After yet another amazing breakfast (this time with banana bread), we loaded onto the bus to the first of our two company visits. Surprisingly, my group had a very productive bus ride, and we got a decent start on our business proposal. We discussed logistics of the product, our target market, necessary materials, how the product would physically work, and a few options we would have with the direction of the product. Of course, we also still had the option to revert to Trees on Cars, but that’s another story.
Not one, but two unnecessary U-turns and an hour later, we pulled into what looked like a very expensive university. This was Sunshine Insurance Group’s main headquarters, as well as their training grounds. As it turns out, there were seven separate buildings, and over 1000 employees work there. The buildings included a trainee hotel, a Sunshine tower with many symbolisms, a museum detailing the company’s ten-year history, multiple restaurants/cafeterias, and I don’t even know what else.
When we first arrived, we were ushered to a very overly large auditorium with a huge LED screen up front. We had a brief introduction to Sunshine Insurance Group and their reach in the US, as well as a description of co-op and internship offers to students who go to MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Boston University.
Then, the highlight of my day.
A twenty minute long video detailing the epic history of the creation of the company. It was basically propaganda, and it was so over the top that more than once I had to cover my mouth so I wouldn’t laugh. I will admit that for a company that is less than twenty years old, they’ve done well, but this video painted the founder as a genius and a saint. In reality, he was just a guy who started out with a lot of money and then made more.
After the video, things got even better. There was a museum within this building that reiterated their history, so we got the whole spiel all over again. To their credit, Sunshine Insurance puts a lot into their image.
After the Museum Experience, we went outside for a walking tour of their “campus”, which was aided by large golf carts which some of us opted to ride on.
A group picture and the remainder of a tour later, we were treated to lunch in one of their cafeterias (yes, there are actually three). The lunch made up for any oddities on the rest of the tour. It actually might have been my favorite lunch yet, the food was just that good. There was this purple bean bun…
Anyway, we eventually left and headed to our next visit, Xiaomi. We ended up arriving a little on the early side, so we were given a few minutes to explore the mall that was attached to Xiaomi’s offices.
In the office, we learned about Xiaomi’s supply chain and asked some questions about the company, including where they think the future of smartphones is heading, how they stay on top of the competition, and about their plans for expansion into new markets.
After the company visit, we were brought to the Xiaomi store inside the mall (which looked quite similar to an Apple store). Some of their demo products were fun to play around with. The highlight for me was a smartphone controlled security camera.
That night, a group of us went to dinner across the street from the hotel, where we had my favorite: dumplings!