“The very first time I went abroad from China was to visit Interclean Amsterdam, all alone!”
In Interclean Memories we look back at many years of Interclean with colleagues, partners and friends of the show. This Memory Talks we spoke with Chris Shen, deputy general manager of RAI China. Chris has been involved in Interclean projects since 2007. The first time she visited Interclean Amsterdam was in 2008. Since then, she has visited many Interclean shows. “Interclean was the starting point of my career. I always say Interclean is my first-born child. My actual daughter is my second child, Interclean my first child.”
What is your first Interclean Memory?
“The very first time I visited Interclean Amsterdam in 2008, was also the very first time I ever went abroad from China. I had just graduated from my university, got my first job at RAI China, and the mission was to go to Amsterdam for Interclean Amsterdam on my own. When I arrived I was feeling very lonely and nervous, having limited knowledge about the culture and English language, as well as limited experience with the cleaning industry or trade shows. The show was very huge and professional as I have expected. However at various meetings there,I worried about a lot of things, such as did I understand the questions correctly? Did I get the accurate information about the show plans? How can I put my questions into the rightest way to make others easier to understand? Etcetera.
But then I met my Dutch colleague, Gerard, and he helped me a lot. He explained many things about the cleaning industry, the show itself and also about the cultural differences. He always spoke very slowly to me and was very patient. This is one of the funniest memories I have, while working for Interlean, because he was so helpful but sometimes I could tell he was feeling so helpless, due to the gap of age in between as well as the cultural difference!”, Chris laughs.
Can you name 3 things that have changed?
“When I started to involve in Interclean Amsterdam fifteen years ago, to look for innovations we would go to trade shows in China of that industry. Such as trade shows for the hotel industry and equipment. Or we would read about innovations in newspapers or trade magazines. We still do this, but now internet changed our ways of searching for industrial supplies, innovations and information.
Similarly, we used to go to associations or industrial gatherings a lot to meet new people. Back then you were not able to find people or enlarge networks by online searching or via social media. Of course now we still visit people, but the online solutions has made it a lot easier to connect with people.
Then looking at the cleaning industry, a big change I noticed is the trend and development of intelligent cleaning robots and other new technologies that are with hi-tec and are thus more user friendly. This was unimaginable fifteen years ago. I am very excited about this emerging trend and am looking forward to seeing how this folds out in the short future.”
What is your all-time favourite Interclean Memory?
“My most memorable moment has to be the moment during Interclean Amsterdam 2016 and 2018. In those 2 editions my team of RAI China won the Global Sales Champion. I was so proud!”