Today we had two company visits. The first was Am Cham Shanghai which stands for American Chamber of Commerce. Am Cham is an international business association which basically aims to strengthen trade between the US and China by supporting businesses and advocating for different policies. They gave us a lot of information about China’s economy as a whole and how their GDP has been steadily growing and now, they are second only to the US and they are actually predicted to surpass the US. One surprising thing I learned was that the primary contributor to our GDP in the US is our consumption but in China it’s kind of the opposite; it has more to do with factors such as exports. We also learned about the President of China, XI Jinping, and his school of thought, which is actually written into the Chinese constitution. I thought that was interesting because it is a good example of how different our governments are. The guys speaking to us were very knowledgeable and they were both from the US, so there were no translation issues and they were able to answer all of our questions.
We then got lunch at a Shanghai style restaurant. I really liked the dumplings and fried rice but it wasn’t one of my favorite meals here. The squid and the big bowl with a full chicken, including its head, floating in broth were a little daunting. If you ignored the chicken head and just ate the meat it was fine, and luckily this time no one at our table decided to eat the chicken brains. The squid was okay too. It didn’t really taste that fishy and I think if they hadn’t told us what it was, people would have liked it a lot more. After lunch we went to our second company visit at Horiba. Horiba is a Japanese tech company that started by manufacturing ph testers and has moved into the automotive and medical industries and now creates machines that test things from gas emissions to hemoglobin. The company seemed to have a big engineering focus, but the business aspects were also interesting because they are a vertically integrated and diversified firm that operates on a global scale. We got to take a tour of the facilities and see some of their machines in action which was pretty cool.
After our second company visit, we made our way back to the hotel. I had to meet with my group to start working on our final project, for which we had to create a company to operate in China with the use of what we learned here. For our project we are proposing an app that would link you to a Chinese bank account so that you can use the full services of WeChat including mobile pay and ordering taxis. Since we had dinner on our own tonight, we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant down the street from our hotel. It was incredible. Nachos never tasted so good. We downed the plate so fast and then each of us devoured a chicken quesadilla, along with another side of chips and guac. I think we all miss foods from home, so it was another nice break. After dinner we explored around our hotel for a bit to take in the city. Its kind of crazy because Shanghai is a huge city but walking around at night, none of us felt unsafe, which we found is very different from the US because usually when there’s a big city, there are bad areas, but we haven’t run into anything like that here. So far, Shanghai is my favorite city here because it is more similar to the US and it’s a more diverse city, so we don’t stick out quite as much and everything’s really modern so I wouldn’t mind spending more time here.