Amazing Lessons Global Companies Can Learn from China’s Progress Pt 1
Maria Krisette Capati, Author
06 May 2019
Editor’s note: The content below is a thought-leadership, op-ed piece of our Content Strategist who lived in China a few years ago. This is the first part of the two-part blog series. The views expressed in this article are credited to the author alone, and not to the company.
Every day is an opportunity to learn new things, especially when researching, reading, and writing about China business and marketing concepts for seven years.
As a full-time Filipino writer and copywriter, the travels and the experience of cultural immersion in China’s key cities are eye-openers for a new perspective in business. The developments that witnessed through the years reflect the tenacious spirit of China to become a global leader.
Anyone who’s lived, whether for a short or long time as an expat would agree that once they go home, they’d miss the efficiency of almost anything they do both online and offline.
In this post, the goal is for you to understand how the Chinese think and do business. Observations could be subjective, but third-party data can also prove such behavior, progress, or anything you’d encounter here.
Hopefully, you can create strategies and plans that will bring you long-term results in case you want to operate and set up your business from the ground up.
Traveler’s insight: What do mainland mega cities look like five years ago?
Traveling to Shanghai without any knowledge of basic Mandarin caused inconvenience along the way. However, booking on hotels with English speaking staff made it a lot easier.
One of the most convenient transportation upon arrival, either Pudong International Airport or Hongqiao International Airport, was via metro, which is line 2. Travel time was about 60 minutes or more from Pudong to the city center.
Shanghai’s city vibe can be described in one word. Busy. Life was fast-paced.
If you’re a tourist or it’s your first time to visit, you’d first marvel at the metropolis’ skyscrapers, busy metro lines and streets of Nanjing. From souvenir stores to tourist attractions from Yuyuan Garden to the Bund, there’s more to explore.
The train rides at the metro saved time and provided more opportunity to explore the city. You can always top-up the card in any machine.
Beijing was the busiest of all cities. Guangzhou was a little laidback. And yet, one of the things you’d fall in love with these cities if you were there five years ago was the efficiency of the metro as city train rides and the high-speed trains all across China.
The high-speed trains offered almost the same perks as booking a flight. Traveling from north to south was convenient by land.
In Guangzhou, life was almost the same as living “outside of China.” Global brands like Uniqlo, Nike, Adidas, and among others were seen in city centers. Fast foods, from McDonald’s to KFC to Burger King were available even just a walking distance from the apartment.
Local restaurants and hot pots were everywhere, of course. Also, authentic Chinese food, the after taste of Guangdong cuisine was something you’d probably miss when you leave the mainland.
In a nutshell, China has been opening its doors to global companies – from luxury brands to retail to food fast chains. The shadows of the western culture slowly crept in. And yet most of these brands also understood that localizing their products will allow them to thrive and compete locally.
Transportation, Technology, and Lifestyle
Traveling was convenient and efficient. The megacities and also the emerging ones were connected via high-speed trains. Most of the time, departure and arrival were always on point and on time, especially in urban areas.
For office work, an employee within the central business district can take the metro as a mode of transportation. For those living outside of the CBD (central business district), the city buses were available and also convenient to use.
Each bus has a corresponding number and route, so you need to get off to the nearest station and then wait for another bus number if you’re on a different route.
Cycling or bike rides were also common transportation among the residents, both young and old. In megacities, it’s one of the popular modes of transportation, too.
You can already use mobile phones via WeChat or bike-sharing app to order a bicycle and leave it at a particular station. What’s more, there were bike lanes, which made it convenient for commuters to go to one place from another.
As an expat, you’ll never get hungry in China. You’ll always find both western and Chinese food sprawling across the streets, from one corner to the other.
From side-streets to malls to those little hawkers. Ordering food has been the norm as well for those in the cities. You can order food on WeChat and pay, and you’ll have to wait until the delivery man comes to your doorstep.
The best way to make transaction online was through your Chinese friend, and then pay them in cash. Foreigners and expats can only enjoy these perks if they registered a WeChat account using the Chinese number.
The Chinese version of WeChat has a complete set of features for all these in-app services. The WeChat account registered outside of China doesn’t have these unique features like paying bills, ordering food, movie tickets, and the like.
Whatever you’re craving for, you can order online or reserve a spot at a nearby restaurant using your mobile phone.
People lived in apartments, both from shabby to new ones and high-rise condominiums. Also, since China has four seasons, living in the city means you need to have heaters to keep you during the winter season and even hot water for the shower.
In Beijing, the local government provides the central heating system. But in tier 2 or tier 3, you’d have to look and install for your heater at your apartment to survive the chilly winter.
Now that you already have ideas on how things were five years ago, watch out for the next posts for the 7 Lessons Global Companies Can Learn From China’s Progress Part 2.
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Maria Krisette Capati
Krisette or "Sette" for short is a professional writer and copywriter who loves to cover disruptive technologies, digital trends in China, and a myriad of geeky and innovative topics. She's the Content Strategist at AZ-Loc and currently manages the English website and in-charge of the social media channels. She has been writing about China markets, business, and startups since 2012. She has gained her expertise as a China internet specialist and is fascinated by its business ethics, language, and culture. She's a major of Business Management and Entrepreneurship and an advocate of faith-based non-profit organizations. When she's not writing or dabbling with Sophie and the team, she satiates her wanderlust as a digital nomad.