As part of the Experiential Learning / Asia Pacific Study course (RMG 917) a group of Retail Management students visited China for a two-week learning experience.
The group began their journey in Beijing on Saturday, May 7, 2016.
Departing from Toronto (YYZ) to Beijing (PEK), a group of seventeen retail management students participated in a 10-day tour to examine consumption patterns, retail formats and operations as well as sourcing opportunities and challenges in the Asia Pacific Region.
Below, you will find some of the students’ key highlights:
(Students at the Great Wall of China, a trade show, a design studio, a tea shop, a local university, and skyline of Shanghai.)
Students began their adventure in Beijing (Population of 19 million) by climbing the Great Wall of China, visiting theForbidden City, and learning how Jade is used to make jewelry and art. Samantha Rondinelli remarked that, “As a retail student, I definitely noticed the many vendors, markets, and bargaining techniques used in Beijing.”
Additional stops in Beijing included the Logistics Centre of Gome, the Sanlitun shopping centre, the Canadian Embassy, the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT), and the Chinese retailer Landi. “We had the pleasure of meeting the Chairman of Landi, who has been voted as one of the 10 most powerful people in Beijing,” noted Lauren Jaques.
The second part of the trip was to Nanjing. At Hohai University, Ryerson’s own Professor Frances Gunn led a lecture on Online Service Quality, followed by a visit to the Sasseur Art Commercial Plaza, Suguo Distribution Centre, IKEA, Gong Ye Tea House, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s mausoleum, and Confucius Temple.
Students had the opportunity to interact with one of the co-founders of Huaxi BMSC Technology Co., Ltd. and visited the18th Annual Beijing International Preschool Toys Exhibition. “Although language was indeed a barrier, it didn’t hinder the passion and sales pitch of the vendors,” noted Tamour Sheikh. “The takeaway for me from this expo was that there is opportunity everywhere.”
At the Gong Ye Tea House, students sat down with Tea Masters to learn about tea etiquette and history. Lauren Rainville states, “My personal favourite part of the day was the Chinese tea tasting. There is a saying in China that if your tea is kept for a year it is for drinking, after 3 years it is for medicine and after 7 years it is a treasure.”
Finally, the last part of the Experiential Learning trip took place in Shanghai. This included a trip to Shanghai Finance University, Grace Chen Studio, a local market, and the opportunity to meet Ryerson’s former professor, Mark Creolin who founded a PR and Communications company Red Gate International Inc.
While in Shanghai, Samantha Rondinelli says students discovered issues related to, “the development of E-commerce, cross-border buying behaviour, new policies, opportunities and challenges in China regarding retail and online channels.” They learned about China’s mobile payment platforms like WeChat and Alipay, plus enjoyed a night cruise on the Huangpu River before returning home to Canada.
A special thanks to Ryerson’s retail faculty Dr. Frances Gunn and Dr. Hong Yu and local industry experts for their contribution to this experiential learning experience and to the contribution from students from the school of retail management: Samantha Rondinelli, Lauren Jacques, Tamour Sheikh, Cherry Liu, Lauren Jaques, Nurul Mohd Hasbi, Cherice Wilson, Aliana Kopec, and Lauren Rainville.
To watch Dr. Hong Yu’s interview on this project, please visit http://www.omnitv.ca/on/cmn/videos/4864912639001/