Day 9: May 18, 2013 – Daniel Milstein
Fresh-squeezed watermelon juice was a fantastic way to start off our first day in Shanghai. The hotel was wonderful, and the breakfast buffet only made it even better. In addition to the entire section of Western pastries, cereals, fruits, etc., there was an entire section that offered a more traditional Chinese breakfast of different styles of pastries, soups, meats, and vegetables.
The Venice-style gondola boat-ride through a traditional Chinese town over an hour outside of Shanghai was a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing a classic, old-style Chinese town that was away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities we had been spending most of our time in. We then utilized our bargaining skills to shop in the local stores for some souvenirs (I got a great deal on some traditional Chinese fans as gifts) and passed by an array of Chinese people sitting by their houses working on creating what looked to be clothes or quilts by hand.
The alum dinner was fantastic. I sat next to Lynn Wang, who completed the MSF program and currently works at the Shanghai Stock Exchange; we had a lot to talk about. I look forward to keeping in touch. After dinner, we went with some of the alums to Cloud 9 at the top of the Jin Mao Tower – very cool!
Day 9: May 18, 2013 – Victoria Ramunno
We basically have the weekend off to do some cultural stuff and sightseeing. We took these little Chinese versions of gondolas for a little ride down the river and it was fun! I got some pretty scarves with an embroidered cherry blossom.
From lunch we went to the hotel where a tailor met us for orders on custom clothing. A suit was too expensive but I had a dress made. I was going to get a business dress but I was browsing my Pinterest and found the dress with the heart back cut outs and I asked the tailor if he could possibly replicate it. “I can do anything” was his response. So guess who got a mint dress with a heart back cut out? Yeah I am so excited to wear it.
We then went to an alumni dinner in a Sichuan restaurant nearby our hotel. Some people from our advising office at UF were there as well as some girls who will be at UF in the fall. This dinner they ordered was a FEAST. They just kept bringing out dishes and we did not even have enough space on the table. The waitress was telling us to eat faster but there was just too much. After dinner, we got to experience some of Shanghai’s nightlife before going back to our hotel.
Day 10: May 19, 2013 – Shuyun Xue
Today is another full cultural day. I hung out with the girls, Dr. Oh, Julie and Peter. We started off the morning at the Yu Garden to do some major shopping. To try to get us the best deal we could. It’s difficult to think up a reason to bargain when the most expensive item is still less than 20 dollars.
Since Kristina is Taiwanese and a lot of us wanted Xiao Long Bao, we headed to Din Tai Fung for lunch. I’ve never seen so many different types of Xiao Long Bao! It was pretty interesting to be able to watch them making everything through a glass window. I am definitely not talented enough to be able to make them that tiny.
Julie, Kristina, Victoria, and I ended up heading to the Temple of Peace and Quiet after lunch. Even though we are not Buddhist, it was so cool and calming to be able to be part of the culture. The interesting about the Temple is that it sits right in the middle of the city. However, the moment you walk into the front gate, it feels as if all the noise and burden stay outside the gate.
We wrapped up the night with an Acrobatic Show. It was nothing like anything I’ve ever experienced before. The amount of talent in the show was breathtaking and all the stunts they pulled tugged my heartstring constantly. There were so many moments when holding my breath wasn’t enough and I had to actually hold onto Jen for moral support. The show was concluded with SEVEN motorcycles in a death cage! The most I’ve seen in a single cage was 4. This truly speaks volumes.
Day 10: May 19, 2013 – Daniella Score:
For the free day a small group of us visited different attractions around Shanghai. My favorite one was visiting the Buddha Temple (Jin an temple) and seeing the rituals being done to worship Buddha within the temple. I was actually surprised by the amount of people visiting the temple and so openly professing their beliefs. This visit was also the first time I got to see practicing monks living in the temple.
The rest of the day we visited the pearl market, Yu Garden and did some shopping in other local markets.
At night, the acrobatic show was better then most professional shows I have ever seen. It was terrifying to see the acrobats attempt dangerous tricks without any safety precautions.
Day 11: May 20, 2013 – John Parady
Lauren Lundberg and I began this morning with an early trip to the Bottle Opener Building (Shanghai World Financial Center). We were the first ones at the observatory, which had an incredible view of the entire area.
Afterwards, we returned for a company visit at Costa Coffee, which at first I thought was a knock-off of Starbucks but would later grow to really like their products. The speaker was incredible and one of my favorites of the trip.
Then we had lunch at an authentic Chinese restaurant where we heard from Pam Giss, who is an attorney in Shanghai. Next, we visited Fossil’s store at Grand Gateway.
And then, we attended a presentation by Steve Fieldman at the Radisson hotel. Steve gave detailed insight on how one would enter the Chinese market, in both business and legal terms. We had a group dinner and then enjoyed a cruise up and down the Huangpu River.
Day 11: May 20, 2013 – Carolina Cuello
The Costa Coffee presentation was different from the rest of the presentations we have seen thus far. The presenter gave more overall, general advice based on what he has experienced living in China. Here is what he said:
- It’s about you and your perceptions. How you see things. Never let your assumptions agree to your situation.
- You must understand the framework of your thoughts.
- Learn to think out of the box. Try to look from a perspective you don’t know.
- Don’t look for what’s there, look for what is not there.
- You can’t translate training you have to adopt it.
- This is the biggest problem with the one child policy. This generation isn’t trained to cooperate with a team. They all think they are the best and they try to out do one another.
- You need to understand how YOU understand things before attempting to understand yourself.
- What retention and loyalty mean in China is putting money on a card that can only be used at Costa Coffee.
- Gifting is the key way to enter the Chinese Market.
- Create joint ventures with companies who have access to Chinese government.
Besides this advice, he gave some background information on himself and on Costa Coffee. Such as, Costa Coffee first opened in Guangzhou and Shenzhen because those cities are more interested in food than Beijing and Shanghai. He explained how coffee is seen as a status symbol rather than a drink in China. For this reason, it has been easy to introduce coffee to a tea drinking population. Tea will always be part of their diets, but coffee is part of their social position in society.
Day 11: May 20, 2013 – Sean Wilson
Costa Coffee was our first business visit in Shanghai and perhaps my favorite as well. The speaker was a calm British man who was in charge of the Asian division of the company. His presentation was insightful and eye opening, as he explained several simple yet brilliant tactics for success in international business. He stressed the fact that you should never let your assumptions greet any situation, and added that it is especially true in the Chinese market. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of being able to apply your knowledge to a situation and said that knowledge is completely worthless if it cannot be utilized.
After the Costa Coffee visit, we departed on a river cruise. The cruise was magnificent and gave us a great view of the city at night, with all the bright lights of the buildings overlooking the Bund area and the millions of people in the city.
Day 11: May 20, 2013 – Austin English
Steve Fieldman explained a lot about law in China and how to do business in such an “immature” legal environment. Mr. Fieldman regularly gives presentations to clients about legal aspects of foreign investing in China, and he delivered to us a similar presentation. Surprisingly, there are more lawyers in the state of Florida than all of China! Also, private law firms are a very new concept and the modern legal profession has only been in existence in China since 1979.
After our dinner with Mr. Fieldman at a really cool rooftop restaurant called Ark, we took the bus and basically ran to the ferry terminal to catch our boat. Seeing the Bund at night was just as cool as seeing it in the day. I was impressed to see how many of the buildings lit up at night.
Day 12: May 21, 2013 – Daniella Score
In the morning we visited one of the Outback Steakhouse restaurant’s in Shanghai. This was nothing like an Outback Steakhouse I had ever seen before because it was very upscale and sophisticated. To cater to the Chinese market outback had to change their look and become a more of an intimate dinning experience for the consumer. They seem to be headed in the right track, which is exciting because I used to work at an Outback Steakhouse and could personally compare the differences in training and appearance.
The second company visit for the day, Toys R Us, was very long but informative on all the ins and outs of what made their company so successful in China. With the one child policy, this creates a high demand for kid’s toys, especially ones that are educational. After the presentation, we were able to go to dinner with the presenters and really get to know how they got involved in China’s Toys R Us. It was nice to hear from foreign expats and how they have adapted to living across the country. From meeting all these different people, I have received a good idea about what it would be like to work internationally.
Day 12: May 21, 2013 – Daniel Milstein
Today began with a company visit to Outback Steakhouse, which took place at the recently opened Shanghai Outback restaurant. It was 10 in the morning and the restaurant hadn’t opened yet, so we were able to sit down in the main dining room for our company meeting. From the moment we stepped into the restaurant, what I had learned in my research about the Shanghai Outback was apparent: this Outback was nicer than any other Outback. The décor and overall atmosphere of the restaurant was much fancier than the typical casual Outback we are used to in the US, or even compared to the one we visited in Hong Kong. Consistent with what we learned about Chinese consumers, this is because their expectations are higher for Western food, and they are willing to pay the higher price for a more luxurious experience. A surprise, we got to meet Julie, the Vice President of Operations for Bloomin’ Brands International, who has worked with Dr. Oh. She, along with the regional operational manager and the managing partners of the restaurant spoke to us about Outback’s entry into China. We also toured the kitchen. It was explained that Chinese regulations require cold and hot items to be prepared in different, separated areas of the kitchen, which came as a surprise. All of the Outback executives were extremely welcoming and very informative.
Day 12: May 21 – Sean Wilson
Austin English and I ate two dinners as a part of two different company visits. The first was with the employees from Toys R Us. For dinner, we had many strange dishes that are not usually found in the States- jellyfish, cow tongue, and even eel were all present on the lazy susan at the family style dinner.
After the meal, Austin and I went to Xitiandi to meet up with two Dutch business owners that we met in Hong Kong. They took us to dinner and talked to us about our experience in China and offered us both internship positions for their company, Online-Design, for next summer. It was really great being able to use our social skills and knowledge of international business to actually land an internship offer abroad!
Day 13: May 22, 2013 – Jennifer Sato
On our last day in Shanghai, we started out with a store visit at Mark Fairwhale, a men’s wear store located in China and some areas of Southeast Asia. Mark Fairwhale brands as a European/Western company, however, the company was actually founded by a Chinese man. Seeing their store was very interesting because most of the companies had us sitting in board rooms – I liked being able to see displays and actively ask questions.
After lunch, we had a meeting at the offices of C&A, another clothing company. C&A is a European clothing company, comparable to H&M that sells both women’s and men’s apparel. We had a presentation about how the company does business in China and how their expansion process works. C&A is a privately owned company, which means that they do not have to have a separate holding company to transfer money to so that C&A can actually use their profits outside of China.