Branching out to China Part 2 By Dean Cathy Sandeen

More on my recent trip to China to meet with existing clients and partners and to develop new partnerships and friendships . . . .

From Shenzhen, I traveled to the city of Changsha, a city of around 7 million people in Hunan Province, south central China. It’s a beautiful setting, along two rivers with a large island intersecting one of the rivers. Hunan Province is the birthplace of Chairman Mao and Changsha is where Mao attended university and where he developed his ideas about communism and revolution leading to the formation of the People’s Republic of China. Changsha is also a center for entertainment, creativity, and technology which makes it a particularly good match for UCLA and Los Angeles.

Accompanied by hosts from Changsha TV (a television network in the city and one of our custom program clients), I visited the Hunan Provincial Museum where I saw relics from the Mawangdui Han Tombs.  Discovered and unearthed in the 1970s, the tombs, a perfectly preserved corpse of a 50-something-year-old woman, and 3,000 historic objects are on display providing an glimpse into life in China over 2,000 years ago. Amazing.

In front of the Hunan Provincial Museum

Chinese character font designed by a company owned by Mr. Curt Huang, a Changsha native who helped tour me around sites of the city. (And by the way, Curt’s company designed the character fonts used by Microsoft and Apple iPhone.)

Next, we had lunch in Mao Ze Dong’s favorite restaurant, overlooking a square where auditions for the Chinese version of “X-Factor” were taking place. So fitting in China today—this contrast between history and modern times.

Chinese X-Factor Auditions, November 2011, Changsha, Hunan Province

Next, we visited Yuelu Academy, part of Hunan University. Established in around 1,000 AD, this is one of the oldest universities in the world and it is still functioning today.

Inner courtyard, Yuelu Academy

Final stop in Changsha, Orange Island Park a narrow island in the middle of the Xiangjiang River. The main feature here is a giant sculpture of Mao’s head as a young man. People travel from all over China to see this sculpture.

Orange Island Park, sculpture of Mao Ze Dong, approximate age of 32 years

Day two, Changsha

 I visited the LuValley National Economic and Technical Development Zone. Reflecting on my own time in Silicon Valley, California, I now refer to the LuValley zone as “Silicon Valley on steroids.”  Hosted by Mrs. Zhihong Chen, Deputy Director of the Development Zone, I met with a number of executives and managers of large companies in the zone.

At headquarters for the Development Zone, Mrs. Chen on my left and Mr. Huang on my right.

Afternoon and dinner brought me to Hunan Broadcasting System (Golden Eagle Broadcasting), another client known for its trendy, modern programming.

Hunan Broadcasting System, inside a control room during a live taping

Finally, off to Beijing for my final destination in China. There I met with top officials from State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA) and from Beijing TV network. Beijing is always an experience—a gigantic, vibrant place.

View of part of Beijing from the top of the landmark Beijing TV building

Bottom line: Quick trip . . . four cities in eight days . . . two new cities for me (Shenzhen and Changsha) . . .very informative . . . very productive . . . many friends, old and new.  Not my last trip to China, that’s certain.

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