It’s July 1st and the action keeps heating up in Beijing!
Saying goodbye (and hello!) to new friends
The sixth day of my journey in Asia began with a gathering in our hotel’s lobby to say goodbye to my fellow FIABCI USA colleagues Nancy, Peter, and Bill. It wasn’t all sad, however, as I was very much anticipating the arrival of a new friend, Preston Kuo, who was college roommates with our very own social media guru, Chris Norberg. Chris had nothing but praise for Preston, who has been living in China for almost the past ten years.
Upon his arrival for lunch, it was clear that all the positive words were warranted—Preston is vibrant, knowledgeable, and salt-of-the-earth friendly. He began by telling us the story of how he and Chris first became acquainted with China, when they were fresh faced twenty-somethings just finished with University. Preston’s father owned a factory in China and offered the boys a chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to use his factory to manufacture whatever they wanted. The boys racked their collective brains for ideas, eventually deciding on electric bicycles that would be shipped back to the States—quite the entrepreneurs!
Out to lunch—enjoying drinks and each other’s company!
Preston then shifted focus to his current profession, the practice of establishing guanxi among international companies here in China. Guanxi just so happens to be one of the guiding principles of performing business here in Asia. It’s best described as the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence—one personified by trust, connections, and relationships. Preston’s company, China Foundations, is one of the leading players in this country when it comes to guanxi, and his time, energy, and insight are valued by many. To get an idea of his success, some of his clients he’s recently consulted have included multinational giants Walmart and Tesla! Needless to say, my FIABCI mates were more than impressed and couldn’t wait to pick his brain on the subject. His motto of “clear expectations, goals, and communication” is something we can all learn to be better at.
We departed lunch with a greater feel for one of the basic ideas of making business connections over here, and were all extremely happy about it. Coupled with the fact the my middle son Alex was arriving in a few short hours, and I was over-the-moon ecstatic!
Intelligent, energetic, and happy—such a pleasure meeting the CEO of China Foundations, Preston Kuo.
Alex arrives—time to rejoice, it’s foot massage and hot pot time!
After braving multiple visa and passport issues in the US, a 12+ hour flight from San Francisco, and rush hour traffic from the airport in Beijing, the excitement on Alex’s face as he walked through my hotel room door was palpable. We shared a big hug and began catching up on recent happenings in each other’s lives. I knew after his tough day traveling, the best remedy would be a long foot massage—so I called Ruth and Maire and let them know my plan.
We all caught a cab to a highly recommended spa that was a couple miles from the hotel, dawned ceremonial garb, and relaxed in a private room as our masseuses went to work healing our aching feet and legs. Chinese massage also involves the use of suction cups and these drum stick devices to beat the toxins out of you, how unique! We left the parlor refreshed and rejuvenated, but also very hungry! So we searched for the nearest restaurant that had tables full of happy diners (important for any eatery, but even more so when overseas in a foreign land) and landed at a place specializing in traditional Chinese hot pot.
Ordering up a feast of traditional Chinese hot pot, much to the delight of our servers!
In typical fashion, I ordered seemingly one of everything, and platter after platter of high-quality meat and veggies started pouring out of the kitchen. We loved it all, but standouts were the ribeye steak, lamb, and bok choy. We sat at our table, cooking our food and enjoying each other’s company for so long, they actually had to kick us out due to them closing! No matter—I had a big day in store for myself, Ruth and Alex on Wednesday. So we ventured back to the hotel where we also said goodbye and wished safe travels to Maire, as she was traveling home early the next morning. Another incredible experience for the books!