ChinaTalk’s study tours are a combination of lectures and so-called city safaris in which we explore digital and retail innovations in the centres of cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing. The tours are meant to inspire the participants and give them a thorough understanding of topics like:
- The rise of China and the Chinese consumer
- China’s internet ecosystems
- (Cross-Border) E-Commerce
- WeChat & mini programs
- Social Media
- Mobile Payment, QR codes and the sharing economy
- New Retail
- Artificial Intelligence
The full week tour normally consists of 4 mornings of lectures, followed by 4 city safaris. During the city safari’s we experience many concepts that have been presented in the morning lectures, e.g. WeChat, mobile payment, unmanned stores, shared bikes, food delivery, etc. ChinaTalk selects the locations that are visited during the city safaris and frequently goes location scouting to find new and interesting places.
The study tours of ChinaTalk also aim to give the participants a better understanding of the diversity and regional differences in China, as well as local life. We therefore include several of the following activities (and more):
- Visit to the imperial history in Beijing (Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City)
- Visit to the Bund and evening view over Pudong in Shanghai
- Hangzhou’s West Lake & local show
- Cycle tour through Shanghai’s local neighbourhoods
- Visit to a small ‘Taobao village’ to experience rural life and e-commerce
- Travel by local subways
- Ride the high-speed trains
- Group discussion in an atmospheric tea house
- An evening of KTV (karaoke)
- Using mobile payment through WeChat and other Chinese apps
ChinaTalk is also convinced that the many regional cuisines of the country are part of a true China experience. We therefore let the participants sample a different regional kitchen every day. We include:
- Shanghai/Zhejiang/Jiangsu style
- Sichuan style
- Dongbei style (North-East China)
- Yunnan style
- Xinjiang style (muslim)
- Beijing Duck
- Hotpot at Haidilao (farewell dinner)
All in all, ChinaTalk’s study tours differ from other study tours in the following ways:
- All lectures are given by one lecturer (Ed Sander), thereby guaranteeing consistency, completeness and a logical build-up of topics and narrative during the week.
- Instead of visiting bigger companies and listening to PR presentations, ChinaTalk study tours focus on actual (retail) locations in daily life as Chinese consumers also experience them.
- The combination of lectures and real-life experiences ensures that participants have an optimal understanding of digital innovation within the Chinese context. Participants get to actually experience the things they learned during the lectures. It also enables them to hear an unbiased story with positive and negative aspects about each topic.
- ChinaTalk puts a lot of emphasis on understanding local life, diversity and regional differences in China. Our aim is to let people experience how there’s more to China than just middle-class Chinese in big cities like Shanghai.
Participants of ChinaTalk study tours are normally businesspeople, consultants, retailer, trendwatchers, marketers, etc.
Organisation of ChinaTalk study trips
ChinaTalk normally delivers these study tours to organisations (referred to as ‘client’) that want to offer a China study tour for their customers, members and/or employees. Examples of our clients are publishers, banks, consultancy firms and sector organisations. While ChinaTalk takes care of the content of the program, the client is responsible for the acquisition of the minimum number participants within a certain time period.
Our partner, a local travel agent, takes care of all in-country arrangements according to ChinaTalk’s program briefing (hotels, transfers, flights/high speed train tickets, metro cards, earphones, bus & driver, restaurant reservations, booking of entry tickets for sights and shows, etc).
Tailored ChinaTalk Tours
For some tours, ChinaTalk will adjust the program as described above to meet the wishes of a specific client. This might relate to specific locations/companies that the client wants to visit or partial programs that are being arranged by local offices of the client.
Besides group tours ChinaTalk also delivers tours for participants from one company or organisation. Contact us to learn more about the possibilities.
About Study Tour Leader Ed Sander
The study tours by ChinaTalk are developed and guided by Ed Sander. Ed lived in China for several years, where he worked as an international volunteer in the city of Xi’an, helping local NGOs build their marketing capacities. As a volunteer Ed received an allowance that was lower than the average Chinese income in Xi’an at the time. As such he learned to live as ‘a local’. Ed is married to Jessica Sun (Sun Hui) who was born and raised in China. Together they founded ChinaTalk after moving back to The Netherlands in 2013.
Since 2011 Ed Sander has been writing about China and has published close to 200 articles, mostly focussing on digital innovation, internet, e-commerce, social media and New Retail in China. In recent years he has given many lectures about these topics at universities (of applied sciences), in-company trainings, China workshops and marketing seminars.
Ed speaks intermediate level Chinese; enough to get around in daily life. He has visited over 100 Chinese cities and towns and most of the Chinese provinces. Counting study trips, family visits and his own travels in China he spends several months in the country each year. Missing the Chinese food after returning to The Netherlands he has taken up the hobby of cooking Chinese food and has prepared more than 500 different Chinese dishes in the past 3 years. He is therefore very well informed about authentic Chinese food.
Some opinions about our tours
“Thank you Ed for this trip. It was essential for me that you also add your enormous knowledge of the Chinese market and culture. I am convinced that this is indispensable for understanding what exactly is going on here and what you can learn from all these developments. I can recommend your tour to any retailer and marketer who wants to get ahead.” – Michiel Rijshouwer – Managing Director, Persuade
“For your trip to China, make sure you have a travel companion who speaks English and Chinese, can help you locally and can find your way. My travel companion was Ed Sander from ChinaTalk. He knows everything about the Chinese internet, mobile and New Retail. And he is well aware of the Chinese culture, which ultimately is the context of all digital innovations. If you really want to experience China, Ed Sander is highly recommended!” – Jarno Duursma – Trendwatcher / Speaker / Author, Studio Overmorgen:
“Ed Sander knows China, he breathes China. He guided MIX around Shanghai and Beijing and introduced us to culture, society and the economy. And he showed us various New Retail concepts, showed us how fast China is evolving, how powerful the platforms of Alibaba and Tencent are, how large m-commerce is and how fast it is growing.” – Marc Nelissen, MIXpress
“In the field of Innovation and Digitalization, it has become clear to me that China now has a leading role in the world. New Retail in optima forma! Digital platforms integrated with the offline and online world. Thank you Focusplaza and ChinaTalk for the inspiration and insights during this well organized and inspiring study trip!” – Herald Overweg – Consultancy & Interim in FMCG, HOnCompany Consultancy & Interim
“The amount of culture, digital marketing and retail experience are enormous. Thank you Ed Sander for combining your highly substantive lectures in the morning and then making them visible in practice through city tours. In addition, putting it into perspective against the cultural backgrounds. What a journey! Truly a “once in a lifetime experience”. “ – Dick ten Voorde – Commercial manager a.i. FMCG with sales focus, Retailmade
“Wow what a week in China! Thank you very much Ed Sander for all master classes, fieldwork / city safaris & China know-how. Where as far as I’m concerned “Innovation & Speed” are the keywords for Digital & Retail revolution! I am sure that you will allow the next groups to also return with a shopping cart full of digital and retail experience!” – Jose Ten Hoope – Business Manager Retail at Svedex
“This trip was way above expectations (and the expectation was already high). The combination of Ed’s morning lessons, the safaris through three special cities, fantastic and pleasant dinners and a very varied and enthusiastic group made it an unforgettable week! Ed is a super host who has arranged everything to perfection. In addition, his knowledge of China in general and New Retail in particular is phenomenal. Highly recommended!” – Johan Lemmers – Sales Director Decorative Coatings DIY NL at AkzoNobel
“Great trip, great group and a top program in terms of content!” – Rob Klifman – General Manager Bouwmaat Nederland BV
“Thank you very much Ed for sharing your knowledge about the rapid developments in China during the lectures in combination with the practical tours.” – Harry Vergeer – Owner at Vergeer Fresh Consultancy
Read the results of our post-tour customer satisfaction surveys:
Are you interested in co-organising a study tour with ChinaTalk or do you want to participate in one of the upcoming tours? Please contact us.
Upcoming tours we are are involved in:
- Comafin (private tour)
- Digital & Retail Revolution – Focusplaza March 2020 (fully booked)
- Rabobank ‘New Retail innovation in China’ inspiratiereis 2020 (to be confirmed)
- Digital & Retail Revolution – Focusplaza September 2020
- More to come …