I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon from Hong Kong after my work trip to Dallas was cancelled at the last minute. I was scheduled to fly from Xiamen to Hong Kong to Dallas to Brooklyn to Los Angeles all within the span of four days. Instead, I’m spending the weekend in Hong Kong. Since starting my placement at Anta in September, I have come to expect these unexpected last-minute twists and just enjoy the ride. I’ve been to LA, Boston, and San Francisco to meet with players and agents and to scout out event venues. I used to worry that these business trips clashed with the spirit of the fellowship and the fact that I signed up for a continuous year in Asia. However now, I’d argue that these trips have actually enriched my Luce experience by giving me perspective on what it means to be living in Asia.
Prior to my Luce year, I studied Mandarin for several years, vaguely aspiring to a career working between the United States and China. However, I didn’t actually know what that meant. It wasn’t until I got to Anta and got sent on my first business trip to LA and Boston that my perspective shifted and I felt like the distance between the two countries wasn’t so unfathomable. Anta is a billion-dollar Chinese company that’s expanding internationally. Working for Anta in our basketball business department, our “content” is created by the NBA basketball players we’ve signed who are playing their games on the other side of the world. Anta is an example of how the U.S. and China are tied together through sports, but there are many other connections such as movies, politics, business etc. I believe that a large part of China’s future and its modern history is tied to the U.S. and vice versa. If I were to live in Asia going forward I still wouldn’t be too far from home.
When I’m not working, I play basketball with my coworkers, study Chinese, learn how to design shoes, read up on Chinese history, and just goof around. I’ve been granted a level of access at Anta that I would never have received this early in my career at a Nike or Adidas. Our creative director was the one giving me pointers on how to design a shoe last week. The head of all of Anta basketball has taken me to lunch and dinner multiple times. I did a photo-shoot for one of our product lines and now I’m ending up on the cover of our 19 Q3 catalog. I just hosted Anta’s Annual Gala in front of 4,000 people, which was extremely nerve-wracking but worthwhile. At this pace, I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store.