Tag Archives: China

Should Windows 7 be free in China?

Should Microsoft wait for software piracy to be policed or should the company look for new avenues of revenue during the lifecycle of Windows 7 in China?

Last week I penned an editorial piece for ZDNet Australia with the argument on why Microsoft should give their next operating system, Windows 7, away for free in China. It’s not as crazy as it sounds if you consider their online position.

But, you’re going to have to read it over here.

Top 10 Annoying Tweets (you won’t read in China)

It seems the procrastination will not be Twitterized on June 4 or anytime soon in China – Twitter along with other sites have been blocked this week.

While the Twitterverse (mostly expats) will go into a spin about this I thought I’d post up some of those regular posts you’ll be missing out on in the near future:

10 “Man, I’m soooooo busy.” Really? So why are you tweeting this again?

9 “I’m having an awesome time at *insert club/pub*” So awesome that you’re tweeting it. By yourself. In the corner.

8 RT the popular kids “OMFG, Guy Kawasaki just Tweeted something! Quick! Seth Goddin just posted a new blog. Link. Link. Link. RT. RT RT.”

7 “It’s hump day. Only 2 more days till the weekend!!!!” Wednesdays: they happen every week. Man your life is boring.

6 “I have so many emails to answer” Right, so I’ve noticed you tweet a lot but haven’t answered my F*&cking email from last week

5 All day public Twitter conversations. There’s better technology for this (IM,DM, email…) or did you just want everyone to see?

4 “Hey everyone, I have THIS MANY followers” So what? That guy. In that movie. Yeah, he still has a bigger thingy.

3 “Re-Tweet ME! Digg My Link!” We get it, you did something on the Internet. You’re a big boy/girl now.

2 Follow Friday. It’s like one giant… circle thingy.

1 Spamming your friends with an internal monologue of what you’re thinking all day. Like aggregating a top 10 list.

So there you have it. Maybe there are more specific expat Twitter posts which are just as annoying – feel free to add them below and I’ll put them in the article.

*Yes, I originally wrote this on Twitter and has been republished with permission elsewhere but all seem blocked at the moment.

Q&A: Cosmetic Surgery in Shanghai

On any given day in Shanghai it’s not unusual to see and hear people originating from all corners of the globe. With such a mash-up of different cultures, languages, races, and influence I’ve been curious to know what the ideals of beauty are here. I mean, other than ginger folks who quite obviously sit at the epitome of cross-cultural envy.

Dr Sheena BurnellDo Chinese women want to look more western? Do western women want to look more like Chinese women? And what about the guys? We know both local and foreign men spend too much time on their hair but what sort of physical enhancements do they seek? And is it really true that in these economic times cosmetic surgery is being used to land jobs?

Well to help answer those questions and more I asked Shanghai East Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’s Director of Clinical Liaison, Dr Sheena Burnell, an Australian trained Doctor and ex-pat in Shanghai. As a professional with experience in both Australia and China Dr Burnell brings an insightful look into the world of cross-cultural beauty, cosmetic surgery in Shanghai, and the people who seek cosmetic enhancements.
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Shanghai Shots: Qibao Town

“I could eat the arse out of a low flying duck”, a visiting friend said before we jumped a 15 minute cab ride to Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai’s Minhang District.

Neither of us knew we’d actually be squaring off more peculiar dishes than low flying duck arses for lunch.

This was actually back in January when I ran into an old friend at the airport who was doing a quick flyby trip through China. After seeing much of Shanghai’s main ‘Lonely Planet’ trail he wanted to get a more authentic feel of China outside the metropolis of Shanghai.

With only a few hours to spare I recommended the area of Qibao Ancient Town. Qibao was originally built in the Northern Song Dynasty between 960 and 1126 and grew over the years with the Qibao Temple at the centre of shaping the area. Recently, the temple has been reconstructed and contains ancient artifacts from its beginnings, including the original bronze bell with script from the era.

Along with the cultural significance is the popularity of the area’s rather unique snack streets. Local Shanghainese dishes are available along with exotic snacks such as toad, pig snout, baby birds on sticks, among others I couldn’t quite make out.

Sure, you can visit more authentic, less touristy water-type towns further away from Shanghai, but if you’re short on time Qibao Town will satisfy.

What: Qibao Ancient Town
In Chinese: 七宝古镇 Pinyin: Qībǎo gǔ zhèn
Where: Shanghai’s Minhang District. You can get there via Shanghai Metro Line 9 to Qibao station or it’s about a 40-50RMB taxi ride from downtown Shanghai.
How much: Free, snacks are relatively cheap. Haggle for cheesy touristy gifts.








Tune in: Carsick Cars

Carsick Cars are one of the coolest indie bands I’ve heard since being in China. Their first album I downloaded via Google Music for free (and legally in China). This video below is the new single called Mogu, Mogu. I somehow don’t think they are singing about the Mogu (mushroom) to be bought at the shan dian.

Thanks to http://56minus1.com/ for the tip on the new song.

Shanzhai Eye: The Hi-Phone

Make no mistake about it, Shanzhai (fake) phones are big business in China. According to some in the local mobile industry, shanzhai phones make up between 20-30% of the market in China. If you take the industry figure of 650 million mobile subscribers in the middle kingdom then you’re looking at a ballpark figure of 160 million shanzhai phones.


To put that in perspective, my native country – Australia – has pretty much reached mobile phone saturation point at roughly 20 million mobile phones. That’s roughly 1 per person.

Other than pointing out Australia is a big country that’s sparsely populated, my point is, this is a huge market. And its estimated the shanzhai market will get bigger if the figure of 1 billion phones in China by 2013 is realised. That could mean a quarter of a billion shanzhai phones.

While device manufacturers like Apple and Nokia may not be too impressed by this, its not a huge worry for other stakeholders in the market – content creators and carriers. In fact, shanzhai phones probably create a great deal of money for those groups. Also, shanzhai phone making employs and gives many innovative people an income.

What I find interesting is the ability for these creators to work so fast on new innovative features and bring them to market. Even the direct copies of branded phones bring their own set of innovative features to the table – iPhone copies with shake shuffle and dual sim cards for example.

Whether these phones work as well as industry-tested phones is debatable, and whether they are as safe, and the companies that make them are accountable for creating safe phones is questionable. Like anything bought on the shady market: Caveat emptor.

The next question is how other countries such as Australia, India, USA, Europe, Africa and so on will respond to Shanzhai phones being exported. Will network providers work together with phone creators to require greater authentication to connect to networks? Will it lead to greater vendor lock-in?

Or, should users have the right to Shanzhai phones? And what’s the difference between Shanzhai and the Google Android powered Lenovo Ophone?

As an example of how well built some of these phones are here is the Hi-Phone:

What dudes do at Shanghai’s Auto Show

The 13th annual Shanghai Auto Show has hit town this week. Even by China standards this event is simply huge – which is no surprise – every south-facing western car company wants a piece of the local market.

I’ve written about the show elsewhere but as a person who watches people, I did find the type of scenes below quite funny to watch:



China’s top 50 Websites

China: the world’s largest population of Interweb users. But what’s going on inside the great firewall and what are people interested in?

This is a complex question to answer for a number of reasons; poor industry data, poor publisher’s data, data manipulation, and lack of industry standard measurements. However, one can find a general primer through the use of Google Ad Planner, a free tool (currently in beta) for online marketers researching websites to advertise on. While an interesting tool to use, I don’t think it’s a one-stop shop to find in-depth answers about users in various categories or regions – not just in China but also Australia/US/UK after looking through some data.

According to Google the data is “estimated based on an automated analysis of millions of search queries and site visits,” and combines information from Google opt-in external consumer data panel data, third-party market research, opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data and aggregated search data.

Having seen some of the actual traffic figures from a handful of the sites below I can confirm it is indeed an estimate and not 100% accurate. However, it’s not a bad primer if you’re looking for educated guesses on the overall, big picture view of China’s Web landscape.

The following table is a simplified view of the top 50 Web sites in China according to the Google Ad Planner for February 09:

Site Name Audience Reach Country Unique Users Country Page Views
baidu.com 91.6 160000000 27000000000
qq.com 74.6 130000000 20000000000
sina.com.cn 62.4 110000000 8700000000
163.com 42.8 73000000 5900000000
sohu.com 39.4 68000000 4900000000
soso.com 35.1 60000000 1400000000
tudou.com 34.9 60000000 2100000000
xunlei.com 32.5 56000000 2300000000
youku.com 32.2 55000000 3300000000
hao123.com 29 50000000 2500000000
gougou.com 26.4 45000000 1300000000
taobao.com 26.3 45000000 10000000000
ku6.com 26.3 45000000 960000000
yahoo.com 23.7 41000000 2200000000
sogou.com 16.6 28000000 790000000
xinhuanet.com 16.5 28000000 490000000
pconline.com.cn 14.8 25000000 590000000
tianya.cn 14.7 25000000 790000000
tom.com 13.6 23000000 800000000
cctv.com 13.5 23000000 490000000
ifeng.com 13.4 23000000 2100000000
zol.com.cn 12.5 24000000 650000000
skycn.com 12.2 21000000 170000000
pcpop.com 11.3 19000000 370000000
xiaonei.com 11.2 19000000 4800000000
people.com.cn 11.2 19000000 370000000
6.cn 11 19000000 210000000
4399.com 10.3 18000000 720000000
xici.net 10.3 18000000 190000000
mop.com 10.2 18000000 370000000
126.com 10.1 17000000 640000000
51.com 9.4 16000000 1400000000
live.com 9.3 18000000 1100000000
hexun.com 9.2 16000000 450000000
eastmoney.com 8.6 15000000 1200000000
alibaba.com 8.5 15000000 1000000000
pomoho.com 8.5 15000000 120000000
39.net 8.4 14000000 250000000
pps.tv 8.3 14000000 340000000
baixing.com 7.8 13000000 140000000
china.com 7.8 13000000 540000000
pplive.com 7.7 13000000 120000000
msn.com 7.7 13000000 370000000
alimama.com 7.7 13000000 230000000
vnet.cn 7.7 13000000 210000000
onlinedown.net 7 12000000 80000000
douban.com 7 12000000 540000000
it168.com 7 12000000 190000000
4399.net 6.9 12000000 600000000
pchome.net 6.9 12000000 280000000

Video: Lenovo’s Android phone for China

According to Engadget this is a hands-on video of Lenovo’s Ophone, a new smart phone powered by Google’s Android operating system.

According to reports this iPhone wannabe will run on China’s TD SCDMA (China’s home-grown 3G standard) and be available through China Mobile. When? We’re not sure, but, possibly before Apple’s rumored release of the iPhone in May.

Why are you in China?

Why are you in China? That’s the question which seemingly arises in many introductory conversations with other expats and locals. The lure of living in China varies greatly amongst expats: job transfers, experience, teaching, love, and practicing loose morals are amongst the most common reasons.

This same question was recently posted on the Shanghai Expat Website – a popular Website for expats in Shanghai. The thread was long, winding and full of flames so here are a few of the more fun or interesting answers:

“How could I turn down the first offer my boss made me? Also Shangahi is vastly more attractive (to me) compared to the other options that he might have offered me (Bangalore or Moscow).”

“The girls…”

“I’m here because my wife was head hunted.”

“I can’t wait to see what becomes of this place in my lifetime, and I’ve got a front row seat.”

“I wanted to prove to myself I can survive here. If I can do this, I can do anything, I reckon.”

“Back home, being able to speak 3 languages plus 3 Chinese dialects means nothing. The old lady selling vegetable down the road can do the same. Over here, people are impressed.”

“I came here to meet a Filopino girl I met on internet, which did not work out…Ended up getting married to a Chinese gal 3 years ago, and gotta say, I believe the Chinese are the most beautiful females in the world.”

“I’ve met a fair number of Chinese that went to the US 10 or 15 years ago and made a lot of money. I want to return the favor.”

“Capitalism has no boarders – I am here to help exporting American jobs”

“All the fundamentalist wingers kept screaming, “America ! Love it or leave it !” so I did.”

“Opportunities to meet more variety of people.”

“After 15 years, still asking myself that question…”

“Chinese BBQ and pretty girls.”

“To outsource works and get good products shipped back home.”