Just flew back from Beijing tonight, where it was a lot colder than in Shanghai (running in shorts and t-shirts early in the morning is not recommended – I got a bit of a cold because of that). The reason I went over was because I was asked to give a presentation at Vok Dams yearly trend.lab. Vok Dams is a German live event marketing company (the leading one in Germany actually), and they organize so-called trend.labs in Germany, the US and China. These are seminars in which the latest trends in marketing and PR are discussed with an audience of mainly marketing people. I talked about trends in online marketing in China, and enjoyed the giving this presentation and the questions people had. Anybody interested in this subject, feel free to contact me (note: am quite busy this week, so answer may take few days).
After the seminar was over I visited a friend of mine, Tobias, who was just appointed CFO of Mercedes-Benz China. He has 90 people working for him. When I was still at DaimlerChyrsler in Beijing we had a total staff in the whole company of about 90 people! The company is really growing.
After meeting Tobias I met up with Olle, who is in charge of business development Asia Pacific at Red Herring. I knew Olle from several years ago, when I just left DaimlerChrysler and he was part of the EU-China management program. I met him a few times in Beijing and Shanghai, but lost touch with him. But because of the publicity around Toodou he contacted me again, and we had an interesting talk about start-ups in China, and Toodou in particular.
At night I had dinner with another friend of mine, Carlo Crosetto and his wife Susanne. Carlo is the new CFO of Beijing Jeep (or actually Beijing Benz Daimler Chrysler as it is called now that they also start producing Mercedes-Benz passenger cars). My wife was supposed to join, but she could not make her flight from Shanghai on time due to work, so she was just in time for dessert. We had a last drink at their house and then went back to the hotel. My wife had to finish a presentation, and continued working until 5 AM, while I got some sleep.
Saturday I went for a long run and went to the spa in the Kempinski. A nice and relaxed day. Qi worked the whole day (consultants do not have an easy life!). At night we were invited for the German Ball. Qi missed the beginning because of her work, but she was just in time for dinner to start. Met many former colleagues and friends, although most people have in the meantime left China. Only the ones who are really making a career still seem to be here! We were invited by Vok Dams, who were also one of the sponsors. In case they read it: Thanks guys, I appreciate it!
Sunday morning we had a big breakfast at Kempinski, and then we packed our suitcases. We went for a a walk along the Liang Ma river and in the Sanlitun diplomatic compound. It was beautiful weather, but a bit cold. I visited my old tailor, he still recognized me although I had not been there in 3 years (Rong Xin Tailor, above the Friendship supermarket on the northern part of Sanlitun Street – north of the Spanish embassy). After the walk I took a cab to the airport. Qi stayed in Beijing for meetings. All in all some good days, some new business ideas and meeting lots of old friends.
note: the terrorist threat in 4-5 star hotels (see post below) as mentioned on the American embassy site seems to be based on unreliable sources – at least according to the Chinese government. In the hotel I did not see any change – no additional security and people could walk in and out even through the side- and back doors.