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While most of my colleagues in the US were taking a nice break during the July 4th week, a small group of people including me was on the road for a mixed-signal Tech-on-Tour in China. There was some debate internally on whether designers in China would be interested in such a topic. What we had experienced last week was a clear (not mixed) signal from the IC designer community in China that they are hungry for knowledge in this area, and they want technologies to help them design mixed-signal chips.
The trip was quite hectic, -- 3 cities in a week. It started from Beijing on July 2nd, then Shanghai on July 4th and finally Shenzhen on July 6th. I was particularly worried about the attendance on the first day. The Euro Cup 2012 (Soccer) final game started at 3 am local time, and I know how strong the attraction of this game is for people over there, including myself. I felt relieved when I saw a fully packed seminar room with most attendees arriving on time. I was particularly impressed by the focus and commitment of those attendees, as people were talking notes and asking questions throughout the seminar.
After Beijing, we went on to Shanghai where the designer interest for mixed-signal just blew me away. We had to close our registration site early due to reaching the maximum capacity. The seminar was held in the new Cadence office site in Shanghai within the Kerry Business Center. The training room can accommodate 100 people, but we had more than 120 people come. The room was packed with no standing room! In addition to the great seminar, I was also impressed by the convenience of having many restaurants right below the office. I wish I could have tried them all, but I only had two days there and I had to move to Shenzhen for the last stop of the trip.
The Shenzhen seminar was comparable to the Beijing one in terms of attendance but we had some people came from Hong Kong as well. Overall, the total attendance of the China tour was more than 200 from many different companies. One highlight of this series was the joint presentation with ARM on the use of MCUs in mixed-signal design, and how the Cadence solution makes it easier for designers to design, verify and implement Cortex-M based mixed-signal designs. In fact, the Segment Marketing Manager of ARM in Shanghai, Lifeng Geng, was with us for all three seminars and gave a presentation on embedded processor-based design for mixed-signal applications and the advantages of Cortex-M series from ARM.
We wrapped up the whole series quite smoothly and the team was happy with the turnout. I would have been in a great mood to start a new week except for my miseries on the way back home. I was stuck at the Shenzhen airport for seven hours while waiting for my flight to Shanghai to take off. I felt lucky to arrive in Shanghai in time for the flight to SFO via Tokyo, but the flight from Shanghai to Tokyo was delayed for three hours and the flight from Tokyo to SFO left without me.
Not everything was so bad though. I bumped into Lifeng at the Shenzhen airport as we were both stuck there, even though we were on different flights. We really did not have time to get to know each other at the seminars due to the busy schedule. This incident gave us some good time to chat aboiut technology, work and life, and get to know each other better. I finally got back home on Sunday and I'm thinking about taking the high speed train in China next time.