Thursday, July 13, 2006

From the Business, Economics, and Entrepreneurship Team

Since we’ve been in Yantai, we’ve had the opportunity to meet many types of people and ask about their experiences in depth. One of the first people we met was an old man who was fishing by the ocean. We found the man sitting alone on a stool, wearing a wide brimmed hat and using an old-fashioned bamboo pole to fish. His life spanned the last 71 years from before the Communist Revolution until now. He told us how he toured the country singing Beijing Opera for most of his life and how he and his wife had opened their own store after his retirement from the Opera.

We also met three women who sold cherries by the roadside. They shared how life was getting better and better for farmers in the countryside and the hardships they face not having an official place to sell their produce. Now, whenever we pass the corner where they sell their cherries they wave and call us over to talk more.

We met a young man in his 30’s who is working to stay ahead of the competition around his clothing store. Although he has little education, he is doing well. He fears most the competition from the bigger stores like the Wal-Mart that opened up down the street last week.

Finally, we have also met the owners, managers, and CEO’s of some larger companies. We were introduced to a woman who was educated in the US and who has started 2 companies here in Yantai. Her husband is the CEO of a pharmaceutical company that is working on the cure for cancer. Almost everything in their home has been imported from America, where she travels at least once a year. Because of her family’s wealth she is burdened for those who don’t have as much. She has started a scholarship program for local high school students and takes American teachers to the countryside every weekend to teach English.

These are just a few representatives of the many people we have met. It’s been fun so far and we still have a week left here in Yantai and then on to Beijing. Thanks for thinking of us.


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