The first visit of the day was to AmCham, which is short for the American Chamber of Commerce located in the same building that we saw the Shanghai Acrobatics Show the night before. The purpose of AmCham is to make international business and trade with China easier for the United States and its largest headquarters is in Shanghai. This led to an interesting discussion with the recent announcement of the US imposing tariffs on trade with China and with the US and China having the two largest economies in the world. Two people with AmCham headed this discussion with one who has been living in China for the past five years and the other being from PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. Our discussion was on how China’s and more specifically Shanghai’s economy has expanded significantly over the past 40 years. We also learned how Shanghai was originally just a small fishing town back in 1980 and in over the past 40 years has expanded to become the financial capital of China. Additionally, China’s GDP share of the world has increased from around five percent in the 80’s to around a quarter of the total economy of the world. Even thought the economic growth is slowly plateauing, it is still set to overtake the US in the next decade or so. Even though China’s economy is booming, they are slowly starting to see a decline in the workforce due to the one and two child policies of generations before. This will cause a shortage in Chinese workers which also causes an issue with Social Security and requires China to replace these workers or outsource work to southeastern Asian countries. Even though this was a very business-oriented company visit, it was one of my favorites due to the intriguing discussion we had and the topic we talked about. It was amazing to see how much China has evolved over the past 40 years and it will be interesting to see what comes of the US and China economic relations.
After our visit to AmCham, we traveled to the outskirts of Shanghai to our visit with the company Horiba, which is a precision electronics manufacturing company out of Japan. The company has offices and manufacturing facilities across the world, but it does most of its sales in Asia and mostly Japan. Horiba manufactures many different products ranging from mass flow controllers to blood testing machines to automobile emission testers. While only doing around 10% of its sales in North America, has many different offices located in the United States with even a location in Michigan that focuses on producing products for their automotive sector. After hearing an overview from Mr. Nakamura, the director of Horiba in China, we toured their Shanghai facility which produces and assembles many of their various products. We first visited their automotive testing center which had various dynamometers and load testers that tested various components of cars ranging from the engine, to the transmission. Next, we traveled to their assembly plant for their stack gas analyzers which measures concentrations of gases such as CO, CO2, NOX, and Ammonia. We were also able to see the clean rooms where they assemble their Hematology Analyzers where they only have two workers assembling and testing these products. We also learned that their Shanghai facility also acts as a repair shop for other companies who have Hematology analyzers that need repairing. We also finally got to see a level 10,000 clean room where they produce semi-conductors that are used throughout their wide range of products. This tour made me as an engineer excited to see all the technology and production that goes on behind the scenes to create a wide range of products.
Once we got back to the hotel, we decided to go out and explore Shanghai for something good to eat. We decided we wanted to find something for dinner outside of room service or the hotel restaurant, so we went to a traditional, Shanghai-style, Mexican restaurant. It had been awhile since we had something other than Chinese dishes to eat so I had some nachos and a burrito in the middle of Shanghai. It was surprisingly tasty and authentic although it was on the other side of the planet from Mexico. After our dining we got some snacks and played some Mario Party back in the room for an overall great night.