Today we visited two unique companies. The first is called TE Connectivity. They design and manufacture connectors for a variety of applications such as the automotive industry, industrial equipment, data communication systems, aerospace, defense, medical and consumer electronics. One of their managers gave an introduction to the company, and we found out that they have around 700 employees at the location we visited. Originally there was somewhere between three and four thousand, but there is now a heavy focus on automation. We got to tour their machine rooms and see this automation in action. I thought it was really interesting to see some of the engineering that goes into simple products we take for granted, such as the ports on your laptop.
We had lunch before visiting the next company. We learned two interesting things about Chinese restaurant culture. The first is that waiters are much different than in the U.S. They bring your food, but will never come back to check on you unless you ask for them. It is necessary to put your hand up and call for a waiter when one walks by. Dr. Li also told us that in some parts of China, if you take the lid off of a tea pot, the staff will understand you want tea and automatically refill it.
The second company visit was DuPont. They are one of the largest and oldest American companies, starting their business around 1800. The facility we visited was a research and development center, so many new products are designed there. We learned about the many breakthroughs they have had with polymers over the years, in applications such as smartphones, automobiles, and even agriculture. We also learned that they have recently merged with the company Dow, and in the coming years will split into three separate companies each with a distinct focus. This visit reinforced the information we heard from previous companies, such as Microsoft, that China is a location being heavily utilized for research and innovation.