Waking up in Beijing for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. We had arrived the night before, and in the darkness, only saw cars on the road to the hotel. What this morning revealed was a bustling citythere are more than 20 million people in this city, after all. Everywhere there were cars, bicycles, motorbikes and people on foot, each with a determination to follow a unique path. We were not even in downtown.
Another first for me today was the beginning of my inaugural SupplySide Global Experience adventure. The VIRGO team met with the underwriter of this project, BGG, at their ChangPing District facility that houses R&D and production of its extract ingredients. We spent the day learning about technology and traditions, and sampling the local cuisine. Not far from the impressive curves of the arena used for the basketball games during the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the leafy expanse of the Ming Dynasty Tombs. As we strolled the grounds, contemplating the scope of the 13 emperors and nearly 300 years of one of the most well-known Chinese empires, the importance of history and tradition to China’s future became more apparent. The second half of the Ming Dynasty saw an explosion of new trade with western countries and decades of prosperity.
Today was a fitting introduction to modern China, and how a combination of the new and the old is driving the Chinese natural products industry. We look forward to the week ahead, which will see is us in different parts of Beijing and China, watching this story further unfold and add another chapter to the SupplySide Global Experience.