August 18, 2010,10:15 +0900(JST) Visiting Suzhou, China
I used the first half of my summer holidays to take a trip to China, where there are some 70 SEI Group bases. Since I couldn't possibly visit all of them in just a few days, this time I went to Sumitomo Electric Photo-Electronics Components (Suzhou) Ltd. (SPEC), which was established in April 2007.
SPEC, which manufactures and sells optical devices, links and other components, is an important industrial site in the rapidly growing optical component market in China. Just as expected, everyone was working busily there. And, as I notice every time I visit China, the local managers spoke very good Japanese; thanks to them I was able to understand the local situation very well.
After visiting the company, I had dinner with Suzhou-based Group company executives. I encouraged them to be attentive to local situations and keep close communication with the local staff.
In addition to SPEC, many Group companies are located in Suzhou: Sumitomo Electric Interconnect Products (Suzhou) Ltd., Sumitomo Electric Fine Polymer (Suzhou) Ltd., Suzhou Sumiden Electric Materials Co., Ltd., Sumidenso Mediatech Suzhou Co., Ltd., and Suzhou Sumiden Automotive Wire Co., Ltd. In 2008, as part of our community service, we established a scholarship at Soochow University. In April 2010 we had two Soochow University graduates join SPEC, which was happy news for us. We hope to further strengthen our ties with the local community.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to visit Shanghai Expo during my stay in China. However, on the day of my return trip to Japan, at five in the morning one of the Japanese managers stationed there called me and suggested that we go to Hanshan Temple together. Indeed, I couldn’t waste this rare opportunity to visit the temple famed for its connection with the legendary Tang Dynasty figures, Hanshan and Shide. The temple is also renowned for its mention in the four seven-character line poem "Night Mooring by Maple Bridge" by Zhang Ji, a Tang Dynasty poet and politician. When we arrived at the temple, it was already crowded with tourists despite the early morning hour.
It was really hot in China as in Japan, but the Japanese expats living there told me that they found life in Suzhou, "the Venice of the East," very pleasant.
In this way, during Japan's summer holidays I was able to experience a little bit of both the dynamism of today's China and the traditional side of the China of 5,000 years, while at the same time reflecting on our future business strategies in the Chinese market…