GK Brand CEO and Brand Architect Vaskén Kalayjian attended a Tribe Global brand conference in Shanghai which included meetings with Ctrip company

On October 10, 2015 GK Brand CEO Vaskén Kalayjian visited the Shanghai-based Ctrip Company, which was founded, by James Liang, Neil Shen, Min Fan, and Ji Qi in 1999. The purpose for the meetings was to learn about this successful online travel company and partner up with Tribe Global tourism clients worldwide. Ctrip has grown to be one of the most successful OTC startups in the last decade with the number of downloads of their apps, direct online bookings, and annual sales. Tribe Global represents a number of high profile tourism clients worldwide and a partnership with Ctrip is extremely beneficial to future business growth.

GK Brand visit to Ctrip Company

Ctrip is listed on NASDAQ in 2003 in a Merrill Lynch-led offering, raising US$75 million (4.2 million ADRsat $18 each) and then further appreciated by 86% to close at $33.94 in its first day of trading. Ctrip traded at a peak of $37.35, making it the first company since the November 2000 IPO of Transmeta to double its price in the first day of trading.

Ctrip has bought other travel companies in other Asian markets such as Hong Kong and South Korea. Ctrip already had an agreement with Taiwan-based ezTravel to cooperate in offering air tickets and hotel rooms to mainland Chinese tourists in Taiwan once tourists from the mainland became able to travel to Taiwan. As of November 2011, Ctrip holds an 8.4% stake in NASDAQ-listed Home Inns as well as a minority stake in the privately held BTC-Jianguo Hotels and Resorts. Ctrip also holds a 1.3% stake in the NASDAQ-listed China Lodging (owner of the Hanting brand). In 2014, Priceline.com, announced that it will invest $500 million in Ctrip.com International Ltd. to broaden the companies’ options in China. Priceline and Ctrip, which have had a commercial partnership since 2012, will increase their cross-promotion of each company’s hotel inventory and other travel services, the companies said today in a statement.

Scientific management

Ctrip is known as a proponent of scientific management in using rigorous data analysis in managerial decision-making. One example of this is the randomized control trial Ctrip ran on telecommuting. Given the uncertainty over the impact of telecommuting on company profits they decided to rigorously evaluate its impact before making any management decisions. So Ctrip conducted an experiment on 242 employees involving professors at Stanford and Beijing University. The experiment found that employees randomly assigned to work at home for 9 months increased their output by 13.5% versus the office-based control group, and their quit rates fell by almost 50%. Adding in the savings from cutting office space telecommuting was found to have substantially reduced costs, leading Ctrip to roll this practice out across the firm.

GK Brand visit to Ctrip Company

Buildings

Ctrip complex is located at Soho, Shanghai China. Ctrip recently purchased 6 of the towers from the builder Pan Shiyi for HK$3.85 billion for the half of the office-retail development In a filing with the stock exchange, Soho said it had acquired the site for the office-retail project Sky Soho for HK$1.96 billion in 2010. The project is expected to be completed in the next quarter. The price tag translates into HK$38,435 per square metre.

“The company believes that the sale to an end user will bring more people and activities to Sky Soho, which will in turn facilitate the leasing of the remaining part of Sky Soho,” chairman Pan Shiyi said.

After the completion of the sale, Soho will retain 128,130 sq meters – 102,964 sq meters of office space and 25,166 sqmetres of retail premises – as investment properties.

Ctrip intends to use the property as offices for its employees, especially for the technology and business innovation centers.

SOHO complex was designed by the world renowned architect Zaha Hadid. SOHO China Chairman Pan Shiyi and celebrity property developer Ren Zhiqiang who has just retired from his role as Chairman of Huayuan Real Estate Ctrip complex. Ctrip recently purchased 6 of the towers from the builder Pan Shiyi for HK$3.85 billion for the half of the office-retail development In a filing with the stock exchange, Soho said it had acquired the site for the office-retail project Sky Soho for HK$1.96 billion in 2010. The price tag translates into HK$38,435 per square metre.

SOHO China is honored to entrust the leading design firm, Pritzker Prize winning Zaha Hadid Architects, to lend their design concept to this development. The Laureate Pritzker Prize has been considered the “Nobel Prize” of architecture. Zaha Hadid was the first female recipient of this prize since its establishment 26 years before. Full of imagination and surrealism, this unique design concept makes Galaxy SOHO a new architectural landmark in Beijing on par with the Bird’s Nest National Stadium and the CCTV Tower. Zaha’s master pieces in China include: Guangzhou Opera House, Galaxy SOHO and SOHO Peaks in Beijing, Sky SOHO in Shanghai.

Truly sustainable architecture

Since its inception, the project has been designed and planned using a series of green building strategies in pursuit of LEED certification. Bicycle storage, changing rooms, as well as preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles are provided to encourage residents to choose green commuting. A cooled roof reduces the heat island effect to minimize impact on the microclimate and residents. Gray water and water efficient fixtures reduce at least 20% potable water consumption. Highly efficient lighting fixtures, chillers, and double silver low-E glass achieve 14% energy saving off the building’s annual energy cost. Green refrigerant minimizes ozone depletion and global warming. The installation of metering equipment to measure office air-conditioning energy use increases energy use efficiency and reduces energy waste As of yet the above strategies have been approved by USGBC pre-certification. The project is expected to achieve LEED CS 2.0 Silver certification.

Filtered water is provided to all office kitchens above the second floor level. To reduce energy consumption, Sky SOHO will combine BIM (Building Information Modelling) systems to establish a new generation of intelligent building energy management.

Wangjing SOHO is a complex of three curvilinear asymmetric skyscrapers in Wangjing, a suburb of Beijing, China between central Beijing and Beijing Capital International Airport. According to Zaha Hadid, the project’s architect, it is a “welcome and farewell to Beijing”. The towers contain both office and retail space. Originally the SOHO was designed as a two-tower complex but due to height concerns it was redesigned as a three-tower project featuring towers of lower maximum height. One of the more than a dozen properties developed by SOHO China, the complex officially opened on 20 September 2014.

The structure was designed by Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. According to The Telegraph the curvilinear walls of the towers evoke “dancing Chinese fans”, while Der Spiegel describes the three tower complex as “resembling curved sails that appear to swim across the surface of the Earth when viewed from the air”. Architecture News Daily (Arch Daily) describes it as “three curved towers whose “shimmering”, metallic skin unifies the complex as each volume appears to “dance” around each other.” Pan Shiyi, Chairman of the Board of SOHO China, said in an interview that the design of Wangjing SOHO was meant to evoke the image of Koi, a traditional Chinese symbol of wealth, luck, health and happiness.

The double-curvature panels required by the architectural design were used as models in a software program using Visual Basic operating in a Rhino environment which could subsequently generate flat and single-curvature panels based on the analysis of the local curvature morphology of the original double-curvature panels. The software-driven panel-generation method was used to facilitate the rationalization of manufactured sheet metal panels and to comply with higher demands in terms of cost requirements and manufacturing complexity.

Imitation of the design

According to Der Spiegel, the design of the Wangjing SOHO has been pirated, by the Meiquan 22nd Century building located in the Chinese city of Chongqing. Satoshi Ohashi of Zaha Hadid Architects mentioned that the Chongqing project may have obtained details of the SOHO project in digital form. The Meiquan complex is expected to finish ahead of the Wangjing SOHO project and this development has put pressure on Hadid to speed-up her plans to finish her SOHO project ahead of the competing towers in Chongqing. Ohashi mentioned that Zaha Hadid Architects had taken legal measures against Chongqing Meiquan Properties Ltd.

Yet You Yunting, a lawyer practising in Shanghai, specialising in intellectual property cases, and founder of an online journal covering Chinese copyright laws, had found that great similarities existed between the two projects and that there was a good legal case for the Zaha Architects to file a copyright infringement lawsuit against the other company. He also mentioned that: “But even if the judge rules in favor of SOHO, the court will not force the defendant to pull the building down. But it could order the payment of compensation.”

On 14 May 2012 the companies which built the two projects, SOHO China and Chongqing Meiquan held a press conference during which the Chongqing Meiquan representative stated that the inspiration behind the design of the Meiquan 22nd Century project were “the cobblestones on the bank of the Yangtze River by which Chongqing was built”. Pan Shiyi, the Wanjing SOHO representative, countered that the design of the Wanjing towers was meant to evoke the Koi fish and declared his intention of filing a lawsuit, saying that intellectual property had to be protected in China. During the press conference the Chinese Intellectual Property commission was present and issued a report at the end of the event. The developer of the Chongqing Meiquan project later wrote in the company blog: “Never meant to copy, only want to surpass.”

Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas told Der Spiegel that the rapid growth of Chinese cities has led to the appearance of architects who “copy and paste” architectural elements from other designs and create new composite designs. Koolhaas calls these architects “Photoshop designers” and says: “Photoshop allows us to make collages of photographs — (and) this is the essence of (China’s) architectural and urban production…. Design today becomes as easy as Photoshop, even on the scale of a city.” Zaha Hadid’s reaction was more philosophical; she said that it would be “quite exciting” if the cloned designs came up in the future with “innovative design mutations.”

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