ABC delegates conclude an immersive journey to Asia covering China, Korea and Japan

A group of 18 selected Saudi Aramco employees kicked off their month-long East Asia tour in China, Japan and Korea following a two-day pre-program orientation where they had been introduced to Saudi Aramco’s Asia business strategy, history, cultural values, business practices and protocol within each host country in Dhahran, 14th October, 2014.

The 2014 Asia Business and Culture Program (ABC), an intensive and experiential introduction to Asian culture and business environment, is designed to help prepare Saudi Aramco leaders to be effective communicators, managers and negotiators in vital business environment in Asia.

It aims to deepen the knowledge of the Asia business culture for  future Saudi Aramco leaders. Understanding the implication of culture on the business in those nations will bridge the cultural gaps that impact the business relation between Saudi Aramco and our partners and suppliers in the region.

The program, jointly developed by Management & Professional Development Department (M&PDD) and Aramco Asia, has brought them to Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Xiamen, the five most dynamic business and culture centers in East Asia this time. Participants attended presentations on various cultural and business topics, visited historic heritage sites, met with customers to learn about their business portfolios and exchanged views.

The participants were given a firsthand experience to explore the Asian landscape from business, cultural and social perspectives. As communicated by several participants, such immersive experience has definitely sharpened their understanding of Asia which is considered of paramount importance to the business of Saudi Aramco and world’s economy.

“I see the Asia Business & Culture program as an on-boarding initiative. The participants who take part in the program will have a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities and cultural nuances and how to more effectively approach them. In all of my research, I have not come across any other companies that provide the level of intensive and ‘on the ground’ experience that Aramco provides,” noted Daniel R. Wilson, facilitator of the ABC program.

From 18th to 23rd, October, the delegation visited leading companies and R&D centers such as Sumitomo, Toray and Panasonic as well as cultural and historical museum in Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan. Aramco Asia Japan organized several lectures including a unique panel discussion amongst Japan’s leading artists, journalists and one of the most prominent entrepreneurs to give the participants a first-hand opportunity to learn as much as they can from different point of views on Japan, both pros and cons.

In Korea from 23rd to 28th October, the delegation had an opportunity to visit The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) overviewing the current status-quo Korea is facing and to rethink the progresses Korea has made under the live threatening of North Korea. The team also gained comprehensive insights of Korea’s energy sector, future direction and government policy from local experts.

On the industry front, the delegation had an excursion to Samsung Innovative Museum where they experienced Korea’s benchmarking company, Samsung Electronics’ modern, future and past technology as well as the growth path of Korean electronic industry.

The delegation kicked off their China tour upon their arrival in Beijing. Aramco Asia has organized reception for the participants to help them get a full pulse of Beijing’s world-class performing arts at the flagship of China performing arts house: the National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA) on 31st October.

The NCPA reception has brought together ABC delegates and Aramco Asia’s staff. The event turned out as a good and friendly platform to network, socialize and exchange varied views. The night was accentuated by attending live high-class theatrical performances.

The delegation, apart from attending informative seminars and learning sessions, traveled to Tianjin via bullet train to visit Tianjin Pipeline, a strategic supplier for Saudi Aramco, visited the Great Wall in Beijing, City Wall Park and Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, explored the history, culture and business environment in Shanghai and Xiamen, experienced the chemical business and visited FREP site and Aramco logoed gas station in Xiamen.

"We have explored the Asian ‘center of gravity’ that accommodates more than one fifth of the world's population. We have dived deeply into the Asian culture and explored the risks and opportunities surrounding potential growth for the company. And, we have developed an understanding that building strong partnerships in this tremendously important market will help the company achieve its ambitious strategic intent,” commented Abdulrahman Y. Thukair, member of ABC delegation after the trip.

From the in-country tour, participants gained firsthand understanding of Asian culture and the region’s way of doing business, importantly, how these business and culture impact their business practices and decisions with East Asian partners.