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Internship in China’s Silicon Valley, Shenzhen

Tobias Uhd working at Blue Bird Global Internship China Shenzhen with a view

Who: Tobias Uhd from Aarhus Business Academy
What: Internship at Blue Bird Global
Where: Shenzhen – China’s Silicon Valley, or the Silicon Valley of Hardware as some people like to call it.

Entrepreneur by heart

Tobias, 22, is an entrepreneur by heart. While studying in Denmark, he already established his first company, a web shop that sold natural skin and haircare products.
But how did he end up in Shenzhen and why is Shenzhen interesting from an entrepreneur’s perspective? Tobias explains: “I first visited China in the 9th grade on a 10-day exchange program. However, it wasn’t until a few years later that China really ‘got under my skin’; I had a friend who was working in the toy industry and his company had production in China. His stories about China’s dynamic economy and the cultural differences really caught my attention. For me, Denmark had become too monotone, so when I through my education at the Business Academy in Aarhus, was given the opportunity to do semesters abroad I immediately thought of China”.

In 2018, Tobias went on exchange to Shanghai where he studied at Jian Qiao University – one of Aarhus Business Academy’s partners in China: “Part of the programme was a visit to Innovation Centre Denmark. There I met Martin Bech, the Innovation Attaché. I told him I was interested in entrepreneurship and would like to do an internship in China. Martin advised me to contact Blue Bird Global – a startup in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.”
So, does Blue Bird Global have a link to Denmark? “Yes, it actually has,” says Tobias. “It is started by a Swede and an American – but they met in Copenhagen while studying at Copenhagen Business School. It really was a ‘global’ company from the beginning.”

Smoothing out the cultural differences

What does Blue Bird Global do? “Blue Bird Global specialize in assisting Chinese manufacturers entering the European and American markets. The manufacturers provide the technology and manufacturing, Blue Bird Global add industrial design, communication and sales channels. The Chinese government urges Chinese industry to go global, but many Chinese companies do not have the experience and knowledge about foreign markets. That is where Blue Bird Global come in; Blue Bird Global smooth out the cultural distance”, says Tobias.
During his internship, Tobias worked with marketing development and adds: “Because it is a startup, I get the chance to get my hands in everything. I get to follow the projects from start to finish. Working in China and Blue Bird Global has taught me more in one month than six months in Denmark would have. It is not that I do not like to study, but actually getting my hands in the projects, working with what I know and build upon it, is much more inspiring and exciting”.
This could indicate that China has a very steep learning curve. How is that? Tobias gives his view on the matter: “It is not easy working in China because things change so rapidly that the solution you had just come up with yesterday may not be applicable today. This also means that China is not for everyone, but it is with the result that if you can make it in China you are well equipped for the rest of the world. You furthermore gain quite an extensive network in China, but even more so in Shenzhen, a city where everyone is trying to become something. People are very open minded and eager to speak with you”.

Going back to China

Since this interview has taken place, Tobias has finished his internship and has gone back to Denmark to write his final project about Blue Bird Global in Shenzhen and finish his AP Degree (Academic Profession Degree).
However, this is not the end for his China adventures. “I plan to plant my roots permanently in China, learn Chinese and start my own business. How everything will turn out, time will tell, but I have learnt to challenge myself and think innovation and value into my strategies” Tobias deduce.

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