Price Rules in China Market

Guess why so many people are queuing in Hymall (a big local shopping mall like Carefore Carrefour) in Pudong?

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© Jian Shuo Wang

They are waiting to buy eggs.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

I am not kidding. They still need to wait for more than 40 minutes to be able to buy eggs – cheap eggs.

The secret behind the scene is, the egg is on sale. The eggs will be sold at 2.50 RMB per/500g. According to the rule, only the first 200 customers were served. Everyone has allowance of 1kg of eggs only. The noon session starts at 13:30. (It was only 12:50 when I took the picture.) Many people have been waited there for a long time already.

So people may have some idea of how sensitive people are to prices of goods. Even the smallest change in price will trigger great demand. This is particularly obvious in Shanghai.

The rule also applies to Real Estate industry, the mobile industry and almost everyone in China market.

Five Years in Microsoft

Today, I celebrated my 5 year anniversay with Microsoft.

June 29, 1999 is the day I formally got on board in Microsoft after half year of internship. The 5 year gave me so much. I am lucky enough to enter a company that I love from the bottom of my heart.

The division I am working at hold a grant celebration party for me. Then I got my Microsoft Five Year Award. I’d like to show off the beautiful gift I was longing for quite some time.

The Big Box

Guess what is inside this box, which was shipped from Redmond, WA to Shanghai.

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Let me open the mysterious box.

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Smaller Box

There is a smaller box. What is inside this colorful smaller box?

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Uncover the box – a nice silver clock appears.

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The Clock

The Five Year Service Award is a clock. Oh. If the globalization team in Microsoft ever reviewed the proposal of sending clocks as gift, they will find it is not proper in China. “Sending clock” sounds the same as “sending someone to tomb”. :-$ So people in China never send clock as gift. Anyway, I can understand. I love the clock very much.

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My name was printed on the clock.

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The Card

Five Year Congratulation Card signed by Bill Gates (by print, not by hand).

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There is a plate. I assume I should stick it onto my shirt.

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The Party

Eric helped to took some photos of the celebration party this afternoon.

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Traffic Rules in Shanghai – Part II

This post is to continue the discussion on Traffic Rules in Shanghai.

Check what my star reader Carsten shared with us on safety in Shanghai. The original comment was posted under my article Just Few Steps Away from My New Car:

About safety :

All people in China should be happy for every little effort the authorities do for the safety. More than 100,000 people get KILLED in the traffic every year in China (and nobody knows how many gets injured).

It goes just SOOOO slowly to make even the slightest improvements.

A couple of months ago Shanghai introduced a new traffic regulation that emphasizes the right for the pedestrians (walking people) to cross the street at the pedestrian crossings (the wide white lines in a band across the road).

I can see now that the traffic assistants are trying to teach people to stop for the red lights, but it is difficult when every bus or taxi just plows through the masses, inside and outside these crossings. And they have no right to punish the violators.

I hope that there soon will be introduced a 100 RMB fee to cars for driving through a not free pedestrian crossing, and same fee for the pedestrians crossing the streets outside of the crossings, or crossing for red light.

The authorities can very well use all the advertisement TV’s there are put up everywhere to teach the people some traffic manners and of the punishment fee.

In USA the cars can (like in China) turn right, BUT ONLY IF IT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT ANY DISTURBANCE.

In Europe – NO way! Wait until the green light turns on.

That clearly avoids the “can I, or can I not…?” situations when turning right for red light.

I can say, that a pedestrian in northern Europe always have the right, then follows the bicycles and cars. THE WEAK PART HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY.

This is mainly because it is not even possible for pedestrians and bicycles to get a license to prove their traffic behavior.

But the ones with engines does.

Jianshuo, 3 questions, how is the policy in China of this right turn business ?

What did they actually teach you in the driving school about the relationship between you as a driver and the pedestrians?

And last, did they emphasize the importance of keeping distance ?

I like to know this, because I like to KICK the F…… cars that nearly run me down from behind, even I cross for green light and inside the right zones !

Anyway, I’m the lucky one, because I’m 191 cm, so the cars will get hurt if they hit me, and that makes most cars willing to stop for me, hehehe ;-) !

And – put on the seat belt EVERY SINGLE time before you turn the key in your car.

I have made it a demand for all passengers going with me to put on the belts before I put the car in gear. I don’t want to be responsible for their sudden death, even it’s not my fault.

“I drive perfectly” as all says, but unfortunately all the others are driving with their head in another place than the traffic, so I have protect me and my dears against the lunatics that kills.

Check this page : http://www.disastercenter.com/traffic/

and to get more knowledge, download the WHO report (summary) in Chinese or English : http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2004/infomaterials/world_report/en/

Thanks for Casten’s observation for Shanghai’s traffic condition! It is true. I have been a pedestrian (the weak party) in Shanghai for 9 years (and will always play the pedestrian role in the future) and been a driver (the stronger party) for almost one year. The change of roles helped me to understand the behavior of both pedestrians and driver in the big melting-pot city. I strongly believe the chaos of traffic in Shanghai is because the percentage of people who can drive is too low and majority of pedestrians do not understand how the cars work so they follow the majority.

Let me answer Carsten’s three questions first.

How is the policy in China of this right turn business ?

In China, if you can turn right at anytime unless there is a red right arrow prevent you to do that. (Disclaimer: Do not take this as official traffic rule – I didn’t got full score in my traffic rule exam and may be seriously wrong). Sometimes, the right turn lane are combined with forward lane. At red light, if you don’t want foward cars before you, you can safely turn right. If there is car waiting for the red light to go forward, as common sense indicates, you need to wait the cars before you to leave before you can turn right. :-D

What did they actually teach you in the driving school about the relationship between

you as a driver and the pedestrians?

Well. To be honest, they didn’t teach me anything about it. My mentor has more than 30 years of driving experience, but he couldn’t speak mandarin well and didn’t receive good education. He was paid very badly. I don’t know how much he makes for teaching us, but when I told him I graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University and am working for a famous foreign company, he commented: “Oh. Boy. You are so promising. You must be able to earn 2000 RMB per month!”. Then I knew what very high salary means to him.

Enough about my nice mentor. I just want to say, many mentors in driving school do not care anything about relationship, philosophy or anything that are not directly related to the police tickets. If the policeman do not award you a ticket, you can do anything.

Unlike mentors, the traffic rules do specify the behavior of a vehicle. I reviewed the rule again with Wendy when she prepared for her exam. Here are some:

  • When a car comes to a pedestrian crossing, the car has to slow down to give way to pedestrians.

  • If there are pedestrians on the pedestrian crossing, the car has to STOP before the line to allow people to pass.
  • Cars have to give ways to pedestrians even the pedestrians are not on a pedestrian crossing.
  • Drivers are 100% responsible for any traffic accidents involving a pedestrian, UNLESS they can prove enough attention has been paid to avoid the accident.

Please note the last one. This means, if someone run into a highway (where cars drive at 120 km per hour), and a car hit the him/her, the car driver still has to be partly responsible for it. This is the major change from the traffic rule of the last version. In that version, the pedestrians are 100% responsible for any accident if they do not use pedestrian crossings AND a pedestrian crossing/bridge/tunnel can be found with 30 meters. I support the change.

How well do I do? Well. I have to say, I am trying to follow the rule but often failed. It is because, the cars behind never expect the car in front to slow down (not to mention stop) at pedestrian crossings. For many times, when I see someone cross the street at the pedestrian crossing, I slowed down to give ways to them, the car behind almost hit my car and the driver honked angrily as if I am the bad driver. After several time, I found I was a trouble maker on the road, and what I do (to slow down) is many times more dangerous than rushing onto the pedestrian crossing. Of cause, to do so, you also need to honk to get the pedestrians’ attention and they will run away. Oh. Forgive me! This is how I can survey in this either hit the pedestrian or hit by car behind business.

The same is for the STOP sign. Nobody stops or expects others to stop. If you stop, the next car may hit yours.

Did they emphasize the importance of keeping distance?

Simple. Yes. The emphasized, just as they emphasized the STOP sign. Look at the EU vs Italy flash. The Yes! No! is exactly describing the situation in China. In the flash, the scenarios or turning right, stop, and distance are repeating itself in Shanghai everyday and in every corner.

Written Test for Driver’s License

Wendy decided to learn to drive. I drove her to take the written test for driver’s license and I waited outside. So I can take some pictures of the test venue and process (I couldn’t last time). I wasn’t able to capture the scene inside the testing room.

The Place

There are many venues to take written tests. They are typically far from downtown – the two I know are all out of the A20 (the outter ring). Here is the location of the testing venue Wendy went to:

These test venue are typically owned by the driving schools and monitored by Shanghai Vehicle Adminstration.

The Hall

Many people waited there to take the exam.

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© Jian Shuo Wang

Entrance to the Testing Room

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© Jian Shuo Wang

Shanghai uses advanced but cost-effeictive technology in the driving exam. All examinees are required to press on a finger print reader and to take a picture with the small webcam. The same finger print and photo will be checked every time the trainee practices on a car. The total hours are recorded. Only after you proove that you have attended enough training YOURSELF can you pass the exam.

CAT (Computer Aided Testing

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© Jian Shuo Wang

This is the computer used to conduct the test. Examinees are required to press on the finger print reader again to verify identify before they can start the exam. The small keyboard on the right performances select (A, B, C or D) and page up, page down functions.

Wendy finally passed the exam and soon, after hand in the 4200 RMB tuition, she can start her own journey to driver’s license.

Search 13123456789 in Google

Who are the people in Google who are working on Google Chinese Feature? They are great. Some new features (Chinese site) were introduced in Google.

Update This page becomes the first result for 13123456789 in Google June 29, 2004

As I expected, this entry jumps to the first entry to Google’s search on the phone number. With daily page view of about 10,000 and 50,000 visitors from 109 countries, this site has been very successful with Google Ranking. Just take some time to browse to the homepage of Wangjianshuo’s Blog – the Top 10 Blogs in China. End of update

Try to search my mobile phone number 13916146826 in Google (Chinese).

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Screen capture in courtesy of Google

It will tell you that mobile comes from Shanghai and uses China Mobile network.

Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen – Part III

Continuted from Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen – Part II

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with Permission

See also

Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen – Part II

Continuted from Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

See also

Daocheng Photos by Maphis Chen

Maphis is a computer genius and a good photographer. Maphis shared his photos with me and granted me the permission to post them on my website.

He travelled in the Tibet area for more than 2 months in Sept 2002 and took many pictures of the area. He inspired my Daocheng trip. Imagine what kind of life he was experiencing during the two months – he told me he learnt the 9-11 event of 2002 on Sept 27, because there is no any news in the vast grand area in West Tibet.

Maphis is also the excellent photograher of my wedding. He uses expensive SLR cameras. During our chat yesterday, I encourged him to go professional on photographing although he has own a software company already.

Maphis accepted my suggestion. If any of you are interested reproduce the pictures in your commercial book, advertisement, please sponsor him to buy a non-exclusive reproduce license. He has original film of the pictures and can reproduce very high resolution pictures for your larger image.

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

© Maphis Chen. Used with permission

The place on the picture is called Daocheng, at the west part of Sichuan Province, in conjuection with Tibet. (My Daocheng page is the first result item in Google for Daocheng. Search Daocheng on my site (use the search box on the top right of this page) to learn more about the place – I wrote many articles on this topic.

See also

Shanghai Weather (TQ)

Today is June 24, 2004. It is in the middle of the rainy season in Shanghai. This afternoon, Shanghai experienced the heaviest raining in the recent years (from my observation and experience). It was rainning cats and dogs outside around 4:00 PM. The sky became completely dark. The rain even triggered some of the alarm system of cars. Some sensitive cars kept beeping loudly. I started to worry my grass in my garden.

Look at the Shanghai Weather Forecast. (Please note: It always reflect the current Shanghai weather and may not be accurate after today).

Click for Shanghai, Shang-Hai Forecast

Raining Everywhere

My friend Hengge, CEO of blogbus.com changed his display name to Storm this afternoon. He is in Zheng Zhou, central China;s Henan Province. He recorded the strong storm in Zhenzhou and the damage it caused in his blog. There are three great pictures on his page.

Beijing is not better. Wendy went to Beijing for business trip today. Her flight was scheduled to depart at 12:00, but she was still in the Hong Qiao Airport around 3:30 PM. She chatted with me on MSN Messenger with XGAO’s SmartPhone + GPRS. It is due to the strong storm in Beijing airport. She was lucky that the plane left the airport before the strong storm in Shanghai. Now she has safely arrived in Beijing.

The rainy season will continue for several weeks.

P.S. I had dinner with old friend Maphis today. He shared some thoughts after running his own company for 2 years. He was both a computer genius and a good photographer. Check his fantastic photos of Jiuzhaigou. I have asked him to share more pictures with me so I can post them to my website soon. Among all the photos, I love this one most – it is the most beautiful place in China.

Photo provided by: Maphis Cheng (Xiang CHENG) Copyright © 2002 Maphis Cheng. Used with permission.

His pictures are more beautiful than my Daocheng pictures.

Yisou, Google, Baidu and Yipai

Yahoo! China launched Yisou.com, the Yahoo! search engine in China. I am a keen fan of Google and I love everything from Google – the search engine, the GMail, the Adsense program, and funny things in their lab. I thought Google was the best in search engine world. However, I start to doubt that. Yisou.com seems to be doing a better job in the Chinese market. It is so similar with Google.

Yisou seems to have indexed more content than Google. For example, if you search Wangjianshuo in Google, you get 5,150 results (as of today). If you search Wangjianshuo in Yisou, 7,640 items were returned. Also, the speed of Yisou is really faster than Google – it is almost the same speed as Google when Google just started. It may because not many people use Yisou now.

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Screen capture in courtesy of Yisou.com

Google invests into Baidu

It is also reported that Google invested in Baidu, the other top search engine in China. It is interesting that Baidu got the opportunity to grow up during the time when Google was banned.

Yipai

Another auction website, yipai.com, was launched recent. It is a joint effort of Yahoo! China and Sina. I believe it will gain market share rapidly from Eachnet. The functions and interfaces are much better than Eachnet.