Monday, July 31st, 2017 – As JTC's third day in China came to a close the previous night, I woke up with excitement to simply eat breakfast. After quickly indulging in a tasteful mixture of Western and Chinese cuisine, we were assigned our mission roles and were asked to meet at 12:30 in preparation for our meeting with a large Shanghai-based energy company. I, for one, was very excited about this meeting, as it was an opportunity for me to explore not only the natural resources sector in China, a sector that I’m representing, but also to get another first-hand look at how business is conducted in China. I thought that we’d go to a stereotypical office building where employees would begrudgingly talk to us about their job. Needless to say, my expectations were very wrong.
From the very minute that we walked into their office, I knew it was no regular office. Apart from a designated tour guide, they had reversible walls that would seamlessly turn into flat-screen TVs to showcase educational videos. We even met the General Manager, Dr. Yang, who invited us to a roundtable at which he graciously answered all of our questions. This experience was priceless for me as I gained extensive knowledge about the roles of SOE (state-owned enterprises) in the Chinese economy, as well as how they differed from private companies. While discussing with fellow ambassadors, I learned that they, too, found the experience memorable, and I was excited to follow-up with the officials that I had met there.
For dinner, I opted to avoid eating at McDonald’s and, instead, chose to explore the Chinese cuisine a little. We went to a delicious Hot-Pot restaurant – a cuisine that I had never before tried – and came back three hours later as tired as we had woken up.