On Wednesday, 04 December, a group of 20 international students from Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School visited AAC Technologies (瑞声科技) at their headquarters in Shenzhen. The students were from the Finance, Management, and Economics MA programs at Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS), or exchange students. They were welcomed by AAC Technologies Chief Strategy Officer, David Plekenpol, HR Director, James Wan, and Director of Marketing, Daniel Jansson.
AAC Technologies is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers for smart phone components. Their clients include the leading cell phone companies in China, America, and Korea. The company is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and reported over 18 billion RMB in revenue for 2018. For students, one of the most exciting aspects of the company is their global reach and presence. AAC has over 50,000 employees with offices around the world, including many locations in China, as well as Japan, Korea, United States, Finland, Denmark, Vietnam, and more.
However, this visit expanded beyond understanding the scale and operations of the company. Chief Strategy Officer, David Plekenpol, welcomed the group by immediately brushing aside a drawn out description of AAC. “Our technology is in your hand,” he said as quick summary before moving on to the main objective: “Be actually thinking is what I want to do today—stimulate your career interest.”
Mr. Plekenpol discussed how the cell phone industry has shifted in the decades since AAC Technologies was founded in 1993. He mentioned that the key to their success in remaining competitive and growing while the technology hubs have shifted between Europe, America, Korea, and now China has been remaining dynamic and agile.
This dynamism and agility is more essential than ever as the new challenges of navigating the technology industry over the next 10 years present themselves. Mr. Plekenpol then added that this is why the company is eager to be a space for talented and bright young individuals. Roman Xia, Year 2 Management student remarked, “I was impressed by their company philosophy based on flexibility and agility and how this philosophy has brought them to where they are today. This was the first Chinese company that was willing to actively reach out to international students.”
Director of Marketing, Daniel Jansson and HR Director, James Wan, provided more insights into the work of AAC. Mr. Jansson sketched the evolution of AAC Technologies from its focus on cell phone audio components at its founding, to optic, network, haptic, and other precision components today. He then led students to the showroom where they had the chance to experience and see many of the products currently being manufactured and purchased.
Once the group had an understanding of the development and possible directions of growth, Mr. Wan elaborated on where students could fit into the company. Students represented over 10 countries and a wide variety of professional backgrounds. However, he emphasized any background could correspond to one of the diverse positions in AAC Technologies. Finance, HR, data analytics, manufacturing, engineering, communications, and global relations are just a few of the areas students could pursue if they are interested. He left them with one central message: no matter where they are from, they will be welcomed.
The message clearly impacted visitors like Christian Shedl, Year 2 Finance student, who said, “The company has a strong focus on the international market and a very diverse workforce.” Linh Dong, Year 1 Management student positively suggested, “The trip to AAC has definitely opened up possible future opportunities.”
By Nathan Faber