A Magical Day, Where East Meets West

Gigi Huang

Today was our busiest day in Shanghai. We started the day off at CanCham - the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Héléne Larochelle, the Executive Director, gave us an informative presentation where we learned the challenges and difficulties of the Canadian companies and professionals who are working in China. We also learned about some tips and insights on how to enter the Shanghai market, including the keys to be successful in a foreign country: to stay connected with fellow Canadians and to support each other. 

Followed by Mrs. Larochelle’s presentation, we had the honour to meet with Carl Breau, the CEO of Saimen. He gave us an analogy that '8 years in China is like 100 years in Canada!', which made us realize the fast and rapid growth that China continues to experience. He also shared his personal findings of the qualities that one should have to be able to find success with business in China. “For those who are up for changes and challenges, Shanghai would be a great place to start in China.” The main qualities needed are being humble, being flexible, and being able to adjust. He also mentioned that the biggest challenges that people face is to adapt to the scaling differences and vigorous pace.

Personally, as a recent immigrant to Canada, I found that the struggle works both ways. When I moved to Canada with my family in 2012, I immediately recognized that the definition of 'big' has a distinctive scaling difference. I also realized that I lived life at a very fast pace prior to living in Canada. Due to the massive population in China, the definition of 'big' usually means at least 10 times more and, since there are so many people, everybody is forced to move and live at fast paces in order to survive. For many of our fellow JTC Ambassadors, this trip provides a unique opportunity to experience the differences between both countries and to learn how to adjust to them.

As a huge fan of Disney, our meeting at Shanghai Disney was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. We were invited to the “團隊大樓Team Building” to meet with Murray King, Vice President of Public Affairs at Shanghai Disney Resort. Mr. King was originally from Montreal, Canada, and he went to school at the University of Ottawa. He shared his personal story of how his career started with a Civil Engineering Degree and lead to working for one of the world's largest international companies, Disney. He inspired us to keep open minds, as many opportunities and new adventures will come along our journey of life. Mr. King also gave us a detailed presentation of the story of Disney and some behind-the-scenes stories of Shanghai Disney Resort. Unlike other Disney Resorts around the world, Shanghai Disney is unique in the way that it was built on one core value, “Authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese”. This value is the key that sets Shanghai Disney apart from other theme parks around the world.

After our magical meeting at Shanghai Disney, we went to our first Junior Team Canada reception of the mission. We were invited by the honourable Canadian Consul General in Shanghai, Mr. Weldon Epp, to his residence. We had a tremendously unique experience to network with professionals in Chinese industry and to learn about Canada’s international presence.

Today, JTC had the honour to not only witness the magic of East meets West, but to be a part of it!