Both Bejiing and Shanghai Airports are Smarter

Beijing and Shanghai airports are among the two most important airports in mainland China. Lot of people complain about their service and management, but the good thing is, both airports get smarter day by day. It is good!

Shanghai Airport Learnt from Beijing to Rearrange the Lanes

At the very beginning, all the taxis in Hongqiao Airport line up in two lanes. When the one in the front stops and picks up passengers, the taxi behind it cannot move. If there is a delay at the front, 5 or more taxi need to wait (sometimes horns).

Photography by Jian Shuo Wang. Taken in August 2004, posted in Shanghai Taxi Colors

Often, it is strange that more than 100 passengers line up there, while more than 500 taxis line up at the other end, but the bottle neck is the pickup area.

The New Approach

Now, the lane was re-arranged, just like the Beijing airport. They transformed one lane into a lot of parking lot 45 degree of the road. All taxi park turn left a little bit and park into the parking lot while picking up passengers. So even if one taxi takes more than the time expected, it does not block the queue.


Taken by Jian Shuo Wang on Jan 10, 2006 at Hong Qiao Airport


Taken by Jian Shuo Wang on Jan 10, 2006 at Hong Qiao Airport

The efficiency greatly improved. Now the bottle neck seems to be the taxi waiting line. Sometimes, there will be open slots, and passengers, but no taxi coming up to the slot.

At least it is a sign of improved efficiency of the picking up area.

Short Distance Queue in Beijing Airport

I heard from taxi drivers that Beijing Airport setup short distance queue just as Shanghai Airport did. If the destination is too near the airport, passengers can take the short distance taxi. They didn’t wait 4 hours or more to pick you up, and they don’t complain if you just got to Sanyuan Bridge. I felt the pain since I always get there, and felt so bad to get on board a taxi.

I didn’t confirm it yet. Not sure whether the taxi saw it or not (rumors often spread quicker than truth). I hoped Beijing airport to have the same approach for a long time.

There are many things can be better in China. There are enough smart people. If people keep making small improvement like this everyday, it can be a much better place.

Problem of Not Having Standard High Resolution Picture

Yesterday’s Shanghai Daily had a cover story on Kijiji and this blog. Miss Fan, the warm hearted journalist asked for high resolution picture that can be printed as a full page of the cover of the newspaper. I do have many pictures but don’t have many pictures with myself on it. Most of them are only the scene taken by myself. Even if there are some, it is not good enough for a cover. So, they used some computer generated image with my outline as the cover. It tells everyone should prepare some photos for us in the future. Just share the tip with you. :-)

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Daily

Image in courtesy of Shanghai Daily

Here is a copy of the left side of the report. Some (about 5) commenters on this blog was also featured there.

Update: Feb 21, 2008

It has been a while since I last visited the Hong Qiao airport. However, the last time I was there, I still saw very long waiting lines for taxis.

I talked with my friends in Beijing and they are very dissatisifed with the taxi queue in Hong Qiao airport. There are just about 5 spots for the taxi drivers to pickup passengers, and many taxis are waiting in the underground garage. Meanwhile, many passengers are waiting in long line at the taxi gate.

The taxi scheduling team need to do something to help people get a taxi quicker, and help taxi drivers to pickup a passenger quicker.

Xujiahui Metro Installed Auto-Door

Auto doors were installed in Xujiahui Metro Station. See pictures blow:

Taken by Jian Shuo Wang

Taken by Jian Shuo Wang

The installation was not finished yet – only the frames. It was said the main reason to install the doors is not to ensure security (it IS one of the reasons), but the biggest advantage is to save energy for the air condition.

P.S. One of my Site Shutdown by ISP

The deadline of ICP requirement past. To be more accurate, the deadline for ICP requirement was about 5 years ago, without enforcement. The winter of 2006 is jus like that.

I have an abondoned domain name: hosted with CompanyCN. It was shutdown because no ICP license displayed on the website.


Screen copy as of Jan 10, 2006

There were no much real content on the server anyway, so let it be.

My friend confirmed that many ISP are using automatic tools to scan all the accounts hosted by them. If ICP numbers are not found, they automatically shutdown the site to elimate the legal risk.

I said I planned to register. I registered, and the application was pending until now. I dropped some emails via the Beian system but no reply. That means, I still didn’t get the ICP. I finally hosted all my LIVE site in U.S. I start to worry that I am using DNS in China. Maybe one day the domain will not work. Let me plan to transfer it out first.

The City and Its Moral Boundary

I start to wonder where the moral boundary is, or the ethics deadline people have in today’s Shanghai, the bigger and bigger city.

Farmer Selling?

There is a way called farmer selling. It is basically to hire enough very low educated people (many of them are only children under 18) and pay them to distribute those name-card-size advertisement cards on the street. It is annoying. In People’s Square or Xujiahui, there are many and you have to hide from them, escape from them, and sometimes fight with them to go to your direction. I hate those guys.

There are some common tactics they use.

They will stand just in front of you, on the narrow street, in the middle of your way. You have to change your route to avoid run into those guy. That is the only way they bring your attention to them.

They will hand out to you with the card on hand. People have been educated not to take any cards they gave, but they will throw the card to you, put it into your pocket (sometimes they do) and try every way to stick it to your bag in case your bag is not closed. The worst experience was, someone even run to me, and opens my laptop case and throw the card into it. It seems they can easily take my laptop away. However, to take away something is robbery, but to put something in is not, right? It is just annoying.

Farmer Selling + Metro?

In the morning, I see those guys in the cart of the Metro. In Long Yang station, there were not many people yet. Three boys formed a line and went from one end of the metro carts to the other, and put their cards into people’s body. Since everyone was sitting there, and they delivered their card just like a teacher in kindergarten distribute apples to children. Very soon, there are about 4 cards on my legs, on my laptop bag and on my coat.

It is insulting, I’d say.

A lot of people was angry and throw the cards back to the face of the boys. They just don’t care and continue to move, and distribute. Within 30 seconds, the whole cart was full of garbage cards already.

This situation is not new. It lasted for one month. I believe they must found the result is good, and more and more companies are doing so.

I called the Metro service center at 021-64370000 immediately and reported the spam – yes. real world spam. They said they will inform the security of the next station.

I just wonder what is the boundary of ethics in this city? If several phone calls are so important that they can throw thousands of cards onto metro and rape all the passengers by sending some dirty card onto their body, what else they cannot do for a “successful” business?

Internet Ethics

On the Internet, it is even worse. Almost all downloads from big sites contain adware, and website became popular by creating virus to spread everyday. They hijack the homepage of browser, the address bar, or the icons on the desktop, and pops up advertisement every minute. This is almost the worst of the time. Bigger portals are not doing the right thing too. The porn related SMS and IVR are big portion, if not the major portion, of their revenue reported to NASDAQ. Who cares?

The Magic Water Saver

After I get off board the Metro and head to the Raffles City, a group of people are selling their Magic Water Saver equipment at the tunnel of the Metro. It is just a magnetic coin that stick to the Water Meter. Since the magnetic is so powerful that the pointers of the meter will stop to run, and the water continues to run out of the meter. They claim that with their equipment, you don’t have to pay a penny to the water company while you can enjoy as much water as you want. One woman immediately gave him 10 RMB to get one. This is called shameless stealing, right? Beside it, many people are selling fake goods.


Taken at gate 2 of Metro People’s Square Station with my Nokia 6670

Any Solution

I don’t know how long these activities will last, and I am disappointed that all these are there that everyone, including me, can see it but those in charge of the security didn’t see it. What can I do? I called the police after that, but it is obvious that they didn’t got any report before. What’s wrong with the city?

Disclaimer: I don’t think it is only one city’s problem. It is part of the nature – there are good guys and bad guys, sometimes even the definition of good or bad varies from people to people. In the winter of 2004, when I was in the park near the Statue of Liberty in New York, I saw many people selling LV bags at about 20 USD or DVD at 5 USD. I don’t know whether they were offering big discount on LV or DVD or what. I saw the same scene in metro stations (42 street, for example). I was shocked to see all this happen in the States. I didn’t dare to take photos becaues I heard they may have gun. (Poor me) The reason I was shocked was, to conduct some not-so-ethical thing in public, at most crowded area but there are still not many people regulate the market. What is the problem?

On Bokee (BlogChina) Staff Layoff

Yesterday, I got confirmed information that Bokee (former really cut about 1/3 of its headcount. Although the news came out in late Dec 2005, and there are a lot of reports, I still didn’t believe it was true until I personally verified the news.

History of Blogchina grow from one person – Fang Xingdong to about 400+ employees by the end of 2005. It was amazing speed of growth.

I was a member of, a more academic group blog that started almost the same time as blogchina in 2002. The two groups (blogchina and cnblog) held very opposite oppions – blogchina goes to the completely commerical way (people in cnblog critized that it is no longer blog. It was going to the wrong way from the blogging spirit), and cnblog focused more on academic/reseach/future side of blogging, and till now, it is still a group of less than 20 people. That was the difference.

The more explicit debate is about the translation of blog in Chinese. Isaac and others in cnblog tend to call it “Wangzhi” or web – log, or Internet diary (if you want me to directly translate it back to English word by word), and Fang Xingdong translated it as “Boke”, or “Broad People” or something like this…

Very Quick Expansion

As a blog service provider, I believe 20 – 30 people at most is the reasonable number. Later, they added a lot of content editors and then technical people. Maybe many of the people are neccessary to support the business. However, when the number exceeded 50, I was worried about the company. Later, during a meetup in Shanghai, Fang told us they have 200+ employees. I was so shocked, and asked how could you support so many people? At that time, there was no clear business model yet.

Later, the number raise to 300. I know something must be wrong. Either Fang or me, one must be completely wrong about the staffing plan.

The Cut

It was said (please note: This information is based on what I heard, and may be misleading, or different from the fact), that more than 100 people was informed to be laid off on the Thusday afternoon around X’mas. The order was effective immediately, which meant the employee need to leave the company the same time they received the information. The life of more than 100 people were affected.

People Strategy in China

This event is not uncommon in current China. The quick expansion of the business, the emerging of startup companies and quick flow of capital money can quickly create a large organization in China, but it is not stable. Especially due to the lower salary level in China compared to western world, and the general practices of many companies, the life of people changes every month.

Someone told me (also, not confirmed) that the rate for university students to get an offer after they graduate is a little bit more than 70% in Shanghai this year. That means, more than 20% university students cannot find a job in Shanghai after they graduate.

What does the number 70+% mean?

I remember, when I graduated, it was so hard to find a job that everyone had to fight aggressively in job markets to secure a position. Everyone (including newspaper, teachers, university official statements) said that the year 1999 was the worst year in the recent history of the university in term of employeement. Job was not was easy to get as previous year. Even in that situation, what was the employeement rate? 95%!

So I understand how tough it is for the students who graduate this year, not to mention those who don’t have a university degree.

That means, to offer a job helped many people (event it is only several month), at least they get several months of employement and get some real working experience, and makes them more competitive in the job market, but laying off is just too bad.

Tough Situation in Business World

Currently, many people’s lives are tough. People who have a job don’t know about the future, and people who do not have a job don’t have too much current life. So does the companies. This is the situation both employees or employers need to face. The good thing is, the ecomony of the country is still growing and changing is an essential part of it.

Highly Recommend Bookworm, Beijing

At night, I went to a bar (what they call themself as a library, but I expected to go to a bar or tea house), called Bookworm in Sanlitun area in Beijing.

It is a nice place to spend an free afternoon or night there. There are many books (16,000 as described in the store card) inside the library. Most of them are English books and magazines that you can borrow or read inside the library. It is much better beyond my expectation. The foods and drinks are not expensive. Typical coffee and tea are 15 RMB per cup, which is not bad.

Here are some pictures taken with my Nokia 6670.

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of Bookworm

Thanks for Wei and Wang Yi (from ChinaBBS) to bring me there.

There are many small gathering happened there. I was so surprise to meet my friend Jocelyn from Market Place program of National Public Radio and many of her friends. Nice night.


The Bookworm

Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road,

Chao Yang District, Beijing

100000, P.R. China

Tel: (010) 6586 9507

Their website:

Xiangyang Marketing will be Shutdown?

On the Shanghai Airlines flight from Shanghai to Beijing, I read the news on Shanghai Morning Post that Xiangyang Marketing will be shutdown soon.

I have a mixed feeling of the news.

Due to Fake Goods

According to the news, the reason to shutdown the market is because of too many fake goods in the market. 8 of 10 complain received on counterfeit goods are reported to be happen in Xiangyang Marketing, the commercial department said.

It is absolutely reasonable number. Just go there and see how many people approaches you and ask you whether you want LV bags or Rolex watches and anyone knows how serious the problem is.


I have the mixed feeling of the market. It is the place for me to go buy some really goods stuff. I don’t care about brand too much, and I specially feel bad to wear something you know it is fake. However, many stores really sell good goods (with unknown brand) at very reasonable price. I don’t know where to go after it is shutdown. Department stores are too expensive and too few choices, and other bargine markets are not as fashionable.

However, the problem of the counterfeit goods are so obvious and many people to go there just to buy “Rolex” watches for 100 RMB or LV bags for 80 RMB.

Overall, I welcome the news. It is the first step to regulare the market. They are doing the right thing.

Met with An Ti, Chedong and Ada

Chatting with friends are nice. I have some wise and inspiring friends around me. I feel so lucky about that. Some ideas captured during the chat.

1. The trends are pretty linear and it is important to keep close eyes on what is about half steps ahead you.

2. Accumulate something that is can be accumulated, instead of some temperary stuff that can be easily crashed or taken away. What is more important does not really mean what is commonly accepted.

3. Focus in one specific area and be really good at that area works better. Maybe Wiki is a great way to organize knowlege related area.

4. News is something like sales. Reporter sale the news to editor, editor wrap it up and sale it to cheif editor and then sold to end user.

5. Good interview questions are those questions that no matter positive or negative, no manner comment or no comment all make the headline news.

P.S. They are all thinking of quitting blog in 2006 and change to something new.

Thanks for sharing. Good luck, guys.

Links: Chedong/Ada, An Ti (ops!)

DSL in Shanghai

DSL (a.k.a ADSL) in Shanghai is the best quality broadband solution I have seen so far.

Iti s better than FTTB+LAN solution (which I am using at home) in terms of quality. ADSL is more reliable and more available. Sometimes FTTB+LAN fails because of lack of maintainance for the network equipment in your area, and it is only available for specific residential areas.

In contrast, ADSL seems always fast and reliable, and most places can just upgrade from a telephone line. I am of very pure luck that ADSL is not available in my area, which is very rarely heard among my friends.

“How Do I Get ADSL?”

It is easy. Just dial 10000 from any telephone and ask for it. They may not speak good English (I heard, since I didn’t try their service yet). If you rent the apartment, be sure to call your land lord to install it for you since it requires some documents.

P.S. This is among the most asked question. Many people cannot survive without broadband, but broadband is not a standard facility for rented apartments. For more information, check the Related Entries section of this article.

P.S. So nice to meet Xiaofeng today. Very inspired by her passion and vision. She mentioned the term “Global Leadership”. I like this one, including its pronouniation. :-)

65 SMS in One Day on Jan 2

Yesterday, Jan 2, 2006, I left my mobile phone at home.

This morning, I was on the road. I brought out my Nokia 6670. I wanted to know how many phone call or SMS I missed in the second day of the holiday. I expect there must be many holiday greetings.

The text on the homepage (or should I call it desktop, depending on whether I am in Internet age or PC age?) was: 65 New SMS Messages.

What are the 65 Messages?

Most of them are new year greetings. The other two or three bank activity notification from my favorite bank – China Merchant Bank.

65 SMS – that is a lot. That is not the peak of the new year greeting. I think I got more on Dec 31 or Jan 1. There are even more on the Christmas Eve.

Thanks to Most Friends

Thanks for sending me the SMS. I appreciate every SMS I receive.

However, there are clearly some unique SMS that contained my name in it, or very short message (like Happy New Year), I know the user at least spent a small effort to type in something or bothered to send specific SMS to me.

The others were some common terms – very long – used all the 70 characters possible of SMS, and it was a routine. I received many exact same SMS from different friends. I am afraid I didn’t feel as much warmth as the really hand-inputed SMS. A little bit more than 1/3 of the SMS – more strangely, I totally have no idea about who they are. They either didn’t put a name and their mobile numbers were not in the address book of my mobile, or they put a name but I really had a hard time to figure out when we met.

Again, I appreciate every single SMS. I just feel I am more moved by some SMS – no matter how short it is. That is the spirit of holiday, isn’t it?

I Don’t Drive Well After Back from San Jose

After continuous 10 days of driving in San Jose area, I feel I do not drive as well as before in Shanghai. Recently, Wendy clearly feels unsafe when she is on board on the car. I feel the same. I start to become either too dangerous or too troublesome for other drivers in Shanghai. Here are some examples.

Stop at the STOP Sign

I tried to stop at the STOP sign. There is a STOP sign at the exit of my residential area. I need to make the left turn. I stop at the STOP sign, which is about 2 meters away from the main road – it is the road for bicycles. If a car follows me, 2 out of 3 times, the car will horn at me and almost hit me. They didn’t expect a car to stop for no reasons – there was no car running on the main road, and there is no bicycles on the bicycle lane.

Only after I stop, I feel the STOP sign is at the wrong location. After I stop, I still cannot see whether there is cars running toward my position on the car lane – there are a high tree fence between the car’s lane and the bicycle’s lane. I stop, but I don’t have a clear sight about whether I should go or not. So I just stop, keep driving, pass the STOP sign and stop again at the edge of the car’s lane. Only after that can I see whether there is car or not clearly. So sometimes, I just stop just in the middle of the bicycle lane, and force some bicycles to stop beside my car. Often, they will stare angrily at me or shout.

Conclusion: It is right to follow the original rule – don’t stop at the stop sign but be cautious enough about the coming cars.

Go Near a Merging Point

Common practice in Shanghai. Just as the previous senario, if I approach a place where there is out-coming traffic, and there is STOP sign there, I have to slow down and watch the decision the driver of the car (90 degree of my direction) makes. If he happen to decide to go (any way), I have to brake and slow down. If he seems to be patient enough, I will slowly and carefully pass by, ready to brake at any time.

If I get used to driving straight ahead, and do not pay enough attention to the cars at the T-junction, lots of cars just suddenly appears and shock me. It is very dangerous. I encounter this after two or three times – the two cars are very near. Thank God I brake quickly enough.

Conclusion: No matter there is green light, which direction you go, always pay attention cars on the left, on the right, before and sometime after you.

At Green Light

When there is green light ahead, the typical way is to slow down – to about 30 km/h in some crowded area. “Impossible is nothing” at the cross road. Sometimes, bicycles will go across and pedestrian will appear from anywhere.

So green light equals yellow light. That means you have to drive very carefully.

Yellow light means green light – people don’t see the difference.

Red light is red light – for most of drivers, but not all. :-)

The habit of driving fast as if a green light cross is the same as other part of the road no longer works.

Meeting the Pedestrian

Just now, about 9:00 PM, when I am back to home, I just left the gate, I saw two girls going to cross before me.

My habit learnt from last month worked. I stopped – full stopped and waited them to go before me. They stood there, and waited for me.

10 seconds later, I waved my hand and let them go. They just don’t go and looked at me in a strange way. I insisted to let them go first. Later, they went on. 10 meters away, they still look back at my car. Obviously they wanted to know what is wrong with my car.

It is great waste of time. I was lucky that there was no car behind me. Otherwise, I will create another angry driver there.

Conclusion: Don’t try to yield for pedestrian, because pedestrians are not used to go before a started engine yet.

Very Confused

I am very confused in the last several days. The problem I face is, if I follow the traffic rule (the traffic rules are not difference too much in U.S. and China), I will be a trouble maker. I, as an individual will greatly slow down the whole traffic system. I will waste other’s time by stopping at a stop sign or even yeild for pedstrain. I will hit other’s car for not paying enough attention when I drive or injure some cyclist.

After I think really hard, my conclusion is, every society has its own rule. If I have the power to change the rule, I change the rule. I still can do a lot of things with my own effort.

If I cannot change the rule, I will follow the EXISTING rule instead of making trouble. To follow a rule that is only in someone’s mind or on the book does not mean you are a good player in this society.

Doing Business?

For doing business in China, is it the same way? Following the same business rule in U.S. may not work in China. What if insisting on some rules will hurt someone (partners, customers?) and finally hurt the business itself? If you are the only one to follow a rule you truly believe (like the “right” traffic rule), the business may encounter some serious problems. Maybe to crash into another car is not better than following a rule that I firmly believe. No world is ideal.

Any Suggestion?

The “doing something you think is right” rule does not apply to me. I don’t think after I hit other car off the road, I still believe I am the best driver in Shanghai – “Look at all othe other driver: they didn’t hit any person or car in 20 years, but how can you claim you are better driver for following a rule others don’t follow?” Maybe what I do is to promote traffic rules on blog, and on other way instead of practicing it on the road? What a wired answer I have. To contribute to make a better place to live is not easy.

Metro Line #4 Opens

Metro Line #4 in Shanghai (partly) opened to public on Dec 31 – the last day in 2005.

The new #4 is a circle line. Due to the huge accident of the tunnel near the Nanpu Bridge (water flooded into the construction site of the tunnel), the part from Lancun Road (in Pudong) and the Damuqiao Road (in Puxi near Xujiahui) didn’t open. I have no idea about when the tunnel will be repaired.

To me, there is not too much impact for me. It is about 5 minute drive to the latest station in Pudong, while it goes northward, and westword, and southward – just a circle. It is not go to the People’s Square (almost all the 22 stations are of equal distance to People’s Square) and it does not pass Xujiahui. People’s Square, Xujiahui and my home are the three most visited places for me in Shanghai.

Now the purple line on this Shanghai Metro Map is ready, and more is to come.

It is good.

P.S. An ti’s blog was blocked by MSN Spaces days after his post to protest about the overtaken of Xinjingbao (New Beijing News) by Guangming group. Sign.. Take care, buddy!