Over the years, technology has brought about a revolutionary transformation in our world and daily routines. Technology has created amazing tools and resources, putting useful information at our fingertips. In China, the smartphone, in particular, has played a pivotal role in reshaping how people live, work, and have fun. At the forefront of China’s digital revolution stands a ubiquitous app known to every Chinese national and anyone familiar with the country – WeChat.
Originally launched in 2011 as a simple messaging app for smartphones, WeChat rapidly evolved into a super-app integrated into the fabric of daily life in China. It serves a multitude of functions, allowing users to message friends, shop for groceries, request rides, and even schedule doctor’s appointments. WeChat has become an indispensable part of daily existence in China, making it virtually impossible to navigate daily activities without it.
Embracing the advancements of mobile technology, we’ve designed an immersive “A Day with a Smartphone” program. This exclusive experience offers the opportunity to delve into the diverse capabilities of the Chinese mobile ecosystem and witness how both local and international businesses adapt to the mobile-centric landscape.
The program is designed to be both informative and entertaining. Participants embark on a journey, following a map that guides them through various city locations. In the format of a game, with tasks and hints, this experience plunges participants into an exploration of the digital landscape in contemporary China.
Hongbao Tradition Reinvented
The day begins with each participant receiving an iPhone equipped with the WeChat app and a warm introduction to its features. Many non-Chinese individuals acquainted with WeChat use it primarily for messaging, but its functionality extends far beyond mere communication.
We start our exploration with a delightful tradition – sending a hongbao, or a red envelope. In traditional Chinese culture, hongbao symbolizes good luck and is typically shared during significant social events such as birthdays, weddings, the Chinese New Year, or simply as a kind gesture among colleagues or relatives. WeChat has revolutionized this age-old custom by introducing digital hongbao, which can be sent individually or within group chats. In the latter scenario, every group member receives a hongbao, with varying amounts. The beauty of this tradition lies in the fact that when you receive a hongbao, you’re never unlucky, it always brings luck (read money), however, some individuals might find themselves a bit luckier than others at times.
QR Code Cashless Transactions
While cashless payments are commonly associated with bank cards, China has moved beyond, as bank cards are increasingly not accepted in many places. Instead of traditional card payment terminals, QR codes have taken center stage, appearing everywhere from shops, restaurants and metro to even street vendors. But that’s not all, QR codes are not limited to payments. For instance, in restaurants, you may skip the paper menu and instead scan a QR code to access the e-menu, where you can easily place your order. Throughout our journey, we will witness that scanning QR codes becomes a regular routine, as we’ll need to scan them all the time for various reasons—whether it’s selecting and paying for a meal, buying clothes or renting a bike.
WeChat houses apps known as “Mini Programs,” offering identical services as regular apps—shopping, food ordering, transportation rental, entertainment and more—but exclusively within the WeChat platform. These Mini Programs require no installation on the user’s device, they can be swiftly downloaded within WeChat in a matter of seconds.
To comprehend the functionalities and offerings of these apps during our “A Day with a Smartphone,” we visit various renowned international retail brands. This allows us to explore, in a gamified way, how they set themselves apart through online-to-offline experiences and distinctive features. Imagine you’re in search of a black shirt in size M. You find the model you like, but the color and size are incorrect, and no shop assistant is available. No need to fret—simply scan a QR code, select the right size and color, pay online, retrieve your item at the pick-up counter, or have it delivered directly to your home (no need to carry around a bag with you), and you’re done. This process requires zero interaction with the shop staff and proves to be a time-saving solution. Convenient? We think so too.
Following our interactive itinerary, participants are free to choose between Didi taxis and one of the widely used bike-sharing services, to navigate between stops. This provides an authentic experience of how locals move through their surroundings in China.
Efficiency in Every Moment
In a country where time is a precious currency, businesses have adapted accordingly. During our digital day we explore how businesses, like Starbucks, leverage time efficiency to enhance customer experiences. For example, by pre-ordering a morning cappuccino through the WeChat mini-app, the need to wait in line is eliminated, transforming the entire experience into a seamless grab-and-go process.
These are just a few experiences along the way during our “A Day with a Smartphone” program. The best part is that these experiences can be fully customized based on the interests and preferences of clients. If you’re looking to design a fully customized business travel experience tailored to your industry, feel free to contact us at email@example.com. Our team is here to collaborate with you on crafting a program that aligns with your industry-specific preferences for your upcoming business trip to China.
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