Postgraduate Studies

From finance to tea-related tourism: meet UTM PhD student Zhang Yupu

UTM PhD student Mr. Zhang Yupu
中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese
After spending years in the finance sector, Mr. Zhang Yupu, a PhD student at UTM, is shifting his focus to a completely different area: the development of tea-related tourism in China

Mr. Zhang Yupu had an auspicious start in his Macao studies at UTM. Shortly before arriving from Shandong Province in January to begin his doctoral studies at the University, his research work was recognised at an academic conference. It received a third-place award in a seminar themed “High-Quality Development of the Private Sector Economy in the New Era”.

The event took place in December last year in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. It was organised by Guangdong Finance Society and Guangdong South China Economic Development Research Association.

Mr. Zhang’s paper was actually produced in partnership with an UTM scholar, Assistant Professor Dr. Sharleen Chen Xiaolian. The work focused on the influence of board management structures on business resilience.

Mr. Zhang says that, owing to his professional background in the finance sector, he was comfortable collecting data for the research. Though he notes: “I am not that proficient in articulating the explanatory aspects and drawing conclusions. In this part, Dr. Chen helped a lot.”

With a bachelor’s degree related to finance, and then several years working in the field, Mr. Zhang gradually developed an interest in tourism. This led him to complete a Professional Master’s Degree in Tourism Administration at Qufu Normal University, Shandong Province, in 2021.

“I later discovered that I would like to try a different career path”, in the academic field, Mr. Zhang says. That was when he made the decision to enrol on UTM’s PhD programme in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

“Choosing where to pursue a PhD is a substantial decision,” Mr. Zhang says. After researching tourism-related doctoral programmes, he realised UTM was among the best higher education institutions in the field within Asia. Aware of the University’s sound academic reputation, strong teaching body and rich research resources, he prioritised UTM in his applications for doctoral studies. It was as part of this process he met Dr. Chen and the two began doing research together.

“Moreover, I like the culture of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as it is very diverse,” Mr. Zhang says, highlighting that innovation and tradition go hand in hand in the region.

In the next few years, as a doctoral student at UTM, his research will focus on policies, products, and experiences linked to development of tea-related tourism in China. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Chen will be supporting him as supervisor.

“I am interested in tea tourism, as I spent many years in Shandong Province,” Mr Zhan says. “There, Rizhao is a place well-known for its tea: I am quite interested in how to relate tea culture and tourism,” he explains, adding he is also looking into involving ‘smart’ tourism in his research.

In Macao, beyond his academic pursuits, Mr Zhang hopes to have the opportunity also to experience the local culture. Learning Cantonese, he says, is one challenge he is interested in taking up.

Editor: UTM Public Relations Team