It is difficult to represent the sheer breadth and intensity of our experience in Beijing.
Each and every day was vacuum packed with new experiences and non-stop activity: Up at 7:00 for a shower and a quick breakfast in the hotel, onto the charter bus by 8:00 to navigate the traffic for tightly scheduled morning meetings with CEO’s and pitch sessions to investors. An hour for lunch, then back on the bus en route for more meetings in the afternoon, followed by the obligatory rush hour traffic jam en route to whatever fantastic restaurant our hosts had arranged for us for dinner, then back onto the bus for evening cultural explorations, like the Peking Opera, Houhai Bar Street, or the Forbidden City, followed by yet another bus ride back to the hotel. Rinse and repeat, for 14 days in a row.
The pace was exhausting but the experience was vivid and inspiring.
Our group consisted of about 25 people: one or two from each chosen Canadian company, a couple of OCE representatives and a leader from the Chinese investment group.
For Cheryl and me it was a crash course in Chinese business and culture; for Jet it was a return to familiar territory; he had even worked for one or two of the corporations we visited.
Ostensibly, all of the Canadian companies were here to explore the feasibility of doing business in China. However, we were the only ones that had made progress in actually finding potential partners to work with, at the Communications University of China. We set up our initial meeting with them about six days into our trip. In the meantime, we stayed with our group to participate fully in the CAMP experience.
As the days passed I began to notice a pattern emerging; each presentation we made seemed to bring a singular level of enthusiasm and interest in our company. It became apparent that our vision resonated deeply with the leaders of such companies as Apus, YouKu and Baidu.
On one level, I was surprised by all the positive attention we were receiving. After all, we were not some major developer of new medical technology; we were a tiny company specializing in creating original content for kids that emphasizes the positive values and creative traditions all people share.
On another level, though I was not surprised at all; I knew we were ready, and I’d been in plenty of professional situations that were equally amazing. To be face to face with high level movers and shakers who were on the cutting edge of facilitating China’s new open face to the world was my comfort zone.
These leaders were magnanimous in greeting our group and in offering feedback on our various business plans and aspirations. But it was their interest in and empathy for the kids and families of China that caused them regularly single us out with the statement;
‘You guys need to be here in China’.