China never stops.
Witness of these changes, I share my observations, knowledge and analysis. I also conduct street surveys and interviews.
You like the articles? Please support the work! Make a donation and share the posts! Georges Hymans

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In China: several businesses in one!

With the crisis, the Chinese market is more competitive.
People need to find ways to earn more and reduce their costs.

In China there is a new growing trend: the two in one or even the three, the four in one!
One commerce develops several businesses that complement one another.
Let me give you some example:
A flower shop sells coffee,
A pastry shop sells coffee, organize birthday party, sell to take away,
A hairdresser sells lottery tickets,
A shop receives delivery for internet sales,
A disco bar gives dance classes,
A restaurant teaches how to cook,

Some businesses also share one same space to attract more customers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Different rice varieties for different rice alcohol

In China, there are many different rice alcohol.
They are produced from different rice!
It is exactly the same as for wine made from different type of grape!

Unfortunately big shopping center only sell one or two variety of rice alcohol: baijiu, sometimes mijiu.
In the countryside local people still have the know how. They produce different alcohol from different rice all the year long. For instance shuijiu or dongjiu is produced in winter. It is sweet and sour.
Let's hope that these traditionnal alcohol will prevail under the pressure of shopping centers.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why Chinese people talk to foreigners randomly?

Being a foreigner in China, Chinese people will often talk to you randomly on the street.

This is two edge sword.On one side, it is nice to have the attention of other people, being able to discuss freely any topic you wish.
On the other side, it can be really annoying, having to face the same questions again and again (do you like China? why are you in China?...). Furthermore, Chinese people don't look at you. They don't mind that you might be busy talking on the phone or simply that you might look in a bad... They will still come to talk.

Why Chinese people talk to foreigners randomly on the street?
First you need to know that the culture is really different. In China there are people everywhere. In China people live in communauty. It is normal to anyone as you wish and ask any question you like. There is no formal etiquette. And the etiquette doesn't apply to foreigners.

Now there are many reasons Chinese people talk to foreigners randomly :

  • Some want to practise their english
  • Some want to talk to a foreigner for the face mianzi
  • Some want to joke in front of their friends
  • Some are looking for a foreign boyfriend
  • Some want to cheat your money, sell your some products...
  • Some want to speak their mind. Being a foreigner they can talk freely to you. They will ask your opinion about Taiwan, Tibet or some sensitive topic
  • Some want to hear you praise China
  • ...

Some Chinese people talk to me randomly on the street

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

All powerful supermarket chains in China?

Since I came back to China after many years, I noticed some main changes.
One of these change is certainly the position of supermarket chains in China.
Huge supermarket chains such as Wall-Mart, Carrefour, or Chinese chain Bubugao got more powerful.
They extended their sphere of influence, following a trend that we have all seen in the west.

From importer and distribution in supermarkets to local franchise shops.A few years ago these huge company would only import goods, distribute them in supermarket.
Today they target local customers. They develop a network of franchise shops everywhere.
Doing so of course they kill all the independant shops, offering a wider product choice.
Today there is less and less opportunities to develop your own small business, unless you invest in a franchise shop and follow the "supervision" of some huge supermarket chain.

Controlling shopping malls: leaving no choice to shops.In China shops have less and less choice to find good commercial space. They need to rent inside a shopping mall or not at all.
First supermarket chains occupy the place. Then they build and develop. After that they rent to commerce. The rent is often over-priced. Thinking about it, it makes sense, a shopping mall will benefit more if commerce don't stay for too long, but keep changing frequently! Constant novelty attracts customers: Chinese customers want new things.

Supermarkets in China even provide their own free buses for shoppers.

Monday, October 13, 2014

In China be harmonious: avoid conflicts

From a very young age, Chinese people learn how to live together peacefully.
They learn to avoid conflicts. They learn that the core value is harmony.

The Chinese pyramid of value is completely different as in the west.
In China on the top of the pyramid you have harmony inside the group.
Then you have the face, the reputation.
Then comes the truth.

I would say that in the west, on the top of the pyramid you have the truth being honest and therefore the trust in other.
Then you have the individuals, their rights.
Then you have the group.

My point is in China in order to avoid conflict and preserve the group harmony, all is allowed.
You can lie even deny the obvious. Harmony is the highest value.

From this brief explanation, you know that in China you should avoid conflicts, no matter what your other values tell you: passion, rights, no lying to others...
For instance when asked about Taiwan, Tibet and anything that would mean conflict: avoid it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1st of October, Chinese national day

The 1st of october is an important date in China, the Chinese national day.

7 days holidays
For Chinese people it means 7 days holidays.
In fact it is not really 7 days as Chinese people must catch up for several days! Productivity should not go down. They must work the week-end before and after the national holiday.
But it seems that most Chinese people don't notice this. They don't feel it is unfair to catch up for the holidays.

What are Chinese people doing their holidays?
Most Chinese people travel during their holidays.
Most Chinese people travel back to their home town. Then they stay there together with their relatives. They spend their time playing cards, Mah-jong, betting money, eating and eating and shopping.
Since a few years ago, many Chinese people travel and visit. They travel in China and visit famous tourist place: place from the past from the history of the communism or from the history of the old China, temples, palaces...
The wealthiest travel abroad to Thailand, Korea, Malaysia, Philippine, Hong-Kong...

How about companies?
Companies can sell. Chinese people spend a lot during their holidays: restaurants, clothes, cinema, festival products (Mah-jong table!...)

And how do I spend my Chinese holidays?
I don't travel! It is hell out their: traffic jams, packed up buses, trains, planes... And of course you must pay more.
I enjoy the blue sky, the pure air! During one whole week China doesn't work: no factory, no construction, few cars, no burning of any culture! No tiny particles pm2.5 pollution is down!

A few children carry Chinese flags as well as buses and taxis.
A few commerces display Chinese flags. But it is rather a way to attract customers...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why there are so many empty buildings in China?

The Chinese economy is growing thanks to two main engines:

  • Export
  • Real estate

Unfortunately with the global crisis and as Chinese salaries got higher, export went down...
China found a parade: made in China in Africa... This could somehow keep up part of the economic growth and create some job.

Only real estate leftBut most China was left with one engine: real estate!
Without the real estate the economy would crush. It means: no more growth, no more jobs, no more money.
Therefore the government must continue building appartments buildings.

Too many buildings= empty appartments
There are too many buildings. The offer far exceeds the demand!
As a consequence real estate price started to go down. Though the government is afraid to lower the real estate price too much, as it could trigger some panick! Chinese newspaper even talk about the real estate price going down as some kind of opportunity to buy now!
A strict control over civil servant who used their position to acquire appartments doesn't help as they try to sell their second, third appartments before any control occurs. Thus increasing the offer of available appartments on the market.

Trying to have farmers move to citiesThe Chinese government tries to move farmers from the countryside to big cities. Still 50% of Chinese people are farmer. The main idea is to move them to big cities.
On one side they would buy new appartment and fuel the real estate engine.
On the other side the government can take their land! They can assemble small farms into huge farmland under the control of some multinational company...

In fact this must be one of the biggest scam ever. We have lived this before in western countries. In the countryside, a few multinational took over the land and grow GMO using pesticide and machine!
In big cities, a few real estate multinational companies build modern appartment and control the real estate, with the complicity of bankers and loans to enslave man.

Transition from industry to service failed!
We have all heard that the economic development follows a path: first agriculture, then industry and then service...

Now what if this was a whole lie? What if once it was a dream, but it became a broken dream?
The truth is China failed its transition from industry to service.
But there is more to it. It is not only about China. In fact there is no such thing as development. Growth destroys jobs! There are less and less jobs as multinational companies move where labour is cheaper and as machine progressively replace all human labour! The service industry might create some growth but it can never supply jobs for all!
And there is worst: in a finite world, there is no such thing as growth!
Now one question remains for China and for the world: when will this crash down for good?
How many years do we have left before leaders accept to take action or before the global chaos?