There’s a First Time for Everything

Lately, I was given the opportunity to attend an event arranged by the city of Guangzhou in Munich as an LTC intern. LTC was responsible for handling the press work on site in cooperation with an international partner agency.

It was the first time that I attended such event, so it was really an eye-opening experience for me. Themed “Open Perspective, Innovative Approach – Guangzhou Dialogue with Fortune Global 500,” the event aimed to stimulate collaboration between Chinese and German enterprises. It also promoted the 2017 Global Fortune Forum in Guangzhou to be staged in December. It served as a platform for the CEOs of various enterprises including some on the Fortune Global 500 list to meet and exchange ideas.

The forum started with a promotion video of Guangzhou, showing the beauty of the city, its rich historical Chinese culture and its position as a center for international trade. The speeches included several five-minute talks from both Chinese and Bavarian dignitaries, including Mr Cai Chaolin, the vice mayor of Guangzhou and Dr. Markus Eder, Head of Division Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology.

The speakers highlighted the potential of Guangzhou as an ideal location for investment and commerce and the prospects of more cooperation, based on mutual trust and friendship. Their aim is that Guangzhou and its German partners can continue to benefit from economic globalization, extend market access and open up their market more transparently to the world. The following panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Alan Murray, president of Fortune & Chief Content Officer of Time Inc. He hosted a total of six guests including a professor from University of Munich, CEOs and presidents from both German start-up companies and Chinese corporations. All of them shared their thoughts on the abilities of the Chinese market in light of digitalization and globalization.

Together, they also exchanged views on expanding business into the Chinese market. It was agreed that collaboration between the two states is mutually beneficial and a business-friendly environment is important to boosting investments. They also commented that the overall business atmosphere in China is encouraging and innovative, as Chinese entrepreneurs are relatively more willing to take risks than other nationalities, a matter that is particularly important to start-ups.

An interesting topic was IT security and IP protection in China, which is really a to-the-point concern. Counterfeit goods continue to flood China. Everything from DVDs, batteries to shampoo (or even food) can be fake or fraudulent and of dubious quality. Just name the brand and I bet you‘ll be able to find its knockoff somewhere in China. A stimulating ABC News article just recently dealt with the topic.

When asked about the development of business in China over the next 10 years, one of the VIPs brought up the possibility of holding meetings by using WeChat, a popular Chinese social media application. Its subscription and wallet features, as well as advertising opportunities may be especially attractive to marketers. Find out more about WeChat and its business potentials on DIGIDAY.

The buffet lunch gave me the opportunity to meet interesting people and companies. One of them, WANGLAOJI, is a manufacturer of herbal drinks and samples were available for everyone. It was entertaining to see foreigners trying out this Chinese herbal drink for the first time, and many of them liked its taste (and it’s healthy too!).

There was live music during the lunch where several Chinese singers performed classical Chinese songs in the form of Cantonese and Tang poetry. I was surprised to see a musician performing with an erhu, a two-stringed bowed instrument from China, and I really enjoyed the music. Yet, in my opinion, the amplifier was set too loudly, which was disturbing especially when delegates were trying to talk with each other. There should have been a stage for the performers and let the audience simply enjoy the music for a bit. This would have shown respect for the performers as well. What a pity!

As Lucy was interested in speaking with some Chinese people, I was able to act as a temporary interpreter for her and conducted simultaneous interpretations from Chinese to English. That was a great fun for everyone involved and also a precious chance for me to get more hands-on practice in interpreting.

But we were not only there to enjoy the good food and conversation. At LTC’s initiative, a TV journalist came to shoot the event and conducted interviews with several VIPs. They were facilitated by an LTC Account Manager.

I treasure this event as a fruitful experience for me to observe how various aspects of PR come together to ensure a smooth event. I also learned the importance of speaking with different people and reaching out for future opportunities, just like Lucy did. Thanks to LTC for taking me along – I had a great time!