The first group discussion in Taiwan was conducted by group 1 (Charles, Laura, Ray & Tiffany).
Here are summaries by each group:
As the facilitators for the group discussion, we were really pleased with the quality of responses we received from our class today. Each group was really well represented with regards to participation and the answers felt really thought out. It was also nice to hear from some of the other members of the group that haven’t been quite as vocal on the trip thus far.
I think one of the more interesting points that came from the discussion was in terms of cultural marketing. The cultural differences with regards to marketing between the US and Taiwan are evident immediately. Bright colors, bold signs and large character fonts are a staple on billboards and newspapers. By comparison, the trend in US marketing seems geared toward clean, simple, and concise.
We think as we continue our trip, it’ll be even more interesting to compare marketing and advertising in Japan. Since Japan is traditionally known for being a calm and more conservative, we predict it will reflect more of the US style of marketing with more tempered signage and advertisements that are less in your face.
It also stood out to us how willing the group was to try new food. We think over the next few days, it would be good to help encourage people to try new foods and get the most out of their time in Taiwan.
Finally, the group seems to be in agreement that the Lantern Festival is the most-looked forward to event in Taiwan. We’re all very much hoping for no rain and a nice, peaceful evening. This seems to be a once in a lifetime opportunity and will really conclude our time here in Taipei on the high note it deserves.
What’s your major? What’s one aspect of the last few days that directly relates to your major?
For accounting majors, visiting KPMG is useful for potential public accountants. KPMG operates in the US so it is nice to not only see a potential employer, but also one that is in another country and how things may differ.
With marketing majors, it is useful to see the different kinds of ads and ways of advertising products and services. The sales people in Taiwan are very friendly and knowledgeable about their product and push their product, unlike the United States where sales people may tend to stay behind the cash register and not converse with their customers. Brands use mascots or catchy logos to present their product and keep that logo to reinforce brand recognition with their customers.
Finance majors haven’t had a real opportunity to associate their majors with experiences on this trip. The stock exchange visit tomorrow will greatly enhance their encounters in Taiwan. Although we did see Asus split their company in two with the downturn in the economy to separate the manufacturing and R&D segments of the business.
Employees in Taiwan are both friendly and efficient when interacting with their customers. From an international business perspective, watching the wait staff in restaurants and other customer service industries, people are very customer-oriented and worried about making the customer happy so they come back in the future. The language barrier is hard, but the people here make it seem like a very small issue. They are able to understand us and get their points across to do business.
What’s the most shocking thing you’ve learned so far?
The minimal amount of health regulations and inspections is shocking in comparison to those in the United States. The culture barrier truly doesn’t affect business in any sort of a negative way. Being such a large city and so heavily populated, it is surprisingly easy to maneuver around the city and things work efficiently. People in customer service truly care about their customers and want to make sure their product lives up to the customers’ expectations.
What are you still looking forward to the most?
The sky lantern experience on Saturday seems to be the most popular with students on the trip. Visiting the Franz pottery is another activity everyone is looking forward too. Finally, meeting the students from the other university.
It was pretty unanimous that our entire group has just found the trip so far to be amazing. We could also tell by the one word description of the trip so far that our classmates used that they have found the trip to be amazing as well. Not only does it appear that everyone has been enjoying the cultural aspects of the trip, but the business visits as well. From the different marketing strategies to companies like KPMG making sure they follow accounting laws in different countries, everyone has found something that somehow relates to their own majors. There have also been a few different surprises on the trip as well. Most of the class seemed to find it surprising how easily a lot of the Taiwanese people are able to switch between Mandarin and English. It really shows that, instead of expecting everyone should learn English, just how easy it could be to learn other languages in order to make communication easier with other cultures. Also, just how friendly the culture is and the level of service you receive when going to restaurants and other businesses is not something many of us are used to. There are still many things, like the sky lanterns, that the class wants to experience. However, everything we have experienced so far has been completely mind-blowing and eye-opening for everyone on this trip.
For Group 4, we found the trip eye-opening, challenging and had numerous unpredictable memories. Since we are marketing, IB, and accounting students, we found that shotgun marketing appeals to a vast group of audience. There are several variety of items from several different company. Instead of a conglomerate or an MNC owning most companies, we noticed that there must be lower barriers to enter a market. The most shocking thing that we’ve learned so far was that Taiwanese put plants on the wall around the perimeter during constructions to promote green initiative. The next most shocking aspect of Taiwan to us was the weather. We found that it was completely different from MI and that many of us got sick due to the weather. Furthermore, most of us found that the high food standards were culturally surprising. We are all looking forward to the lantern light festival. Also, we can’t wait to have a free day to explore the surroundings on our own!