Western China: China's New Business Frontier


For the Academic Year 2014-15, the BUSI798 series will be four credits total (1 credit in the fall, 3 in the spring) starting with the one credit fall BUSI788 course.

Students in the fall BUSI788 one-credit course will automatically be registered for the spring BUSI798 module.


Xi’an, Chengdu, Kunming


Dr. Zhi-Long Chen

Important Dates

Course dates:

  • Oct 26, VMH 1505, 12-7 p.m.
  • Nov 23, VMH 1505, 12-7 p.m.
  • Feb 8, VMH 1505, 12-7 p.m.
  • Mar 8, VMH 1505, 12-7 p.m.

Tentative dates abroad: Depart January 3rd (arrive in China on the 4th); return January 14th (arrive in the US on the 14th).

Program Fee and Dean's Global Scholarship

The $2,250 program fee covers shared hotel room, some meals, cost of any scheduled cultural activities, professor and partner costs. Not included: international airfare, personal expenses, and most meals.The $1,000 Dean's Global Scholarship is available to eligible full-time and part-time MBA students who are participating on a UMD program abroad in 2014-15. Only students who have not studied abroad previously on a UMD program are eligible for this $1,000 scholarship. There is no application form required for the scholarship. Instead, it will be automatically applied to your student account after our office has verified in our records that this your first time studying abroad with UMD.

Additional Costs

There is an additional $250 fee to the Education Abroad Office as well as a fee for the mandatory insurance coverage (tbd but likely less than $40). A visa is required for U.S. citizens. Students of other nationalities should check the China consular office for visa information and requirements.


Register on Testudo for fall BUSI788C section BA01 at the same time as your other fall courses. You will automatically be registered for the other module(s).

China is now central to the world economy and is the world’s biggest trading nation as measured by the sum of exports and imports. The country is expected to surpass the US to become the largest economy by 2028. The last three decades of economic reform has made China not only the world’s factory, but also the world’s largest market for numerous products. As such, a basic understanding of the modern China, including its socio-economic, political, and business and management aspects, is imperative for anyone interested in doing business in the global market.

This course will focus on the western region of China which is now a new hotspot for multinational companies due to its lower land and labor costs, rich natural resources, and favorable government tax incentives. China’s vast western region is expected to be the most exciting economic development story of the next decade. In 2001, the Chinese government implemented its Western Development Strategy also known as the “Go West” campaign. The lagging economic progress of the region prompted the Central Government to offer incentives for business development, including a much lower corporate income tax (15% as opposed to the usual 25%). The plan also calls for massive infrastructure development both in urban and rural areas.

After more than 10 years since the beginning of the Western Development Strategy, the positive effects are evident in the region’s largest cities. The key cities that have benefitted most so far are Xi’an (capital of Shaanxi Province), Chengdu (capital of Sichuan Province), Kunming (capital of Yunnan Province) and Chongqing (a provincial level municipality). These cities form a tight bond, and despite each being within a less than 2 hour flight from one another, each is unique in character and culture. The entire region comprises a whopping 70% of China’s landmass and 28% of its population, and currently accounts for 17% of the country’s GDP, with much more expected in future years.

This course will provide students with a first-hand experience about opportunities and challenges in doing business in China’s western region. The specific goals of this class are:

  1. Gain first-hand knowledge about Chinese business environment and China’s culture and traditions.
  2. Explore opportunities and challenges in doing business in China’s western region in the industries that we will focus on – automobile, electronics, software and IT, pharmaceutical, and tourism.
  3. Derive winning strategies that American companies can follow to operate a successful business in China’s west


  • UMD's regular withdrawal and refund schedule applies for the one-credit BUSI788C course. Students dropping the course series after October 15 (when we make financial commitments abroad) will be charged the program fee equivalent.
  • Do not purchase airfare until course is confirmed. Students are advised by UMD Education Abroad to purchase refundable airline tickets.
  • Students are responsible for obtaining and paying for their own visa and/or entry fee.
  • The time abroad IS the class and any instances of: being late and therefore delaying the group, noise in hotel hallways, damage to hotel rooms, hung-over behavior, sleeping during meetings or public displays of affection will be frowned upon as it would for any business traveler on meetings or conferences abroad. You are expected to incorporate professionalism while abroad, and professionalism is part of your total grade. It is our intent to develop world citizens and savvy business travelers, and the courses abroad should be undertaken as serious academic endeavors.
  • Students are welcome and encouraged to participate in more than one BUSI788/798 abroad during your time at Smith; up to two course series can apply towards the MBA degree.