I am Moving Back to Puxi

I have lived in Shanghai for 14 years.

My first two years was spent in Minghang Campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Two years later, I moved back to the Xujiahui Campus of SJTU. That was where my current Baixing office is located – the dorm is about 200 meters from my office building.

In 1999, Wendy and I moved to a cheap apartment in Meilong.

3 years later, we very happily moved to the Vanke Waltz Garden near the Caobao Road Metro Station of Metro Line #1. That was wonderful time. The only problem is the noisy Caobao Road.

Then we sold out the apartment, and moved to Pudong in 2004. Look at the back and forth, and twist and the final process of our moving:

It was not an easy decision to move from Puxi to Pudong – they are two different cities. Although I enjoy my life in Pudong a lot, I have to find way to move to somewhere closer to my office.

Traffic is the Key Driver

This year is the toughest year in terms of transportation in Shanghai. With the development of all the metro stations, key roads, and preparing for the Shanghai Expo the next year, the whole Shanghai has never been so jammed, and crowded.

According to the news report I heard ten minutes ago on Shanghai Radio Station, there are 200+ metro stations under construction today, with most stations at the busiest cross roads. There are more than 1000 roads under construction, including the Inner Ring Pudong part, and middle ring in Pudong. There are more than 8000 construction sites in down town Shanghai. It seems unbelievable. If you count the recent collapsed 13-story residential building, the whole picture is more amazing.

It is not surprising for me to find out I have to drive along all the construction sites to work everyday. The previous 40-45 minutes drive has extended to 1 hour and 10 minutes, and sometimes 1 hour and half hour. The even more terrible thing is, since everyone try to get to work at the same time, it becomes mission impossible to get to office at 9:00 AM. No matter how early you try, you arrive at relatively the same time.

I am Moving Back

Finally, we decided to move back to Puxi – somewhere near where I work, and get back to the exciting, ever-bright, crowded, and noisy Puxi. We signed the contract today, and will move back. It takes about one month or so to move.

Puxi, we are back!

My Story, and the Shanghai Story

My story is just one of the millions of stories around where to live in Shanghai. I’d love to share just to help my friends understand what the real life in Shanghai looked like – my choices of Yifan’s school, and my choices of where to live.

Real Estate Price Rises in Shanghai

The real estate market in Shanghai enters into another crazy period. No matter how many experts or the government official expected the house price will go down, it continued to raise like crazy.

This weekend is another crowded weekend. Out of my window in the apartment in Pudong, I saw batches of house agents bringing their client to visit one house after another. I guess there are about 20 of them.

In the morning, when I leave my apartment early, the house agents are already standing at the entrance, and distribute their flyers – some rude one just throw it into our car window. At each intersection of our area (Chengshan Road and Jinxiu Road in Pudong), there are house agents occupying each of the four quarters. Some of them layout tables and some layout some bill boards, and others just standing there with their iconic ties, white shirts, or a badge.

Look at the house price, it went on and on and on and on to the north. A recent report I read from the Youth Daily, the second hand house volume in the first half year has been higher than the last year the whole year.

My suspected reasons are:

1) Loans and Morgages are loosened. Most of the restrictions on second and third house loans are lifted, and people can get loans as they wish.

2) The expectation for large scale RMB inflation.

I don’t know the reason (and I cannot confirm it), but I can confirm what I saw these days – a crazy market with huge volumes of transaction. Just count how many houses around myself (my friends) were sold out or bought – it is more than the last two year combined.

“It Works” is the Highest Standard

For a lot of services, especially the Internet services, and new technology, “it works” is the highest possible standard, not the basics.

The other day, I chatted with my friend in Google, and he asked me what is the future of eCommerce in China, and is there any new model that they need to follow.

My guess is, for the eCommerce to work in China, we just need to make some services work, and not neccessarily to be a new model.

If a website does not ask so much useless information and people can simply buy from an eCommerce site without all the hassle, why eCommerce haven’t become so popular?

If online payment works, so when people want to pay, they can pay, that is a huge drive.

“It simply works” is a very high standard to archive. Check out the website offering second car service. Can they really sell? Look at the classified site. The simply question is, can I get a cheap apartment or second hand there, without checking many spam listing?

Google simply worked, Craigslist simply worked like a magic, and Paypal just did one thing that it promised – to send money safely to your friends’ account, nothing than that.

If you build a service that is simply working, that will spread like wild fire.

Google.com Blocked, Again

Last night, Google.com/Gmail/AdSense and most of other Google property cannot be accessed in China. The whole Green Dam – Google China – Google.com story has unwind and reveal a clear path of censorship + propaganda. The whole story is very long, and there are thousands of articles (if not millions) on this. Let me quickly record the key event.

  • The Chinese Government requires all computer to ship with a porn-filtering software, Green Dam by July 1, 2009. The order came out 10 days before the deadline.

  • Netizen and computer manufacture reacted strong and criticized the censorship software.
  • Reverse engineering of the Green Dam shows it is not just a porn-filter software. Huge amount of politics related keywords are banned, including many foreign websites, and common word like “conscience”. It is further confirmed that the software directly used unlicensed code from Solid Ork.
  • Under the huge pressure of the netizen, the government used the method they used many many times, including 20 years ago – to create a media campaign to “educate” the whole nation to understand the situation.
  • CCTV used three major program “Evening News”, “Focus”, “News 1+1″ to accuse Google for spreading porn content, and tell the nation that porn content has been everywhere and at finger tip of every child.
  • Xinhua News immediately commented that “Now it is the time to be conscious of the severity of the situation, and stop all argument immediately and take action.”
  • Immediately after the CCTV program was broadcast, people find out the college student being interviewed in the program is actually working as an intern in CCTV Focus program.
  • It is further revealed that the samples to accuse the Google Auto Suggestion feature was also fake. In the program, when you enter “Son”, Google suggested “Son Mother”, and other keywords. Look at the search query index, you find out that the terms were queried hundreds of times more than before since 2 days before the broadcast. The query mainly comes from Beijing in a precious machine generating pattern.
  • Google.cn was asked to stop suggestion tools, and stop searching any content outside of China. Google did.
  • Google.com and most other Google properties, including Google Mail, Google AdSense, Google Maps, Google Analytics… stopped working yesterday

Disclaimer: The events were from what I read and from my memory. Didn’t take the work to check every fact, or link to the source due to time constrain.

I Use Hotmail Since 1997

MSN China is running a campaign to engage users to celebrate 10 years of MSN service. They offer to give you your registration time if you enter your MSN account and password (well. security concerns here), they will report the registration date and time, and tell you among all users, how many users are earlier than you.

This is a very nice campaign – it engages users because everyone is curious, and everyone wants to spread out the word if they feel they are pretty early bird – like myself. Another even more successful campaign I participated was the Send Your Name to the Mars.

Here is the date I registered Hotmail.

09:06:41 July 11, 1997

What does the date tells?

  • It tells that I was still in Shanghai Jiaotong University.

  • It tells that it is the starting of a summer after I completed my first two years of university.
  • It reminded me that I registered Hotmail at the No. 3 Dorm of SJTU – the building is right outside my window now.
  • It reminded me that at that time, Hotmail is still using the red Globe+Stamp logo.
  • It tells that is one year and a week since Hotmail was launched on July 4, 2006.
  • It tells that is two years 11 days before MSN Messenger service was launched.
  • It tells that Hotmail at that time was still an independent company invested by DFJ, and 7 months away from Microsoft’s acquisition, and I was two year away from joining Microsoft.

It is interesting to be a historicist, isn’t it?

Conversion of San Francisco and Beijing Time

I do not do as much conference calls as before, and I don’t use an advanced scheduling system called Microsoft Outlook (TM), so I often mass meetings up. After booking three meetings wrong, I decided to really look into the details of how time zone, daylight saving works.

Converting San Francisco Time to Beijing Time

Although there are many tools doing the conversation, I found many tools converted the time wrong, since the new change of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in US extended one month of daylight saving

locks were set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March (March 11, 2007) instead of on the first Sunday of April (April 1, 2007). Clocks were set back one hour on the first Sunday in November (November 4, 2007), rather than on the last Sunday of October (October 28, 2007).

— Wikipedia contributors, ‘Energy Policy Act of 2005′, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 June 2009, 01:21 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Energy_Policy_Act_of_2005&oldid=296664740> [accessed 16 June 2009]

That means, pay attending to the change from March to November.

When it is hot (summer time), the difference between Beijing and San Francisco is becoming less (from formal 16 hours to 15 hours).

The strict way to do the calculation is, always add 15 hours in summer time or 16 hours in winter time to San Francisco time to get the right Beijing time.

For example, a meeting starts at 7:00 PM, June 20, 2009 = 10 AM, June 21, 2009 – my most preferred time to call.

A easier way is to flip the AM and PM, and advance by 3 hours in hot time, and 4 hours in cold time.

Beijing Time to US Time

The way to calculate it is also easy: flip the AM and PM, and backward 3 hours (in hot time), or 4 hours (in cold time).

Hope I can always do the calculation right.

What time is it now? 22:43:37, June 23, 2009 – that is 7:43:37, June 23, 2009 in US.

P.S. China adopted Day Time Saving, but abandoned the practice.

Deep Calm

I love to read Feld’s blog – his blog was introduced by Bo, and is my entrance level knowledge source on termsheet – the best resource on termsheet I can find.

Today, he posted a blog entry with title Deep Calm. I like the post a lot, especially the first simple paragraph.

I’m sitting in the early dawn light in a cabin in Tabernash, Colorado drinking a cup of coffee and getting ready to go for a run in the mountains.

He is absolutely right. To allow some time out of the daily chaotic routine/environment and escape to think about things with great importance is essential. It is especially so for people with management roles, investor rules, and those whose thoughts are more important than action. That is the reflection part of an escape.

On the communication part, Time really matters. To stay uninterrupted for long enough is essential to have meaningful communication. Feld’s suggestion is really a proven way to run a business.

Christina talked about mvm’s blog the other day. He mentioned a word – unhurried. Well. This is exactly the state I feel I am far away from. When I was in Microsoft – a big company, a nice internal supporting system, a decent package, and less burden from family, what a life it was!

Unhurried – that was exactly the word to describe my life before: you don’t have to rush back home to take care of kids, and you don’t have to spend hours with him/her (Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy about it – but it does consume a lot of time), and you still have luxurious time to have a cup of coffee with friends – on weekend! On the business side, the least worried person in the company is you. You don’t care about P&L of the company, or even the devision, and you only need to complain the welfare the company provides, or the quality of free lunch + dinner, and complain about there are just 20 types of coke and soft drink in the kitchen. You also read news, but none of them really involves you. That was exactly my life before 2005. Unhurried. Yes. I just found out the word. Thanks Christina for picking up the right word.

I really need to think about whether I should lead an unhurried life today, a pressure free life?

Calm down. Really Calm Down…

Shanghai to Jinshanwei

I got an email about how to get to Jinshanwei on July 22, 2009, just to watch the Solar Eclipse.

Hello Jian Shuo,

I´ve discovered your blog since I´ve been looking for information about travelling to Shanghai. We have planned our hollidays this year visiting Shanghai so we´ll observe the 22 july total solar eclipse. We realised that one of the best place in conditions to observe the eclipe is on shore in Jinshanwei. The fact is that day, our lodge is located in an hotel in Shanghai and as far as we have to arrive to Jinshan before 9.41 am, I´m concerned about how to cover the distance between Shanghai and Jinshan and how long does it takes the trip, so it happens in a labour day. What´s your opinion? Do you recommend to go by taxi? How much aprox would it cost? If not, better by bus? Where to leave from?. I haven´t found any information about it in the net.

Sorry for so many questions, but for us, this eclipse is a very important part of our travel, and I´m very concerned about the transportation.

Thank you very much for your help.

I didn’t know that Jinshanwei is the best place – maybe just because it is far from Shanghai and won’t be disturbed by the high buildings, and traffic? Although I do doubt whether less than 100 km makes any difference for Solar Eclipse watching, let me help my reader out: Where is Jinshanwei, and how to get there?

Where is Jinshanwe?

Here is the Google Map, and you can see the location:

Jinshanwei is sandwiched by Shanghai and Hangzhou, and is at the shore of the Hangzhou Bay.

It is at the end of A4 highway, and at the intersection of A6. If you know how big the Suburb Ring A30 is, what I can tell you is, it is far beyond the A30.

It is 70 km away from the city center.

How to Get There

There are several options: taxi and bus.

Taxi

It seems taxi is the only feasible approach for foreigners to get there. It takes at least 200 RMB to get there, but it is very convenient. Call any taxi on the street, and tell the driver to bring you there. I am sure the drive will be very happy – like winning lottery that day.

It takes about one hour there.

Metro + Bus

If you want to save money and you are adventurous, you can try to use public transportation. Here is how you get there.

1. Take Metro Line #1 and get to Lianhua Road Station 莲花路站. I will ignore the steps to get to Metro Line #1 – check a metro map. At Lianhua Road station, make sure you get to the South Square of station – exit first, and use the underground tunnel to get to the other side of railway.

2. Take Lianshi Line 莲石专线 at the South Square of Lianhua Road. Get to the terminal station, and you are at Jinshan area. This can be very cheap – I guess it is something around 10-20 RMB.

What is next? I have no idea. I guess you may have a plan.

Good luck!

Back from Nanjing

Meeting

Back from the trip to Nanjing – a government meeting on media regulations. It is maybe the only government meeting I attend every year. The meeting is in Nanjing International Convention Center, in the same mountain area with Zhong Shan Ling. I like that area a lot – the place we should definitely visit more often.

Nanjing Blogger

Most of the photos I saw about Nanjing came from http://lifetea.org/?pg=2. She started blog 5 months before I did (her first blog), and from the first one, I saw a long-long-long-long-time-no-see name: Tiger Cafe. Yes. In the old happy days in 2002, not so many bloggers in this world. Tiger cafe has stopped update in 2004. Christina, me, Isaac, and Robert are still writing our blogs. BTW, Christina and I was not as aggressive as the other two. Their blogs have been blocked by GFW many times – an acknowledgment of the depth of “harmful information” by the government.

Shizilin Street

We had lunch at Shizilin Street – the pedestrian street with many restaurant.

Nanjing is just a normal crowded city like most cities I visited. I am very sure it is my own fault, not the city’s fault, since Christina always have nice photos of the city from her camera: the decent, the beautiful, the sensitive all captured. Example 1, example 2

This is the fifth (if not the sixth) visit for me to Nanjing. I like Hangzhou just because the life there is so nice, but I enjoy Nanjing more because of the history – it is the capital of Republic of China anyway.

Moving back to Puxi

Still working on moving back to Puxi – see if it is possible at all. Seems a big step for me today. Let’s see.