Day 3: Beijing: Cheetah Mobile + Microsoft China company visit + Silk Street

Today’s attire- business casual. We were getting a tour of and a lecture at both Cheetah Mobile(they made, Piano Tiles the game, Clean Master, and and Microsoft China. We conquered the former business in the morning and the latter in the afternoon after lunch.

Cheetah Mobile was unique from the moment we pulled up to their headquarters. There was a large patch of grass with fountains dispersed in between with a stone walkway leading to the office. There were small statues of Cheetah Mobile’s logo- a cartoon cheetah- with different patterns lining the walkway. The office itself was architecturally very modern and was all glass. As soon as we entered, we saw an entire wall next to the front desk dedicated to Cheetah Mobile sign and a pixilated wall with the company’s motto- make the world smarter- and underneath our Pitt badge with the company’s “CM” logo placed side by side together. We were entertained with seeing our Pitt badge and many of us took pictures with the side. We were then led to a conference room with coffee, snacks, tissues, and even a Cheetah Mobile doll set out for everyone. We definitely felt very welcome and respected. We watched two short videos about Cheetah Mobile and their mission in the business world. Then Charles came to introduce himself, give a brief lecture on Cheetah Mobile, and answer any of our questions. After about an hour, it was time for our tour. Cheetah Mobile’s company was set up very much like Google, there was a slide, a children’s play area for the employee’s children, a rock climbing wall, multiple aesthetically pleasing nooks and crannies, a roof top garden, and many more. Although businesses like this are somewhat standard in America, Cheetah Mobile along with Nike China are the only businesses with this set up in all of China. Some of us, including me, went down the slide which was a lot faster than it looked! But there was a cushion at the end to help your fall. There was also a fish pond around the business lining the stone steps and Kieran fell into it…!! A picture of the splash he made is below. The last leg of our tour consisted of a store that sold Cheetah Mobile dolls.

Lunch was provided by the Asia Institute at the Joy Mall. Have to say, one of our best meals by far. We then had about 45 minutes of free time in the mall and Hayley and I decided to try this vending machine that squeezes oranges right before your eyes to make orange juice! It tasted like straight up oranges- no sugar, no preservatives- and plus it was very fresh!

The Microsoft tour went a little different. Instead of being led into the conference room and then given a tour of the office, we were led to a show room where our tour guide Carter displayed, and even let us test out, Microsoft products. The first thing he showed us was a face recognition software that guessed your age and mood. It also recognized Carter’s face and let us into the showroom. The first room we entered was covered, floor and ceiling included, by tiles that represented a computer screen. Carter called Cortana and asked her to open up Windows and the tiles changed to show apps that you’d see if you opened a Microsoft Computer. The next product introduced was a software that translated audio voice into nine different languages simultaneously. It seemed very useful during conference calls between foreign nations. The next product was another face recognition product but this time not only did it guess our age but also guessed what kind of person you are. Some got “funny girl” or “funny boy” some got “beauty” and one even got “angry middle aged white man”! The last product showcased was Hololens, a augmented reality headset. Carter would put on the headset, which consisted of a pair of glasses and headband, and open up a Windows menu. He dragged a ballerina to the table, the table in the actual room, and let her dance. He walked around it to show us that the ballerina could be seen from different angles. To him, through the Hololens, he could see us but also a holographic image of the ballerina on the table- something we could not see. What Carter was seeing was projected onto a TV screen but he also let a few of us try it on- including me! I thought it was really cool how I could see the real world but also holographic images at the same time. The we were led to the “Lighthouse”, a round room with a 360 computer screen. Carter pulled up data on Chinese traffic and air pollution and explained how such software helps everyday life. Then, Q&A session.

At night some of us, led by Dr. Li, Jordan, and William(an employee from the Asia Institute), visited Silk Street. On our way there, we saw a young boy defecating on the street, his whole butt out and all. No one seemed phased by this, not him, not his mom, not even the natives walking on the busy street. We were the only one who thought weird of it… Silk Street looks like an ordinary mall but everything the stores sell are fake. From bags, wallets, watches, sunglasses, to even clothes, they were all knock offs. Silk Street is where our bartering talents were put to the test. Most of the sales people try to rip customers off, but if you threaten to leave without buying anything they cut down the price by 50%, even 70% sometimes. Some people got knock off Michael Kors and Channel bags, but I went into a store adjacent to the mall and got new sunglasses. The subway ride there and back was very crowded so we had to very carefully follow Will.IMG_5033

Conference room in Cheetah Mobile
Cheetah Mobile employee workspace
Microsoft introduction room
Me trying on augmented reality glasses at Microsoft!
The “Lighthouse” conference room in Microsoft
A few of us at Silk Street

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