Media Coverage
CSR Special: BlueStar summer camp key factor in building transnational culture
Source: China Daily Date: 2009-07-21


The 20th summer camp of the China National BlueStar Group Co Ltd officially opened in Beijing yesterday. For the fist time in its two-decade history, the camp, originally set up to cater for the children of its Chinese employees, has welcomed the offspring of its workers in foreign countries - including France, the UK, and Australia.
Ren Jianxin, president of China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), Blue Stars parent company, as well as chairman of BlueStar itself, was one of the founders of the BlueStar summer camp.
Reflecting on the value and growth of the venture, he said: "In the camp, we now provide the children with an all-round education whilst also promoting their personal growth. We help the next generation learn how to live a collective life and to become youngsters full of knowledge, vision and with good personalities."
"The efforts of the past 20 years have brought us unexpected achievements - chief of which has been the integrated communication and inter-generational transmission of our company culture. This is of great importance to the long-term development of BlueStar."
This years event includes eight specially conceived activities - cross-cultural communications, ancient architecture, Chinese language, prestigious universities, Olympic dreams, ethnic customs, food and culture, and museums.
During the 20-day camp, participants will visit Siheyuan (quadrangle) and the National Stadium (the Birds Nest), study the Chinese language and calligraphy, enjoy a Beijing Opera, learn traditional Chinese etiquette, find out how to make dumplings as well as having the opportunity to attend a series of lively parties.
To enhance the next generations awareness of environmental protection issues, BlueStar will launch a drawing competition highlighting environmental conservation. This will be open to all of the camps attendees.
The organizers hope that the children will learn more about Chinese culture, foreign culture, as well as BlueStars own culture, throughout the summer camp experience.
The first BlueStar summer camp opened in 1989 with only 11 campers. During the past 20 years, the camp has enjoyed an enormous expansion, in line with the growth of BlueStar Group itself. This year, the attendee number amounted to 1,100 including employees children from BlueStars headquarters, as well as its subsidiary companies at home and abroad.
Together with the rapid expansion in numbers, BlueStar has also upgraded the activities on offer at the event. This has built on the sightseeing and touring base of the early camps and now includes a whole new raft of educational and training opportunities. These have been developed to deliver a more professional learning and leisure package to the camps young attendees.
For BlueStar, the summer camp is not only an annual opportunity for children to play and learn, but also an important part of its initiative in building the corporate culture of the company, one of Chinas leading chemical processors.
In fact, the BlueStars methodology is now considered as exemplary in China and has been dubbed as the "BlueStar Pattern".
Education experts now speak highly of the BlueStar camp, regarding it is not only as a pioneer in the Chinese summer camp field, but also as a prime example of how to transmit corporate culture across generations.
There is no doubt that the participation of overseas members this year marks the true internationalization of the camp and marks a new milestone in its history.
According to Huang Fang, vice director of Peking Universitys Research Center of Chinese Enterprise Management: "The global launch of the BlueStar summer camp paves the way to a new form of overseas development and cultural integration for Chinese enterprises."
Early in 2006, BlueStar successfully took over three overseas businesses, including Adisseo and Rhodia in France, and Qenos in Australia. According to Ren Jianxin, all the acquired companies are in an excellent trading condition now and have hit record highs in production.
He said: "This success is partly due to good cross-cultural communication among domestic staff, overseas employees and local residents. This is very important for transnational enterprises."
A number of experts hold similar opinions. According to Huang Fang, transnational enterprises are not only a matter of joint economies, but are also about a fusion of different cultures.
Huang says: "Its very important for the future development of these enterprises to engender a seamless combination of cultures, ideas and traditions. For Chinese enterprises extending into foreign markets, cultural mingling is of great significance - not only in terms of creating combined businesses but also with regard to the sustainable development of corporate culture."
Ren, himself, is entirely in sympathy with Huangs sentiments: "In order to avoid the cultural gap encountered by many Chinese businesses when they extend their activities abroad, we have adopted a number of initiatives aimed at nurturing tolerance and developing mutually-beneficial strategies. The globalized BlueStar summer camp is just one of them.
"It has already established itself as a significant means of building our corporate culture over the past 20 years, and will certainly contribute further to our international corporate cultural integration."

By Song Ping   (China Daily 07/21/2009 page13)

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