So I took the ferry back and ate in a huge mall associated with the IFC (International Finance Center) currently the tallest building in Hong Kong.

The next day, (Saturday) I explored the neighborhood in more detail.  I located a place called the “cooked food market.”  I decided to come back at lunch time and see what it was liked.  I also found a very nice restaurant sort of on the edge of the neighborhood that I targeted for dinner.

The “cooked food market” turned out to be a kind of traditional version of the food court common in American shopping malls.  It was essentially a room with tables in the middle and food vendors around the four walls.  One stall sold Indian food which I would have had, but the proprietor was nowhere to be found.  So I ended up having chicken and rice.  The owner kindly read the menu to me in broken English, since it was only written in Chinese.

After lunch I took a guided tour of the city.  We went up to Victoria peak–the highest mountain on the island–and down the backside to Aberdeen Bay.  It seemed most stops were at tourist-trap places to buy souvenirs.

In the evening I returned to the fancy restaurant I had found in the morning;  I had sweet and sour shrimp.




Day 11 — In Shinzhen

Shops near my hotel in Shinzhen

The purpose of my trip to Shinzhen was to visit the Foxconn factory, which I did yesterday.  I had scheduled two days just to allow for unforeseen problems or opportunities, neither of which happened.

So on Thursday I am at loose ends.  I walked around the neighborhood of the hotel for a while but otherwise rested.  My leg is sore, primarily from climbing the steep portions of the Great Wall, but also from much walking in Beijing, and standing in the Foxconn factory.


Day 10 — At Foxconn

Today I went to the Foxcon to see the assembly lines.

I expected to see the product lines for one or more of our products;  I did see that in it was quite amazing to see the efficiency with which it works.

I would like to go into more detail but I probably shouldn’t.  The operation is kept quite secret as are the details of new devices.  See for a video about Apple’s operations at the same facility.  I am told that the wages and working hours for our Foxconn employees as well as those of Apple have been improved because of the publicity raised about Apple.  I would also say I didn’t see any bad working conditions–other than boredom–associated with the work here.  Nor did I see any children or young teenagers on the line.
I expected to spend a couple of hours and ended up spending the whole day–mostly watching them debug problems with the new line.  It was a fascinating experience.