Friday March 29th, 2019
Two company visits were planned for today. We started the day with being driven to a branch location of Freudenberg, more specificly: Freudenberg Far Eastern Spunweb Co. Ltd. in Taoyuan, a city which was about an hour-long drive away from our hotel in Taipei.
After being greeted by Daniel Mueller, Director Finance & Administration CFO at Freudenberg Far Eastern Spunweb, he introduced us to the company Freudenberg Performance Materials and their business in Asia.
The Freudenberg branch in Taiwan was founded 1987 as Joint Venture between the Freudenberg Group and Far Eastern Group, as well as Japan Vilene Corporation.
Even though China is with 40% their largest market in Asia (18% Japan, 17% Taiwan, ...) Freudenberg chose Taiwan as their location, since much of their production is automated and the higher salaries compared to China do not matter as much as protecting their developed technologies. They saw difficulties to do so in China when looking to expand into Asia.
Mr. Mueller explaining the basics about their production line in Taiwan.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside their factory.
All the material they produce can be found in the interior carpets of cars, as well as part of the insole of shoes and other products.
Depending on what attributes for the material were requested by their customers they have to adjust their production line, which is otherwise running around the clock and all year.
Our afternoon programme included another company visit in downtown Taipei. We had an appointment with the Senior Manager Market Entry of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei (Deutsche Auslandshandelskammer), Andreas Goller.
We arrived a bit early, therefore we had time to visit the great food court of Taipei 101, since the AHK offices are located nearby - and everyone, if hungry could find themselves something to eat.
After a warm welcome, Andreas Goller introduced us to the Taiwanese economic market and the special political situation. Interesting facts about Taiwan are that, it is the biggest developed national economy of the world, which is not part of the United Nations and, Taiwan has an area size of Baden-Württemberg and over 23 Million inhabitants. After the introduction, he gave a brief overview over the several services of the German Trade Office in Taipei. These are Trade Fairs, Recruitment & Training, Translation, Market Entry & Expansion and Legal & Investment. Overall, the AHK is an institution of German foreign trade promotion. After the presentation, Mr Goller gave us the chance to ask him some questions which he patiently answered in detail.
Professors and students listen to Mr. Goller who gives an overview over the AHK.
It`s us at AHK, Taipei
After our short visit at AHK all students could go explore Taipei. While some stayed downtown others went back to the hotel to get changed to visit Elephant Mountain, a mountain which offers a great view of Taipei’s skyline. Although this meant many, many steps first it was worth it. We reached the top just in time for a view in daylight and ...
... after the sunset.
What goes up,
also must come down.
Always with a great view of Taipei "one-o-one".
After Elephant Mountain it was time to find something to eat. Even in Shanghai, we had gotten recommendations to try the street food of Taiwan’s night markets. Although there are a few things I would not dare to try (yet), you can find a lot of good food for every taste. Unfortunately, our way back to the hotel got a bit wet, making the last image possible.
Saturday March 30th, 2019
The weekend has arrived, nothing had been planned beforehand today, all students could continue their sightseeing from yesterday afternoon on their own. Like going for a hike in the mountains of the tea plantation. We brought the “Taipei Fun Pass” for one day, which cost about 10 €, and could use all public transport, including the gondola up into the mountains for no additional cost.
Even being miles away from downtown Taipei, Taipei 101 could still be seen across two mountain tops.
Hiking through the unique landscape of Taiwan.
Along the hiking trail were many teahouses, in one of which we took a break with a great view across the plantations.
A gondola station further down, we visited a part of Chih-nan-Temple, which honours Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. So called wishing cards could be found on the trees on the way down to the temple. These cards could be bought at the temple and are used to wish well for one’s family, health, work and more.
After our temple visit, we returned to our hotel, to rest a bit, so we could explore Taipei’s night life later.
In the later evening, we went to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall just to relax a bit in the park as it was still over 20° C. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a famous national landmark, which was built in memory of the former President (Chiang Kai-shek) of the Republic of China. It also was a great place to try out the local beer. At a later time, we came across something, reminding us of home as a street food cart was selling chicken in a hotdog bun, which made it look like a makeshift Doener. A good end to our last night in Taiwan.