Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for December 27th, 2010

Beijing To Raise the Minimum Wage

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


Beijing will raise the minimum wage 20.8% next year. the impact will only be felt by those who follow the employment laws so, maybe its a mute point, in China laws are optional.

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Chinese Commerce

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


This is China, each day all flat surfaces are covered with Chinese entrepreneurs selling everything from drugs to nails. This woman is selling belts, I think.

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Indian Airline and the Chinese- Why Chinese Quality Sucks

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


Indian Airline and the Chinese- Why Chinese Quality Sucks

This Christmas I was sitting in the jiang guo hotel by Guomao, in Beijing. I had business to attend to, and as I slurped an 80 rmb cup of coffee, my mind began to wonder. My eyes played over the scene, noveau riche Chinese each ‘doing business’ on Christmas day. Oh did I say that my one cup of coffee was 60 rmb or about U$8.49! And the coffee wasnt even that good, it was your normal fare. The scene was surreal, aging Chinese ‘comb overs’ raised dirt poor, happy to eat meat once per month, now affluent, what do they really know about quality-they’re’ just happy they dont have to tote around their little red books anymore.

I dont mean to disparage them, but here I am drinking about U$1.00 per swallow of tepid coffee while a doddering wait staff grumbles, bangs into people and basically does nothing to enrich the experience. Then I remembered reading a story about a guy in India (I think) who had an interesting idea. He purchased an old airplane that wouldnt fly- it had no wings nor engine. He then ‘fixed up the insides’, made it appeart to be a real airplane. He then charged his fellow Indians for the pleasure of sitting in the plane for an imaginary flight. He had a pilot who would announce that they were over such and such a place, and all the while the poor Indians would nod enjoying the ride, smiling with glee as in their minds they really were flying. The idea was to give poor Indians the idea of what it is to fly, although the plane could not do so. The people, aware of this fact, paid a small fee, nontheless, to imagine that they were part of this wonderful experience. I can feel this, I get where the guy is going with the idea and think its great.

Then I flash back to me and the U$1 worth of coffee in my mouth. If that plane had ‘flown’ in China, the Chinese would have not only charged you the full fare, but also would have been convinced and tried to convince you as well, that you had actually flown. Every attempt to explain the absurdity of this notion, vz an engine-less plane flying, would be met with hostility and fierce feelings of nationalism. What the Indians had taken for a fanciful trip made to lighten one’s day would be ruined by the Chinese.

What am I going on about you ask?
Its the fact that the Chinese have no appreciation for the value of a good or experience. They say, “here is a Mercedes, it costs U$100,000, I want the same thing for U$35,000, and they really believe this is possible. The result is that while the exterior looks identical to competing models, the guts or the inner workings of the Chinese product will be inferior as they are made from woefully inadequate parts. Thus, I sit, consuming a U$8.49 cup of coffee, New York prices, but am surrounded by ‘businessmen’ hacking up phlegm, and the ‘quaint’ inner city atmosphere one finds in the bowels of Flint Michigan…

To the Chinese money is reality, they reason that if they paid 60rmb for a coffee then it must be great coffee. And if they stay at the Hilton at Hainan Island ( I have) and pay over U$250 per night (I have), then it must be a 5 star hotel, a veritable valhalla- which it isnt. They have an uncanny ability to ignore the man who takes his son from his cabin and then allows him to stand before the kiddie pool and urinate, they disregard the carpeting that reeks of fungus/filth and explain that for U$250, this quality of this place is the same as you would find in Hawaii…oh really, I ask…

The difference is that in coutnries that value quality, each subcomponent of a part is handcrafted with the utmost of care. Its not only the exterior of the good, but the minutae, each detail, no matter how small, will be world class. In China, however, it is like viewing a small town high school play. In scene one, the background shows beggars in the forest, the forest of ocurese is make believe, noting but cardboard. In scene two, the background is still cut from cardboard, but now shows a wonderful cityscape. The actors are the same, but now are clad in clothing that is meant to make them look ‘affluent’, the audience, however , knows that they are still in Letts Iowa, and the lead is still Jimmy Hunsacker from down the street, and not James Bond. China is this play, for U$2 you can eat like a king, and be treated like one as well. All the food in china is great and if you go to some out of the way place thye will bend over backwards to accomdate you, as you are a foreigner. Or you can spend U$200, for a meal that will be no different than the last. but at least you will be basking in the glow of a ‘cut out’ of the cityscape, just like those people watching the play in Letts Iowa….

Imho, in China, go to the out of the way places, they will enjoy your company and really appreciate your business.

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Streets of China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


Removing rubbish from the streets to carry them to recycling centers.

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China and Taiwan

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


From The Beijing Consensus (Stefan Halper)
“China has been adept at cloaking its objectives with ambiguity but, in the case of India, has renewed latent fears and opened the way for fresh U.S. diplomatic, military, and commercial initiatives that have provided confidence to Delhi, which is still smarting from its 1962 defeat at China’s hands. Further, Indian coordination with the United States and the seagoing nations of the Western Pacific, mentioned above, helps, at a minimum, to ensure that China’s regional initiatives are balanced and that the sea lines of communication remain unencumbered. THE TAIWAN THREAT Here we meet another popular iteration of the “China threat.” As much as any location in Asia, the Taiwan Straits are a focus of concern; they have all the traditional makings of a great power flashpoint. But, reflecting the mainland’s shift from Maoism to market authoritarianism, the prospect of conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan, displayed in primary colors for a half century from 1950, is now seen in pastels. Against the backdrop of periodic diplomatic friction, cross-strait economic ties have blossomed over the last decade. China has become Taiwan’s largest trading partner while Taiwan has become one of China’s biggest investors. Taiwan’s trade with mainland China totaled $102.3 billion in 2007, rising 16.1 percent from the previous year. Its exports to China in 2007 totaled to $74.28 billion, an increase of 17.3 percent, reaching a new high in the last three years.21 Thus, the economic effects of a war between the two sides today would be”
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Book Clip from The Beijing Consensus

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


The Beijing Consensus (Stefan Halper)
excerpt:
“Beijing has become rich enough to provide a new source of financial assistance and economic development for smaller countries, which enables these countries to sidestep the traditional sources of Western assistance. The critical distinction between Chinese and Western assistance is that China provides hard-currency loans without the conditions imposed by the West. There is no obligation to create a civil society in the Western sense, no requirement to abide by international accounting standards or accepted legal standards—and certainly no attempt to interfere in the recipient’s internal affairs. China, its state-owned enterprises, and its business owners offer an alternative path to economic development. It is, in effect, an “exit option” from the often intrusive demands of global lenders like the World Bank and the IMF in areas such as good governance, human rights, transparency, and pro-Western political and market reforms.

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KTV in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


I lived in Brazil once and Brazilians are passionate, very passionate as in they cant get enough. The problem is that they oftentimes share a home with their parents and lacking their own place in which to sew their wild oats, they resort to places called a ‘drive in’. A drive in, for them is nothing more than an enclosed area for them to park their cars and then get busy. They have no movies nor music, or so i am told. The process is like going to a friends garage and cutting off the engine and then…
In China they have ktv’s, I guess you cant do the wild thing, but the young people go there to cop a good feel, or so I’m told.

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Photo of Chinese Villagers

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


823 villagers evacuated after land subsides

Villagers prepare to move to safe areas in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, Dec 26. [Photo/Xinhua]

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China Buying Power Grids in Brazil, Buying Power in Brazil

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


The Chinese are buying electricity transmission services in Brazil. Brazil has many natural resources, the Chinese need them, so they Chinese cozy up to them, just like they do in Africa. Lets hope they dont treat the Brazilians like they do the Africans vz shooting them, working them like slaves as they did in Nambia. I have lived in Brazil two times, and love it. The problem is that it is super corrupt and I fear the Chinese influence there will be nothing but bad.

excerpt:

“Beijing-based State Grid will run electricity transmission services in the southeast of Brazil and supply power to Brazilian capital Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, according to a statement at the website of the Chinese government’s state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

China’s biggest electricity network operator agreed in May to buy controlling stakes in seven power transmission units in Brazil from Elecnor SA, Abengoa SA, Isolux Ingenieria SA and Cobra Instalações e Serviços SA.

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Happy Birthday Mr. Mao….

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 27, 2010


Opps , this one slipped by me, yesterday, December 26 was Chairman Mao’s birthday.
born Dec 26, 1893 and died on Sept 9, 1976.

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