The majority of our final week in China was spent in Beijing. We reached Beijing in the afternoon, and, after we checked into our hotel, we worked on our project. We planned Friday of that week to visit the Great Wall, so it was important that we finished as much work possible. I was really looking forward to this visit to The Great Wall. It has been on my list of places to see for some time now. I've heard so many things about it, such as you can see it from space! It turns out this was a myth.
From a business perspective, there are a few things that I learned about the culture of China that I would not have immediately expected, as well as some things that really made the China portion of our project much easier. To begin, similar to most everywhere else in the world, much of the business that is conducted is extremely relational. This means that it would take multiple sit-downs with potential distributors and partners to really work out whether a deal could be done for the long-term. Why?
“Mind if I get your contact information so that we can keep in touch?” Xiaoran asked one of the contacts at the end of our meeting. “Absolutely.” The head of the investment department replied, while taking out her phone, “Swipe me.” Swipe me? What does that mean? I quietly chuckled, picturing how a non-native Chinese may think of this conversion, if it were to happen in English.
This week was amazing! We traveled from Shanghai to Nanjing and then to Beijing. The bullet train in China is FAST; it travels at a speed of 300 km (186 miles) per hour. The train is clean and tidy, and the seats are comfortable. Additionally, the weather has been good on these travels days, and we were able to enjoy the beautiful view of rural areas of China during the trip.
Our first week in Shanghai has been a great experience. I was very impressed with the house that we rented, although, from the outside, it looked less than inviting. Overall, the amenities have been very good, and basically what I expected (and what I would expect in a country of China’s level). The neighborhood where we are located has been interesting as well. It is close to the large shopping areas, the old French colonial quarter, and the famous Shanghai skyline.