Tiredness has begun to set in. Everyone on the trip seems to be low on energy because we all want to stay out and explore every part of Beijing that we can. Today ended up being a lot of walking again. It was very hot and wearing dress clothes all day certainly did not help. We had another bright and early start, per usual. Our day began by arriving at Sunshine Insurance Group. For a 14-year-old company I was astonished at everything the company had achieved thus far. From a company that started as 6 people sitting around a couch to having hundreds of employees and having buildings all over the country, I see them only expanding and succeeding even more in the future years. The tour we received from them was unbelievable. Their place of work looks exactly like a college campus. It had a lawn and tons of brick surrounding. They care deeply about the appearance on the outside. It made me want to buy insurance from them and I don’t even live in China. They have 2 other identical campuses across the country, which I find kind of weird because why would you want to have three matching offices, but I guess they should continue to do whatever works. After the tour we were fed lunch from this gracious company. It was the first buffet style meal we have received. I can’t say it was my favorite meal we have had since arrival, but it was cool to see what kind of facilities the company provides for their employees for every part of their day.
After visiting Sunshine Insurance Group, we traveled back downtown to the center of the high rises in the city to visit Xiaomi. Xiaomi is a company that produces phones similar to the iPhone, along with other products related to Googles homecare products. We were lectured by one of the heads of the supply chain for the company. It was an insightful discussion. Xiaomi prides itself on low prices while also providing quality. They are already the number one selling phone in India but are struggling to get to the top in an iPhone dominated Chinese market. They remain around number 3 or 4 in the country. The last thing we did with Xiaomi is went to their store in the neighboring mall to see the items and product lines that they produce. In the store they had everything from rice cookers to electric razors on sale. One of my colleagues was going to purchase an electric razor. There phones are rather nice, but I have a big issue with the camera. The selfie camera is on the bottom of the screen, so you can’t look at the screen at all while taking a selfie. The company visits were together very exhausting, but this may be the only time any of us are in Beijing, so we wanted to explore even more.
At night a couple of my classmates went with me to the nearby Silk Market. This is a negotiating market where very aggressive people operate and try to sell their goods at obscene prices. It takes a lot of haggling to talk them down to a reasonable price. I did not buy anything but everyone else in my group did. I wasn’t about to buy one pair of cheap plastic chopsticks for 60 Yuen (around $10). I did enjoy visiting the market and seeing how these people live though.