I had pretty low expectations for today’s company visits, but I was thoroughly shocked at how much fun they were! The first one of the day was Cheetah Mobile. We pulled up to the facility, which had a full lawn (rare to see in China), Cheetah Mobile sculptures, a glass facade and an overall very modern design. When we entered the building, we were surrounded by sleek, modern, and unique furniture and architecture. The digital screen at the entrance even had the Pitt logo on it. We were then led to the conference room, which also had a super cool design. There were coffee and tea drinks set up for us with a plate of cookies and graham crackers. We were also given a plush Cheetah as a souvenir.
We toured the facility and we learned a lot about the many amenities and benefits that the employees have access to. Some amazing things that Cheetah Mobile offers is a slide from the second floor to the first, a fish pond path throughout the first floor, a massage room, a karaoke room, a cinema, and a track on the roof. I also loved the fact that Cheetah Mobile offers childcare services. I also learned that women get six months maternity leave, which is pretty incredible. This was interesting to me, as that is quite progressive, yet there still seems to be a strong divide between genders.
We went to lunch at a mall after the Cheetah Mobile visit, where we had yet another lazy Susan style meal. This meal was good, though, because there was less food, so it was less overwhelming. We then had a chance to walk around the mall for a little before heading to Microsoft for our second site visit of the day.
I was impressed with the beginning of our Microsoft visit. Everything we were shown was so high-tech and so impressive, however, I felt like it was a sales pitch more than an opportunity to learn about the company. The majority of the visit was them showing us their products and applications which got boring for me. To be fair, I would have been more impressed and would have enjoyed it better if I had not just been at Cheetah Mobile, where I was thoroughly impressed with their tour and their overall work environment.
After our site visits, we took the subway to the Beijing Silk Market. I was anticipating an outdoor market, but instead it was like a mall. The first store we went into was knock-off bags. I put my bartering skills to the test and came to a (good) deal before I even realized that I was buying a Michael Kors bag that I did not need. However, I was very pleased with my purchase, considering the lady’s first offer was 1,000 yuan and I got it for 275 yuan. I then purchased a beautiful bamboo and silk fan for 20 yuan (originally 80) and a t-shirt for a friend for 35 yuan (originally 180). I definitely spent more than I was anticipating, but I’m glad that I was able to successfully barter. It certainly makes shopping more stressful, but also much more fun!