On day 8 we took a six-hour bullet train from Xian to Shanghai. After arriving in Shanghai, we went to a pizza dinner followed by a cruise on the river. This boat ride was breathtaking as we saw all of the city’s skyscrapers lit up.
The next morning, we started day 9 with a great breakfast from the 5-star hotel. After this meal, we made our way to East China University of Science and Technology. We started this visit with an outside tour of the university. This college is a top 20 school in China, similar to a Duke or Georgetown in America. While walking around, we noticed that all of the students hang their clothes outside to dry them. Dryer machines are very rare in China, not because they cannot afford them, but because they do not welcome them as part of their culture.
After the walk, we sat in on a presentation from an associate professor of finance at the university. He spoke to us about what it is like to start a business in China as a foreigner. Right now, China is a 46 on a scale of 1-190 on how easy it is to do business in their country. This is very good considering that it was a 90 in 2007. Some key things about business in China are that it changes quickly, it is heavily internet based, and if they criticize you they are considering you. China previously had laws that required no more than 50 shareholders per company and a minimum investment quota for each investor. In 2014, these rules were shattered which has opened up a lot more opportunities for investors. One thing that was enlightening and pleasant to here was that the Chinese government cannot extrapolate foreign investments or force companies to adopt technology without reason. There are precautions in place that protect foreign investments such as BIT: an international court that companies can go to if they feel violated. In general, China is becoming more and more welcoming to foreign companies.
Finally, we talked about the difference between litigation and arbitration in China. In general, there are pros and cons for both, but the professor leans toward arbitration. For arbitration, you can pick your judges and keep the case private, but cannot appeal the case if you lose.
To sum up this visit, I gained knowledge on the fact that doing business in China is actually pretty easy to complete because the government wants foreign investors and companies to do business in China because it boosts their economy. And in order to do this, they need to have a good reputation so foreign investors do not feel threatened when entering the country.
After we had lunch and left the university, we made our way to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum. This museum highlights everything good about this up and coming Chinese city. Already the most populated city in all of China, Shanghai is still improving and growing every single day. The Magnolia is the city flower and represents the pioneering spirit of Shanghai. The city has 8 districts which include the 3rd longest river in the world. This river (Yangtze) runs through the middle and separates the East and West Bank of the city.
After our museum visit, we went to a Mediterranean dinner and an acrobatic show. This show is very famous in Shanghai and was incredible to watch up-close. The performances were insanely good and Jake Cankar and I even went on stage to help out with an act. This was certainly a highlight for our group so far from the China trip as a whole.
The city is definitely the most American city we have been to in China. Tomorrow, we start up again with two company visits.