I don’t know about you, but I feel that there are more and more international events in Shanghai. To be more exact, by international, I mean events organized by expat community (people not native in China), and use English as the main language, plus the international (western) style, and format.
Let me give you some example. Tomorrow, I was invited by Gang Lu, blogger of www.mobinode.com/ and Calvin, founder of Qifang.com to attend an event Lunch 2.0 Shanghai (facebook page) in Dianping‘s office. It is not a surprise for Shanghai to have entrepreneur meetup, but from the RSVP list, I have a feeling that this event is very international. At least I am very sure there are some people on the list who don’t know anything about Chinese, and from the name and background, I am sure another 10 people should use English only. Hmmm…. I didn’t expect that. Shall I ask whether I should use English or Chinese in delivering this speech?
SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai
Another event is SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai. I heard about it from Elliot Ng. Obviously, from the speaker list, and from the attendant list, and the venue, you know two things. First, it should be an English centric community. Second, there is already a very big expat entrepreneur community in Shanghai already. Look at the successful companies our international friends have built here in Shanghai.
Entrepreneurs’ Organization – EO
Introduced by Alvin Wang of minfo.com, I started to notice EO – the Entrepreneur’s Organization. They have a Shanghai chapter. Alvin said many great things about the organization – it is all about thoughts sharing among annual 1 million USD above revenue company CEOs and founders. I checked the website, and to my surprise, it seems to be another English speaking community – I checked the photo gallery here.
More in the Past, and More to Come
There are some significant difference in these events and the Shanghai local events.
1. English speaking.
Of cause I suspect we speak a lot of Chinese, but insist to say Chinese unless you don’t really want communication, and want to provide an excellent chance for our friends to learn oral Chinese.
2. Western style.
Although the events happens in Shanghai, it is completely in western styles. The venue are in top places in Shanghai, and the expense is of cause pretty high. The decent bars, and social events are not common practice in Shanghai yet – we tend to go to a tea house, or more often, go to a big restaurant have setup some big tables of food.
This also interesting. Lunch 2.0 charges 22 RMB, according to the previous event. SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai charges 100 RMB and 200 RMB at door. EO Shanghai charges about 20,000 RMB annually to be part of it (well, this is not the case of an event, but… still pretty expensive)… Charging for conferences, and events are common practices in US (which commercial conference is really free in US, or Europe), but it is still not the common practice in Shanghai yet (“Conference? Do they cover accommodation and flight? No? How come?”)
My 2 Cents
I think it is the good sign that Shanghai, after 80 years of isolation (I am counting from 1930’s), Shanghai is getting back to the international community. I noticed more and more international events are adding Shanghai as a stop along with San Francisco, and London. Hmmm… Good thing. I would expect the the local community may need some time to get used to this kind of diversity. We need to be more open about this, and let the both community to integrate together.
For me… It seems get English as a second language is getting more important. :-) and to be a bridge connecting the two side world is also meaning work to do.
Good luck to all the events, and communities.