25. - 26.03.2016
Shanghai, Friday March 25th, 2016
On Friday, March 25th we visited the companies Merck and Sanofi. The weather was quite good, not raining and about 15 °C.
During the bus ride to Merck, our tour guide in Shanghai, Lukas and Prof. Dr. Schellhase gave us some info about the German Center, many big global companies in Shanghai, and the development of the Pudong Area during the last ten years.
The traffic was good and there were hardly any traffic jams, so we arrived at Merck at nine o´clock - a little early as our arrival in the lobby had been planned for 9:30 a.m.
After entering the building we first received our visitor badges and were guided through an open-plan office to a meeting room. There were three big tables and some water prepared for us.
Dr. Alasdair Jelfs the Managing Director, who had started his career at Merck more than thirty years ago in the UK and had lived in Germany for about six years, gave us an interesting presentation under the slogan “Welcome Future”.
He started with the topic “We are Merck” and gave us some general information about the company and the development. Merck is a leading science and technology company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Then, he told us something about over 80 years of commitment in China, life science, performance materials, responsibility, history and future. His conclusion was that “we are better, not bigger” - like the competition in the U.S. which is also called Merck.
Eva Busch showing
Following his presentation, we had the chance to ask some questions about the difference between the cultures in Europe, especially Germany, and China. The work in China is much more flexible, and they are willing to take a risk. So it is possible to work faster, but sometimes it is getting very chaotic. The customers in Asia are very demanding.
He assumed that the average age of the staff is about thirty to thirty-five years and that only around 5% of the people working for Merck in China are international.
After this introduction we had a group discussion with three Life Science Delegates Lance Li, Qi Jun Jia and Vivien Zou, which was really interesting, because we did not only talk about Merck China but also about working in a German company, for example.
After this, we watched two videos and then we had a lab tour. Therefore, we were split into two groups and were guided from Lily Shi, Siyi Liao and Danny Wu with full protective equipment (lab coat, safety goggles and mask- for each of us!)
It was an interesting visit with many impressions.
As we didn´t have much time the team from Merck had organized packed lunches for us - a sandwich from Subway and a bottle of Sprite - which we were able to enjoy on the bus to Sanofi. During the bus ride Eva Busch gave us a 5 minutes speech about Sanofi.
Head Office Sanofi
We arrived at Sanofi half an hour early. Due to our early arrival we were able to take a walk or have a coffee with our fellow students – time to relax. The meeting place was at 14:10 in the entrance hall.
Cherry Liu greeted us and we took the elevator to the 19th floor, where the offices are. After a hearty welcome Jane Wei gave us a short briefing about Sanofi, which is a leading diversified healthcare company and offers prescription medicines, consumer healthcare products, generic drugs, vaccines and animal health products. Sanofi China has eleven regional offices and seven production sites. She recommended checking the company’s website for further information.
The second presentation which was about the Sanofi University was conducted by Liang Tian, the Head of said university. We were given information about the Sanofi University’s philosophy, structure and training programme.
Introduction presentation by Jane Wei
The last presentation that day was about Sanofi’s V.I.E programme. Mathilda told us about her work experience and how she got the job in the purchasing department in Shanghai. Everyone below 27 could apply for this programme, even if they were not French. It offers the possibility to gain work experience in a foreign country such as China.
Mathilda about V.I.E
We enjoyed the three presentations and got some impressions of how it could be, if we were to work in Shanghai. Mathilde told us that Shanghai is a beautiful international city with a wide variety of food, even if you don’t like Chinese food. It’s multicultural. She also gave us advice on where to eat and go out in Shanghai.
Sadly a lab tour couldn’t be arranged, so we weren’t able to compare the differences between the companies’ laboratories. But we think they should be rather similar.
In the evening we had some leisure time to further explore the city or relax in the hotel. But since this was a pretty unique opportunity, we chose the first option.
Shanghai, Saturday March 26th, 2016
On Saturday March 26th, 2016 we had our day off in Shanghai. After a week where we woke up mostly very early, we had the day to sleep long and enjoyed our awesome breakfast buffet where we had a huge choice of different things. Traditional Chinese breakfast and also western style – everything your heart desires.
After breakfast we started on our own to explore the city. Some of us visited the Yu Garden, which was located directly at our hotel.
All the little bridges and walkways like a labyrinth were very nice and seemed typically Chinese for us. After that we went to “The Bund” at the western side of the Huangpu-River, the historic street with the nice and only buildings from the colonial era in Shanghai. From “The Bund” we had a nice view of Shanghai’s Skyline Pudong with the prominent Oriental Pearl Tower (television tower) and the Shanghai World Financial Center, colloquially called “Bottle opener”. The famous and very crowded “Nanjing Road” is one of the biggest shopping streets in the world.
The Bund by night
Of course, some of us used the time to spend some time there and go shopping (with what felt like 1,000,000 other people). For lunch, we visited the French concession, where you have a lot of small restaurants, shops and coffee shops. It is a very nice neighborhood which looks totally different to “normal” Shanghai.
Fully back to strength, we took a taxi back to Pudong to the famous skyscraper called “Bottle opener”. For 180 Yuan/Person we were able to go almost to the top, which is the 100th floor. From that point you have a really nice view above Shanghai and as the smog wasn’t too bad, it was possible to see “very far into the distance”.
Variations of Dumplings, mmmmh!
For dinner we visited an absolutely awesome famous dumpling restaurant which was located inside the “Bottle opener”. Dumplings are close to German “Maultaschen”, but in a much better way with a lot of different filling options. After a long day of sightseeing we took the last opportunity to go to the gym and also the pool on the 24th floor of the hotel with a direct view of Shanghai’s Skyline.
It`s all handmade: Dumplings!