Stop 6: Beijing

Day 15 (May 24th): Cultural Appreciation

Tian’anmen Square: Visit to the square on the outside of the Gate of Heavenly Peace that links into the Forbidden City. The area that was once a sight of political protest is now marked by peace maintaining soldiers, a tribute to Mao Zedong, and reference to the 2008 Olympic Games.

Forbidden City: Visit to the ancient palace that numerous emperors lived in spanning the Ming and Qing dynasties, the last two imperial Chinese dynasties. The group walked through numerous gates from Tian’anmen Square to get to the interior of the palace, and visited the history and antiques exhibit, Imperial garden Yuhuayuan, and saw the marriage room.

Great Wall: Visit to the ancient wall built over many centuries to protect Chinese Empires. The class took the cable car up to the Wall and got a workout following the ups and downs of the Wall and climbing up to some of the watchtowers. Afterwards, the students looked around the souvenir shops near the parking area and bought Chinese souvenirs.

Day 16 (May 25th): Free Day

Day 17 (May 26th):

Beijing Hyundai: Presentation about Hyundai’s business in Beijing and tour of the factory to see the automobile production process from start to finish. Students learned some interesting statistics, such as the factory producing 1300 cars a day, has 15000 workers, and completes a car every 54 seconds. The students also got to meet some San Francisco students going on a similar tour in China.

Right At Home: Presentation about how the aging Chinese population is provided with health care. The speaker talked about political and economical issues that have affected health care throughout the years, and how Right At Home’s entry into the Chinese market is beginning to shape the way care is provided to the elderly. Students learned about the essence of market research for the company because the caregiver concept is still rather new to the Chinese. Right At Home has to continuously find out what the patients expect from their service to be able to properly persuade families to request service as well as give their caregivers the appropriate training. The speaker also discussed the training of their employees, how their jobs work, and the benefits they receive.

Day 18 (May 27th):

51ants: Presentation by CEO Mr. Song Ningbao and Director of Operations Mr. Dong Yan on the company’s role of being a middlemen between manufacturers and convenience stores. 51ants helps convenience stores get the products they want from the manufacturers and gets the items delivered to the stores, while collecting data on product sales to present to the manufacturers. The company earns its profit from store sales commission, and is looking towards future expansion into other Chinese cities. Mr. Song told the group about his career and how he came up with the company name, which translates to “worry-free” ants in Chinese. He has hopes that his company will become like ants in the sense that they will spread and expand, as well as be undefeated by challenge. After the presentation, the group had lunch with the executives at the company’s cafeteria and tried some local Chinese lunch dishes.

Olympic Management Center: Presentation about how the Beijing Olympic area is handled after the Olympic closing ceremony. The speakers discussed their main project after the Olympics: the construction and opening of a shopping mall underwater. The problem with the mall is that it is not noticeable, so the management center has been trying to improve the mall’s marketing. Students learned of the difficulty the center had in attracting companies to open stores in the mall, as well as the mall’s current family-centric positioning and present status. The group also got to visit the interview room for Olympians with a 360 view of Olympic Park, and the underwater mall.

Beijing Science Park: Presentation by Dr. Yingqi Xia on the history of the Science Park and business startups that began there. He shared the success story of a couple of companies, including Lenovo, Chinese English Oriental School. Dr. Xia also shared his personal story of working in the States and in China.

Red Theatre Kungfu Show: Students watched The Legend of Kungfu: a play about a kid’s training to become a monk. The play showcased passion, commitment, romance, and separation with acrobatic, instrumental, and dance acts. Students got to see a lot of traditional Chinese cultural acts.

Day 19 (May 28th):

JD.com: Presentation by Development and Strategy Analyst and Investment Manager Ms. Vivia Zhu and JD University Training Product Manager Ms. Sabrina Li on the distribution and marketing strategies JD.com uses to get products to their customers. The class learned about the vast distribution network the company has within China, and how every part of that network can be tracked in real time by technology and seen through the TV monitors in the company’s meeting room. The group got a tour of the customer service and mailbox area, where customers who placed orders online already can inquire about problems or pick up the product there. Additionally, as JD.com has hopes to expand globally after its recent IPO, students gave some insight from a customer’s perspective on Amazon’s model to the executives.

Perry Ellis: Presentation about Perry Ellis’s current outlook, and issues that both Perry Ellis and other companies are trying to find more long-term solutions for. The group got to watch some of Perry Ellis’s latest commercials to see how the company is adapting with the trends and trying to differentiate its brand differently. The students also learned about cost reduction, production and design issues/processes, and e-commerce. The speaker also shared a lot of her wisdom with the class and taught the group some meditation exercises for focus and relaxation. Afterwards, the class had a shopping mall store visit to the Laundry brand by Shelli Segal under Perry Ellis. Students got the chance to look around the store and observe the store layout, pricing, and customer appeal. The employees of the store told the group about the service of having their clothes tailored to fit after purchase, and shared some store statistics on things like how many customers the store serves a day average, sales made in a month, etcetera.

Group Dinner: Peking duck dinner with local Beijing pastries at a Chinese restaurant. The group took the time to talk about the trip in general, share their favorite moments with each other, and make plans for the night.

Day 20 (May 29th):

Depart from China