pieterneele | 13 January, 2020 14:34
I ended up at the New Year’s Eve event of C-Trip Yunnan, held in a convention center in provincial capital Kunming.
C-Trip is a colossal travel company. Flights, train tickets, tours, hotels – they do it all. Total revenue over 2018 4.5 billion US$, total number of employees 45.000 . The Yunnan province branch is much smaller, but there were still about a thousand people at the party.
It wasn’t my usual environment. Introductions came with the question whether you’re buyer or seller, talk was of sales figures. To me a ‘market’ is a place where ethnic minorities gather in traditional dress. But it was fun to attend.
There were speeches and kitschy music and a light show. Bonuses and trophies were handed out to C-Trippers who performed well. Recent acquisition Qunar (literally ‘Go where’) was welcomed to the C-Trip family.
There was a peptalk by the CEO, with plans and intentions for 2020 that could simply be summarized as: More! I couldn’t follow it in all its detail, but was the Chinese Dream mentioned in his speech? And did I hear someone at my table joke that the Chinese Dream was quite tiring?
Things went on and on. People mostly busied themselves with their phones, had a chat. A sudden rise in interest for the lottery. You could win trips. Two weeks to Japan or the USA, or a cruise. If less lucky you only got to Halong Bay.
Dinner was served. Duck and beef and pork. And stomach of unclear origin. Slices of raw fish in Japanese sauce, and a braised fish. Vegetables and flower cakes. All in fixed amounts per table though, there were no second servings. Same for the drinks. Two bottles of Chilean wine per table, no more. I was lucky, at my table most prefered Coke.
The event dragged on into the evening. Out on stage it was more of the same. Awards, talks, a bit of song and dance. By now it took too long. It got cold, it is a Kunming winter after all, without heating.
A few left. But could you really? We were still waiting for the main lottery prize, a high end smartphone it was rumoured.
I wasn’t in the draw. To join you had to scan a QR code in the main lobby. To win a smart phone you had to have one. I didn’t, mine recently crashed and I didn’t yet replace it. Life ain’t fair.
At last the draw for second prize, Huawei’s top model phone.
And then for first prize, an iPhone 11. The draw was computerized, on a screen all the entrants flashed by in super quick succession. Anticipation built. It was won by …. the manager who had presented the whole event. Confusion, laughter. I guess it was prearranged.
The draw was redone. This time it made the day of someone in the audience.
Soon after the hall was empty, everyone made their way home.
It was a pleasure to see many old friends. It was a good day.