Since receiving the email confirming our visit to Huawei, I have excitedly anticipated this business excursion. As a global leader in the tech industry, Huawei is at the cutting edge of computer and telecommunication advancements. However, I was not at all prepared for the jaw dropping tour of the Huawei Exhibition Center we would soon be given. Having passed through a highly guarded entrance and driven through lavish gardens, we exited the bus and entered the grand lobby area. The interior of this building epitomizes the intersection of classicism and futurism. We moved from the marble floored, high ceilinged lobby to the technological showcase of Huawei’s most recent and upcoming endeavors; the development of 5G mobile networks, high resolution displays, artificial intelligence, smart systems, and flagship consumer products such as smartphones and laptops. In a conference session following the tour, it became evident that, from Huawei’s marketing perspective, the American market differs greatly from the European market. Since the United States government has deemed Huawei electronic devices a threat to personal/national security, Huawei’s marketing strategies in the United States have been complicated. When asked about trade perturbation, the tour guide (a member of Huawei’s global engagement team) stated that the company prioritizes serving its current customers, and the trade dispute between China and America is an uncontrollable factor that, overall, negatively affects individuals and corporations of both countries.
Next, we travelled roughly an hour to a 13-story shopping plaza that contain a mixture of eateries, clothing stores, jewelry shops and much more. It is interesting that large shopping complexes such as these still exists provided that e-commerce dominates consumer purchasing techniques. As access to the internet has expanded with the growth of the smartphone industry, e-commerce has become a more widespread transaction method. Although smartphone ownership is comparable in China and the United States, China’s greater population size has necessitated the utilization of electronic transactions. Chinese citizens often find it more convenient to purchase items online and have them delivered. The reason certain malls have survived this development lies in the fact that the items and services offered at the stores are high end. Thus, consumers prefer to buy items of higher expense in person rather than over the internet.
A short bus trip and equally long elevator ride brought us to VIPkid, a newer company that, in only 5 years, has become the largest online education company in China. VIPkid provides online English lessons to Chinese children in the grades of kindergarten through 6th. This visit was very illuminating as it imparted the general characteristics of the Chinese education system. To begin, Chinese cities are classified by a tier system. First tear cities attract more human capital and therefore have a greater number of teachers. In contrast, second tier cities attract less human capital and consequently have fewer teachers. Due to this shortage of teachers, after-school tutoring services are expensive for families of second tier cities. Additionally, traffic proves to be an issue in cities of all tiers. This particular combination of issues is solvable with the use of an online platform in which American teachers can instruct Chinese students in learning English. VIPkid connects teachers from areas in which they are in great supply with students in areas where teachers are scarce, all while users of both ends remain in the comfort of their home. We were toured around the several floors devoted to digital program development where many desk workers with personalized cubicles and multi-monitor computers steadily improved the company’s web services. Afterwards, we were explained the major milestones of VIPkid’s brief history and its future goals and then were brought to a conference room for a lecture and Q&A session. This concluded our visit, and we were soon on the bus and headed for dinner.