On January 5t, 36 students took flight to a city that in some ways could be mistaken for the city they left behind. It’s hard to believe, but in Hong Kong there is even an area called SOHO, though it stands for South of Hollywood. While the city is bustling, the skyscrapers are tall and people squeeze onto subway platforms all day long, that’s about all that makes Hong Kong the same as New York. It didn’t take long for the group to start observing the differences that made the city uniquely Hong Kong.
For one, no one jaywalks, and people actually stand in lines for the bus. To our astonishment, locals stood on each side of the door to let people off the subway before entering themselves. And oh, the subways arrive every one-to-four minutes like clockwork!
Instead of pizza, the smell of dim sum could be smelled from street to street. Yet, walk into a restaurant and you’d find prices as high as if you were transported back to New York, with a diverse mix of patrons, locals and expats alike. I personally would say the biggest difference were the mountains shooting up all around the city. They were beautiful, and many of us had the chance to hike one during our trip!
For the next two weeks, we had a packed schedule from classes to corporate visits, cultural activities to exploring via our taste buds. We spent our first few days in the classroom learning about culture, finance, and operations among other topics specific to China and Hong Kong. This was helpful in setting the stage for our corporate visits.
We visited MTR, Hong Kong’s version of the MTA. MTR boasts a 99 percent on-time record and also operate many lines in China as well, consulting governments and companies all over the world in the industry. At Modern Terminal, we learned about the changes in the cargo industry over recent years and the advancements they were making towards automation. Lastly, at our stops at airliner Cathay Pacific and amusement park Ocean Park Hong Kong, we learned about their unique competitive markets and their strategies to differentiate themselves. We had a short session with Protocol Marketing, which works to develop comprehensive marketing strategies across many countries and cultures. There, we learned about the unique ways they must move and shift with the markets to be successful in China.
During the trip, we learned so much about what makes Hong Kong so unique as well as the influence of China and the future of Hong Kong. As a result, we gained a bit more understanding of what is needed of multinational companies if they hope to succeed under the “one country, two systems” framework found in China and Hong Kong.
In short time, we made friends with part-timers, full-timers, HKUST students, and locals. We made lasting memories and experiences we’ll never forget. Our perspective of China and Hong Kong were forever changed as we dove into the culture and its markets with eyes opened wide. We’re thankful for the NYU and KHUST staff and facility that provided this great opportunity for us, and we strongly recommend you join them next year!