Startup Life goes Shanghai

This the first post from our gal in Shanghai, Nelly Sääksjärvi, who is currently interning at Rovio‘s Shanghai office. We were asked many times what are our plans related to China, and when Rovio offered to open a position in Shanghai as a part of our Startup Sauna Internship collaboration, we took the chance. This is how the story begins. For Nelly’s latest updates, follow @NellySaaksjarvi on Twitter
I couldn’t believe my ears when I got a call from China telling me that I was chosen to be the Animation Producer trainee for Rovio’s office in Shanghai for the summer. It had been my dream to work at Rovio for a long time and now I got to do it – in Shanghai!

Me, myself and my business card. Super-important to have these in China!
Me, myself and my business card. Super-important to have these in China!

I didn’t get a lot of time to prepare for my trip, because the departure was in two weeks. Still, everything went smoothly and suddenly I was in Shanghai. The first week was full packed and everything was new; the job, the people, the environment, not to mention the super hot and humid weather! Already on my 6th day we made a business trip to Beijing and met a bunch of potential partners. We even visited an art university in Beijing where Peter Vesterbacka, the CMO of Rovio, gave a speech to the students that were interested in making games. At the same time me and my supervisor had Skype meetings with Rovio Finland. Everyday was filled with new and exciting experiences and with a lot of different things to do.
Me and Peter Vesterback visiting an art university in Beijing
Me and Peter Vesterback visiting an art university in Beijing

Founded in 2011, Rovio’s office in Shanghai is fairly new and has around 20 employees. The purpose of Rovio’s first overseas office is to connect Rovio with Asia and find new partners, for example animation studios. Our office has a open environment, everyone works in the same room and there’s snacks and drinks in the kitchen. We have flexible working hours, meaning you can decide when you do your 8 hours on the day. I think this is unusual in China, but then again Rovio is a Finnish company. There’s a lot of different places around our office to have lunch since we’re situated on Huaihai Road – one of Shanghai’s busiest shopping streets. Still, you can find lunch for only 15¥ (that’s not even 2€!) and the food portions are huge.
Lunch break walking scenery
Lunch break walking scenery

I just moved from the hostel where I spent 10 night into a shared apartment with three other great flatmates. Finally, I’m starting to get used to my life here in Shanghai, which is great because I’m working with a project that requires a lot of energy since there are new things to learn everyday. My background is in animation, so being an animation producer is still new to me. An animation producer doesn’t make the animation itself, but a producer is responsible of keeping all the parties involved in the production informed about the schedule, what need to be done with who and the budget. I have a feeling I will continue to learn so much this Summer.
3 tips about Shanghai
Tip 1. Don’t fly from Shanghai to Beijing; the flights are always late. Take the train instead! It’s fast and on time.
Tip 2. Make business cards before you arrive to China and always have with you some in your pocket. You will need them, trust me.
Tip 3. Chinese people don’t usually smile at strangers, not even to customers, which can feel a bit weird to foreigners. Don’t take it personally – just keep on smiling!

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