How China sparked Exide’s top dealers

Exide Industries’ dealer incentive to China didn’t start well – but the power of persuasion delivered the right connection, as Shekhar Niyogi reports.

When Exide Industries, the giant battery manufacturer in India, decided on a destination for an incentive for 60 of their top dealers, they chose Shanghai and Beijing in China for a truly memorable experience.

Pijush Kanti Patra, Head, Home UPS & Marketing Services of Exide Industries, said: “China was chosen due to ease of travel, availability of Indian food, ease of arranging the China group visa, its great historical past and, above all, the emergence of China as the new superpower and its relevance to modern day life.”

He added: “The trip was undertaken as an incentive to our dealers for their target completions over the past year. They came back with happy memories and are looking forward to more such trips in future. We have given our valued dealers memories that’ll be cherished for years to come.”

But it could have been so different. The group was delayed by the slowness of the process of issuing a group visa upon arrival in China and they nearly missed the connecting flight! But the organising team from Gainwell Travel & Leisure stepped in and convinced the airline to allow boarding for 60 plus people.

Krishanka Dutta, tour manager for Gainwell Travel & Leisure, said: “It was a pleasure to manage this esteemed group and we thank Exide Industries for showing their faith in us.  We faced a challenge with the group visa upon arrival in China but we spoke with and convinced the airline to allow boarding for 60-plus people. So it all ended well.”

The five-night trip began with the flight to Kunming and transit to Shanghai on China Eastern Airlines from Kolkata, while the delegates from Delhi flew the same airline directly to Shanghai, arriving at about the same time. On day one the guests checked in at Days Hotel Shanghai and spent the afternoon at leisure before being transported to board the Huangpu River cruise and ddinner.

On day two, after breakfast, the group went for a city sightseeing tour which included visits to the Jade Buddha Temple, the Silk Factory and People’s Square, culminating with a lunch in an Indian restaurant. In the afternoon, they went to Nanjing Road, a long walking thoroughfare, crowded with tourists and shops, which delighted many in the group. Thereafter they visited the TV Tower and finally visited the Bund, the historic waterfront near the river that houses many historic buildings reminiscent of the taipans of a bygone era in Shanghai’s history, of commerce and intrigue and large British trading houses that dotted the Bund area. Today, the same buildings are occupied by multinational banks and designer houses and the iconic Peace Hotel now transformed into the Fairmont.

On day three after breakfast, the group checked out of the hotel and departed for the Shanghai train station to board the Bullet train to Beijing. After a four-hour train ride, they reached Beijing and checked in at Beijing Plaza Hotel followed by lunch at an Indian restaurant. In the afternoon and evening they visited the Capital Museum and later Wangfujing Street for shopping for various local arts and souvenirs along with silk, leather products and apparel. Dinner was at an Indian restaurant.

On day four, after breakfast at the hotel they went to the Jade factory to marvel at the exquisite creations. An hour’s drive took them to the Great Wall at Juyong Pass, the most accessible part of the Great Wall of China, a structure that can be seen from the moon. After a couple of hours of climbing the ramparts of the fort-like wall and many photo opportunities, the group proceeded for an Indian lunch. After lunch a visit to the Olympic Park was highlighted by the tall communications tower built during the Beijing Olympics, popularly called the Bird’s Nest and thereafter to the Water Cube, the venue for the aquatic meets.

The final evening of the trip was crowned by a gala dinner at the grand Indian restaurant, the Ganges Lidu, and was a resounding success. On day five, the morning was memorable with a visit to the historic Tiananmen Square and the adjoining Forbidden City where the group was able to walk around and soak in the aura of Chinese history and culture. They also went to the Houhai Lake and then went for lunch to an Indian restaurant. After lunch the group was transported to the Beijing airport to board their flights to Kolkata via Kunming and direct flight to Delhi and bring the curtain down on a very fruitful and enjoyable trip.