Dad SMSed me that the telephone number for Luoyang upgraded to 8 digits. All the original 7-digit telephone numbers will add a “6” to the front. The upgrade will happen on March 21.
I remember the telephone was first installed to my home around 1995. That is about 10 years ago. Before that, it is very rare to have telephone at home in Luoyang. If I want to make a telephone call, I need to go to room at the entrance of my residential area. It is the only one for the whole area. Actually, I seldom need to make a phone call. The only reason is to call my dad. He has a telephone in his office. None of my classmates have telephone at that time. For long distance call, I need to go to post office. Actually I never made a long distance call before telephone comes to my home. At that time, Internet has already generated some usage in U.S; In China, telephone installment is still small. The Spring Festival Eve of 1996 is a great night for me. For the first time, I found out enough numbers that I can call to say “Happy New Year”.
10 years later, the installment of fixed line telephone reached 316 million (by Jan 2005). The mobile phone users are 340 million already, even more than fixed-line users. The last 10 years are amazing for me. 10 years ago, almost none of my friends have fixed-line telephone at home; 10 years later, almost all my friends have mobile phones.
You may understand the difference of doing business in China and in developed countries. When I worked with people in U.S., I got the impression that people in U.S. are relatively slower than in China. They prefer a comprehensive plan, very solid reasoning and data support for every decision. The pace is slow. They are very professional and have great experience, which helped to make right decisions, but the decision making and implementation speed is slow.
In a fast changing society, it may not always work. Something that happened in U.S. in 100 years happens in China in 10 years. The same process may take up to 5 years in U.S, but it only used 1 year in China. Internet is an example – connected user soared from 0.62 million in 1997 to almost 0.1 billion in 2004. In China, risk is more tolerated than in U.S. Speed is the key for many new industries.
10 years ago, the telephone number for my home is 6-digit. Now, it is 8-digit. By no means could I imagine the upgrade when the black, big, shining telephone set was put on to the table of our home.