Finally on the road in China!

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I still can’t believe that we really made it. We are finally on the road, with the iglide car DRIVING!

Let me tell you about what happened. Last Tuesday, we went to pick up the driving approval permit, but instead of handing it over, the police administrator told us our case had hit some complications and she wasn’t going to be able to give us the permit. If we wanted to drive, then we would have to obtain a document from the ministry of transport in Beijing.

What the igus China team pulled off was remarkable! They spent the rest of the day Tuesday in state offices while our guys in Shanghai, with help from the offices in Germany, worked day and night to modify all our paperwork. By Friday evening we were still unsure if we’d get the permit, but on Saturday morning we got it – just in time for the trip!

The igus China team had prepared a show truck to travel along with the iglide car to our customer visits. The truck is like its own tradeshow booth, with displays and information on our products, not to mention the free samples and gifts everyone loves about shows! Unfortunately, the truck left for Qingdao while we were waiting on the car’s permits. We had to get the car on the road quickly to catch up, but I wasn’t about to leave Shanghai without a few pictures of the iglide car driving downtown!

We are now on the way to Qingdao. The city is located near the Yellow Sea, and is one of the major harbors in the country. With 8 million people, the city is only considered to be medium size here. They laughed when I told them that Berlin is our largest city with only 3.5 million people! Qingdao is historically tied with Germany, as it was a German colony until 1914. A German brewery was even built here in 1903. That beer is now very famous here – a Chinese name, but the beer is the same 😉 Its sold here under the name “Tsingtao.” Perhaps it’s due to the comfortable distance of a Germany brewery that a German supplier for igus China is living here too, or maybe its just a coincidence. Anyways, We are going to meet him in the evening.

I would like to start using the blog as a platfor to introduce you to some of the people working for igus and on the iglide world tour. I’ll start today with Carte. Carte is 30 years old, and has worked with igus since 2011. He is working across China with automotive customers, and he’ll likely be with me for most of the Chinese tour. When I asked him what sporty activities he enjoys, he told me “Meeting customers.” It’ll be great to be tagging along to customers with someone as passionate as he is! (Either that or he misunderstood me J)

Next time, I’ll tell you if the main street in Qingdao is still a German name!