Notes from the field: a virtual build up to the Lunar New Year

In the first half of January I’d normally be in China attending company events in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen celebrating the impending arrival of the Lunar New Year. This year, of course, that isn’t possible so all our events will be virtual.

While I can’t say that I’ll miss the early morning rides to the airport, the security lines, or the flight delays, I would have enjoyed catching up with my team members in person and thanking them for their outstanding work in rising to the past year’s many challenges. No matter how far remote working technology has progressed, it still doesn’t quite deliver the impact of face-to-face communication!

I’ll also miss having the opportunity to get a glimpse of what is happening on the ground in China. It’s one thing to read, for example, that the third and fourth most valuable auto companies in the world are the Chinese EV manufacturers Nio and BYD. It’s quite another to see their vehicles on the roads for yourself and check how much progress has been made in building out the supporting battery charging infrastructure. Stock market valuations don’t necessarily reflect on-the-ground realities when it comes to hot new technologies even if they do provide a useful indicator of future trends.

Finally, I’ll miss the simple pleasures of being in China such as taking a short excursion to somewhere like the Sunday Book Market at the Shanghai Confucius Temple like I did last year or enjoying a steaming spicy lamb hotpot in the warmth and noise of a traditional Beijing restaurant.

Let’s hope that the arrival of the Year of the Ox marks the start of better times ahead.

Note

The Lunar New Year is a little later than normal this year. In Taiwan, public holidays run from February 10 to February 16.

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