Expats More Need Community

I just attended the Lunch 2.0 organized by George, invited by Gang Lu and Calvin. As I described in my last blog International Events in Shanghai, I was surprised to find out it is a pure international event – the expat entrepreneur community meetup.

The conversation is in English – I delivered short 5 minute speak along with my old friend Zhang Tao (CEO of Dianping.com, and host of this Lunch 2.0), and new friend David Feng of Citiology. The attendants, as I expected, are mainly expat entrepreneurs in Shanghai

This leads me to think about community needs in a city. It seems to me expats need community much more than local people. The scene here I saw in Lunch 2.0 reminds me of the similar Chinese engineer meetup in the Silicon valley. It seems it is much more easier to organize such groups in a foreign city.

People has the need to talk with people of the similar background. In US, Chinese people traditionally tend to live in China Town, and int he recent twenty to thirty years, people from mainland China going to US are mainly students for higher education, and there are many groups connecting them, like the Huayuan Science and Technology Association..

In Shanghai, it seems the same is also happening. This time, the community seems to be around the young entrepreneurs, rather than students. Many years ago, when I just started my blog, I also joined some of the expat community, and at that time (early 00’s), expats in Shanghai are mainly professional managers in big international organization, like Microsoft, Motorola, or P&G. They are not interested in doing business. Their topic is mainly about where to shop, how to hire a nanny, and is it safe to to here, or there, is it safe to eat this or that, or is it safe to …..

Good. I see the change, and expect more changes happen.

4 thoughts on “Expats More Need Community

  1. Balon

    Just having a test to confirm that you add a step of checing the message first.

    By the way, this step will stay just for some time or for ever ? 3Q !

  2. pei_pei

    your talk reminds me of one piece of experience in orlando. i was shopping at the walmart, then an eastern asian walked forward me and asked in Chinese,”你是中国人吗?” “是的” we were both rejoiced, then blabla, at last, we exchanged the mobile numbers then said goodbye to each other.the whole dialogue only last 5 minutes. but in shanghai, i have never witnessed that two foreigners will “break the ice” even though they may know they are compatriots. i wanna say the cultural difference on national characters make it negative to set up communities for expats. of course, it also requires the support from the government. i once took the flight of the Continental, to my surprise,i can consult its Chinese guest service agents about any question by dialing its service hotline.

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