Day 4: 小米 (Xiaomi & MORE!)

Once again, we were up bright and early to start the day in Beijing. Day 3 started off as usual with the complimentary breakfast which is always amazing followed by an hour bus ride to the first company visit: Sunshine Insurance Group. Sunshine was founded in 2005 and provides life and property insurance to people in China. Within just 5 years of opening Sunshine had become the 7th largest insurance firm in China and a Chinese fortune 500 company which was an absolutely amazing achievement. On the trip, we spent the first hour or so talking with a few of the people working for Sunshine, watched a long video on the company’s history, and then got time to ask questions regarding the firm. Following the introduction, we then took a tour of the company museum. I was shocked to find that the company, at only 13 years old, had constructed a museum of their history to show off to visitors but it was nice. Following the trip through the mini museum we then got to explore the campus of Sunshine named “Sunshine City” which was absolutely stunning. The campus was huge, filled with beautiful walk ways, had sprawling gardens, water ways, and a bell tower. The campus was actually designed to mimic that of a European college campus and it did just that as it felt like we were not even in China anymore. Following the gorgeous tour, we then had a nice complimentary buffet lunch in their cafeteria area and I was pleased since I am finally starting to become proficient with chop sticks.

Next on we ventured over to Xiaomi which is a cell phone company based in China. Since we had some free time to spare we got the chance to explore a mall nearby and once again I found that their malls are absolutely huge – 7 floors in total! Once we arrived at Xiaomi we got to go to the top floor of their headquarters and received a presentation from one of the upper level executives at the company regarding Xiaomi’s business process from product design to the construction of the device itself. Xiaomi is one of the largest cell phone companies in China as they currently sit with the 4th biggest market share behind Apple, Samsung, and Huawei while also possessing the largest market share in India which is huge considering that is a large and growing market. Xiaomi even gave some hint that they may be attempting to make a move into the US market which should be interesting since Huawei was recently rejected by the US government. Following the presentation and Q&A session we headed down across the street to one of their store locations and got to test out their phones. It was set up relatively similar to that of an Apple store which came as no surprise given the fact that our speaker told us that they are trying to mimic Apple, yet provide a product that is much cheaper and more affordable. The store also had TV’s, earphones, hover boards, smart watches, and numerous other things.

Following the trip to Xiaomi we headed back to the hotel and got changed and got ready to take on the day. Myself, alongside a couple of my friends, then traveled to the Silk Market which is an indoor mall filled with counterfeit and fake products. In total, it is 6 floors tall with each floor having its’ own category. I found it insane that they have a totally legit shopping mall for all knock off products whether it was Ray Bans, Gucci, NBA jerseys, Nike, or Louis Vuitton. All the store owners try to drag you into the store and start by offering you completely ridiculous prices which you then try to bargain your way down to cheaper prices. I was able in the end to get a fake pair of Ray Bans for less than 10 USD. By the time we were ready to leave we then were greeted by more people outside selling fake Rolex’s for essentially a dollar. Following the market, we then made our way to explore the buzzing nightlife in Beijing with almost all of the group. Overall the day was filled with excitement and Beijing continues to impress!

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