Today was our first day of company visits! We began the day by visiting the Cheetah Mobile headquarters in Beijing. As we entered the grounds, I was surprised to see a lawn littered with cute, cartoon cheetah statues of all different design. When we entered the premises, it became apparent that the cute theme was the norm: the staff wore t-shirts adorned with a similar cartoon cheetah, we were given plushies as giveaways, and the office space was sprinkled with more of the cartoon cheetah statues. As someone who loves cute things, I was enthralled with the cute aesthetic of the company, one not often played upon in the U.S. After a presentation and Q&A session on the logistics of the company, we were given a tour of the office, complete with a rock wall, karaoke room, and company slide!After Cheetah Mobile was a visit to the Microsoft China offices. Much in contrast to the cute, orange Cheetah offices, Microsoft was all slick metal, hard wood, and technology prominent. Rather than a tour of the premises, Microsoft opted to give us an overview of their current product offerings with demos. I was particularly intrigued by their translation app and HoloLens, which could simultaneously translate speech into 9 different languages and project computer images onto a see-through glass, respectively.
After that business-filled day, it was time to put our business skills to the test. We headed to the Silk Market, a 6 floor marketplace filled with everything from purses to tea to traditional Chinese dress. This market opporated on a barter system, calling on us to negotiate sky high prices down to 50-70% their asking price.
For dinner, I tried out the Chinese Pizza Hut I had heard such strong words of recommendation about. The difference between U.S. Pizza Hut and Chinese Pizza Hut was large; the latter was a sit down restaurant offering steak, fried rice, and your choice of alcoholic beverages. I settled for the basics and just ordered a pizza, which was tasty and pretty similar to the taste of U.S. Pizza Hut.
Overall, very good day!