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 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 offers 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 are publishers, banks, consultancy firms and branch 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.
A local 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).
Marco Polo Travel, a subsidairy of ITG Companies, handles the booking of flight tickets, procurement of the program elements according to ChinaTalk’s program briefing and invoicing of the individual travellers or client.
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 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
Michiel Rijshouwer – Managing Director, Persuade: “We’ve seen so much, lots of inspiration. I’m amazed by the many innovations, the fast pace and the curiosity of the Chinese people. New retail is new energy and the beginning of endless new possibilities. 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.”
Jarno Duursma – Trendwatcher / Speaker / Author, Studio Overmorgen: “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!”
Marc Nelissen, MIXpress: “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.”
Egbert Jan van Bel – Author/Lecturer, Beeckestijn Business School: “It was a great pleasure to be able to participate. Educational and fun.”
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:
- Digital & Retail Revolution – Focusplaza September 2019
- China Calling – The Argonauts
- Comafin (private tour)
- Digital & Retail Revolution – Focusplaza March 2020
- Ministry of Economic Affairs of The Netherlands
- Rabobank ‘New Retail innovation in China’ inspiratiereis 2020 (to be confirmed)