2018Jul 5

SPAD in China Series: Sights of Shanghai

Carter Blog Profile copyBy: Carter “Blooming Flower” Harrison

After a 2.5-hour bus ride which was spent sleeping off the last day’s activities, we had arrived at our next destination, Shanghai. From the more tamed campus life in Hangzhou to the hustle and bustle of downtown. Off one bus and onto another, meeting our new guide Steven for the next chapter of our journey.

After dropping our belongings on the new bus, we walked around an area with several commercial malls. Prices were similar to those of back home if not more expensive in some of the designer stores. Marketing of these stores and other business was quite apparent as huge signs covered the huge buildings. With so much space on these skyscrapers for possible marketing usage, it could be a great asset in the future for sport. From the shopping center we moved on to another shopping area called the Yu Garden. Unfamiliar with the name, I expected a beautiful garden unlike what I may have seen back home. I was very surprised to arrive upon another shopping outlet area that little did I know, would test my nonexistent bartering skills.Harrison 1

Yu Garden is home to an abundance of traditional items to a knockoff version of anything you can imagine. With its temple-like feel, it was quite pretty seeing all different features that resembled olden architecture. If you are half decent at arguing with someone about any topic then you might have a shot in China as long as you are reasonable. When attempting to buy things, which conveniently have no price tags on them, the store owner will throw out an outrageous number that makes you laugh. But this is just how the game begins. After a quick back and forth over the price you’ll have them down to as close as you can get them to your desired price without having to pull another move out of your sleeve. The clincher I learned for getting the price I wanted was to slowly walk out of their shop shaking my head. Although this made them slightly upset, all they really wanted was my money so they would yell back to me and accept my price offer.

From the Yu Garden we travelled to The Bund, a must-see while visiting the area. Featuring the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower standing at a whopping 632 meters is almost 100 meters more then the CN Tower to put it into perspective. SHarrison 2hanghai has no shortfall of skyscrapers to marvel over.  Across the river is the tower along with several other corporation’s buildings. We would come back to this area the next night to see it at night time. It was quite the adventure due to it being the Dragon Boat festival so thousands of people manifested to this spot at night.

Our last adventure of Shanghai led us to SILC University wherHarrison 3e Alex, our international coordinator on the trip, went to school. We did a short presentation about what university life in Canada is like and then listened to them present about university in China. Following this we took part in a lesson on how to make traditional knots which did not seem to be my forte. Afterwards we walked along old road and through a museum.

To cap off our last night in Shanghai, Hugo (the international manager from the Faculty of Management at LU) set up a beautiful dinner with a few LHarrison 4aurentian Alumni. Traditional dumplings whilst having our second experience with the round table with the spinning glass center plate. This is a traditional way of eating as there are bowls of food on the center plate and you slowly spin it as people grab what they would like to eat as it goes by. It is a fun experience to be a part of because if you’re not paying attention for half a second you may have missed your chance at getting seconds of your favourite dish.

On June 18th we headed to the train station to just barely catch our train to Beijing. We had arrived with almost an hour until our train departed but almost missed it when there was a mix-up with our tickets. Luckily enough, our guide Steven and Alex managed to get us on our train just in time. The bullet train in China goes over 300 kilometers an hour which is the fastest in the world. We travelled over 1,300 kilometers in just 4.5 hours which is astounding and a true testament of how fast the train travels.Harrison 5

After one of our famous ‘Grotos’ as we called them (Group Photos), our guide Steven paid me with a compliment. “Very nice, very nice, you are like a blooming flower!” Laughter filled the table as we all did not know how to react to his words. He elaborated and said it was because in all the photos I always had a big smile and seemed to be shining. After realizing what he meant, I thanked him for his kind words. And that is when I got the nickname Blooming Flower for the remainder of the trip [Editor’s note: you’re stuck with that SPAD nickname forever, Blooming Flower].

In relation to the future of sport management and more generally business itself. Shanghai is an epicenter of many huge corporations worth millions if not billions of dollars. Seeing all of these mesmerizing businesses and skyscrapers opened my eyes to the fact that Shanghai is a very rich and prosperous area. From a marketing perspective specifically, a lot of these buildings have electric boarding on their exterior walls. This allows them to put light displays on at night or run an ad across their building. Although the expense is high, the return on investment can pay dividends if sport franchises could broadcast, standings, highlights, player and game updates. This could lead to a greater interest due to consumers regularly seeing these adverts displayed everywhere they go. I see the future of marketing and branding in China leaning towards using such large assets. An example of marketing that we saw was during our visit to The Bund at night. A boat cruising along the river was very well lit and had a big Visa sign perched on the top of the boat so everyone along the shore could see it. This was a great piece of marketing due to the mass amount of people that were there and saw it. This can be another way marketers and sport business people can look to market to massive broad audiences in the future.

To say this was an amazing trip is an understatement. It was truly an eye-opening experience that I will be forever grateful for. A SPADventure of a lifetime.

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