Caroline Hamilton

May 18, 2017

Hong Kong, Here We Come!

It has not been a full 24 hours here in Hong Kong, yet we, as a group, have experienced so much. From unconference presentations in the airport, to a 14-hour flight, to visiting Cathay Pacific, to exploring Hong Kong in general, this day has been packed.

One of the four presentations we have seen in the airport before our flight that particularly stuck out to me was a peer’s presentation on “Chinese Women in Business.” Many times, we tend to think of the United States as the world’s leader, and being ahead of the curb in most aspects, so it was interesting for me to learn that 51% of senior management in China are women, compared to 20% in the US and Europe. This statistics and unconference made me eager to go to China and witness Chinese women not only in senior management, but women in business in general in China.

The 14-hour plane ride was an adventure in itself, in that this is the first time on our trip that dual-language began to be implemented. All announcements were in both Cantonese and English, and this brought to surface the fact that passengers on our plane were from both the US and Hong Kong. When we landed and exited the plane, this dual-language continued to be present in the airport, which was a nice transition into China. In my research for Hong Kong, I saw that there are more Seven Elevens in Hong Kong per square mile than in any other place in the world, so it was humorous and seemed fitting to me that the first store I saw in the airport was a Seven Eleven.

After taking a bus and arriving to the hotel, we as a group decided to get an “Octopus Card,” after professor Olsen advised us that transportation and other services would be easier with one. I had never heard of an Octopus Card before Hong Kong even after doing extensive research on this city, and this lack of knowledge made me realize that when traveling to new areas, especially as a professional, it is extremely important to research how to ease the transition to the new country, and this particularly applies to transportation. Along with getting the Octopus Card, I needed to withdraw cash from an ATM. One of the times that I really had to be independent was when I was attempting an ATM withdrawal but the ATM declined my debit card twice. I was ultimately able to analyze reasons why it was not working due to the work I had done prior to the trip. For example, I had contacted my bank prior to the trip, so I knew that the issue was not related to the bank’s lack of knowledge of my whereabouts. I also knew that I had money in my account, so the issue was not related to lack of money. The same issue was happening to a peer of mine, and we were able to deduce that it was an issue specifically related to our bank and the ATM bank. By reading mall maps, we were able to find our way to another ATM and successfully withdraw cash.

The next morning, after our delicious buffet-style breakfast served in the hotel, our group took a double-decker bus to Cathay Pacific. I was thankful for my Octopus Card and its easy usage when we entered the bus. I have never flown Cathay Pacific Airways, but was extremely impressed with the company itself through the tour we received. We went through many areas of the company, including a flight simulator, which we learned that it takes 9 months to assemble and about a year to be examined and certified. The flight simulator is Boeing, but I found it interesting that Cathay Pacific has both Boeing and Airbus airplanes. The fact that Cathay Pacific has two different airplane carriers is not the only thing that makes this company unique. They have an interesting layout of the building itself- not only does it include offices and training rooms, there is also a salon, a gym, a doctor, and more, almost completely reducing the need to go outside. Also, I found it unique that the pilots and flight attendants check in by correctly answering a question before each flight and the Cathay Pacific building is where the employees go through customs and security. It is straight from Cathay Pacific that all crew members are taken to the airplane. I really enjoyed learning about this company and felt that it gave me a good base for what to expect of Chinese business in general.

When we arrived at our first hotel, I thought that the surrounding area was big and we were near the city, as we could see some tall buildings from our hotel room. I quickly learned how wrong I was on the bus ride to our next hotel after Cathay Pacific. It took about an hour to get from our old hotel to the new one, and along the way I saw just how vast Hong Kong really is. We passed the port in Hong Kong, and soon after saw the skylines of both Hong Kong island and Kowloon. I was in awe of just how big the city is. And once you enter the city, one really feels the flow of money from the ports to the city. This is because the city is always moving and appears to be very fluid.

We also went to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. Walking there in itself was very interesting, as we got to observe what was going on around us in the huge city. While the trip to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was not very long, it was informative. We watched a couple videos on the Stock Market and got to see the trading floor itself, as well as ask questions.

Hong Kong is extremely exciting and I look forward to our hike tomorrow, and travelling to Victoria Peak and to see Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha.