Sonnenwagen Aachen in China
Most of you have probably already heard or seen through our social media channels that several team members had the chance to visit China with our main sponsor Huawei. The program is called “Seeds for the future”. There they especially got to know the Chinese culture and were also able to take look behind the scenes. Learn more about this exciting journey on our blog today.
China: A huge country with a diverse food culture. We were encouraged to try everything, from the famous Peking Duck over the delicious Jiaozi to more sophisticated dishes such as deep-fried wasps. After having become accustomed to the Chinese seasoning: a unique taste experience. After a few days, all of us were thrilled by the food: super delicious!
Sightseeing in China
The first two days we have done some power-sightseeing to see, amongst others, the Forbidden City, the Place of Heavenly Peace, the Lama Temple and the Great Wall. In the Forbidden City, apparently many Chinese travel groups were from rural areas. We were formally besieged by people who wanted to make selfies with us. “Are we the attraction here or the forbidden city?” we were wondering more than once. We took it with a smile and started to take selfies with the Chinese people who were taking selfies of us.
A land of extremes
China’s cities impress with gigantic, pompous buildings that stand very close to each other and compete in beauty. on the other hand you can see people gathering the waste paper in the city to bring it to recycling stations on the outskirts of the city for just a few cents. Super rich people live right next to the very poor people, things which seem to be typically for the “Chinese communism”. What cannot stay unnoticed is, however, that the country is rapidly developing and the prosperity of the population, at least in Beijing, is growing rapidly.
Language and culture course
During the week we spent the morning and the afternoon learning Chinese. It is not easy when a word with identical spelling has four different meanings depending on the emphasis. The whole thing was loosened by various Chinese children’s songs we had a lot of fun singing and dancing along. 😉
Besides learning the language, we got insights into the culture. We visited a calligraphy and a painting course and spent an afternoon with Chinese students who are studying German. In interviews we had the opportunity to get to know each other better. When we told them that we tried fried maggots and wasps the day before, we only earned horrified looks, the ice was broken and we were directly more easy going. As varied as the cuisine in China is as diverse are the tastes of the Chinese. Apparently, it is not that common to eat fried insects, jellyfish, duck tongues, scorpions or the likes. Also, it is a rumor that in China it is still widely spread to eat cats and dogs. In large parts of China this is actually frowned upon and not found on any menu. Only in a few provinces is it still considered as a delicacy.
Meeting with the BWSC team at the Beijing Institute of Technology
One of the highlights of the week for us was the meeting with the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge team of Beijing and its leading professor. They already took part in the Challenge twice. After visiting their workshop and the campus, we went on to exchange some experiences and ideas. We presented our concept and told them how we came to build a new team in Germany. After this, Prof. Zhang Youtong talked about their vehicle concept and his approach to engineering problems in detail. We collected valuable “hands-on” experiences, especially in regards to the spare parts strategy. We were impressed as the team, despite adverse conditions, had managed to build a solar vehicle. We are keeping our fingers crossed that it’s going to work out this year, again!
Discussion in the Embassy
With the Minister of the German Economy and the Head of the Economic Department we discussed the current conditions under which German companies have to operate in China. There is no question that as of right now it cannot be viewed as a free market economy with unrestricted rule of law. We hope that the rapid development in China will also create more entrepreneurial security and equality for foreign companies in these areas.
We are thrilled to have been able to look behind the facades of such a diverse country. We are very grateful that Huawei made this visit possible and gave us the opportunity to get to know the Chinese culture. A time we will remember very positively for a very long time!