Despite being an ocean away, today we found ourselves back on campus—just not our campus. The Central University of Finance and Economics opened their doors to us, and welcomed us, not as tourists, but as fellow students.
Upon arriving, we were treated to two lecturers in one of their academic halls. The first speaker presented on the Chinese smart phone industry, ecommerce, and big data. It was highly informative, he detailed the factors that contributed to the smart phone industry’s success, such as a robust cellular network due to the centralized service provider, China Telecom, as well as how that industry’s success led to a lucrative ecommerce industry with company’s such as Alibaba and Tencent leading in innovation. These industries are successful due to sales, but there is another industry nested within the two that may be just as lucrative even if it little known: big data, or in words, companies that collects the metadata of users of various applications, websites, or devices, and sells them to advertisers, so they can the tailor advertisements that the user will see.
Following this excellent presentation was one that focused on topic entirely different, but one we could relate easy too: what it is like to be an American in China. Being in China for more than a decade, this presenter knew what he was talk about. The information he provided helped a foreigner like myself acclimate myself to this new country and overcome the culture shock.
Walking around the campus and interacting with fellow students, helped ease this as well. They were just as interested in my culture as I was in theirs, and, despite language barriers, found common ground/