On Friday 17th February, myself and my team arranged for CRCC Asia Beijing Program Participants to spend a day away from their company internships to visit two food & beverage factories in the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA).

TEDA was one of China’s first state-level development areas. Since being set up in 1984, it has welcomed investment projects from 84 different countries. Of the many different companies present in the area, we visited Otsuka Holdings Ltd and Ting Hsin Group to understand more about their food production process.

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The Japanese firm Otsuka Holdings owned the first factory we visited. The factory was purposed to produce a popular ion rehydration drink, Pocari Sweat. The CRCC Asia participants received a warm welcome and were toured around the state-of–the-art factory.

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The large Chinese conglomerate Ting Hsin group owned the second factory we visited. This factory produced Master Kong instant noodles. A food product that is so popular amongst a lot of Chinese people and a staple for anyone who has taken a train journey through the Middle Kingdom.

In both factories, the group were able to carefully observe the production process from start to finish and they were able to experience the true scale of both productions, which produced 1000s of products every hour.

The trip was planned for the students to experience and better understand one of the key economic drivers in China’s extraordinary growth. With a vast labour pool, less compliances and low production costs, China has become the ‘workshop of the world’ in the years following its opening up. As the world’s largest trading nation, China recorded a $509.96 billion trade surplus in 2016. The factory visits gave the students an opportunity to experience the scale of this operation.

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Following the factory tours the group had lunch at a nearby local restaurant before venturing off to Taku Forts to learn about a battalion that was on the line of defence against the French and British imperial invaders during the Opium Wars. After that we all visited a park where some were lucky enough to win some prizes on the riverside activities. The group then finally headed back to Beijing, the nation’s capital.

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