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Team Building Rafting Trip to Tai Shan

Recently the China 2 West Quality Control, Engineering and Sourcing teams enjoyed a fun day of rafting in the rocky hills of Tai Shan.

The day commenced with a bus containing around 30 of the C2W crew travelling to a resort where they were treated to an early lunch of; Cured Meat, Turtle soup (for the adventurous few), Taro with Dried Fish among other delicacies.

Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!

After lunch and once energies were restored, a brief bus journey was taken to the edge of a jungle the team had to make their way through to reach the rafts. An assortment of obstacles had to be traversed along the way, which included ladders, ropes and wires.

Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!

Once they reached the rafts, the team geared up with suitable protection for the rafting. For the journey some had previously acquired various water based weaponry, some had not, and some improvised with available materials such as water bottles etc.

Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!

They were then joined by a couple of other parties of people, and once all were in their respective rafts, the 6 kilometer rapid journey began.

The first section of the rapids was surprisingly, almost worryingly, fast. Luckily there was plenty of trained staff at hand to make sure that no one came to any harm.

Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!

The rest of the raft ride consisted of 40 minutes of plateaus where the scenic beauty could be observed and taken in, followed by drops in which the speed changed at once, filled with jumps and turns.

On returning, the crew members then made their way back to the bus, and eventually with all present the bus left for the China 2 West offices, journeys end.

Manufacturing in China is sometimes fun!

Manufacturing in China is always an entertaining enterprise, but this was a change of pace that was enjoyed by all.

Ruary Hewson,
Project Engineer

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North Korea (D.P.R.K.) Visit

North Korea, the future after Manufacturing in China becomes too expensive?

North Korea, the future after Manufacturing in China becomes too expensive?

In early October I embarked upon a once in a lifetime trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Not knowing anything about the country before I entered my mind was full of interest, excitement and nerves. The only nervous part of the trip however, was immigration on the train on the way into the country from China, the carriage was locked down for 2 hours, nobody allowed on or off except customs officials and guards, none of them spoke English or Chinese. My tour guides had been on the train from Beijing (in a different carriage!) and so here I was, alone in my compartment with 3 North Korean tourists who had been on a shopping trip to China. The DPRK customs officials were loud, strict, shouted, but after everything was sorted, bag was searched and my passport cleared immigration we were off into the unknown.

The rest of the trip from thereon-out  was an extremely interesting, fun, and a mind opening experience. Yes our tour group was obviously not taken everywhere and we (mostly) went to designated tourist sections, but as we had a great group and our western tour guides were trusted by the DPRK tour guides we did have some free roaming, time and space to interact with locals, and did more than the usual tour groups do. In fact another tour operator’s group staying in the same hotel in Pyongyang as us didn’t get to do a lot of what we did.

Rather than write an essay on the details here I would just say that I highly recommend a trip to the DPRK for everybody. It is extremely interesting and you will enjoy it.

It was also very interesting to me from a business perspective as it is quite obvious on my first visit and to the western tour guides (12 and 6 visits each) that Kim Jong Un is trying to develop and move the country forward the best way he can. It is only a matter of time before the country opens up more and hopefully reunification with South Korea can finally occur.

Foreigners are allowed to open companies in the DPRK and make profit, there are already a few of these – a lot Swedish. There are currently restrictions on what industries and sectors can be entered into but over the years this will expand.

Manufacturing in China is becoming more expensive annually with RMB appreciation, labour cost increases and local inflation. Quality Control in China is still heavily needed and our company is focusing on this heavily into the future (please check out our new QC company www.quality2west.com) but for a new low cost manufacturing base the DPRK is very interesting.

I for one will definitely be keeping a close eye on developments in the Korean Peninsula over the coming years. There are risks, but if you are willing to take these then the rewards could be very desirable indeed.

Mark Clayton
Chief Financial Officer
C2W Group

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China 2 West Intern – Angelica Montemayor

As a design lover/ wannabe product pioneer, what would be a better idea than to work for a company who designs innovative products and provides manufacturing expertise? Doing it in CHINA.

Having this opportunity to work in China has definitely been rewarding and my experience here in China has been rich with education and adventures.

Zhuhai’s picturesque atmosphere is about as beautiful as their autumn weather and the people who live in the area. Some of the most amazing people I have met here are even housed under one roof; China 2 West!

My experience at China2West has definitely been satisfying. I am constantly learning about the Chinese culture and the practices of the design and manufacturing trade. The China 2 West team are helpful, insightful, and particularly friendly and humorous.

As an intern working in the i2Design department, I have been involved in a variety of processes including sketching, research and development, 3D modelling, product testing and much more; which has helped me to improve on my skills and knowledge of the design industry. My internship has taught me valuable lessons that will support me in future endeavours. The expertise I have gained whilst working in the i2Design department has improved my confidence in accomplishing anything I put my mind too.

The bright and intellectual people behind this company have been inspiring and supportive throughout my entire internship. I enjoyed my time here and was delighted to be part of a creative/resourceful/amusing team.

Angelica

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CEO Nick Cunningham on Got Invention Radio

Last week our group CEO Nick Cunningham gave a 1 hour radio interview for Got Invention Radio regarding manufacturing in China. It’s definitely worth a listen for anybody interested in R&D, manufacturing or sourcing out here in the far east.

 

The interview went down so well that the UIA (United Inventors Association)’s Executive Director, Mark Reyland, decided to post about it in his very interesting and informative blog, you can find the direct link here:

 

http://inventoropinion.blogspot.com/2012/11/let-me-tell-you-about-nick.html

 

“So take a moment an listen to my good friend Nick Cunningham on Got Invention Radio last night. He’s a wealth of information on sourcing from China and a good friend to all of us.”

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Overcoming China Product Development Issues

There are a great deal of differences in skill and ability between Chinese design and western design, both with their benefits and flaws.

Western designers have a large issue that they (in most cases) have never actually made anything or been involved in manufacture, the result of this is they have no understanding of what is possible in manufacture and what can only be seen as an artistic vision.  They are however, very creative and active problem solvers but when they do not understand a problem they cannot hope to solve it.

Chinese designers generally have 2 problems; the first is the lack of creativity (which is trained out of the population during their early education) and the other is the structure and mind-set which prevents people with ideas stepping forward or analysis of ideas to improve them.  In general terms the system follows an over-the-wall working method with each stage blaming the stage before it for any issues that occur rather than analysing issues and finding solutions. The combination of the 2 above issues can cause lots of problems and deadlock on development projects.  However the Chinese designers do have very methodical problem solving skills due to their generally higher level of manufacturing knowledge.

The only way to get through such issues is by building relationships between both sides and with experienced and helpful factories, training up either western or Chinese designers to themselves develop into designers capable of improving on their weaknesses and avoiding the usual pitfalls.

Here at China 2 West and i2Design, we have managed to overcome the individual issues raised above by creating a team of mixed backgrounds, cultures, experience and knowledge. The split is usually 50% Chinese to 50% Foreign and at the moment the foreign side is made up of English, Australian and Indian. In the past we’ve also had Belgium and American. Our team members work together on projects and interact very often in assisting and training each other with skills they don’t yet possess.

The result is a very dynamic, creative and problem-solving team very well placed to design and develop products from a vast range of fields using a multitude of different materials and solutions.

– The author is John Pitts, Head of Design at i2Design, part of the China 2 West Group

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