About 24 hours later, when we arrived at our final destination, a very unwelcome surprise awaited us in Beijing: one of our suitcases was missing. This and several other setbacks quickly made us realize that this trip would probably be different from any previous experiences. Still, with a wide smile on our faces, we took up the challenge.
On the same day that we arrived, before the actual Book Fair started, we took part in the Beijing International Publishing Forum. In spite of the jet lag, we delivered a neat presentation entitled “SuperMemo.com: A universal e-learning platform and apps for supplementing paper publications with digital content”. The topic was met with considerable interest from the audience that gathered mainly China’s university staff, officials and media.
August 24, the day when the Book Fair actually kicked off, was filled with engaging meetings both on the fairgrounds and beyond. Our China-based partner, SpeakMandarin.com, and Ryann Nie, COO, introduced us to the Beijing Institute of Technology Press and Pearson China publishing house, in the hope of initiating a promising cooperation between SuperMemo and these companies. Apart from that, we also met the organisers of the Creative Industries Forum that we scheduled for the following day, and engaged in a less formal chat about various aspects of education and our company’s operations.
A day later, we had the pleasure and opportunity to meet with the representatives of the China Publishing and Media Journal, including Ren Jiangzhe, that sponsored our 2016 London Book Fair Award for Olive Green. Shortly afterwards, we travelled to downtown Beijing to take part in a discussion panel during the Creative Industries Forum organized by the China Publishing Group and The London Book Fair. Krzysztof Biedalak, CEO, was a panellist in one of the debates that afternoon, focused on “The Future of Words: Educating Generation WeChat and Beyond”.
Finally, on August 26, apart from the daily grind on our stand in West Hall, we delivered yet another presentation, entitled “Innovative Global Successes of Polish Multimedia Publishing. Case Study: Olive Green” at the International Digital Publishing Forum. Once again, our presentation gathered a full house and was received positively by the audience. The Beijing Book Fair showed us that what we do at SuperMemo can be of interest to our potential Chinese partners, who see a lot of value both in the content and the technological solutions that SuperMemo provides. We are eager to see how our contacts from the fair develop in the near future.
Apart from that, on a more general note, the trip to China taught us a lot of perseverance in communicating with the Chinese people, of whom only few speak English to an extent that makes it possible to understand each other. Most communication is based on gestures, and even that can be difficult due to some cultural differences. The stay in Beijing also required considerable resistance to heat and humidity, with some days of such unbearable weather that it was enough to step out of the hotel and break out in a sweat immediately. Local cuisine was a source of many exquisite tastes and new experiences, including a crash course in handling the chopsticks 🙂 Commuting in Beijing is a challenge on its own, but we were lucky to always get on the first train that arrived, and even grab a seat on the train once we realized that they are distributed on a strict first-come, first-served basis 🙂 Beijing, it was an incredible adventure. We are looking forward to tackling you again soon!
For more photos from our trip to China, please visit our Twitter media gallery.
PS. We happily reunited with the missing suitcase a day after it was lost 🙂