Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Suzhou to Shanghai

We left Hangzhou early this morning to make a 10:30 am meeting with Johnson & Johnson Medical Suzhou, located in the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). SIP is a very large, relatively new development with a strong infrastructure which is quickly becoming a center for technical and life science businesses. There are 113 of the Fortune 500 companies with operations in SIP.

Johnson & Johnson is the world's largest healthcare company. Their Medical Devise and Diagnostic Group operation in SIP began in 2006 with their Indiana-based subsidiary, DePuy. In 2008 they opened a new campus to house several J&J operating comapnies. DePuy's production of orthopedics on the site is on the rise. According to General manager Frederic Caubit, there are currently 500 emplyees. The 69-acre campus may eventually have 4000 workers, and the facility is expected to become DePuy's largets manufacturing facility by 2013. Our J&J visit ended with a tour of the manufacturing facility, hosted by the plant manager.

After the company visit, we stopped at a very nice shopping mall for lunch before heading to Tiger Hill. We were blessed with perfect weather for our visit. Our guide, Jenny, led a tour of the site, which included a hike up to the leaning pagoda. The pagoda was built in about 940 A.D. and has a height of 47.7 metres. Our group was swarmed by a tour group of Chinese people at the top of the hill. Everyone took a lot of pictures and shared a lot of laughs.

From Tiger Hill we went to the Garden of the Master of the Nets. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historical collection of buildings and gardens is quite pretty. It is a Presidential-style "Private Garden." Unfortunately, our tour moved a bit too quickly for me to absorb much of the site's history. I did learn that there is a replica of one of the rooms in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

We had about an hour and a half drive to Shanghai from Suzhou. We arrived just as nite fell, and the city - arguably the world's largest - is quite the site to behold at night. Dazzling lights on many of the buildings, roads lined with red lights, and entire highways bathed in blue light. One of the studetns said it looked like the entire city is Times Square.

We got checked into the Pullman Hotel around 7:00. Everyone is extremely impressed with the beautiful lobby, huge rooms, and fancy bathrooms. We're expecting that our breakfast on the 49th floor will be memorable, too.

Tomight several of us took cabs to O'Malley's for a bite to eat and to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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