Day 3: 中央財經大學 (Central University of Finance and Economics)

The second day in Beijing was once again absolutely amazing. After once again having another amazing continental breakfast we boarded the bus and were off on the day. Today we visited the Central University of Finance and Economics location outside of the city which is considerably larger than their city location. The ride was about an hour and a half which has been quite common for any site or company visits because the traffic is just horrendous in the city. The city is set up with main ring highways circling the city so if you are on one you are mostly just crawling through traffic. Once we arrived we were soon greeted by one of the heads of the university along with some second-year students who accompanied us through the day.

The first thing on the agenda was a class lecture from Dr. Yao who was a professor teaching Big Data Marketing at the University. Dr. Yao talked for about an hour about the importance of Big Data in the E-commerce market as well as the smart phone industry. We dived in depth into how Amazon recommends products to users while they are shopping, how Google uses personalized marketing to show you products similar to what you were recently searching, and how companies use your web traffic history to calculate customer value. With all this companies, in cooperation with Google, are able to form a good idea of customers preferences based on their explicit data of product ratings and click streams as well as implicit data of the demographic in which the consumer is a part of. All of this data collection makes for a more precise and perfect marketing strategy for firms. We also dove in depth regarding the importance of online shopping in China in comparison to that in the United States. We learned that in China online shopping is a huge market which dominates over in store shopping for numerous reasons. One is that in the US there is 800 cars for every 1,000 people but in China this number is 10 cars for every 1,000-people due to high population concentration leading to less people traveling long distances to grocery stores or shopping malls but rather just buying the product online. A perfect example of the dominance of E-commerce is “Single’s Day” which is equivalent of Black Friday/Cyber Monday in the United States. On Singles Day, there was 25 billion sales online in one day which was 3 times the sales for the entire 3 day black Friday weekend in the United States. We also discussed the smartphone in China and how there are more firms in the market outside of Samsung and Apple including Xiaomi and Huawei. In addition to there being more of a variety they also use their phones for purchasing much more often than the average American with 55% of Chinese having made a purchase with their cell phone in comparison to just 19% in America.

Following the amazing lecture, we went to the school’s cafeteria for a nice family style lunch with some of the students at the university. Here we got to talk to some of the students to discuss the differences between the average American life and that of someone living in China. We found that they absolutely love American pop stars like Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and Katy Perry. When we went around the table and talked about our favorite artists they did not know many Hip-Hop artists we said we liked outside of them knowing and liking Drake. One of the students even said I reminded her of Sam Smith which we all got a good laugh out of. The students were also very excited for the new Avengers movie which drops 3 weeks after its’ original release in the US. We also learned that some of them would be having the opportunity to study abroad New York City at Colombia which they were ecstatic about since they have never traveled to the states.

Following lunch, we got a tour of the campus and spent a considerable amount of time in their brand new 14-million-dollar library which was absolutely stunning. We learned that people spend most of their time in the library whether they are working or just watching TV on their computers and that it really is the hub of the campus. We also went to the bottom floor to see some of the beautiful art from their department of art which was really awesome. Next we traveled to their outdoor Physical Education section was which, in my opinion, was the most stunning part of the beautiful campus. There was a full track and perfectly cut soccer field along with over 10 basketball courts and numerous tennis courts. While we were there the students were taking part in gym classes which we learned was a part of the curriculum as they have to swipe in for a class 30 times a semester unless they fail. I was jealous as it was amazing the sports facilities they had for students and how you can use all that so often. We finished the day doing some jump rope games the students enjoy. Overall the day was a blast and it was awesome getting the perspective of a typical college student in China.

Once we returned back to the hotel and took some time to rest we then left around 7 pm with the whole group to venture off to the Olympic center. We took the subway with Dr. Li as well as Liliana and Jane. The subways are so nice here, and we changed lines once to get to the center. Once we arrived, the sight was absolutely amazing! The long walkway and birds nest along with the swimming pool was breathtaking. After we got some pictures we returned back to the subway to head to a market shopping strip. As we were waiting for the train we found it funny that someone put their kid in a stroller next to us to take a picture since they did not see Americans that often. Shopping and hitting some restaurants in the area was awesome and luckily, we found got back to the hotel despite the taxi driver not speaking English. Day two was a huge success!

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