Happy Thanksgiving! (not so much in China)
Up at 5 this morning after a solid 8 hours (yeah!), quick visit to the gym then breakfast and off to South Station for the high-speed train to Tianjin. After missing photos of kids on the way home from school on the backs of bicycles, mopeds, etc yesterday, I missed them this morning on the way to school the same way. Here's the best one I got:
The station is new, huge, and beautiful. With 58 RMB and 30 minutes you can ride about the distance from Philadelphia to New York in perfect comfort at 200 mph. Very cool
But to get to the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), you have to ride another hour in a taxi (100 RMB). It seems like youre in the middle of no where then suddenly another city pops up.
Tianjin is growing at 16% a year for a decade. In 20 years Chinas cities will have added 350 million people (thats 2 New York Cities a year!) and it shows in Tianjin
Tianjin is the third of three areas targeted for development in Chinas 10-year plans. One of the many strengths of the authoritarian system is that resources can be concentrated to achieve impact. Deng Xiaopig initiated this approach, and it works. Its possible partly because there is s bone deep difference between American and Chinese culture that supports it: the Chinese see themselves primarily a a part of a whole, whereas Americans see ourselves first as individuals. The Chinese view of the concentration of resources in Tianjin is to be proud of what China is achieving they are genuinely happy to wait for their citys turn because they view themselves first as Chinese, second as a member of their family/work etc and third as an individual. This difference is in evidence everywhere every day the Chinese even put their family name first and given name second. In America we see ourselves as individuals first and our democracy ensures that resources are spread widely, if not evenly. Often, the result is that the investment is too small to have an impact.
We arrived at the TEDA International Cardiovascular Hospital and were greeted by Yin Cheng, an administrator, who gave us an exhaustive tour. It was fascinating to see every aspect of a hospital the outpatient operations, the radiology and labs, the pharmacy, etc We even got to see the operating rooms, including one in use!
The system is very different. Patients pay for service (although no one is denied serviced in a life-threatening situation). But the costs are extraordinarily low. A consultation, which lasts 20 minutes on average, costs 20 RMB or about $3. An MRI 1500 RMB or $200. One striking difference is the view of privacy we were allowed to see and take photos of everything, including computer screens with peoples test results etc.
This hospital is extremely modern and well-equipped. Its approach is unique, and based on Dr. Lius ideas. He follows two principles: humanity and capitalism. The first leads to programs like free surgery for over 500 orphans a year. The latter to astounding medical suites.
Importantly, regardless of the room a patient is willing to pay for, the quality of medical service is the same. Dr. Liu , who is a cardiac surgeon, President of the hospital and an Eisenhower Fellow, is sincere in his vision and has solid management strategies to drive it towards success. For example, he outsourced everything that is not a medical service. Doctors anode nurses work in teams. Bonuses are based on performance: quantity, quality, difficulty, cost, and satisfaction, each of which has specific measures. Note that revenue is specifically not in the equation.
Our visit to the hospital ended with a banquet and a very enjoyable conversation.
Plus, naturally, a photo op. Not just with my little point and shoot this time, but with a real photographer.
From the hospital we took a short cab ride to the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City. The project is literally unbelievable. Out of waste land a city of 350,000 is being created.
It was planned to take 10-15 years, but they think it will be completed sooner, and it looks like it. There are cranes everywhere, dozens of them. Its impossible to get a photo to capture even 10% of the feeling of it. While Tianjin grows at 16% a year, the Binai New Area grew 23% in 2009.
The lowlight of my visit was getting locked in a stall in the bathroom. I made a ruckus until someone came, who of course spoke no English, but it was clear that she was getting someone and she also told Claire.
We were extraordinarily lucky to get a taxi quickly in the middle of nowhere and rode 45 minutes to Tanggu station. After an hour wait in the freezing station, we rode the high speed train an hour back to Beijing. I ate room service and was asleep by 10.
I've started and/or run too many venture capital-backed software companies, plus one ill-fated food startup.