Yes, I could barely feel my legs when I woke up.
Today, I had the privilege of attending a lecture from Dr. Kai Yao a professor from the Central University of Finance and Economics. Our learning focused around big data, personalized marketing, differences in traditional marketing, e-commerce in China, and smart phone marketing. We were taught among a group of other students who have Dr. Yao on a regularly basis and these students also doubled as our guides for the remainder of our time at the CEFU.
The classroom learning brought some really interesting information that made me want to look more into possibly changing one of my majors to supply chain management. If not, I at least gained a new appreciation for the subject. “Big data” is a term that has been tossed around in abundance recently and today drew dividends for my understanding. We learned about what cookies are and how they play their part in delivering relevant ads to your web browsing, suggesting products, and securing lifetime customers. For personalized marketing, I was able to begin to understand how ads are tailored specifically for you. It was much less invasive and less “surveillance-like” than I had previously assumed. While it is not perfect, having personalized marketing helps consumers avoid the millions of different products, movies, music, and books that are available for purchase. While it has developed at an absurd rate since inception, the origin of personalized marketing is often regarded as the inclusion of the consumer’s name at the beginning of the mass e-mails that companies send out. When we talked about differences in traditional marketing, Dr. Yao used a comparison of American and Chinese supermarkets. In the United States, supermarkets have large aisles, large shopping carts, and purchases are generally larger. In China, aisles are thinner, carts are much smaller, and purchases are generally smaller. Why? There is a multitude of reasons that China’s supermarkets are smaller but the most prevalent reasons include that the Chinese have smaller families (laws were only recently changed from legally being able to have one child to now being able to having two children), the transportation per 1,000 residents is also much different (US ~ 800, China ~ 300), and finally the location of residents in relation to supermarkets is much different. Now for e-commerce, e-commerce is in a very interesting position in China with tons of projected growth. For example, from 2000 to now, China’s number of internet users grew from 200M to 700M. Something, I found particularly was the information surrounding Single’s Day. Single’s Day, a Chinese holiday celebrating all single people on 11/11 is the biggest e-commerce day in China. The deals are similar to those found on America’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, the financial comparisons are anything but similar. For example, Alibaba did $25.3B in sales within the 24 hour period of Single’s Day which is three times the US revenue from the entire Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Another fun fact, 800M packages were generated over the course of Single’s Day. Onto smart phone marketing. Smart phone marketing is much more prevalent in China due to many cultural differences. Specifically, in America, average incomes are higher in comparison to China and therefore, we tend to buy laptops (in addition to smart phones) which results in most of US’ e-commerce being done on laptops. With the lower incomes in China, smart phones are a much more accessible and affordable option. The resulting numbers, with the previous facts in mind, are that 55% of Chinese internet users have made a payment via smart phone in comparison to roughly 19% of American internet users. WeChat and Alipay dominate the smart phone payments and are processed similarly to how Apple Pay works, using barcodes and QR codes.
After our in class lessons, we headed outside to enjoy some team building activities with our CUFE peers. We started with a type of group puzzle and then finished with a team jump roping session. For the group puzzle, we split into groups of about 8 to 9 and started in a circle. From there, we completely changed our entire circle into a new order and were supposed to hold hands with our teammates from the original circle. The confusing part was how to link our hands and this was my team’s downfall. I still don’t know how to correctly do it but we supposed to grab our left teammate’s left hand with our right hand and vice versa with our right teammate. Like I mentioned, we were really confused on this part, so my above description was probably incorrect. However, now you too get to join in on the fun of being confused! Next we did a team jump rope activity where we lined up and were supposed to jump through the rotating rope for only one jump and then immediately after we had got out we were followed by the rest of the group. We did this continuously and made a figure-8 pattern around the two who were rotating the rope. Four of CUFE peers demonstrated and it was extremely well synced and almost poetic looking. All of this sounds simple enough right? No. Almost all of us were overthinking and messing the homogeneousness of the activity up. The timing was quite difficult but it was very calming and rewarding once everyone started to figure it out. All in all, learning with and meeting our CUFE peers was an excellent experience.
After settling down, changing, and eating, we decided as a group to go see the 2008 Beijing Olympic park. It was also my first experience riding the subway in Beijing. I do not know if it is uniform across all of China, but Beijing’s subway was extremely well kept. In comparison, it reminded me of Pittsburgh’s T (in the city, not suburbs) in terms of cleanliness. Keep in mind that Pittsburgh’s T doesn’t even serve all of Allegheny county which has a population around of 1M and Beijing’s subway serves most of Beijing which has a population of around 23M, quite impressive. Once we finally arrived at the Olympic park we all split into little groups and explored the massive park that it was. The stadiums were compromised of beautiful architecture and jaw dropping lighting.
Another great day in the books and tomorrow we’ll be headed to Sunshine Insurance Group and Xiaomi for two company visits.