Today we had the pleasure of visiting Donghua University in Shanghai. They are well known for their fashion design, materials science, and international studies. We listened to a lecture on smart phone and e-commerce popularity in China which luckily tied in well to my group’s product idea for our final presentation at the culmination of these two weeks abroad. We learned about the top players in e-commerce in China including JD.com, Tmall, and Suning. In addition, we discussed trend differences between the city and rural areas in China such as the percentage of disposable income spent online, which is higher in rural areas where there is decreased access to certain goods due to a shortage of stores. Much of the information covered was similar to what we discussed at CUFE, reaffirming the importance of e-commerce and the smart phone industry here in China.
Talking to one of the university students called Lily was a good way to compare Donghua to CUFE and Pitt. She said that a common joke on their campus was that the university is 70% girls, 10% boys, and 20% cats, because they have a lot of stray cats on their campus. Because there is a considerable emphasis on textiles and fashion design, there are a lot of female students there. For example, in Lily’s class there were 123 girls and on only 7 boys. This is very different to my experience at university as an engineer where there are more boys in my classes than girls.
In the afternoon, we had the chance to try the dining hall food at Donghua University, which was considerably better than the food we are served at Market. They have student cards similar to our panther cards and use them to purchase each dish individually rather than signing into an all you can eat buffet hall as seen in American on campus dining. We had fried rice with and an egg and vegetable pastry that tasted sweet. Overall I found the food good, but like all student food it was a little heavy. After lunch we had opportunity to try our hands at making Chinese knots out of string which was made difficult by the fact that we didn’t have any pins to hold the string in place as we worked. It took a while but I was able to successfully complete my knot on the first try, which was very satisfying. I’m glad we had the chance to visit a second university during our time here in China, as both the lectures and interactions with local students help us further round out our understanding of Chinese culture and the importance of the smart phone industry.