After the University visit Dave Jake and I finished off the day by taking the metro to “Snack Street”. The metro at first was strange to navigate especially because you need to punch in the exact destination. After playing with it and finally getting it to work we got our tickets and then found the English button.
The metro was very clean everyone was very quick. Trains came extremely quickly. Everyone moved fast and tightly together. It took three of us to figure out ordering tickets because everything was in Chinese, right after we found the English button which made coming back much easier. After 6 stops and a transfer we arrived at our destination: Snack Street.
Snack Street was fantastic: a long stretch of restaurants and various food stands and stores. We walked the whole distance before deciding on a place that had picture menus. We ordered a chicken dish, a pork dish, and a bowl of noodles. The waitress asked what tea we wanted but of course the tea page was the only one without pictures so I shrugged and she rolled her eyes.
The chicken was great, as it always has been so far, and the noodles were good. The pork came last and was not quite what we were expecting. It had more bones than we were used to but I was going to try it anyways. I very quickly learned that a. it was cold and b. I do not at all like cold meat dishes.
From there we got dessert at a little bakery and walked down to the lake near Tiananmen square. Very cool place. There was another gathering of old people dancing and kids playing. We even saw a guy flying a kite that was 50 kites on the same line! It was a quick metro back and then off to bed
Another great breakfast and a good start to the day and we were off to our first company visit: Huawei. The campus was grossly large and Greco-Roman. As we passed between columns and entered the building an attendant offered us all earpieces which we found out were so our tour guide could speak directly into our ears. The ceiling in the entrance way rose stories above us and long carpet stretched off in every direction. The start of the tour took us past a 16k tv the size of a wall, easily 16/8ft. The waterfall in it was in startling quality. We were then toured around their space to see all of their upcoming products. What I learned is that Huawei makes a lot of chipsets and some very cheap phones. Their phones that rivaled Apples latest one-thousand-dollar release cost only two-thousand RMB or about three-hundred dollars. It was a great time watching the other students realize how much Apple over charges.
We ended the tour with a presentation with tea, here we had a Q and A session with one of the public relations officials. It was an interesting discussion but I wish we could have talked to someone that was not public relations.
We had lunch in a mall which would be quite disappointing in the states but apparently is where a lot of the good restaurants are in China. Because most of the shopping is done online physical malls are held up by luxury chains: Apple, and a lot of other big names from the US.
After lunch we visited VIPKid, which is an edu-tech company that is essentially Uber for young Chinese students to learn English from American or Canadian teachers. All of the teaching is done online and VIPKid offers many other online resources and classes. This seemed like a surprising market at first but standardized tests are apparently extremely important in China. If you do not test well you will not get into a good middle school, then high school, then college, and then won’t make enough money to find a wife and be happy as the presenter said. Chinese families are willing to spend almost half of their house hold income on tutoring! So, there is a very big business connecting tutors to students especially online. I had never heard of this company or even this kind of services to this was a very interesting company visit.