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Thursday December 9, 2004
‘Made in China’ just took on a new meaning as the world famous computer giant IBM sold its PC division to a Chinese company called Lenovo. China is bursting its way onto the world market to place its products on par with the world’s leaders in terms of quality and performance. The acquisition of IBM is a significant feather in the cap for China, a high-profile entry onto the world stage. “This acquisition will allow Chinese industry to make significant inroads on its path to globalization”, said Lenovo chairman Liu Chuanzhi. Lenovo will become the third largest PC maker worldwide, with annual revenues exceeding 10 billion US dollars, or eight per cent of world market share.
Lenovo has been a rags to riches story. It started in 1984 with around 25,000 dollars and slowly grew to become a household name in China, selling a wide range of electronics. It is a major sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Who had heard of Hyundai before the Seoul Olympics in 1988? The IBM deal gives Lenovo worldwide brand recognition, especially as they get to keep the ‘Thinkpad’ brand for five years. Other Chinese companies are also slowly rebranding China’s manufacturing image from that of ‘cheap and nasty’ to world-beating quality. Thirty years ago ‘made in Japan’ equaled ‘inferior product’, today we have Sony, Toyota, Panasonic, Toshiba, Honda…
WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS
1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about ‘IBM’, PCs, ‘made in China’, Lenovo, global brands, ‘made in Japan’…
2. CHINA BRAINSTORM: Students call out anything they associate with China. Teacher writes on board as conversation themes for students to talk about.
3. SELL CHINA: Students take part in mini, energizing, get-in-the-mood role plays. Student A is the CEO of an ambitious Chinese company that wants to buy Student B’s company (Coca Cola, Microsoft, the BBC, Sony, Disney, McDonalds…). The role play theme is why these brand companies would fare better internationally as Chinese companies.
4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
5. MY COUNTRY’S BRANDS: Students tell each other about the world-famous goods produced in their own countries.
1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘world’ and ‘global’.
2. TRUE / FALSE: Students predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
3. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):
4. PRE ARTICLE OPINIONS: Students ask each other about their opinions on the following statements from the article:
WHILE READING ACTIVITIES
1. GAP-FILL: Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.
2. TRUE/FALSE: Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.
3. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the word match exercise.
4. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.
5. VOCABULARY: Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.
6. ‘INTERESTING’: Students underli ne anything that made them think “wow”.
POST READING IDEAS
1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.
2. QUESTIONS: Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.
3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.
4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article / Chinese business and companies. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.
5. SELL CHINA: Expanded role play on the mini role play in the Warmers section above.
6. ‘INTERESTING’: Students talk about the things they underlined as interesting.
7. DISCUSSION: Students ask each other the following questions:
8. I’D BUY IT: Students talk about whether they would be happy buying the following products made or grown in China:
Have students write down and share several things they would not buy (yet).
9. ‘WORLD’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.
1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on IBM. Share your findings with your class next lesson.
3. CHINESE MICKEY: Make a poster outlining why the new Chinese Mickey Mouse will be better than the old one.
4. FULL STEAM AHEAD: You are head of the China Globalization Committee. Write a letter to your members explaining China’s global progress over the next ten years.
TRUE / FALSE: