China - Girly Mai Thais Edition (ANZ, Austrade + Clarins)

Guess what!? 

It's me again!


(I do this a lot - look at the rest of my blog.)

Anyway, I'm quite excited to show you this day...well, more this night, because the day isn't very interesting, but I very much enjoyed the evening. 

I could add, "if you know what I mean" to the end of that, to make you all very uncomfortable, but I won't, because I'm nice.

You know how to quickly get to night time things, though? By really quickly getting through the daytime things! 

The day wasn't bad at all; two more companies, nice lunch, shopping, learning. It's just that I was getting really tired by this stage; may or may not have fallen asleep in certain company visits (I already told you there was only two today, so by using the plural of 'visit', that should key you in on the fact I fell asleep in both) - and so, have little to say about either of them. 

But, though that's terrible news for me and my assignment, that's good news for you! So, using more pictures than words, allons-y!

Heading to the middle of the city for our first visit - when this is finished, it's gonna be the tallest building in...China...or Asia, or something ridiculous like that. 

All very fancy offices for ANZ, whose visit gave us another good perspective of a Western company making their way in the hazardous and challenging yet fruitful seas on the Chinese marketplace. Poetical.

Office with a very spectacular view.
Our speaker was Mr Will Abbott, a surprisingly young bloke, whose demenor and occa Aussie accent made you think that if he weren't so clearly intelligent and head of the entire company's Asian division, he'd be somewhere out the back of Wagga Wagga drinking someone under the table. 

Extraordinarily exhausted by this stage, as I said, so not a huge amount of info, but:
  • ANZ is a Fortune 500 company! I didn't know that...
  • Their 2010 rebranding was very telling for those in the know that they were really getting serious about entering the Chinese market - they're now the largest Australian bank there, with their target audience being the new, affluent Chinese; they're not a there for the masses.
  • Their experience in China has allowed them to better serve Asian customers in Australia.
  • The marketing process in China is a lot more "raw" (his word, not mine); in Australia it's much more structured and developed.
  • ....that's literally all I have. Oops. 
  • Anyway.
  • Hope others in my group have some more stuff. 
  • Wai Sin, I'm looking in your direction, Mr Finance Major.
  • One more dot point to make myself feel better.

Leaving, I noticed the homage to Australia in the lobby, from Ned Kelly to the Aboriginal artwork.

General Shanghai travelling photos! Yay!

Next appointment was at Austrade. Sneaky photo of official Australian Government building.

-Bond theme- 

Austrade's speaker was Trade Commissioner Lisa Trist, who was into her 4th year of a 5 year station in Shanghai. Her information was really interesting, though not as directly relevant to our assignments as we would have like; but I suppose it provided a really thorough context from which we understand and develop what we're going to be writing about. But some of her general China facts are pretty fascinating, so here are the highlights:
  • China's struggles are making Australia see dollar signs. Everyone knows China holds a fifth of the world's population, but what exactly are the logistics of feeding all those people? Clothing them, giving them housing, water, energy, infrastructure? You need an astronomical amount of raw resources. Guess what Australia has.
  • China's population is ageing like a lot of countries' are; here, by 2030, there'll be more than 300 million people over the age of 65. That's just...a number so large it's actually ceased to even mean anything. I can't even get my head around it. All this is being worsened by the One Child Policy; because it both accentuates that demographic divide and makes it very hard for those children who, due to the Chinese' cultural filial piety, have to take the responsibility of looking after their elders by themselves. They're thus seeing a trend away from the traditional situation of living with the parents and family.
  • Rapid change: in the last few years, there's been a 282% increase in the average wage, 100 million people urbanised, 5 times more internet users, double the amount of university graduates. Try to imagine that kind of pace happening in Australia and what that does to a country. Ms Trist said time in China is like dog years.
  • In general, the Chinese love Australia - we're clean, sunny and friendly. Naturally, dahhhling.
Nina + Kakit. #Chester


Next few hours were spent having lunch (at the same Wagas place; we're not very imaginative) and shopping with Bec and Mentor David before the final company meeting (yes, another three in one day). 

Lunch location.

David's a good guy to spend some time with - he talks a lot, knows a lot of stuff, has done a lot of great things, is constantly willing to share his knowledge with you, and is very honest and open about anything you'd want to talk about. We went about Shanghai's marvellous Plaza 66, window shopping mainly at all the pretty, luxurious things we can't have, with David pointing out and sharing various marketing tidbits and insights as they related to what we were passing by.

Five levels of luxury.



Find Burberry.

Enter Burberry.

Feel like slob in Burberry.

Find most wondrous coat in Burberry.

Find price tag.

Try not to cry.

Cry a lot.

Take In Memoriam photo.

Leave Burberry.

More shiny shopping.

Got one extraordinarily expensive Belgian chocolate ball. It was about AUD$6 for one bit, which, for those playing it home, is almost three times more expensive than a Ladurée macaroon. 

Bec and I differed somewhat in our dessert choices.

So. Instead of having an afternoon off, which was in our schedule, George spoke to his dad, who distributes cosmetics,  and got us into a meeting with Clarins, the luxury skincare brand. Dammit, George. But thank you.

It was this meeting I actually, legitimately feel asleep in. Just for a few seconds, but actual sleep. Until Bec gouged her fingers in my leg. 

You're all busy people, my dear readers, so I'm sure you'll know what I mean when you get to that point where you physically can't keep your eyes open. You're in a comfy chair, in a warm room, with a  deep voice lulling you...and it doesn't matter how much you concentrate, how much you dig you nails into your arm, how many sips of water you take, you can't do it. 

It's embarrassing. It really, really is. I went to sleep a metre away from the General Manager of Clarins, and maybe the mentors were sitting where they couldn't see me, but it was just embarrassing.

Everyone else seemed to find it rather funny though.
Not nice.

At Clarins we were shown numbers. A lot of numbers. Slide, after slide, after slide, after slide of numbers. Detailed analysis of every aspect of Clarins' business. 

It was fantastic. 

It was sleep-inducing, but it was a great way to show us what business actually is about. 

Business is not glamorous, it's number crunching. 

And as youngins looking to get our foot into the door of anything, our first jobs will primarily be about those numbers. Know nothing about numbers, don't get a job. Quite simple. Most graduates don't, and can't, know this thoroughly enough. My friend is doing an internship at L'Oréal and said, "You know the most useful unit at university I ever did? Statistics."

There really isn't much else to take away from that meeting, but there isn't anything much more important we took away from any meeting we had.

Look how much George looks like his dad. It was also a privilege to meet him and hear what he had to say about business. #Chester

Dammit, Sam. #Chester

The usual debrief in our mobile classroom with David.

And now sleep! Hahahaahahahaha jk more work. Desperately needed a catch up with the project group, so we had a bit of a mini marketing class in my hotel room. The main problem with our group is that most of them are only first or second year marketing students (I'm fourth year) or they don't even study the damn subject. Which presents a bit of an issue when we're expected to write an in depth-and groundbreaking report that should change the way the world thinks about marketing things. This night was getting back to some basics. My natural condition and personality is congruent with neither teacher nor leader, but, y'know, when greatness is thrust upon you etc, etc. 




Important great things. 

And what do we say to all work and no play? Not today! We're going out drinking again. This time with Mallory and the boys. 

You've probably noticed that I don't have a "group" - well, this trip was like that; everyone was happy to go out with anyone at all at any time. It was really different to how these kind of things usually work, but it was also really good to experience this kind of dynamic, and really, the freedom to literally just go, hey, you're hanging around the hotel corridor the same time as me, wanna go get dinner?

Time to do the whole attempt-to-catch-cab-then-give-up-and-try-the-subway thing again.

Ridiculously huge lines to buy tickets. There didn't seem to be any sort, tapping system for locals, either, which was slightly alarming. The ticket machines kept breaking down too, though within seconds its gizzards would be open and all over the floor as a bloke fixed it and it'd be working again soon. Anywhere else, it'd just stay "out of order" for a few days. In China, shit gets done. 

Letting the most local of us to do the hard work.


Oh! Forgot to specify that Jenny was with us too. Basically, when I say Mallory, I mean Mallory-and-Jen, because if you get one, you basically get the other as a kind of combo deal. Psh, Masters students. 

Apparently it says free entry if you're wearing a bikini. Awesome. Not. (But, as Yi pointed out, it doesn't specifically say hot white girl in bikini, so maybe he could bikini it up and get in free too?)

Underground things, and look! Clarins advertising!

Shanghai, you're a lovely thing.

We were also unimaginative with dinner and headed to The Larder, where the mentors and their friends were also going; turns out it was a famous place where all the local expats go - run by an Aussie bloke. The waitresses were Australian, and the menu featured funky Australian/Asian fusion with décor and an atmosphere that wouldn't be at all out of place on Bridge Rd. 

Complete with some knick knacks straight from home.

Also, congrats, because you've reached the part of this post where there's a lot of pics and v. few words! 

Our charming Asian gentlemen weren't much acquainted with either Western food or alcohol.

Mallory and I set out to change that.

A lovely girly Mai Tai for Yi.
And some wine.
Nailed it.

Jenny doing her thing. Literally, "If you touch the food before I take a photo of it, I will slap you."


Food! Home made chips, falafel, hummus and a lot of bread, oil and balsamic. 

And a lot of Aussie meat. Yeaaaah.

Yi was hungry.

Chester had New York Sours and got tipsy.

Surprise! Summer downpour. 

People knew a place around the back down the road.

More streetfood: never go hungry in Shanghai. Whether you'll die from eating said food is another matter, but that's not the point.

Okay, so this place, called Tianzi Feng market, is cool as hell. A labyrinth of backstreets and alleyways with a hundred hidden tiny boutique shops and miniature clubs and bars to get yourself lost in. I want it in my city.

So many places to find (note to self: live in Shanghai in order to find them all), but we made a quick decision and found us a little bar lounge. 

Oh, the days I need a FML.

Decisions, decisions...


Wai Sin got the fancy alcohol set alight and in the beer.


You try to get down this thing drunk.
Wai Sass. 


Nice work, team. 

Next day was both our only day off and the last in Shanghai. 

Until then...

No comments:

Post a Comment