By Robbert van der Linden, Wednesday 30 April 2008

The theme of this study tour is “China: from Silk Road to Silicon Valley”. Ancient China is well known for its great inventions. With breakthroughs like the compass and papermaking it was a great scientific nation. In the 20th Century China became well known for its cheap mass production and at this moment China is changing more and more to a country that develops high-tech products by itself. During the tour we will examine the results of these developments.

The aim of the study tour is to map the characteristic qualities that China shows with regard to the development of (electro)technical products. We will focus on the different phases that occur in the process from idea to final product. For this you can think of research, development, design, production and (after)sales. For all these steps we will discover how they are implemented in China, and what we can learn of this. In a larger point of view we will stimulate the participants to face challenges with a broader perspective.

By Anton de Koning, Wednesday 30 April 2008

During the study tour, which will be held over a period of three weeks, we will visit the surroundings of the cities Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The study tour will start on the 21st of February 2009, and will have 26 participating electrical engineering students, as well as two supervisors from the department. Technical as well as cultural locations will be visited. The ratio between cultural and scientific excursions will be around 40% - 60%. During the 3 week tour 4 days will be mainly occupied by travelling between different regions. The study tour is organized by 7 students of the electrical engineering study association Thor.

The study tour will start with a flight to Beijing. We will spend 5 days in Beijing. During this time plan we to visit some high-tech companies in this region. We hope that well-known companies like Siemens, Intel or Nokia will be among them, but we are also looking to visit some characteristic Chinese companies in this region. Aside from the companies we will bring a visit to famous sights such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. The Forbidden City is the world’s largest preserved palace complex. It and covers 72 ha and is located in the middle of Beijing. It now houses the Palace Museum. The Temple of Heaven is a large Temple set in gardens and surrounded by pine woods. It is a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design.

From Beijing we will travel to Shanghai by night train. We will spend 7 days in Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou, all in the surroundings of Shanghai. Shanghai is the sister City of Eindhoven. We plan to visit some high-tech companies situated here like the Philips Research Lab for example, but we have also planned to visit a typical Chinese mass-production company in here. For the cultural part of the tour we will visit the Oriental Pearl Tower, the tallest tower in Asia. In Nanjing we will visit the Sun Yatsen Mausoleum. As the mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of the Republic of China, it is considered the Holy land of Chinese people both home and abroad. In Hangzhou we will visit the Zhejiang University, a partner university of the TU/e.

Next we will travel into the direction of Hong Kong, where we will first spend 3 days in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, followed by 2 days in the city center of Hong Kong. For the last 30 years Shenzhen has been one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is now a major manufacturing centre. We will use all days to visit some of the many high-tech companies situated here. The last days will be spend in Hong Kong where we will visit Victoria Peak, which will offer us spectacular views over central Hong Kong, the harbor and surrounding islands. Also we are looking if it is possible to visit the Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station, the largest commercial nuclear power plant of China with a capacity of almost 2000 MW.

By Anton de Koning, Wednesday 30 April 2008

This program is just an impression of what the trip will look like so it is subjected to change.
Week 1: Beijing
Friday20 FebruariDeparture to Beijing
Saturday21 FebruariArrival in Beijing
Sunday22 FebruariCultural Excursion: Forbidden City
Monday23 FebruariSpare time
Scientific Excursion: NXP Semiconductors
Tuesday24 FebruariCultural Excursion: Great Wall
Wednesday25 FebruariScientific Excursion: NXP Chip
Scientific Excursion: KEMA
Thursday26 FebruariCultural Excursion: Temple of Heaven
Spare time
Friday27 FebruariDeparture to Shanghai
Week 2: Shanghai
Saturday28 FebruariCultural Excursion: Oriental Pearl tower
Sunday01 MarchSpare time
City Trip
Monday02 MarchScientific Excursion
Scientific Excursion: Philips Research
Tuesday03 MarchVisit to Jiaotong University
Scientific Excursion: NXP Headquartes
Wednesday04 MarchScientific Excursion: Siemens ZPMC
Thursday05 MarchHangzhou: Visit to Zhejiang University
Friday06 MarchScientific Excursion: Supercon
Cultural Excursion: West lake
Saturday07 MarchDeparture to Shenzen
Week 3: Hong Kong
Sunday08 MarchShenzhen: Spare time
Monday09 MarchShenzhen: Scientific Excursion
Shenzhen: Scientific Excursion
Tuesday10 MarchShenzhen: Scientific Excursion
Departure to Hong Kong
Wednesday11 MarchHong Kong: Spare time
Hong Kong: Victoria Peak
Thursday12 MarchHong Kong: Scientific Excursion
Hong Kong: Scientific Excursion
Friday13 MarchDeparture to the Netherlands

Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. With it’s (approximately) 8.5 million residents it is the second biggest city of China (after Shanghai, which we will also visit). Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also recognized as the political, educational, and cultural centre of the People's Republic of China. Last but not least the city, which is a sister town of Amsterdam, is even more well-known because it hosts the 2008 summer Olympics.

In eastern Asia capitals often have names with a very literal meaning. Bei is translated to ‘north’ and Jing to ‘big town’ which translates Beijing to ‘the northern capital’. Beijing is full of technology with amongst others the China headquarters of Siemens, the R&D centre of Intel and Nokia and the training centre of Airbus.

In Beijing you will see many different types of buildings but most of them can be classified in three main styles. The first is the traditional architecture of imperial China which can be seen in the Forbidden Town, the Gate of Heavenly Peace and the Temple of Heaven. Next there is what is sometimes referred to as the "Sino-Sov" style, built between the 1950s and the 1970s, which tend to be boxy, bland, and poorly made. Finally, there are much more modern architectural forms, most noticeably in the area of the Beijing Central Business District.

Over 95% of Beijing's residents belong to the Han Chinese majority. The ethnic minorities include the Manchu, Hui, and Mongol. A Tibetan high school exists for youth of Tibetan ancestry, nearly all of whom have come to Beijing from Tibet expressly for their studies.

A sizable international community exists in Beijing, mostly attracted by the highly growing foreign business and trade sector, and many live in the Beijing urban areas densely populated northern, northeastern and eastern sections. In recent years there has also been an influx of South Koreans who live in Beijing predominantly for business and study purpose.

With the growth of the city following economic reforms, Beijing has evolved as an important transportation hub. Encircling the city are five ring roads, nine expressways and city express routes, eleven China National Highways, several railway routes, and an international airport. Despite this infrastructure the city is still known for its big traffic jams and the smog that’s in the air. They say that this problem will be solved before the start of the Olympics by making even more highways and public transport facilities.

The moderate temperature at the time we will be visiting Beijing is -3 °C at night and about 7 °C at daytime. Not very warm but at least it is almost always dry at this time of the year

Shanghai is the biggest city in China. With its 14.6 million residents it houses almost as much people as the whole Netherlands. The literal meaning of ‘Shanghai’ is ‘at sea’ and that is exactly where it lies. Shanghai hosted the 2007 Summer Special Olympics. Although not comparable with the normal Olympics it was still the biggest sports event of 2007.

Since 2005 the port of Shanghai is the largest in the world, because it has outgrown the port of its sister town Rotterdam. With this huge port and all the companies settled in Shanghai, it is the trading and financial centre of China. The enormous economical growth that China is going through is the most visible here. There are many modern skyscrapers and the modern living style of the residents is clearly visible. Shanghai has the status of ‘Special Economical Zone’ which means that the government allows investments of foreign companies and also doesn’t meddle with the activities of these and other companies.

In Shanghai we will find many things related to electrical engineering. For example one of the biggest power plants in China, and the R&D departments of AMD and Lenovo.

Shanghai has been controlled by many different powers. This includes Japan, during World War II, which left traces that you can still see at some places.

The tallest tower in Asia, the distinctive Oriental Pearl Tower, is located in Shanghai. Its lower sphere is now available for living quarters, starting at very high prices. The Jin Mao Building located nearby is mainland China's tallest skyscraper, and ranks fifth in the world.

In contradiction to Beijing, Shanghai has cleaner streets, less pollution and the public transport system is much more extensive. It has the world’s largest bus system with nearly one thousand bus lines and it has the first commercial magnetic train in the world that travels at 430km/h. Another remarkable thing is the longest bridge in the world connecting Shanghai with the Yangshan Islands.

When we visit Shanghai the temperature will be about 3 °C at night and about 10 °C at daytime which is a little warmer than in Beijing. Rain can also be expected a little more than in Beijing though, but it is still nothing compared with the rainfall at summertime.

Hong Kong is one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China (the other one is Macau). Under the policy of "one country, two systems", the Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defense and foreign affairs, while Hong Kong Government maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration policy, and delegates to international organizations and events. The currency used in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar. The name "Hong Kong", which literally translates to "fragrant harbour", is derived from the area around present-day Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island. This is an area where fragrant wood products and fragrant incense were once traded. Hong Kong's official languages are Chinese and English; signs in both languages are omnipresent throughout Hong Kong. The government, police and most workplaces and stores conduct business bilingually.

The Hong Kong special administrative region encompasses a collection of 262 islands and peninsulas in the South China Sea. While Lantau is the largest island, Hong Kong Island is the second largest and the most populated. Ap Lei Chau is the most densely populated island in the world.

Hong Kong maintains a highly capitalist economy built on a policy of free market, low taxation and government non-intervention. It is an important centre for international finance and trade, with the greatest concentration of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region. In terms of gross domestic product per capita and gross metropolitan product, Hong Kong is the wealthiest urban centre in the People's Republic of China. The GDP (PPP) per capita of Hong Kong exceeds the four big economies in Western Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy), as well as Japan.

At present, Hong Kong has the world's biggest skyline with a total of more than 7,500 skyscrapers, placing it ahead anywhere else in the world, despite the fact that New York is larger in area.

Hong Kong has a highly developed and state-of-the-art transport network, encompassing both public and private transport. Over 90% of daily travels are on public transport, making it the highest percentage in the world. The Octopus card payment system can be used to pay for fares on almost all railways, buses and ferries in Hong Kong. The Octopus card uses RFID to allow users to scan their card without taking it out of their wallet or bag.

Besides Hong Kong, which is already full of interesting companies, we will also visit Shenzen as this is the largest industrial region in the world.

The temperature in Hong Kong at the time of our visit will be about 15 °C at night and about 20 °C at daytime.

The following students participate in the CONTACT studytour:
Joris van Beurden
Student Electrical Engineering
Joost Brilman
Student Electrical Engineering
Bart de Bruyn
Student Electrical Engineering
Gerald Drenthen
Student Electrical Engineering
Peter Driessen
Student Electrical Engineering
Christopher Geelen
Student Electrical Engineering
Joost Greunsven
Student Electrical Engineering
Rik Jongerius
Student Electrical Engineering
Roeland Klaassen
Student Electrical Engineering
Tim Koene
Student Electrical Engineering
Wendy Korsman
Student Electrical Engineering
Johan de Ruijter
Student Electrical Engineering
Perry van Schaijk
Student Electrical Engineering
Sheng Hao Wang
Student Electrical Engineering
John van Weerdenburg
Student Electrical Engineering
Maaike van 't Westeinde
Student Electrical Engineering
Koen de Wijs
Student Electrical Engineering
Mike Wilmer
Student Electrical Engineering
Thomas Woudsma
Student Electrical Engineering

The travel committElectrical Engineering
Jeroen van der Burgt
Chairman & Student Electrical Engineering
Harm Gijselhart
Student Electrical Engineering
Arno Haverkamp
Student Electrical Engineering
Twan Kamp
Student Electrical Engineering
Erik van Kempen
Secretary & Student Electrical Engineering
Anton de Koning
Student Electrical Engineering
Robbert van der Linden
Treasurer & Student Electrical Engineering

The travel supervisors of the University of Tehnology Eindhoven
C. (Chenyang) Ding
Doctoral candidate (PhD) B. (Bart) Mesman
University Researcher

CONTACT 2009 is supported by:

We invent, we build, it works