Social Networks // China Trip 12/18

Most people go to the beach or skiing during the winter holidays. Not me. Always up for an adventure, my wife and I traveled to China where we visited friends and family, saw the sites, ate, shopped and got lost. As always, my eyes were open for insights on culture, consumers, branding and marketing - you'll find them in this set of posts - most starting with a bit of business, followed by some fun (and strange) trip stories. (1st in a series) Insights - Social networks are a trip. Though MySpace is all but forgotten, and it seems like my entire middle school class just discovered Facebook (Everett, woop! woop!), some of the smaller niche networks are making themselves evermore useful.

Before my trip, I reached out for advice from fellow travelers in ASmallWorld. I got several responses from people I didn’t know (oops, I think that’s a no-no), including a hotel recommendation that turned out pretty nice.

While in Suzhou, We had a quick drink with Rebecca Chow, from Xing, a sort of second-tier LinkedIn that I signed up on in advance of my travels. Rebecca is a group moderator on Xing and I happened to get a random message from her as I was planning my trip, so we arranged to meet after she was off work and I was done being a tourist.

Rebecca helps companies set up shop in China as a consultant at the City Development Law Firm. So if you’re ready to make the move, let me know and I’ll connect you, or just look her up on Xing.

Suzhou Lingering Garden

Trip Notes - We took a day trip to Suzhou because a travel agent told us there wasn’t much to see in Shanghai and that two days there would be plenty. Crazy that a city of 19 million would only have two days’ worth of stuff to see, but the persistent idea that travel agents are experts won over.

Suzhou is an hour away, or it would have been if our van didn’t break down. We had to be towed off the highway and then picked up by another van. From there off to a banquet lunch at the silk factory, a quick tour of the silk factory, and then a high-pressure sale from the silk folks. No deal.

Suzhou Canal

Called the Venice of China for its picturesque canals, Suzhou’s big features, besides the silk museum, are the Lingering Garden, a beautiful 6 acre park that’s over 1,300 years old, and the Beisi Pagoda, China’s version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

You wouldn’t know it from the serenity of the gardens, but Suzhou has about 6 million people, which makes it a “second-tier city.”

Click here for more pics in the Suzhou photo album