27 June 2018
For Youths

11 Singaporean Youths Learnt about Xi'an Business Culture Through Immersion

For the first time in two years, the Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) organised a China Learning Journey in the Summer with Xi’an being the chosen city. During the 5-day trip, which started on 9 June, the 11-member BCYC delegation learned how history and innovation are integrated and embodied in the ancient capital city of China as they visited corporations, cultural sites and had the opportunity to interact with Singaporeans and Chinese counterparts.

Interaction sessions with overseas Singaporeans and Chinese entrepreneurs

One of the highlights of this China Learning Journey was the opportunity for members to interact with Singaporeans based in Xi’an. BCYC member Ms Phyllis Ng remarked that the session was an enriching experience as she learned about their motivations, the lessons from their failures, and the recipes for their successes. The key takeaway for the entire delegation was that to thrive in a foreign environment requires perseverance and the ability to cope with constant changes.

Besides the gathering with Singaporeans, the BCYC members also gained insights from their interactions with members of the Xi’an Quanzhou Chamber of Commerce, where the entrepreneurs shared their start-up stories and working cultures and gave advice on how one could embark on a new business venture. The session provided a platform for BCYC members to network with Chinese counterparts and exchanged their views on potential commercial synergies, facilitating future collaboration between people of both countries. 

Exchange with Shaanxi Normal University students

The BCYC delegation and Shaanxi Normal University (SNU) students participated in an interactive session, with their discussions revolving around the education systems of both countries. BCYC members gave an overview of Singapore’s various educational tiers and also shared their views on the approaches and policies in education. On the other hand, SNU students shared their experiences of teaching Mandarin to foreign students. Both sides enjoyed their exchanges and forged meaningful friendships.

Corporate Visits

A series of visits across the real estate, tourism and hospitality sectors were lined up for the BCYC delegation. Through the visits, BCYC members learned why and how Singapore-based companies such as CapitaLand ventured into Xi’an. Representatives from CapitaLand shared how they needed to customise their marketing strategies to meet ever-changing market needs and macro conditions. A site tour at La Botanica was also conducted for the BCYC delegates to observe first-hand the magnitude of the township project that CapitaLand has invested an extensive amount of time and resources in.

The BCYC delegation also had the privilege to hear from the management of Grand Park Xi’an. With the rise of artificial intelligence and increasing ubiquity of automation, many hotel executives have elected to dispense with menial job functions to raise operational efficiency. However, it is Grand Park’s philosophy that a human touch produces service that fulfils both guests’ physical and emotional needs, and this can never be displaced by technological means.

Understanding of Chinese culture

On top of corporate visits, the BCYC delegation enhanced their cultural quotient through their visits to Cai Hou Paper Museum (蔡侯纸文化苑), Yong Xing Fang (永兴坊), Terracotta Army Museum, to name a few. From these visits, they deepened their understanding of the history of China and how traditions are preserved and have evolved in this modern day and age.

One key takeaway was the seamless combination of both modern concepts and ancient artefacts via a sustainable business model. This is evident in Grand Park Xi’an, with the hotel’s historically significant geographical position and its modern facilities housed within an iconic cultural architecture.

The BCYC delegation also visited the Cai Hou Paper Museum, which preserves and still practises traditional methods of paper-making that purportedly originated from Marquis Cai (蔡侯) who lived during the Han Dynasty. Hosted by Mr Liu, founder of the museum, the delegation were taken on guided tour to witness the journey of papermaking.

When asked for a comparison between the 2017 Winter Learning Journey and this Summer Learning Journey, Ms Wong Jingwen, one of the young working professionals among the delegates, said the trip to Xi’an has given her a perspective on the cultural diversity in China, which is not as visible in first-tier Chinese cities such as Shanghai.

The BCYC members have benefited immensely from the interactive sessions and the invaluable connections formed with Chinese students and business leaders.

This BCYC Summer Learning Journey was spearheaded by a team of four enthusiastic BCYC members and participants of the 2017 BCYC China Learning Journey, with support and advice from Business China.

This article is contributed by Business China Youth Chapter members Veronica Low and Gan Yong Ting.

About Business China

Launched in November 2007 by Founding Patron and Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Business China’s mission is to nurture an inclusive bilingual and bicultural group of Singaporeans through extensive use of the Chinese language as the medium of communication, so as to sustain our multi-cultural heritage, and to develop a cultural and economic bridge linking the world and China.

About Business China Youth Chapter

The Business China Youth Chapter (BCYC) is a voluntary group of youths which envisions itself to be the leading Singapore-based community that inspires youths to become China-savvy and facilitate connections with China. Supported by Business China, BCYC has a vibrant calendar of activities which serve the needs of the BCYC community.