Friday, September 25, 2009

National Day Parade?

My friend, with whom I shared a flat in Scotland, gave me a call on Monday and invited me to dinner on Tuesday evening. He also invited two lovely British girls who are currently traveling in Beijing. He made good friends with the parents of one of the ladies when he was studying in Britain. So, the girl called him to meet up and here came the welcome dinner.

We watched the traditional ‘face changing’ shows in the Sichuan restaurant named 'Ba Guo Bu Yi' near the famous 'Nan Luo Guo Xiang (南锣鼓巷)', had a nice dinner and chatted happily on various topics. During the dinner, the two ladies asked us if they could go and watch the National Day parade at Tiananmen Square and if there would be any fireworks. Neither my friend nor I could say definitely if they could be allowed access to Tiananmen Square to watch the parade. I said hesitantly, ‘Yeah, maybe … we don’t know about that. There could be some fireworks on that day.’ My friend said, ‘We really don’t know. Actually people here don’t care much about the National Day celebration … They are busy preparing to travel outside Beijing during the national day holiday’. Then, I realized how much the people living in Beijing cared about the 60th Anniversary celebration. Very little! This is in sharp contrast with the media coverage of the event.

Perhaps, people in Beijing are just not in the mood to celebrate? It's more about holiday than National Day, I guess?

Friday, August 28, 2009


I haven’t blogged a lot recently. I’ve been busy and lazy. When I return home after a busy day, I just don’t feel like doing anything that may require the use of brain. Ok, this is just an excuse. The fact is I am a bit lazy. Despite my laziness, there are still a lot of things happened in the past a few weeks that I would like to blog about. I’ve been to meetings with people from Dangdang and Joyo (Amazon China) respectively. Being a fan of internet-based business, I’m always interested in the competition between the two B2C online retailers in China. I’m happy to have the chance to have a glimpse of how they carry their business differently and what they are planning to do in the future. I may write a post on this topic sometime in the future. Another topic I may blog about is NAME. Yes, I mean a person’s name. My Chinese name is Hang Something. It’s my real name in Chinese pinyin. ‘Something’ is my family name. As you can see, my Chinese name ‘Hang’ is quite pronounceable. I DON’T have an English name. ‘Hang’ is my Chinese name and English name in one. However, people in the office tend to give me an English name ‘Jack’. Do I need any English name? No! But, if I do, it’s Hang!

By the way, where is Jack? Jack died when Titanic hit the iceberg. Hang hangs on and is still alive and kicking! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Representative offices in China? Probably no.

I wrote a post recommending foreign companies to go for LLCs (WFOEs) instead of rep. office in China. Today, I came across a similar post entitled 'Representative Offices In China. Things Just Got More Difficult/Expensive.....' on China Law Blog. I think the post echos my points. Why not do business legally and wisely in China?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

President Sarkozy: music, but not politics!

Hi Mr. President,

How are you doing? I hope you are well. You know, I don't like your opinions on Tibet. But, I do like your wife a lot. Don't get me wrong. I mean I like your wife ... for her MUSIC. I suggest you listen more to your wife's music, or perhaps talk to her more often instead of talking to some 'spiritual leader'. That does not help spiritually, you know?

Stay healthy.

Best wishes,
Songwriter, singer and former model, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Ok, the above was written with tongue in cheek. Just now when I turned on the radio, a hostess and a male guest were talking about music (mainly Jazz, blues) and some songs were played. When the song 'You Belong to Me' was played, it immediately got my attention. I said to myself, "I like the song and the voice. Who is the singer?". Then I did some research online and this is what I found out. The singer is Carla Bruni, the former model and now wife of French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. She quit her modeling life and successfully turned into a musician. Fortunately, she did not stop pursuing her music career after marrying the President. She's good and talented. She will be on my music radar from now on.

The song is actually a cover version. A solo acoustic version of the song was also recorded by Bob Dylan in 1992. I listened to Bob Dylan's version too, but I like Carla Bruni's version of the song a bit more. Great, I finally find a new song to add to my ipod!

Wait, I changed my mind. Bob Dylan's version is equally excellent!

Songs from external links:
You Belong to Me by Carla Bruni
You Belong to Me by Bob Dylan

Lyrics -You Belong to Me (by Bob Dylan)

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sunrise from a tropic isle
Just remember, darling all the while
You belong to me

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too
And blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember 'til you're home again
You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too
And blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember 'til you're home again
You belong to me

Juliette Lewis: “I just want to tell you I love you, and I miss you. Don't
forget about me. You won't forget about me?”
Woody Harrelson: “I won't forget about you. It's cool. No matter where he takes
you, Timbouktou, it don't matter, because it's fate. Know? Nobody can stop fate. Nobody can.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Land King! 地王!

Property developers surrounded by journalists at the public auction
No. 3, the winnerPan Shiyi, Chairman of SOHOChina, gestures "Niu (牛)".

You don't have to be the 'King of Pop' to get the media coverage and become a super hot topic in China. To be a 'Land King' is enough to make it a hot topic and get continuous and intensive media exposure in this country. What is a 'Land King'? 'Land King' in Chinese refers to the real estate developer who pays the highest land transfer price ever in history to buy a piece of land in a certain geographic area (e.g. a district in Beijing, a city, a province, or China). So, a property developer could be a 'Land King of Haidian District' if it pays the record high price in Haidian District to buy a chunk of land. The developer could also be a 'Land King of Beijing' if the price paid is also the highest price ever in Beijing.

Housing price has been the most talked-about topic in China for years. The surging housing price is the real pain for people living in Beijing, Shanghai and almost everywhere in this country. You MUST have your own house! That's what people think here. The financial crisis brought down the housing prices to the delight of prospective buyers. Apparently, the financial crisis was so 'weak'. The housing price plunged for a short period and begins to soar again! Record high prices have been paid for pieces of land in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou respectively this year. When 'Flour (land) becomes more expensive than bread (house)', the price of the bread (house) will naturally go up. On June 30th, Fangxing Property, a subsidiary of state-owned Sinochem, acquired a chunk of land on Beijing's Guangqu Road for 4.06 billion yuan (US$59.7 million), the highest land transfer price ever in the city's public auction. Fangxing Property is not a big name developer in Beijing. But the developer successfully outbid big players such as SOHOChina, Vanke, Poly and was crowned the 'Land King' in Beijing. This has been big news recently. Those who were selling their houses in the nearby area had either increased the asking price dramatically or withdrawn their properties from the market to wait for a better time to sell. Pan Shiyi, the Chairman of SOHOChina, says to media that the record land price will surely push up housing prices in the nearby area of that piece of land. Understandably, he wasn't happy that SOHOChina failed to win the bid. However, he pointed out that his company could not compete with the less known Fangxing Property, a state-owned enterprise that had benefited from the government's 4 trillion yuan stimulus package and obtained huge loans from Chinese banks. Also, the 'Land King' in Hangzhou 'coincidentally' turned out to be a company with SOE background. I assume we can see clearly where China's soaring bank lending goes! It goes to SOEs and the real estate market (and the stock market, too?). Isn't the government trying to curb speculation in property market? We don't want to see so many 'Land Kings', especially the 'Land Kings' with SOE background! If the housing price continues to rise crazily, a 'HOMELESS' generation of young Chinese will soon come up!

Can you afford to buy an apartment for CNY13,000-24,000/sq. m. with a monthly salary of CNY 3,000-10,000 (before tax) in Beijing?

P.S. The 2008 average monthly salary of staff in Beijing is CNY3,322 (US$488.5).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It may take another 10 years ...

Picture from
I've been following the news on Urumqi since the bloody riot broke out. As usual, I've read a lot of reports online from western news outlets, such as BBC, CNN, Reuters, Guardian, FT, WSJ, NYT and so on. I was once again disappointed by their 'fair and balanced' news coverage. Little improvement has been made from last year's coverage of Tibet. I've followed some western journalists on Twitter who are reporting from Urumqi. Strangely enough, the short messages they left on Twitter seemed to try to tell people what was going on there (the facts). But when the full news articles came out online, they never seemed to be balanced news coverage. Some western media even compared the 'peaceful protest' in Urumqi with the Tiananmen protest in 1989. What a joke! What an irony!

In 1989, Chinese people had no access to western media and few Chinese could speak and read English. I was till a child back then, but I clearly remembered my parents strongly support and sympathize those students who protested in Tiananmen because 'they were protesting against corruption'. Yes, my parents solely relied on CCTV for information then, but they supported the protesters! Now, 20 years later, more and more Chinese can speak English, and western media are more accessible. The number of Chinese who are studying, working and living abroad is huge and still growing. However, the overseas Chinese, fully exposed to western media and democracy are exactly those who are at the forefront of criticizing and protesting against biased western media. Does this mean anything to those western media? I'm afraid not. Eyes shut, ears closed.

Fortunately, I managed to read some balanced news articles on Guardian. So, there is till hope.

A few weeks ago, I left a comment under a post by a blogger, Aimee Barnes. The post had something to do with journalism and China. Then Aimee asked my opinion about something like how western journalists can improve news coverage of China. Honestly, I didn't give any opinion but said that I thought it might take another 10 years for western media to cover China with more fairness and balanced opinion. For some reason, my comment did not appear under that post. Anyway, it did not bother me.

I know a post like this will automatically get me the label of 'Chinese nationalist' from western media. Well, I think calling those Chinese who protest against biased news reports 'nationalists' is just CHEAP tactics. Wanna check how 'nationalist' is defined here?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Economy cools while films get hotter

'If You Are the One', a top performer at the Chinese box office (RMB 340 million)

China’s film industry is one of the few industries that are immune to the current financial crisis. I watched a TV program entitled Economy Cools While Films Get Hotter (《冷了经济 火了电影》) on CCTV a few days ago. A number of actors, producers and some other professionals involved in the film industry are interviewed in the program. The lipstick effect is believed to have played a role in China’s fast growing film industry under the current financial climate. There is no doubt that China’s film industry has been growing by leaps and bounds in the recent 5-7 years. According to the program, the number of homegrown films grew from 88 in 2001 to 406 in 2008. Box office sales grew to RMB 4.341 billion ($638 million) in 2008 from RMB 950 million ($140 million) in 2003. Despite the impressive growth of the film industry, the program points out a number of issues that need to be addressed:
  • A small number of homegrown films are making money. Most homegrown films are either losing money or merely at breakeven.
  • It’s difficult to raise capital. Many film production companies spend more time raising capital rather than actually creating and producing films.
  • Lack of original/excellent creation in film production.
  • Box office is the only main revenue stream. More revenue streams need to be utilized.
This is an interesting TV program that gives some basic knowledge of China’s film industry. China’s homegrown films accounted for more than 60% of the total box office in 2008, and China is one of the fastest-growing film markets in the world. No wonder U. S. is battling to get more Hollywood films exported to China. Some Chinese film production companies (e.g. China Film Group, Huayi Brothers) are doing very well. However, for all Chinese filmmakers, there is still a lot to learn from their American counterparts.

In short, China’s film industry is prosperous and full of potential. However, there are still a lot of losers out there. It can be very risky to invest in this fast growing industry.

BTW, Transformers 2 has been on screen for a while and I will contribute 80 yuan to China’s box office sometime next week.

Related reading: China's film industry on fast track

Friday, June 26, 2009

An era ended

MJ, King of Pop
When the shocking news reached this corner of the world in the morning, I felt really sad. I was not and never expected to get emotional. The polarized image of MJ had been lingering in my head for a long time. But, that did not last any longer. I got overwhelmed by the sadness in the afternoon when I was looking through the news and the reactions of people on the internet. Those photos, music and videos are so evocative of the old days when MJ was singing. I just could not hold back the emotion and it's stirring inside! Words fail me ...

Michael,你依然是那个流行乐之王! 一路走好!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


2009 Declaration of the Anonymous Netizens
Finally, Google is blocked, which means I cannot use Gmail and Google Docs. I am really frustrated, because my primary email is with Gmail. Besides, I need to use Gmail/Docs to update my blog. The harsh and irrational decision to block Google has infuriated millions of netizens in China. I had a peek at some Chinese online forums and vented my anger there. The blockage has been on for a while and nobody knows how long it will last. The government has made a very stupid decision. I don't see how they can justify the decision and I don't see what they are going to achieve. One thing is for sure, netizens are unhappy. Here comes the widespread 2009 Declaration of the Anonymous (Chinese version (also see the photos)/English version). I feel much better after reading it. My words are saved.

How productive is the GFW?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Debating an eye feast? LOL

Photos from

The China Swimwear Design Contest Final was hosted at the 'Water Cube' sometime last week. I happened to watch the fashion show on TV (live? no sure). But, unfortunately I missed the first half of the show, in which the Chinese National Flag Bikinis were featured. Not being a fashion conscious guy, I still enjoyed the show. You know, beautiful and willowy models! A feast to the eyes! However, before I came across the report here (in Chinese), I was not aware of the debate whether using Chinese national flag design of bikinis is a disrespect to the flag. Some fellow blogger has translated the report into English here.

Honestly, I didn't expect this national flag design could trigger a debate. Anyway, I am amused. What to debate for? Maybe some Chinese netizens have got too much time to spend on the internet? Why not just feast your eyes on those beauties and come up with something more meaningful? Actually, I'm a bit suspicious of the truth of the report. Because I haven't seen such debate of the topic on a number of popular online Chinese forums. On second thought, maybe the report was cooked up by some crappy journalist? Easy job, em?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Photo story

A man was being forced into a mini van
Pushed into the van
Policemen in plain clothes?
The photos show what happened under my flat about one and a half hours ago. Very loud argument broke out from outside. Out of curiosity, I looked through my window and saw a bunch of people including a woman were wrestling with a man. Those people were shouting, 'Get him in the car! Get him in the car'. The man was shouting, 'Let me go, I don't know you! ...' Apparently, they were trying to force this man into their mini van parked in the middle of the road. I thought it might be a kidnapping and grabbed my camera to take some shots. As the 2nd photo shows the man was overpowered and pushed into the mini van. When they were about to leave, a black car suddenly appeared and blocked the mini van. Several guys in plain clothes came out of the car and shouted, 'Don't move! (别动).' Then, the mini van stopped. At that moment, I thought those guys must be policemen. It seemed someone must have called the police earlier before the incident. The man 'kidnapped' stuck his head out of the window of the mini van and screamed to the policemen, 'I don't know them! I don't know them!' At that moment, my camera ran out of battery and I couldn't take more shots. Those 'kidnappers' began to talk to the policemen and behaved obediently. Anyway, the man was rescued and they moved out of my sight a few minutes later.

Phew! My photos will not be used as evidence by the police!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Travel 2.0, Youth 3.0? Any idea?

I have some understanding of what 'Web 2.0' refers to. Even though there is little revolutionary development from so called 'Web 1.0', the term 'Web 2.0' came into existence and has been widely used by many people to refer to the web we are using today. I have no problem with it since everybody has some knowledge about what 'Web 2.0' means. But, it seems some people have become addicted to conjuring up new concepts nowadays. In the last a few days, I came across terms like 'China Travel 2.0' and 'Youth 3.0' on the internet with absolutely no clue what they refer to. These so called 'new concepts' left me bewildered. How can 'travel' be 2.0ed, and 'Youth' 3.0ed? And, how did the age of 'Youth 2.0' circumvent us without being noticed? Weird, weird, very weird!

Anyone knows what 'Youth 3.0' is?

No idea? It doesn't matter. I've come up with a new concept 'Sex 2.0'. I AM SMART