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Zoomlion Charrette or being sick in Changsha…

So was a fun week, I was asked to take part in a BRC Charrette for their new client. For those who don’t know  ” mostly everybody ” a Charrette is a creative meeting style used by Disney and other design companies. It is a fast paced preliminary meeting to help develop  ideas and goals for a proposed project in this case for Zoomlion, a major manufacturer of heavy equipment in China.


I was scheduled to fly to Changsha on the morning of the 23rd. After ariving at the airport for my 0815 flight I was surprised to find that I do not have a flight. This is a shame on many levels one being that I really needed to get there and two the airline has been paid. Lesson learned, in China just because you paid for it doesn’t really mean you’ve got it.

Not My Plane

After figuring out with the help of Fanny that I will need to make other arrangements it is decided that I will be using the train. This will take longer and I will not be able to meet the team to tour the site. On a positive note I will get to experience the high speed train.Fanny was able to meet me at the Guangzhou train station to help me find my way since without speaking or reading Mandarin you really do need some help here. At this time the high speed train does not reach Shenzhen so we must get to Guangzhou and transfer. This situation will change soon I am told as the train will eventually be running from Shenzhen to Beijing.

B on Train

After two cabs, and a train we are finally here, if I wasnt in such a rush I would like to take the time to check out the building maybe next time.

Guangzhou Entrance

Guangzhou Train Station

This station is huge, I really wish I had time to prowl around and see it but I am on a time crunch as my original plans would have had me arriving in Changsha right about now. With Fanny’s assistance I now have tickets and can be on my way. Good luck to anyone without a guide as there are few non chinese signs and even less English speaking staff.

Train Cavern

This is something I learned on first train trip I took a few weeks ago. This guy is sitting in my assigned seat, not a problem for me today as I have opted for the first class ticket which means there are many open seats and I just pick one. In the 2nd class area it would mean we might have a problem… Considering the cost of the upgrade its a no brainer take the first class.

My Seat

A view from out my window, its funny but you can actually take some nice pictures from this train, maybe its higher speed has something to do with it, or could it be just clean glass…

View from Train1

This is a part of China I have yet to experience, I would like in the future to do some exploring out in the rural areas.

View from Train2

I am so curious as to what life is  like out here, there are no major roads that I can see and these little villages or towns look so different from the large cities I have visited.

View from Window3

Its a cloudy day but the landscape is really quite beautiful and very lush.

View from Train4

OK there will be no pics for awhile as I have developed a head cold in full force and can barely cope with the demands of the meetings. The BRC team is meeting to discuss tomorrows work in the lobby of hotel. Zoomlion’s people are great and we are really looking forward to it.

The Team

The view from my room is not very exciting but it does get across that Changsha is not as uber developed as the 1st tier cities. I find that interesting as this area is very near the birthplace of Chairman Mao.

Out The Window

After two days of much work we are done with the Charrette  and I now get a chance to view the future site of Zoomlions Visitor center. The construction workers have been sent to lunch early to allow us access. Over the last few days I have really come to like the guys from Zoomlion they have an interesting story to tell and unlike some chinese clients they seem to really appreciate the creative aspect of what we can provide. I am feeling better now and can finally breath although I must say the air quality here is not very good.

Site Entrance

Up above you can see one of the clients products in use. This tower crane is one of the small ones I am told at only 50 meters boom length. As we drive around Changsha you see these towers all over, China is growing at a simply amazing pace.

Zoomlion Site

Not sure what this is but it looked interesting. the guys with me must be wondering why I took a picture of it…

On Site

What will be the third floor

3rd Floor

Up on the roof I like the exposed structure, I hope some of that can be held onto once the building is complete.

OnThe Roof

I like this cool little land cruiser looking truck, I am told it is a chinese military vehicle. I can imagine this would be fun to have back in the states.

Chinese Military Jeep

Before I go I get a chance to see some of their equipment up close. This would have been very helpful before the charrette so I might have abetter understanding of the product line and design language. I am told they produce over 300 different products many of which are fully manufactured right here in Changsha.

Product Lineup

Since I have been sick and we ended up working longer then originally planed Fanny has joined me here. You can see her here testing the comfort quotient of Sheratons facilities. Since I had to work all the way up till our late check out on other presentations I have had no chance to sightsee. I am hoping to come back sometime soon and see something outside of the lovely hotel…

Sleeping B

We couldn’t get a taxi so we had to go with a “wild chicken ” non official taxi, this is not something to be recommended  but again I have Fanny with me so at least the language will not be an issue. For some reason in Changsha it is very difficult to get taxi service, Fanny discovered this on her day trip Sun while I worked in the room. I would hope that this will be less of an issue in the future when the Metro is completed. The picture here is not our taxi I just find these vehicles a lot of fun…

Moto Truck Bike

Inside the Changsha station, we are lucky and our train will be here soon as it is our journey will not end until 11 pm tonight.

Changsha Train Station

Lets go people

Line Up People

This train station is pretty impressive although not nearly so much as the one in Guangzhou.

Down to the Train

High speed trains are great. I would love to see something like this in the US

Here She Comes

Goodbye Changsha

Heading back to Shenzhen at 345 KPH the train is smooth clean and at least in the first class area very comfortable, I look forward to many more train rides in China.

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