Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Long Day

As you can tell from the recent posts, we had a long but good day Tuesday. This morning we had a company visit to Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. Ltd., the largest beverage company in China and the fifth largest in the world. Wahaha began making a nutritional supplement for children in 1987, and has since expanded into a full beverage line including carbonated drinks, juices, teas, flavored milks, purified water, and yogurt drinks. The company has recently diversified into a children's clothing line and even some mining ventures.

Our visit began with an overview video, followed by a tour through the company's exhibition hall. We next walked through the observation level of a bottling facility, providing an insightful look into the operations of a highly automated plant. Before leaving, we were treated to our selection of Wahaha products. The headquarters facility is located on a large campus away from the center of town, which includes housing facilities for workers in addition to the office space, exhibition and meeting rooms, and manufacturing/bottling facilities.

Our potential afternoon business visit didn't work out, so instead we went to a fun and interesting historical/cultural shopping area called Hefang Street. After that, we went back to the area of our hotel where a large group of us rented bicycles and rode all the way around beautiful West Lake. The scenery was stunning, and we had a lot of interesting interactions with traffic and people in our three-hour ride. While we did this, another group of students took a boat across the lake for a nice dinner on the other side.

Later tonight, the rest of us went to dinner and then a group of us returned to the outdoor Night Market and stopped for bubble tea on the way back to the hotel. Some students have gone out to explore Hangzhou night life one last time. It will make for a very short night, as our bus leaves for Suzhou at 7:30 am.

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