Today our plans included company visits to both Sunshine Insurance Group and Xiaomi. Our day started later today as we got to leave the hotel at 9:00 AM to head to Sunshine’s campus. As the bus pulled up to the front gate the buildings looked European and even reminded me of a college campus more than a company campus. We were greeted by a nice woman who showed us to a lecture room and introduced us to the company and played a video for us. I learned that Zhang Weigong, Chairman and Founder of Sunshine Insurance Group, worked with 5 others sitting around on couches without earning money for months to start the company back in 2005. Now they are a worldwide company, have thousands of employees, and are the #7 insurance group in China. That’s pretty darn impressive if you ask me. Following the video, we were shown the company museum where they had a mini replica of their campus. The replica included lights and small cars. It was more than impressive. Going outside to tour the campus and another building was unbelievable. There were tons of flowers and the landscaping was beautiful (see below). After the tour, they provided us with a buffet style lunch, which was our first real Chinese buffet. The food was great, but it wasn’t my favorite meal that we’ve had. When we finished eating it was time to head back to the bus to travel to Xiaomi.
On the bus ride back I started to notice more and more how easy it is to see Beijing rich history just by looking at all of the buildings out the window. It’s truly remarkable. Before I get into the Xiamoi visit, they are an electronics and software company, mainly known for their smartphones. We were welcomed in the lobby and headed up the elevator to be given a presentation from one of their employees. One of the first things he mentioned to us was that Xiaomi’s goal is to provide low priced items at the best quality. They even use an Android operating system in their smartphones. Actually, almost everything that goes into making their smartphones comes from their partners. He stressed that they call their suppliers “partners” because they work together as a team. Another thing he mentioned which I had already known due to my group’s pre-departure presentation was that Huawei (China’s largest electronics and smartphone company) recently tried to enter the US by completing a deal with AT&T. However, the US government blocked this attempt by Huawei to bring their goods into the US market. He let us know that Xiaomi has actually been in talks with the US government to begin introducing their products to our market. This could actually start as early as next year. We went on to learn that Xiaomi has a large presence in India which left me interested in where else they held markets besides Asia and India. Aside from not being able to enter the US at this point and planning on it for the future, they have a presence in India, Europe, and actually, have found that there is a huge market for them in Africa. After our presentation and the Q&A session they took us to one of their retail stores and let us check out all of the products they offered to the public (see below). After an interesting day full of learning lots of new things about Sunshine Insurance Group and Xiaomi we headed back to the hotel. A few friends and I decided we wanted to get some McDonald’s as we missed American food and wanted to see how it was (don’t get me wrong I have been loving the cultural dishes here, but a few of us wanted to eat something more familiar tonight). We had a quiet night as tomorrow is a busy day that includes the Forbidden City/ Tian’anmen Square visit, a Hutong Tour, and a visit to the Temple of Heaven which includes a Taichi Class.