November 04, 2013

A visit to China

By Yongsheng Bai
Morgridge Institute for Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

A recent conference visit to China has made me express my feeling about the fact that the increase of prices for most commercial products reflects changes of China’s economy. I remember pursuing my B.S. degree at China Agricultural University in Beijing 15 years ago. I was very poor back then and barely had any presentable clothes to wear. Last week, I went to China to attend the 11th World Conference on Animal Production (WCAP). Before I left the USA, my wife asked me to buy her a winter coat. I had a chance to visit a local clothes store for shopping after the conference day. Surprisingly, there were lots of styles to check. After excluding some styles that were less attractive to me (I believed they would not be attractive to my wife as well), I chose a hanging winter coat, which looked pretty. Its “labeled” price was 1,380 Chinese Yuan, so I thought this would be a good deal based on its quality. However, when I was ready to buy it, the sales person told me that the price for that jacket was actually 8,500 Chinese Yuan. The price of 1,380 Yuan was actually just for the piece inside. Oh, I suddenly felt that I was so poor and could not afford to buy the jacket.

The 2013 WCAP conference has attracted worldwide researchers and scientists to attend and it was held in China for the first time. I was impressed by the conference’s presentational settings and the quality of associated hotel services. Fifteen years ago, not many hotels in China (even in Beijing) were even equipped with air-conditioners.  At that time, conference and educational materials were distributed through paperback instead of through electronic media. Over a decade ago, most Chinese speakers used Chinese to present while guest lecturers presented in English. It was my observation that presenters (both English native and non-native speakers) in the 2013 WCAP conference used English for their presentation.

This visit convinced me that prices of commercial products have increased significantly during past 15 years, and China has come through a big economic boom as well. Attending this conference also convinced me that Chinese students’ English presentation skills have greatly improved.

Notes: The author came to USA to pursue his graduate education after he completed his B.S. study and this writing just represents his own opinion. The author declares no competing interest for writing this report.

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