Welcome to the beginning of my Chinese adventure. The countdown is now at 9 days, and I couldn’t be more excited. As of yesterday, I am finally the owner of a Chinese visa for travel, so I figured it was only fitting that I write my first blog post. I say finally because I had numerous visits to both the passport and visa offices in Montreal that easily could have been avoided if I had realized earlier that my passport picture was slightly water-damaged. Following an initial moment of panic considering the short time crunch I was in, I would argue that I passed my first challenge with (somewhat) flying colors. I can now officially say that I will be traveling to Mainland China from June 12th to July 5th, with stops in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Jinan, and Beijing.
I’m also heading to New York City tomorrow, Sunday June 4th, for a few different meetings before I fly to the other side of the world. I’m especially excited for lunch on Monday with some NBA personnel to discuss one of the NBA-run camps I’ll be attending in China. For those who are new to the idea of NBA China, I’ll provide a little bit of a background. The league expanded into China in the early 2000s, but not without the obvious challenges that highlight the intricacy of the Chinese market. These include the absence of a current Chinese NBA superstar and the Chinese fans’ demand for more games held in their country. China is a complex yet remarkable market that has stymied to likes of Google and Facebook, thus I imagine that marketing targeted at Chinese citizens had to be carefully crafted. For example, when the Internet became popular, the league designed a website that featured live game statistics in simplified Chinese, as well as created an NBA Weibo account, which is China’s version of Twitter. Similarly, the organization became one of the first American media companies allowed to broadcast on Chinese television. All of this is especially interesting to someone such as myself, an International Relations major with a specific interest in international business. I am hopeful that my time in China will offer some insight both to myself and to you, my readers, on the role of sport in International Relations. However, please understand that I obviously won’t be able to divulge any confidential information, or discuss much about the actual NBA marketing strategy. This will therefore be more of a site to follow my time in China without the specifics of business. Sorry to disappoint if you were looking for something else, but I hope you still enjoy!
I’ll be honest when I say that I have no idea what to expect, but isn’t that the beauty of it? I can only imagine the cultural shock I’ll be subject to when I land in China, or when I first step foot onto a basketball court there. Although my mandarin is limited to three years of classes, I am a firm believer that sports have the power to unite people in unique ways. In fact, as a native French speaker who attended school in America, I witnessed first-hand how basketball can bring people with diverse backgrounds together and create strong bonds of friendship. I’m keeping this blog to form a tangible reminder of my experiences, as well as update you all on the unique, challenging, and memorable adventure I am about to embark on, so buckle up!
回头见, See you later
Please reach out to me if you would like this translated into French.
S’il-vous-plaît contactez moi si vous voulez ce texte traduit en Français.