Today we went on easily one of the weirdest company visit that we will be on. We visited the Sunshine Insurance Group’s Beijing campus. The campus itself though is beautiful. It looks like a European college campus, with lots of green space. I wouldn’t be able to tell whether I was in Princeton or not if it wasn’t for the Chinese businessmen around. The company representative guided us into a lecture hall on campus and gave us a pitch for a Co-op meant for graduate students and PHD students. The weird part of the visit was the video that they showed us about the campus and the company’s history.
The video that we watched I can only describe as a half hour long propaganda video. It went into painstaking detail about every single step and date that the company’s founder and chairman, Zhang Weigong, took to establish the company, which is primarily composed of getting investors and obtaining the proper government documents needed to start the company. The rest of the video concentrated on glorifying the chairman and the company culture that he has set up. As a cherry on top, they have a museum dedicated to the company’s accomplishments, most of which somehow heavily involve the chairman. This included such artifacts as the furniture of the hotel room that the founding members stayed in for six months, a scale model of the campus, and the government document approving the creation of the company. I saw both as a giant stroke of the chairman’s ego and later on Dr. Li did mention that high ranking government officials, like the chairman Zhang Weigong, tend to see themselves as kings. Although I had a negative experience initially with the company visit, I did have a good second half of the trip.
There were some upsides of the trip. We were able to meet the company’s head of overseas HR, which was cool. They also supplied us a pretty good lunch and a tour of the campus, which as stated before, is beautiful. We left sunshine at around noon and made our way to Xiaomi’s office.
Our Xiaomi visit was easily our highlight of the day. There we were given a presentation on how supply chains are managed from a supply chain specialist at the company. He gave us a general overview into what is taken into consideration with supply chain markets. The interesting part of it was the Q&A section of the presentation. The questions that were asked really helped make the visit a worth-while experience. They then had us go down into the Xiaomi store in the shopping mall connected to the office complex with one of their supply chain ecosystem specialists. We were all blown away by all the different products that they sold. On top of cell phones, laptops, and assorted accessories, the store also sold laser TVs, pens, backpacks, massive mousepads, air filters, and a children’s train set. It was a surreal and surprising experience as compared to the Apple stores found back at the US, and a nice way to finish out our day.