Shanghai was the final leg of the journey.
The first thing that strikes you about Shanghai is the size. This is a huge city. Skyscrapers dominate the skyline, most of which have been built in the last 20 years. Typically when I travel I would never consider going to “The Urban Planning and City Construction Museum”, but this site turned out to be quite interesting.
We had a couple of great company visits. First we met with the CEO of Fosun, which is a Chinese conglomerate and bills itself as the GE of China. Next we met with a solar company called JA Solar, which despite being founded in 2006 is already public on NASDAQ.
Since this was the final stop in China, this was our last chance to get souvenirs. We stopped by a couple of outdoor malls. It was quite an experience. Because of language barriers, negotiations were conducted through calculators. Everything was negotiable, with the first asking price from merchants typically 10x the final agreed upon price. We were even able to buy one of the calculators (40 yuan), which will come in handy during recruiting season.
Overall, Shanghai lived up to the hype. From business, to nightlife, to shopping, there was an energy in Shanghai that was unlike anywhere I have ever been. And, I grew up in New Jersey.
Tom Jackson was born in New Jersey, and has traveled extensively (from exit 1 through exit 94). This was his first trip to China.