Category Archives: Beijing

Resuming Blogging

I am resuming blogging. The blog is not dead, just cooler, when I experimented to use Sina weibo (twitter like services). Obviously, the challenge of simpler, and quicker twitter model presented is big for blogging and bloggers. I am embracing both.

I am in Beijing now, and will return to Shanghai tomorrow. It is just a quick visit, so I skipped meeting most of my friends in Beijing.

Tired

It has been two intensive days. I have arranged 11 meetings for myself, and Wang Chen in Beijing and meeting with 20+ people, and a presentation with about 100 people.

Got back to hotel now. Going to sleep now.

BTW, I enjoyed big hotels, and now I more and more enjoy smaller hotels like the Orange Hotel in Zhongguancun area. In US, I started to hate those big hotels with hundreds of hotel rooms. Maybe just 20 rooms or fewer are better for me. I am at second floor of the hotel. Think about the elevator, 20+ floor hotel room, and overseeing the whole city – I hate that now.

Good night, Beijing.

I am in Beijing

I predicted that 2011 will be a year with a lot of Startups coming out – the another Spring of Internet in China. I still believe in so. I am in Beijing these days, and I have/will visit many startup companies, like Douban, Qunar, Baihe, Sina, Sohu, Tencent, Google, Innovation-works, and many other media/companies during the three day trip. The Beijing’s weather is not very cold, although it is technically speaking colder than Shanghai, but the atmosphere of the Internet world is still has hot as summer – well, compared to the real peak of Internet bubble, it can be called as late spring. The recent new models like LBS, Mobile Internet, Groupon-clone, and twitter-clone have been enough to fill entrepreneurs and copiers into. One thing that is so unique in Beijing is, these companies are so close with each other in the Zhongguancun area. These big/small companies are lined up side by side with each other within walking distance. That is a unique competitive advantage for this world – just like Silicon valley to the rest of the world. If you ask me to pick only one place that is closest to silicon valley in China, that has to be the Zhongguancun area in Beijing.

Although the agenda is fully filled, ping me via twitter, email, or mobile if you want a meetup.

Beijing Traffic Jam on Wide Roads

Check out how wide the road of Beijing is, and how terrible the traffic jam of today. Thanks to lee who posted this to the Internet:

copyright: Lee from t.sina.com.cn

Yes. Beijing has a problem in transportation now.

Update and Correction

People sent me message and tell me it is not like Beijing. At a closer look, I believe so. Sorry for posting confusing message, and it is the time to re-enforce my rule on this blog: only post something I personally see.

Back from Snowy Beijing

Wendy and Yifan greeted me at Hong Qiao Airport – so good to avoid the terrible long line for taxi, and taxi driver’s unpleasant look for short distance to my home. Wendy observed: “You are always very happy after you visit Beijing every time”. That is absolutely true. Beijing, more like Silicon Valley, brought inspiration to me. As an ENFP, inspiration and new ideas are the necessary food for my life.

Beijing gave me the impression, especially after meeting with Xiaolai, that people thinks about “useless” stuff more than people in Shanghai – one of the hundreds of subtle ways a city sends you the message (quote). Useless is a good word here – the philosophical, deeper thinking of life. Uselessness is the remoteness one’s thinking from the daily principles, facts, and the benefits. Just because of it, most people would argue to “get real”, to “stop dreaming!” That is the key impression I got during this trip. The talk with Kai-fu this afternoon in his newly established Innovation Works gave me the same impression. BTW, he presented me his new book “Make a World of Difference“. I read it at airport, and on the plane. Better than I expected.

P.S. Beijing was so cold today – it stopped me from breathing when the wind blows against your face. I called a taxi, and opened the door, the wind blew the door to wide open and the taxi driver complained along the whole drive, threatening me to compensate him if the door broke.

Beijing to Shanghai via Nanjing

I just left CA177 from Beijing to Shanghai, and arrived in Nanjing Lukou Airport. I know it is ridiculous, I know, but it happened. It was said that due to weather situation in Pudong that didn’t allow safe landing, our flight was forced to land at Nanjing Airport.

Update: 00:30, April 11, 2009

I am back from Nanjing. The airport arranged bus to transfer us to Shanghai. The bus took exactly 3 hours to get to Shanghai from Nanjing.

From the time I left my hotel (1:30 AM), to the time I arrived home (0:30 AM), 11 hours past. This is the longest trip from Beijing to Shanghai. Maybe I will write more about the long, boring, frustrating, tiring trip when I recover tomorrow. Let me go to bed and have a good rest now.

Fly to Beijing Again via CA933 again

This is the second time I record my trip from Shanghai to Beijing via CA933. It is not as perfect as the last time, but still OK, and worth some logistic recording.

Wake up at 6:30 AM as always, wash and waste some time by sitting on the water closet and check my RSS feed, I finally called a taxi at 7:00 AM. I forget how many times I regret that I would have called the previous night. Qiangsheng taxi does not accept 30 minutes in advance booking. That is possible in the previous night. I have to make the call and the taxi arrives several minutes late.

Get on board taxi: 7:12 AM

Get to Pudong Airport T2 at 7:50 AM (Tip: The next time, ask the taxi driver to park at the most north gate, where the CA domestic counters K and L are located. I walked long way to get there (and even long way back to the gate 87).

I still insist that 7:30 (or two hours before flight time) is appropriate time to leave home. Although I waited in the airport for one hour, that one hour is pretty productive. I write something for the business which others requested. Also, I had a not very delicious, but OK beef noodle as breakfast. Most importantly, to have some time in the airport without rush is a good period of time for me to relax.

The CA933 is an iconic flight, since it connects Shanghai, Beijing and then Paris. I believe many people start their first French trip via this flight, just as UA858 for US. The last time, I saw a big section around me was filled by French people, and this time, it seems to me that it is simply a domestic flight.

This time, the flight delayed 30 minutes, and BTW, messed up my whole day’s schedule.

Arrived at PEK at 11:45 (the time the flight arrived at the gate), but when I get my flight and sit on the taxi, it was always 12:30. The T3 of Beijing is too big, and everything is inconvenient because of it is too big. I can not imagine to spend 45 minutes just get out of the airport. This included longer than normal time to wait for my check-in luggage.

Then I visited Huamao Center, and then Tsinghua Area, and when I finished my last meetup near Tsinghua, and got back to my comfortable Shangri-la hotel, it was already 10 PM. Tired, and need to sleep now – it is 0:10 AM.

To summarize my impression of post-Olympic Beijing:

  1. Beijing is very commercialized, and modern. Look at Huamao, where Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriot are located. Look at SOHO city, and look at the big office tower and complex with residential areas. It seems Beijing just transformed its favorite of big and grand building into a modern sense.
  2. Beijing seems to develop faster in landscape than Shanghai. There are more completely new and big places coming out of no where, than Shanghai.
  3. The burned CCTV new tower is much more serious than I thought. I knew the big fire that destroyed the new CCTV tower, but I didn’t realize that it really completely destroyed the building – now it still looks like a building surviving from war.

I will be in Beijing on April 9

I am going to Beijing from April 8th, to April 10th.

Currently, my noon to late night of April 9th is booked, and have other meet-up pending for confirmation.

If you want to meetup, please drop a line to me via email (jianshuo at hotmail dot com), leave a comment below, or twitter to me at jianshuo.

I will also hold a Wangjianshuo’s Blog Meetup in Shangri-la hotel lobby, and you are welcome to join from 4:00 – 5:00 PM of April 9th. I will be there. If you want to join, you are very welcome. No registration or confirmation needed. However, my guess is, I will be the only person sitting there with my laptop or my new Moleskine on my lap, and writing something myself. Every time, I just expect that no one will actually show up for my blog meetup, because of some obvious reasons (before was commonly because very short notice period, and this time, because the time and venue are not the most popular choice). But every time, some people come (sometimes just two or three). Check out my previous meetups.

At night, I am very looking forward to the YLF dinner in Beijing. Many people will join. I missed the dinner in Shanghai, and will definitely catch this one in Beijing.

Xizhimen Viaduct is Too Confusing

If you have a chance to visit Beijing, besides Tiananmen Square, you have to visit the Xizhimen Viaduct 西直门立交桥. I am quite amazed by how confusing it is. I always wanted to drive on that bridge, because it is a serious challenge for anyone’s IQ.

The big interchanged was built about 10 years ago to solve the complicated transportation problems. After 4 years of design, and 200 million RMB to build, the viaduct becomes a headache for drivers. News about drivers spent hours on the viaduct often appear on newspaper. Let me examine this wonderful viaduct.

The “Classical” Xizhimen Bridge Challenge

Imagine that if you are driving from the west to east to the viaduct, and you want to turn right to south bound (a typical right turn scenario), you would expect to directly turn right at the viaduct. The ridiculous thing is, there is no right turn lane. The correct answer is:

Turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right….

If you are lucky enough, and at every turn, you cleverly identify the correct lane, then you can get to the direction. The real situation is, very limited number of drivers can figure it out. They often find themselves driving toward a highway leaving Beijing. Drivers who ever found out the right road even cannot make sure the next time, he is as lucky as the previous time.

Below is the diagram of the viaduct. It is not the problem of Google. The calculated everything right.


Bigger Map

The route in the diagram only lead you to the south bound direction, not on the expressway. If you want to stay in the second ring road (the express way), below is how you can do it.


Bigger map

Amazing, isn’t it?

In Beijing Airport, Back to Shanghai

I am at gate 31 of Beijing Airport, heading to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai. The two day Beijing trip was full of fun and inspiration. Among my trip, talk with Kooxoo.com founder Chen Hua, and talk in Baidu were highlight.

When I left Beijing, I just feel if you ask me about the landscape of cities in China, and in US, I would even say the current Beijing is more westernized (or modernized).

Ops. Blured

Look at these buildings:

This is the area where Sina, Baidu‘s headquarters are located. Qunar is also here.

I am at the Gate 31 of T3 of Beijing Airport. This is what is before me now:

As any airport, advertisement is everywhere.

Byebye Beijing. I will be back soon.

P.S. I always wanted to get a Beijing Public Transportaiton Card when I arrive in Beijing and take metro. I feel I am more closer to this city when I have a transportation card – I believe the next time, I will definitely get one.

In Beijing, Again

I am in Beijing. Sometimes I feel like a clock – swinging between Beijing and Shanghai.

At Hong Qiao Airport, I found things changes quietly, but dramatically. Once a while that you do not visit the airport, you will find many surprises.

Taxi Lanes

The taxi lanes for picking up passengers at Hong Qiao Airport finally increased to 8 lanes, with 2 lanes coming from the parking lot to the pick up area. It is said that it decreased average waiting time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. Good move.

Book Stores

In Hong Qiao airport, there are many Virgin bookstores – yes, exactly the logo of Virgin airlines. The books? Still the same as most bookstores. I saw Jack Ma speaking on the TV – a promotion to a DVD series featuring Jack Ma.

On Flight

I slept a little bit on the flight – feel good. Now I easily fall asleep. It is good to have a snap on my 27A seat.

I am in Beijing, and hi from Beijing.

Wrapping up my Beijing Trip

I am back from Beijing, via train. Here is a short summary.

Train is Good

As I described earlier, train is efficient for business travel. But I realized there is one criteria for it to be efficient: you have to be able to sleep very well on the train. Like me, I am always sleepy, and I can sleep from the time I get to bed on the train until train is approaching the terninal station. For my friend, Jia, the trip is not that pleasant – he wakes up every one hour or sooner during the trip.

In Beijing, In Meeting

I am in Beijing, and I am in a bunch of meetings.

It is critical to arrange meetings ahead of schedule, so you don’t have too many things to do at the same time, or have a big block of time has nothing to do.

It is especially important, in this case, to pre-arrange dinner and lunch, at least location, so you don’t end up have lunch by yourself – like this noon.

Adidas in Sanlitun Beijing

From the first day I am in Beijing, I planned to visit the new Adidas flagship store in Sanlitun, Beijing.

I am not a sports fan, and I am not an Adidas fan yet. I went there just for the building. When we were at a bar at floor 4 of the Salish Lodge in Snoqualmie, Greg told me that he has a new architect completed in Beijing. This is one of the only three works he did for Asia. I went there and check out his building.

P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008

Prepaid Gas and Electricity in Beijing

In Beijing, almost everything related to household utility is prepaid. This is the biggest difference in life in Beijing and Shanghai.

I have taken it for granted that the following things should be billed after use:

  • Natural gas
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Hot-water (if it is provided)
  • Fixed Line Telephone

In Beijing, things are very different.

Card….

For most of the households in Beijing, they have many different cards:

– Electricity card. You have to go to bank or self-serve machine to buy electricity credit, and then insert it into the electricity meter to get electricity.

– Gas card. The same thing. Buy it at bank first, and insert the card into the gas meter, so you get gas.

– Hot water card. You have to got to the property management company to prepay the hot water you need, insert it into your hot water meter, so you can get hot water.

If you do not insert the card, the meter just stops anything from passing it – no matter it is electricity, gas, hot water, or anything else.

Big Difference

Mvm has complained for this when he was in Beijing. There are all types of people – people like to plan and people hate plan in advance. Not everyone can plan exactly how much electricity, how much water, and how much gas the family will use in that month. I assume in Beijing, people may often run into the situation of no gas, no electricity or no water. Imagine at night, you don’t have electricity, like what Eric experienced during the middle festival. You have to wait until the second day to take short leave from work to buy some electricity…

Nothing Right, or Wrong. It is Just Different

I just feel the pain in Beijing, but there is no right or wrong. It is just different from Shanghai, just like many foreigners felt the difference and suffer from the difference from their own country in China.

What do you feel about the prepaid model in Beijing?

P.S. This page was actually created on October 1, 2008

Yogurt in a Bottle

In Beijing (and in other north cities in China, like Luoyang), yogurts are sold in the small bottle, like coke.

I love this kind of Yogurt a lot. Didn’t see any of this kind in Shanghai, but in Beijing, it seems most store selling ice cream or coke sell it. You have to stand at the store to eat it because you have to return the bottle to the store. I love this unique experience in Beijing a lot.

Nanluoguxiang Is Special

I am in Beijing.

After June this year, I started to switch to cost saving Hanting Hotel (a cheap hotel chain) when I travel in Beijing. To me, to be honest, I just feel better in Hanting Hotel than the previous hotels I stayed – say, Shangri-La, or Renaissance. I am not saying it is better, but at a price that is 1/4 of 5 star hotel, and have all the things you need, it is just great.

  • Good location
  • High speed Internet (free)
  • Clean bed
  • Can take bath

The more important reason is, I feel closer to the city.

Like this time, the Hanting Inn in Houhai area is at the Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷- direct translation of the name will be: South Drum and Gong Lane…

smugsmug has some great photos.

This lane is very special – the mixed feeling of Beijing and Lijiang. It is hard to tell what is the origin of that feeling. Or to generally call it, the feeling of travel. They have many bars and stores, featuring the things travelers may like. You should pay a visit – it is not far from the Houhai.

The map is here.

Beijing Airport Express Train in Depth

In this article, I am going to talk about the Beijng Airport Express in depth, just as I talked about the Pudong Airport Maglev Train.

Route

Beijing Airport Express is just opened one month before the Olympic. It has four stations along the line:

  • Airport T3 Station
  • Airport T2 Station (T1 is almost at the same building of T2)
  • Sanyuanqiao Station
  • Dongzhimen Station

The routes are like this:

Dongzhimen -> Sanyuanqiao -> T3 -> T2 -> Sanyuanqiao -> Dongzhimen

Please note that there is only T3 to T2 train and there is no reserve direction trains. The T3, T2 and Sanyuanqiao is just like a big circle – the train only goes counter-clockwise.

The Price

25 RMB (or 3 USD) for single trip, no matter which train station you get off. If you want to get to T2 from T3, they provide free shuttle bus. Please do not take the train if you want to save some money.

Travel Time

I took the train from Dongzhimen to T3, and it took about 20 minutes. From T3 to Dongzhimen may take about 30 minutes (considering the 3 minutes stay at T3 and go back via T2 and the stay there).

The Stations

The T3 Station is in the huge turtle shell, as I described before. It is at the south of the giant T3 station.

I have more photos of the station in this entry: Beijing Airport Express Train.

T2 is underground at B2 level of T2. Use the elevator to get to B1 (food courts), L1 (Arrival) and L2 (Departure)…

Sanyuanqiao station is exactly at the Third Ring Road and the intersection of Airport Express way. It is at the northeast corner of the city. If you know a little bit of Beijing road system, the Third Ring Road of Beijing is the major back-bone roads in Beijing. The Airport Express Road Station is connected with the Beijing Subway Line #10 Sanyuanqiao Station via a short tunnel – about 30 meters long. It is very convinient to transit.

The last station is the Dongzhimen Station. It is also built together with the Beijing Subway Line #2 Dongzhimen Station.

The Sanyuanqiao and Dongzhimen stations enable passengers to transit easily to other subway systems in Beijing. In this sense, it is designed much better than Shanghai’s Maglev.

The Ticket

Here are the photos of the ticket – front side and the back side.

On the back side of the ticket, it prints the route of the train.

It will be withdrew when the train arrives. It does have the paper based receipt that you can reimburse if you are on a business trip.

On the Train

This is what it looks like inside the train.

On the train, there are screen broadcasting some sports program. Unlike the commercial in Shanghai Metro, it seems non-profit.

The Tracks

This is the track looking from the front of the train.

This train has open space for the operator that you can stand behind them and watch the front (or the end) of the train.

This is the track transit junction just out of the T3 stations.

A switch will made the train turning to the right lane, which leads to T2. The left track is where the train come from – the Sanyuanqiao Station. If you look at the photo clear enough, on the top of the light pole, there are Olympic 5 circles.

On the left the track, you can see the big entrance of the Airport Express Way II.

You will see this giant place – for collecting tolls for cars entering the airport.

On the left on the way from T3 to T2, you can also see the many tracks for parking the trains.

It is visible event from the airplane.

Immediately after passing the parking area, the train will run into the underground section of the route.

As you can see from the photo above, at the very beginning, the tunnel is in shape of square, which means it is built by digging the ground and put a cover on it. Very soon, the tunnel will turn into round tube:

The journey lasts for several minutes, and ends at the T2.

Getting back to the city, and getting through the same tube tunnel, the train gets back to the ground and reach the elevated track:

When the train travels on the ground, you can clearly see the Airport Express. The train track is surrounded by high trees. Sometimes, you feel that you are traveling in a forest. The slogan “Green Olympic” starts to echo on my ears.

Along the track, you can see the Ikea store. It is the intersection of the Express Train, and the 4th Ring Road. The place is called Suyuanqiao:

The Sanyuanqiao

Here is the map on the wall of Train Station of Subway Line #10. The Airport Express Sanyuanqiao Station is connected directly with the Subway Line #10 station.

You can leave the train station very soon. As you can see from the map, the two stations are only 50 meters away from each other.

Want to know how far the two stations are? Look at the photo below:

Dongzhimen Station

The Dongzhimen station is also very closely connected with the Beijing Subway #2.

The two stations are connected by a short tunnel.

I have to say, the city planning and architects of the subways did wonderful job. They designed very good transition stations that people can get to almost everywhere in the city via the Beijing Airport Express.