Our day started aboard our bus, fondly dubbed “The UTA Express,” bound for Baidu, China’s largest Internet search provider.
After a briefing on the history of the company, Kaiser Kuo, director of international affairs for Baidu, provided demonstrations of the provider’s capabilities and applications. An articulate, educated metal band rocker from Arizona, Kaiser has a laid back, pretense-free approach to explaining Baidu’s background and capabilities.
The company has been quite successful, and prides itself on its mapping capabilities, strong mobile application platform, and voice recognition software.
Though Baidu’s power compared to “the big G” is questionable, it has certainly made an impact on China and has aims to capture higher market penetration at home and abroad.
After lunch, we walked to Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations where we met Nicholas Manganaro, an associate director specializing in investor relations.
A small and growing sector of PR, investor relations focuses on providing financial services for publicly and privately traded companies, IPO candidates, financial institutions, institutional investors, state-owned enterprises, and sovereign wealth funds.
Pertaining to the China market, the biggest challenge is how to crack the professional services “code” in China. Specifically, Ogilvy must address what product mix will meet domestic Chinese companies’ outbound needs.
We stopped at Walmart next, where the staff greeted us with a warm welcome of cheers and applause.
Walmart opened its first store in China in 1996 and now has 402 stores in 150 cities throughout the country. The mission in China remains the same as that in the United States: Save Money. Live Better.
Walmart China places particular emphasis on providing the best prices and quality for staple items such as rice, oil, pork, and eggs. In addition, to meet the needs of the local consumer, the company has established several regional offices that procure specialized items from local vendors.
Looking forward, Walmart recognizes the challenges of the rising e-commerce trend facing retailers, and has purchased a popular website similar to eBay that will address the e-commerce need and prepare for the future.
At the end of the presentation, Christina Chin and Dr. Abdul Rasheed presented Baker with a “Distinguished Alumnus” award for his accomplishments and continued commitment to UT Arlington.
Afterward, we met Baker, Jimmy (our Nestle guide), and as a surprise, Dr. Jerry Song, for dinner. We enjoyed another fun and food-filled evening to end a long day. Tomorrow we visit The Great Wall!