Stop 6: Beijing

View of the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing, the capital of China.

View of the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing, the capital of China.

Day 15: May 24, 2013 – Kristen Loose

Today we went to Summer Palace; it was huge and so beautiful. After the Summer Palace, we took rickshaws to visit a local family. The houses were really awesome to see; they were in tiny streets where cars wouldn’t fit and it seemed like one small door on the street would lead to a complex of houses in the middle. The woman’s house that we visited had birds and crickets outside, and the birds could speak English it was hilarious. When we went in she explained that six generations had lived in her house and that it was worth millions of dollars because of the location in Beijing. It was incredible to be able to see China in such a way.

Outside the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Outside the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Day 15: May 24, 2013 – Sean Wilson

On our first day in Beijing, we took a bus to the Summer Palace and explored the grounds for a few hours. The Palace was amazing and there were several great lookout points from elevated structures overlooking the lake. While we were there, we met a local Chinese man with a dark beard that measured at least two feet in length. He was wearing some ancient Chinese robes and spoke only Mandarin. Our group kept taking pictures with him, and in return, he took pictures of us. We began the ascent up the long trail to the highest lookout point in the Summer Palace and passed several old pagoda structures on the way. The coolest thing about the excursion was the history behind it all. I enjoyed Shanghai a lot for its cool modern architecture, but so far Beijing has given me the impression that a lot of historical events took place in the area around the city. The Summer Palace, an escape for the family in power in China, was just the first stop of many historical visits in the city.

Inside the Summer Palace.

Inside the Summer Palace.

Day 16: May 25, 2013 – Kristina Chen

Today was definitely one of my favorite days I have had in China because we finally went to the Great Wall of China and a small group of us went to the Backstreet Boys Concert! For cultural appreciation, we went to the Great Wall Mutianyu Pass, which is a section of the Great Wall that is usually not as crowded as other sections. We took a ski lift up to the Great Wall, which provided us with a nice view. Then, we climbed many stairs up the Great Wall. The wall was not that crowded either and it was a very sunny day outside. When it was time to come down from the Great Wall, we rode a toboggan downhill, which was a lot of fun.

That evening, I went to the Backstreet Boys Concert, which was held at the MasterCard Arena, where Beijing 2008 Olympics held basketball events. The concert was absolutely amazing and we had such a great time listening to my favorite band of the 90’s.   

The Great Wall at Mutianyu near Beijing.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu near Beijing.

Day 16: May 25, 2013 – Daniella Score:

Today was my favorite day of the trip because I got to cross a goal off my bucket list, to walk to Great Wall of China! It took about an hour bus ride to get out to the Great Wall then we had to hike the rest of the way. Once I was able to walk along the stairs it felt very unreal. It is hard to imagine how they could build such an extensive piece of architecture back before there were machines. We were very lucky to be able to go on such a clear day and I could see for miles from the very end of the wall that I hiked too.

After hiking the wall, we were able to go on a toboggan ride down, which I never knew existed. It was a really exciting and nerve racking way to finish the hike.

For lunch we had subway, on the great wall, which just shows you how American companies have already made such a presence in the China market. I would have never imagined that I would be eating Subway in China, right next to the Great Wall of China.

Dr. Oh and students climb the Great Wall.

Dr. Oh and students climb the Great Wall.

Day 17: May 26, 2013 – John Parady

Another sightseeing day, we started by visiting Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was crazy to think of the historic events that had occurred in those locations. The layout of the area kind of reminded me of Washington with the Great Hall of the People juxtaposed to Mao’s tomb and the Monument to the Peoples’ Heroes. After our tour, Lauren and I visited the Temple of Heaven as well as the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. We finished our evening visiting the Night Market, where we saw all sorts of things – bugs, scorpions, etc.

Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Day 17: May 26, 2013 – Daniel Milstein

Our first stop this morning was Tian’anmen Square, which I had looked forward to seeing the entire trip. It is exactly what its name implies, a massive square that can hold over a million people at a time. On one side of the square is the National Museum of China, on the other is the Great Hall of the People, and on the two remaining sides is Mao’s preserved body and a gate to the Forbidden City with Mao’s giant portrait on top of it.

The Forbidden City was built 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty and was home to several Chinese emperors, not to mention that it is larger than Tiananmen Square.

Later, Dani and I toured the Great Hall of the People, China’s main political building. It was even more massive from the inside as it appeared from the outside and one of its rooms can hold over 9,000 people! After, we then took the metro to Wanfujing Street, home to the Night Market, where we were offered fried scorpions on a stick, not before getting an up close view of them alive…enough said.

Gator Chomping at Tian'anmen Square.

Gator Chomping at Tian’anmen Square.

Day 18: May 27, 2013 – Lauren Lundberg

We started the morning by meeting with a commercial realtor, John Wu, who went through the growth of the 657 cities in China and explained how the government owns all the land.

Our next company visit was Lenovo. The office is located in an area that they refer to it was the Chinese Silicon Valley. We met with Koka Lan, the Senior Corporate Communications Generalist, he gave us a tour of the office and the history of their products. I personally enjoyed testing the 3D television.

Our last company visit was 360 Buy, however, they are changing their name to JD.com. We met with Mark Li, the Vice President of Engineering. He formally worked with Google and provided some insight to the web situation in China with several American sites blocked such as Google, YouTube and Facebook. The last company visit was located near the Olympic stadium so several students stayed around the area to have dinner, tour the Water Cube and see the Bird’s Nest at night with the lights.

Company visit with Lenovo at their headquarters in Beijing.

Company visit with Lenovo at their headquarters in Beijing.

Day 18: May 27, 2013 – Carolina Cuello

The Chinese really like Lenovo. Apple is not as popular as I expected. Lenovo knows how to market to the Chinese consumer. Being on top is key in this world, especially in China. The presenter started the presentation with comparing Lenovo with other very large companies such as American Express, Google, Dior, and saying Lenovo is as big as these companies. Then, he went on to say how Lenovo became such a big company; he gave a historical timeline. IBM served as a platform to foster business in the United States.  Lenovo formed a joint venture in Japan and is now the number one Technology Company in Japan. Overall, Lenovo is actually number one in all-commercial sectors in the world. They have established a sold relationship with their customers. Lenovo is currently in the process of evolving the PC so that it stays the center of the world. Lenovo is catering to the population sector that is 35 years old and under. The reason for this is because 60% of the population falls in this age group. Lenovo plans to remain on top and with its renovating technology it most likely will.

After Lenovo, we headed to 360 Buy. 360 Buy is the equivalent of a combination of Amazon, UPS and Pay Pal. The new name of 360 buy is JD.com. More than half a billion Chinese consumers are online shopping today. JD.com has 100 million registered users. JD takes care of everything. You just provide them with a product to sell at a low price and they will sell it. Acquiring trust is key in China. JD.com spends a lot of money on advertising; this is the mistake that Google made in China. Google didn’t focus enough on developing their brand in China. JD.com has 6 fulfillment centers, 900 delivery sites, 3 pick up locations, and between 2,000-3,000 customer service representatives available to chat with customers. JD.com has also managed to receive loyalty from its customers though its ranking system. It ranks its customers as Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron. The customers at each level receive special promotions. JD.com is one of the most successful companies we have visited on this trip.

Company visit with JD.com (formerly 360buy, a Chinese online commerce company).

Company visit with JD.com (formerly 360buy, a Chinese online commerce company).

Day 19: May 28, 2013 – Sean Wilson

I had the privilege to visit the Hyundai car factory today and it was completely amazing. We started with a brief introduction to the history of the company, which involved the explanation of how the Korean car company decided to open their Chinese factory in Beijing in order to cut logistical costs for distribution in the Chinese market. After that, we toured the factory and got to see the assembly line in full force. It was really neat being able to see how all the huge machines work together so accurately and efficiently, while the line workers due their perspective duties.  My favorite part was seeing the body of the car dipped into a giant container of paint and come out the other end completely painted in different colors. I thought it was interesting that around 5-10% of the cars made at the factory were taxicabs and were painted in strange dull colors unlike the classic black and silver models for the Chinese consumers. The experience overall was great and I will never forget my visit to the factory.

Students toured traditional Chinese neighborhoods called Hutongs via rickshaw.

Students toured traditional Chinese neighborhoods called Hutongs via rickshaw.

Day 19: May 28, 2013 – John Parady

With our free morning, Lauren Lundberg and I returned to Tian’anmen to tour the National Museum of China and to see Mao’s tomb. The security was extremely sensitive at both locations.

It was very interesting to see chairman Mao displayed for public viewing behind two bullet proof glass shields. His body lay there plastic-like draped in a communist red blanket including the hammer and sickle.

Inside the museum, art fused with culture, history and propaganda. Massive paintings of Chairman Mao and the communist party were at the centerpiece of the museum.

That afternoon we visited Hyundai’s factory in Beijing where we got to see the assembly line. The cars they were making at that factory were for domestic Chinese sales. Business seemed like it was booming!

Lastly, we met with a government official who acts as the head of the business incubator districts in Beijing. He was by far my favorite speaker as his experiences really document the change within China’s recent past as it transitioned from socialist economy to a more unique capitalism.

Afterwards, Lauren and I visited Peking University, which had beautiful architecture including a pagoda, which reminded me of Century Tower. Before returning to the hotel, we stopped by the CCTV building with its gravity defying shape.

Company visit and assembly tour with Hyundai at their factory outside of Beijing.

Company visit and assembly tour with Hyundai at their factory outside of Beijing.

Day 20: May 29, 2013 – Shuyun Xue

Today concluded our last company visits with Perry Ellis. We spent about half hour talking about the business and their marketing strategies but the majority of the visit was spent talking about life and exploration of self. Last semester, I took a class called communication and spirituality; todays talk reminded me of it.

After our Perry Ellis visit, we headed over to the Olympic Park for an informal tour. We had a chance to go to the top of the tower and see the entire city. The tower sits right in between the Bird Nest and the Water Cube on the central axial. By using the telescope, we were able to see as far as the Forbidden City! Standing in that very top room was such a privilege and it once again reminded me why this whole trip was so worth it.

For dinner, Peter took us to a Beijing Duck location. Beijing Duck is one of those dishes that you have to eat at the original location. If you eat Beijing Duck anywhere else, the taste differs. Today was also a special day because Wes was turned 21. I am quite jealous of everyone who has been able to celebrate his or her birthday in China! Given the time difference and the various time zones, these people get to celebrate their birthdays for almost 40 hours!

Company visit with Pam from Perry Ellis at their offices in Beijing.

Company visit with Pam from Perry Ellis at their offices in Beijing.

Day 21: May 30, 2013 – Sean Wilson

The last day of the trip has arrived and I wish I had more time to spend in China. The thought of going home isn’t exciting to me at all and America seems somewhat bland compared to the fast-paced, high-tech environment that I have experienced in China. I will miss the streets of Hong Kong, the lights of the city of Shanghai, and all of the great cultural experiences from Beijing. I have made many new friends on the trip and am thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the month with everyone in China. The Beijing Airport is the dullest place I have been in China so far, but it is probably just because I do not want to leave. I had an amazing time in China and made many memories that will last a lifetime. I hope that I can experience the culture again, and apply what I have learned this trip to any job I have in the future after graduation.

Tour of the Olympic Park in Beijing.

Tour of the Olympic Park in Beijing.

Day 21: May 30, 2013 – Kristina Chen

Almost one full day later, I have arrived back to America! I am currently at the Atlanta Airport to then take a connecting flight to Orlando. I remember just this morning I was visiting the Temple of Heaven, which is an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing. The Temple of Heaven was absolutely beautiful, especially the green park that surrounded it. There were many old people that were doing Tai Chi, performing traditional Chinese dances, and having conversation with each other on benches. It seemed like a very relaxing place to meditate, read a book, or even take a nap. Victoria and I wanted to see the Temple of Heaven before we headed to the Beijing Airport to catch our flight back to the United States. Now that I am back in America, it feels good. It feels like home. However, I am definitely going to miss all of China. I had such a wonderful experience on the UF China Retail Study Tour.

Flight Home

Flight back to the U.S.

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