A Transformational Day

Sarah Rana

Honestly speaking, I didn't think that August 7th would be the day I almost died, the day thatI visited and spoke with corporate representatives, the day that  my lips puffed up to double their size, and the day that I became well acquainted with a businessman from China.

The day began as usual after breakfast, with the bus being delayed by a rainy day. We arrived in a hurry to the Chengdu Chamber of Commerce and met with lively Chinese representatives. We learned about the wonderful history and culture of Chengdu, such as the ancient water irrigation which is still present in the status quo, and learned that the city's name or location hasn't changed in 2000 years. There was an insightful question and answer period afterwards, and I inquired about traditional Chinese medicine and tourism. This was very important for my tourism and cultural exchange mandate, because if there is to be a Free Trade Agreement, Canada needs to begin building relations by understanding the predominant culture within China, including TCM. Now, I know with certainty that I will discuss TCM with travel agencies to promote China as a tourist destination, specifically Chengdu.

After, we visited Tencent, the company which owns the famous Chinese social messaging platform of WeChat. I was able to learn about how WeChat can be implemented within Canada, to have Canadian businesses become more accessible to Chinese tourists. It was interesting to learn about the philosophy of Tencent, which is to encourage small businesses to thrive. I loved that about the corporation.

Following, we had a meeting with Glamour Fortune to gain market information and to learn about the financial regulations within China and the future investments. For example, theorange bicycles can be found around the city to promote eco-friendly transpiration, as well as electric cars.

We had one last meeting at 6:30 PM, which was a hassle to get to. After attempting to catch a taxi for over an hour, we were finally able to flag one down. It was rush hour, so our driver had no problem driving in the wrong lanes. There were a few close calls, but it was definitely a unique adventure.  Our dinner meeting was with a businessman named Ricky, who is the Consult General of an oil company called Sichuan Province Chamber of Commerce of Private Oil Industry. 

While this dinner was crucial for business success, I learned that business surprisingly comes second, with building trusting relationships being more important within the Chinese corporate culture. I respect this value and I think that, in every respect, it should be adopted. He presented us with gifts from China and a hand written post card. I loved that he took the time to do something special. The food was great, and I had fun eating Hot Pot despite my lips puffing up from the spiciness! Ricky told us about the history of Hot Pot and Chengdu as well, which I appreciated as it contributed to my understanding of China even more.

The day ended with a sizable reception in the hotel, where certain guests were invited to promote the educational institutions that they were sponsored by. It was a great experience to interact directly with interested Chinese students who are considering studying abroad and a great opportunity to promote Canada as well! 

Overall, while this day was insightful in the business aspect, I was also able to learn about the Chinese culture, which I think is very beneficial for my sponsors and myself to further our relations with China.