Featured in That’s Shanghai

I finally got a copy of That’s Shanghai. As Christopher put it, the editor of That’s Shanghai, their copies went away as quick as gold in Shanghai.

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Cover of the Jan 2005 issue of That’s Shanghai. The cover story is Siteswapping. Image in courtesy of That’s Shanghai.

The cover story of this issue is called Siteswapping – the infinite links to Virtual Shanghai. Written by Christopher Cottrell, it is an article on how blogs and other English websites are helping foreign people in Shanghai. My blog was featured in this article. I quote part of the article here. Follow the link to read the complete story.

Philippine-born JM couldn’t take it any more. Her new job as manager of an events company was high-pressure personified. But getting to the office and back home – a nerve-racking hour and a half bus ride through Shanghai’s mean streets – left her ragged and worn before the day’s work had even begun. She needed help, and she found it online. At wangjianshuo.com, she clicked on a link that discussed the city’s transport system, which led to a quicker bus route, which in the end cut her commute in half. Another link, to shanghai-ed.com, provided info on the city’s restaurants, which led to another site, which …

Well, you get the idea.

Welcome to virtual Shanghai, where new and long-term residents alike can instantly find information on just about anything. Where one link leads to another in a seemingly infinite series of combinations. Where communities connect.

That such combinations are possible is entirely due to a small and dedicated band of tech-minded wizards. Like Wang Jian Shuo, founder of the eponymous site, wangjianshuo.com, one of the most visited blogs (websites with personal commentary) in Asia.

Originally from Henan, Wang works as a consultant for Microsoft. He launched the site four years ago with a story about the opening of the Pudong International Airport. In a short time the site became Google’s number one hit for searches on the airport. Over the next two years, Wang expanded the site to include in-depth information on Shanghai’s metro, trains, taxis and airports, making it the most reliable source for local transportation advice. Today, the sites averages one million hits each month and has been lauded by BBC, MSNBC and Salon.com. “The original idea,” says Wang, “was to help foreigners understand how to get around Shanghai…the streets can be very chaotic and lifestyle very different from their home countries.”

That idea has grown to include information on everything from finding a room to rent to help wanted ads for fly-fisherman. In addition, the site provides links to personalized Mandarin language sites – wangchen.com; pgao2003.com; Lijia.biz; 9718.net; and run2me.com – and interesting personalities in Shanghai, including Wang, who lists his hand phone number for those who want personal assistance.

Given the sophistication of Wang’s portal and its time-consuming upkeep, one might wonder why he doesn’t seek reward for his hard work by seeking site sponsors or advertising.

“My philosophy is not to make money but to be respected and be considered a good guide…helping other people is my deeper reward and the satisfaction that brings,” says Wang.

To read the full story, visit That’s Shanghai’s website

I’d like to thank Jelly for participation the interview of That’s Shanghai. Thanks Christopher for creating the article. That’s Shanghai is the No. 1 magazine published in English in Shanghai. Other interesting English language magazines are Time Out, Shanghai Talk and CityWeekend. The only one you can read in all Starbucks is CityWeekend though.

Wei renmin fuwu?

At the Website Review section of this issue, John Pasden reviewed Wangjianshuo’s Blog and claimed that “… It’s almost as if he’s being paid by the city to produce the website. Why else would he create an awesome (Chinese only) interactive online map of SHanghai? Why else would he write up detailed descriptions of what you can find outside each subway stop? Wei renmin fuwu (Serve the People) seems to be his credo.” Pretty correct guess on the second part, John! For the first page, I hope the government sponsor me and make the city more accessible for people from outside China.

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That’s Shanghai reviews Wangjianshuo’s blog

4 Comments

  1. I agree, i was studying abroad in Shanghai last semester, your blog helped me a great bunch.

  2. That’s great!. I enjoy reading your blog from Los Angeles. I can’t wait to go back and visit Shanghai.

  3. I didn’t have much time to visit your blog for several weeks because I’m always swamped at work. Anyway, I want to thank you again JS for sending me a copy of that’s mag. I really appreciate it. I know you’ll go a long long way with your blog in helping “lost and dumb-founded” foreigners/visitors/tourists in crazy Shanghai. Keep up the good work! :)

  4. From the very first time I entered your blog, I found information that was reliable, complete and ready-to-go.

    I love your page! you helped me lots to understand and live in shanghai hehe.

    If you can hope you can write soon about the Sutong Bridge which will connect the surrounding areas in what is called the one hour circle from Shanghai hehe.

    And if you want I think it could be really helpful (I could help you if you want hehe) to write about commuting between trains-metro-buses in Shanghai Railway Station, since they are all together and that could be a complicated, almost impossible, chaotic experiencie, besides the pickpocket ppl who you have to take care hehe! And the two main exits, one at each side of the train station… Easy place to lose you way!

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