Today we went to the Central University of Finance and Economics. I thought it was really interesting to step on campus because the campus is enclosed with a gate. We all stepped into a classroom and sat through a lecture and it was extremely similar to lectures back home. Professor Yao was a visiting student at the University of Pennsylvania and he graduated from PKU. His lecture focused on the smartphone industry and how the Chinese market differed from the American Market.
The smartphone industry is a lot bigger in China compared to the United States. People use their phones for everything here. Street vendors use QR codes as a method of payment and I found that very surprising because back home that exists (Apple Pay), but I don’t know a lot of people that utilize this method of payment. I am more likely to pay with cash or pay with my card. There are 2 smartphone companies called Oppo and Vivo that have the same parent company and they are very popular among the Chinese population. Vivo is targeted and marketed for young women while Oppo is known for its high performance. By creating two sister companies with different focuses, the parent company is able to conquer more of the market and I thought that was extremely smart and that’s something I have definitely have seen at home.
Another industry that it so different than home is the shopping industry. Online shopping is a big thing in China. It is more common for people to shop online rather than buy things at the store because it’s hard to bring things home from the shop to their homes. It has to do with the fact that bicycles are the main form of transportation here. People use rental bikes to travel around and it works the way Zipcar does. Since people in China travel on bicycles, they can’t carry a lot home from the shop, so they purchase things online and then have it shipped to their houses, which totally makes sense given the circumstances and the fact that shipping is free. One of my study abroad friends asked about the effect of this shift from in-store shopping to online shopping on the labor market and the Professor said that they are able to make up for the deficit in the amount of jobs in the retail industry with the increased demand for shipping and e-commerce jobs.
After the smartphone lecture, an American professor at the University talked about what it was like adapting to the Chinese lifestyle and how it varies from home. He said that he has to report to the government where he lives and if he moves to another location because “it can get chaotic at times”. I’m assuming it’s for his protection, but that was still interesting. He said the government does its own thing and he doesn’t get much trouble from the government. He owns a car, but never uses it because he uses the rental bikes and it helps get through heavy traffic faster and things like that.
Can you imagine biking everywhere? Or online shopping for everything? I love going shopping in my free time regardless of whether I actually need to buy something or not. I also love going shopping with my friends to hang out as well, so what do kids in China do if they want to hang out with their friends?
Today was super exhausting and I can’t wait to sleep, but I am super excited to check out Microsoft and Cheetah Mobile tomorrow. Catch you on the flip side!