China is in the news, in our consciousness and in the world’s eye, every day. But, I’m old enough to have been in the last generation for whom “China” (what the newscasters called “Red China” into the early 70’s) was an exotic, forbidden place full of grey clad people riding bicycles. A place that you never went. In 1972 President Nixon changed that and in 1978, Deng Xiaoping REALLY changed all that by introducing the first real market reforms since the communist revolution in 1949. Today, we in the West see China more clearly as the unbelievably fascinating cradle of humanity that she is. About the same land mass as the U.S. but infinitely more complex in cultural diversity and history, China is an intriguing puzzle and an awesome opportunity for westerners who go with the right attitude and an open mind. Here is what I can GUARANTEE you about China: Whatever you think it is, that’s NOT it! You have to go yourself.
August 25th marks the start of IDEAS’ fourth mission to the PRC. In the past, we’ve helped design and brand a new town, consulted on a new way to think about a technology showplace and participated in the ground work for a scale and approach to location-based entertainment that has never been seen before. We’ve seen the nightlife of Shanghai, met with farmers in Jiangjin, gone to sea at the mouth of the Yellow River and had pizza in the international quarter in Beijing. This time around, our team is heading to Chengdu. Chengdu is Panda country and the provincial capital of Sichuan (you know, the spicy peppers- we’ll eat well!). It’s a gateway to the Western mountains and, it is said, the home of some of China’s most beautiful women!
Our team of writers, designers, architects, learning specialists and market analysts will be meeting with our clients to walk their developments and properties, developing our new friendship with an eye to bringing our full StoryJam design system to bear on their behalf. Almost a billion people are moving into China’s new middle class and there are great opportunities in creating China’s next generation of immersive experience but it will require great care.
The team has passports, visas (the passport kind) and enough RMB (how Chinese Yuan is usually referred to) to buy tea when we land in Beijing. It’s going to be an adventure. We’ll keep you posted!