On the train ride to Shanghai I mostly slept, but my group also discussed our business idea with Professor Li. The big takeaway was that we need to figure out a way to make our business sustainable, so that competitors don’t take away our customers. One way to combat this was to make a loyalty rewards system.
My first thought of Shanghai was that I was going to fall in love with the skyscrapers; there are over 2000 in Shanghai. My first view was of this incredibly tall Shanghai Center, next to two equally impressive buildings, the Jinmao tower and the finance center. We drove on an elevated expressway, which felt futuristic. It was incredible to hear that much of the infrastructure hasn’t existed until recently. The east/west sides of the river is very different from the ring structure of the other two cities, and resembles an American city more. After arriving, we went to the museum, and it was quite interesting to learn about the history of Shanghai’s development as a port city. The museum had these moving projections of people in buildings and the floor changed materials to represent the time period, which I liked because it made the visit more interactive. Dinner afterwards was delicious! I think I’m getting worse at chopsticks, but I’m getting better at recognizing dishes. I’m also developing a liking for wheat and barley teas, something I’ve never tried before.
After dinner we took a cruise, which was super crowded both in line and in the boat, particularly with native Chinese speakers. However, I’ve overall noticed more diversity in Shanghai than the other cities. Just in the few hours I’ve been here, I’ve heard people speaking both English and French. The cruise had a beautiful view, and my favorite building is now the finance center, better known as the bottle opener. It was such an incredible feeling to be leaning out of the side of the boat, with the wind in my hair, looking at one of the most influential business districts in the world. It’s interesting that you can rent out space on the Shanghai Center for advertisements and happy birthday notes. In general, I’ve noticed that there’s a huge focus on advertisements here, from the models with phones in the train station to lights around Shanghai. Shanghai is nowhere near as crowded as Xi’an – the density feels about the same as Beijing. While we were on the cruise, two ladies asked to take a picture with me, which is the first time it’s happened to me. It was unusual, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable, but I feel like I would if it happened repeatedly.
Back at the hotel, we decided to explore in a small group and ended up in a nearby park. I can’t quite grasp the concept still that you can’t see the moon here. However, the greenspace makes up for it which are in sharp contrast to the concrete jungles in America. We went on a skybridge and it was much more sophisticated than in Beijing – it even had outdoor escalators on one part! We also saw a giant, epcot-esque sphere from the skybridge that was lit up in advertisements. China has this amazing infrastructure everywhere, from bullet trains to roads to subways and bridges and buildings, but it hit me for the first time today that it’s only possibly because their government structure allows them to bypass individual property rights. It’s a tradeoff that people in China made, and it’s interesting to see how it affects both their daily lives and the overall structure and efficiency of the country.