Beijing is Cultural Center

In Beijing, it is more often to meet some celebrity by chance. Last time, we had dinner and saw Cao Ying 曹颖. At the Starbucks of Air China Building, the person sitting at the same table of me looks very familiar. After he left, I asked the waiter: “Who is this guy?” She answered: Wu Qi Long 吴奇隆. No surprise – I am not the age to scream when those celebrity appears, but the peaceful even expressionless face around me is a sign that it is more easier for many people to meet celebrities in that city.

Shanghai is a city tuned for every individual – nice 24 convenient store, nice weather (well… hmmm… It depends), decent life. Beijing is tuned for public life. It is what a capital should look like.

Email Delay

P.S. If you send email to me in the last few days, please expect a delay or even no response. Please be patient. If you didn’t get a reply, I don’t mind if you send it again and say: “Hey, an answer is important to me”. Otherwise, I may have to ignore some due to processing time.

Where to Start an IT Company?

A friend of mine asked me where to start an IT company, Beijing or Shanghai?

I am thinking of going back to China to setup shop to develop business software. Between Beijing and Shanghai Which city is better city to do so in your mind? Some of factor I can think, such as cost of operation (cost of people, office, etc), IT infrastruture (connectity) and human resource (good programmers). Your opnion is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

Beijing is the answer that hits my head immediately after I read it. Before I start explaining the reasons, please be aware that this is only my personal oppionion based on the limited information and experience I have. There is no simple yes-no answer to such a big question, since there are too many facters: the project you want to do , the market, even the whether, so everybody have different answers to this question.

Although I love to live in Shanghai, my answer to this specific question regarding environment of an IT company is still Beijing.


Beijing is the place with almost all head quarters of government (I know the term of captial, I mean the head quarter of all its departments), and many nation-wide companies. People may argue that some multi-national companies are moving their Asia Pacific headquarters to Shanghai, Beijing is still most popularted area for head quarters. Think about China Telecom, China Mobile, SinoPEC, Petro China… The huge businiess bodies are all in Beijing. So do the IT venders like Microsoft, HP, IBM, Oracle, Cisco….

People and Cost

There are more universities in Beijing than in Shanghai. Many of my friends in IT industry moved to Beijing since there are more opportunities there. The average salary in IT sector seems to be higher than that in Shanghai. This may affect the choice.

Operation Cost

I have no clear idea about the office rental cost of the two cities. I guess in any city, there are expensive office like the Corperate Avenue near Xintiandi to some so-so place at around 5000 RMB per month. In Beijing, maybe there are more cheap places to choose from since it is so large and you don’t have to operate near the Tiananmen Square.

IT Infrustructure

The IT infurstratur of Shanghai and Beijing are very similiar, I think. They are ADSL, Cable Moderm, Dialup to T-1 connectivity in both city. So it is not a factor already. The IT infrustructure is very advanced in China in big cities since it all uses the latest technology with not much legency systems.

Social Network

This is the biggest difference. There are very good circles in China, with friends from all part of the industry to gather. People rely on personal relationship very much in Beijing to do business. The relationship is stronger in Beijing than in Shanghai.

As a result of all these factor, there are much more IT companies in Beijing than in Shanghai. There are many success story, like Lenovo, in Beijing but almost no such story in Shanghai. I cannot tell the who is the leader of IT industry in Shanghai. There are many companies, but none of them is as famous or successful than those in Beijing, even Hangzhou.

Again, Shanghai is still a charming city, although it may not be a green house for IT companies.

Doorplate not Used in Beijing

Shanghai is unique in China, although it is more similar with western cities.

In Beijing, it is rare to use doorplates to locate a place. Instead, they use landmarks.

Even though some land marks have a door plate, but almost no taxi drivers can easily find the place when I only tell them the address like “29 Zizhuyuan Road”. Instead, people use “near …. bridge”, or “opposite to … building” to describe a place.

However, it is not difficult to use this convention in Beijing. Beijing’s street is either north-south or west-east, and there are always big buildings/bridges/gates at the intersection of major roads. By pointing these landmarks at the intersection, they basically specify a latitude and a longitude on the map. Buildings in Bejiing are larger in size and easily to find.

Shangri-La Beijing

I moved into Shangri-La Beijing. At the same time, I started to miss the small hotel named Renaissance. I miss the clean swimming pool at the top of the hotel and glass roof – you can swim under the blue sky.

Shangri-La is featured with its nice service. The lady at the receiption who helped us check-in led us to the room on the 8th floor and shown us the facilities in the room. This is quite impressive. They also keep nice customer database of all my stay in the hotel.

Although this is the third or forth time I visited this hotel, I am not a Golden Circle member yet. I signed up today and get my ID 503 041029 980.

In the room, I get a nice envelop with my name “Mr. Wang Jian Shuo” on it. In it is a hand-written welcome letter signed by George Wee, the General Manager. I am certainly very delighted to get it. The last time I got mail (not email) addressed to me is in Garden Hotel, after our wedding. It was the first time I saw Wendy was addressed as Mrs. Wang. :-D That letter and this one gave me very deep impression. Small things like this takes very little effort but made great difference. Just like blogging, it is the personal connection between the GM and the guest and let the guest feel they are taken care of.

Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing

29 Zizhuyuan Road, Beijing 100089, China

Tel: (86-10) 6841 2211

Fax: (86-10) 6841 8002/3

The renovation of the old building (as the first five star hotel in Beijing) has almost completed. It quickly catch up with other new hotels in the city. It has very nice interior decoration.

What is better here in Shangri-La than Renaissance is the free wireless Internet access in guest room.

Red Wall at Night


© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Fu You Street.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Fu You Street

These pictures are the red wall of the Zhong Nan Hai (where the national government is located) and the pedestrian outside. They look nice at night.

P.S. The National Theater designed by Paul Andrew made great progress. The glass cover is finished.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Take on August 1, 2004 from the West Chang An Street.

People in Beijing is More Expressive

People in Beijing seem to take advantage of the built in language skills to express their feelings in characters. I see more signs on Beijing streets than any other city that directly communicate with people passing by.

Remember this photo I posted before? I posted it in my Beijing Impression.

© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken on the opposite side of the China World Trade Center

It reads: I am not a public telephone; I am not a ATM either.

It is actually a information kiosk.

Here are more such signs.

Don’t Knock


© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at 798 Factory

Just before I wanted to pull the door of a restaurant, I noticed this sign: “Don’t Knock!!! Pleasae use the side door to enter the restaurant”. Haha. What a conversation. It just like some young guy talking with you, using the typical Beijing accent.

Wait for Me

Look at this one: it is at a workshop of a artist at 798 factory.

© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at 798 Factory

Therer are three-story stairs besides the door bell – yes, well match the architecture of the building – and a man (or woman) walking down from the top. The characters besides are:

The stairs are tall.

I walk slowly.

Please wait me for a while!!

I smiled when I see it and became quite interested in the owner of the workshop.

Pictures on the Wall

Besides characters, there are pictures.


© Jian Shuo Wang. Image in courtesy of artiest Zhang Da Li

I was shocked when I see this picture at Factory 798. I see about 10 of this kind of drawing there. It is the famous art of Zhang Da Li, named AK-47. (more pictures) He draw the same picturer everywhere in the city (or in the country). Art is closer to people in Beijing.

That is the reason I love Beijing.

Sleepless in Beijing

I am sitting at a big office in the capital of China.

This is the forth day I am in this big city.

In the last four days, the area I moved around is within 200 meters.

I stay in the Renaissance Hotel and the office is the building beside it. I didn’t take taxi these days – remember, this is a business trip, not a vocation.

Beijing is not as Hot as Shanghai

The weather of Beijing is nice, not as hot as Shanghai. After rain, it is crystal clear again. I can see mountains at three directions surrounding Beijing.

The Beijing airport is on the north. If you look on the northeast direction, you can see two or three plane line up near the landscape with exactly the same distance between, heading to the airport. The flies lower and lower. It is interesting scene. Beijing airport is the busiest airport in China, so the planes land one after the other.

I Love Technical Stuff

These days, I go to bed at 00:30 everyday. It takes some time to pick up technologies that I didn’t touch for two years. So I have to work hard. The good thing is, I found I am more happier to try to understand how programs runs. I checked my previous entry and found this one: I Still Know Software – ClearType and SmartTags. It is the feeling when I am living technical stuff.

I am researching on RMS (Right Management Service in Windows 2003). It is a very interesting topic.

Tip: Search Functions

With more than 700 entries on this site, the most effective way to location information is to use the Search box on the top of each page. It is my way to locate my old articles. Actually, if I need anything I remember I wrote before, I just type wangjianshuo keyword in the Google Toolbar and it always takes to the right page.

Update on Notification Problems

I will not send notification of this post to my Wangjianshuo’s Blog Update alias, before I fix the terrible multi-send problem. I heard most readers get 25 email with the same content. It is nightmare. But if you want to join the update to receive a notification when a new entry is posted (everday), you can join the update now. The subscription form is at the end of each page. There are 128 memembers right now, and it has been stable for about a month with one or two new members joining everyday and the same number of readers leaving. I will be happy if I see the number of total member increases.

Longest Business Trip in Beijing

Business trips are boring, especially you have tough assignments and you have to work over time till late to night – return to the hotel and find yourself in a completely empty space without the feeling of reality.

Beijing is not as interesting as it should be if the only time window for you to explore the city is from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM. It is especially so if there are still a lot stuff in your mind to worry about – the work.

Longest Business Trip

This time, I will be in Beijing for at least two weeks, which is the longest business trip I had so far – even longer than the Seattle trip in 2001. Wendy is having a hard time during my absence since she cannot drive right now. She is learning but it takes time for her to get a license. The car (we call it Goudaner) is nothing more than a big case for her.

A City in a Business Trip

This trip gave me better idea of the mood of my readers. People visiting Shanghai on business trip usaually start their email to me with

    “I am going to visit Shanghai for the first time in Febuary 2005”

and continue with

    “Since I am on business trip and I don’t have much time during the daytime”

Their final question will be

    “Where do you recommend to see in two or three hours at night?”

This is exactly the informaiton I am seeking for in Beijing. I know there is no perfect answer to this question at all.

If someone cannot feel relaxed, no place is right for him/her other than either a desk at office or a bed at hotel.


Eric sent me a map of all Starbucks days before. I am considering to visit all Starbucks in Beijing one by one in one day, as I did in Shanghai. It seems not very possible since I may need to work on technical stuff this weekend. I tell you, I do enjoy reading the white papers and PPTs.

My Previous Beijing Visit

Here is the recording of my previous Beijing visit.


BTW, Wangjianshuo in Google Approaches to 10,000

Searching Wangjianshuo in Google and I found there are 9,620 results:


Courtesy of

It was 9,400 items when I checked the day before yesterday. There is a 200 increase in the last two days. Now the webpages containing wangjianshuo is approaching to 10,000 . Interesting, isn’t it? This is the wealth of linkage currency I have.

Flying to Beijing Again

Just got my flight ticket from to Beijing.

SHA MU5103 Y 27JUL 0900 PEK

1130 RMB for single trip and 2260 RMB for double trip. It is much more expensive than from Shanghai to Hong Kong (1600 RMB round trip) or to Singapore (1999 RMB round trip). It is even more expensive than from Beijing to Sinapore (1999 RMB round trip).

Packing my package and stepping onto my journey again.

What to bring?

  • Passport (My ID got lost again)
  • Tickets
  • Camera
  • Me?
  • Anything else?

This is a business trip again.

Arrive in Beijing on Delayed Flight

The flight MU5125 I took delayed. It was planned to depart at 8:00 PM yesterday but we started as late as 0:15 AM this morning. I waited in the airport for 5 hours, cold and boring. When I arrived in Beijing Airport, it was already 2:00 AM. It cost me 1 hour to get to hotel. I finally went to bed around 3:30 AM in Liang Ma He Hotel (Landmark Hotel).

The delay was because of the storm in Beijing. Later, I learnt that the storm happened around 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM yesterday, and it caused long back log to all flights to Beijing. According to flight attendants, the planes waiting to land looked like flies in the sky. It took 4 hours to clear most of the flights in the queue. We were still lucky because when we arrived in PEK at 2:00 PM, there are still some passengers in the airport, waiting for their flights to depart.

Now I am in Beijing and enjoy good weather here.

Beijing Impression

Beijing impresses me so much every time I visit. This visit was a business trip. The only time I got was to take Metro back to where I stayed after a business meeting. I decided to take metro to experience the city and save some taxi fee for the company. Here are the new findings from this adventure.

More Signes in Beijing

I felt people in Beijing are more talkive/expressive in written tags. I found lots of interesting signs, which made me laugh. Look at this photo: the design of the Internet terminal (with a phone set and a large screen) had big usability problems that many people were fooled by this koisek. So they make it up by sticking a tag on to the glass.

© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken on the opposite side of the China World Trade Center

It reads:

I am not a public telephone;

I am not a ATM either.

Stairs of Beijing Metro were Deep

Look at the stairs – long and deep into the ground. It is the longest underground stairs I have ever seen.


The waiting hall of the Beijing Metro were huge too. The tall poles made so much difference than those in Shanghai. There is only one story in Beijing metro while in Shanghai, the undergrand space was seperated by two floors.


Beijing Become Modern


© Jian Shuo Wang. JianWai Sohu from outside

This is the JianWai Sohu, right to the south of China World Trade Center. The architect is moden and the groups of buildings are rarely seen in Shanghai. The city of Beijing is large and gives huge areas of space to accomendate building groups, instead of sing towers.

Beijing is Still Using Paper Metro Ticket

Why Beijing still uses the Paper Tickets in Metro?

© Jian Shuo Wang. Tickets of Beijing Metro No. 1 and No. 2

Beijing’s Landscape

The difference between Beijing and Shanghai, the two largest and most important city, is becoming more and more minor. There are tall and modern buildings in Beijng and the roads of Shanghai became wider in Pudong. Here is Beijing’s landscape.


© Taken from Millenion building at San Yuan Bridge.

Update Fast-Slow track in Beijing Metro Febuary 16, 2004

Isaac asked: Jianshuo ,did you notice the fast/slow track of Metro auto-lift? I think it’s very humanity.

Yes. I do. I took a special picture on that sign:


© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Ding An Men Station of Metro Line #2

It reads (briefly): Stand on the right and walk on the left.

I saw the similiar sign at San Fransisco airport (SFO). To certain extent, Beijing seems more matched to the international traditions. :-D

Transit of Beijing Metro

I will never complain the transit station of Metro #1 and #2 – People’s Square Station, in Shanghai after I see the transit station of the Dong Zhi Men Station, where people transit to Metro line #13 from #2. The route is three times longer than in Shanghai.


© Jian Shuo Wang

As you can see from the map, people have to follow long stairs up, and enter the underground maze. There was even cross bridge underground (about two stories underground) and then follow a very long stairs up (about 100 stages of stairs). Then walk on the ground (what if it rains?). After finding the entrance, people have to go up with long stairs… Wow. It was really confusing. At the time I reached the area with three dots, I thought I should have arrived at the Metro #13 station. Actually, I just covered 1/3 of the trip.

BTW, the disk space of the server hosting my site is used up. I have notified the administrator. I will post the image of the transition plan tomorrow. Also, I have disabled comment to avoid corruption of database. You will see an error when you post comment. Sorry.

Update: The server disk space problem has been fixed. Now the comment function opens. I am sorry if any visitor has posted long comment but got lost during the emergency.

Business Trips

Stayed in Beijing for 3 days.

I visited Beijing in the year of 1997 with Wendy, with a budget of a little bit over 1000 RMB for two persons and 7 days. We stepped to most of places in Beijing. I did spend a lot of time to calculate the most economical route to take buses, which turned out to be good exercise to know the roads of the city. That was wonderful time I always remember.


© Jian Shuo Wang. The flower on the wall of the Forbidden City.

This trip should be, at least, my 10th business trip to Beijing. However, I don’t think my knowable about the city significantly improved after so many visit since 1997. There are two reasons:

  1. There is no time to go to any other place in the city than the office building.
  2. I never took subway or buses in the trips since my taxi fee is covered. So I lost many chances to get a deeper touch with the people in the city. Because of the same reason, the geographic concept of the city is still blur in my brain.

Business Travel

Business travel is the comfortable but boring travel. The five-star hotels anywhere are very similar with the standard greetings, standard smile and standard guest room. The differences were killed by the five-star standard. It is much more comfortable but less interesting to stay in hostels.

Cheaper Hotel is More Interesting Hotel

Compare the two hotels:


© Jian Shuo Wang in courtesy of Renaissance Beijing Hotel


© Jian Shuo Wang Image in courtesy of Fanrong Hostel

One picture is taken at Renaissance Beijing, costing 80 USD per night (discounted price) and the second is the Fanrong Hostel with less than 4 USD per night.

I even stayed at the best guest room in a hostel at 1.2 USD per night. See the room inside below:

© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at a small hostel in Tantou, Zhejiang

It turned out that the lower the price is, the more memorable the trip will be.

Watch Out Bad Taxi Drivers in Beijing

No only Shanghai has bad taxi drivers. My friends arrived in Beijing airport yesterday and took taxi to San Yuan Qiao. I know the destination is near and does not worth the long time waiting for the taxi driver (see more explaination in this entry), but the taxi driver cheated them by going to the farther way.

The trip should cost 50 RMB at most, but the taxi driver asked for more than 100 RMB accordign to the meter.

Hello From Beijing

I am in Renaissance Beijing Hotel now. The trip was pleasant and the 1100 KM or two hour flight from Shanghai to Beijing wasn’t boring. The flight attendants of China Eastern Airlines were interesting this time. They seemed very happy and even laughed when people talked with them. I believe they must have broken some so-called working standard of the airline. But I feel good (along with other amused passenger) that they behaved more like human instead of trained emotionless robots. In Shanghai, I took the time to take a lot of photos of Hong Qiao Airport so I can create a photo website for this older airport as I did for Pudong Airport.

Beijing is not as cold as I expected. I took heavy clothes only to find I sweat heavily here.

Stepping out of the airport, I began to wander how I should go to downtown. Taxi station is on the left hand and the airport bus stop is on the right.

I finally chose to go right. My destination is the San Yuan Bridge. It is the exit of the airport exit. So it is almost the nearest destination for a taxi driver. Considering any taxi driver should have waited in the long line for at least 3 hours, I hesitate to call a taxi. My trip only takes about 60 RMB. It seems I am the Mr. Un-Fortune. Whose car I get on board, whose whole day’s good mood would be messed up.

I would rather take a bus out of the airport and call a taxi there. Am I doing a favor for the taxi drivers? Maybe yes, maybe not. If more people like me take buses instead of taxi, the time they spend next time would be longer and their business will be worse. :-( There should be a seperated team to serve short distance passengers dedicated to protect the taxi driver, like Shanghai does.

Anyway, the airport bus is always a very good option since it is cheap, it is large and it is also fast.

Arriving at hotel, it is already 10:00 PM. I am feeling good for “saving a taxi driver”.

I’ll be Beijing From Feb 8 to Feb 14

When was my last time in Beijing? Maybe Sept 07, 2003? That is my last blog entry mentioning Beijing.

Wow. It is incredible that I didn’t set my foot in Beijing for about half year. It was a long time ago. I am a Frequent Flyer and in the last half year, I didn’t travel as crazy as before.

I have a lot of friends in Beijing, but I don’t know anyone who read this blog are in Beijing (judged from the comment). I’d be happy to meet some people there. Drop me an email. :-D

Traveled to Beijing with China Eastern Airlines

I believe the transportation between Shanghai and Beijing should be busiest in China. Taking me as an example, almost 2/3 of my travel desitniation is Beijing – maybe it only reflects the importance of Beijing, since it may be the same for people in cities like Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

I just checked the flight schedule and found it amazing that how frequent the flights are. The China Eastern Airlines (MU) alone operates hourly flight to Beijing from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM:

MU5101	8:00	10:00

MU5103	9:00	11:00

MU5105	10:00	12:00

MU5107	11:00	13:00

MU2579	11:35	13:40

MU5109	12:00	14:00

MU5111	13:00	14:50

MU2577	13:50	15:50

MU5113	14:00	16:10

MU5115	15:00	17:00

MU5117	16:00	17:55

MU5119	17:00	19:00

MU5121	18:00	20:00

Air China also offers a lot of flights from Shanghai to Beijing.

CA1590		8:55	10:55

CA1502		11:30	13:30

CA1520		12:45	14:40

CA1558		14:25	16:25

CA1518		16:10	18:10

CA1516		18:10	20:10

CA1856		19:25	21:25

CA1550		21:05	23:00

I am one of the passenger on the flight MU5119 – maybe this is the third time I took this flight, not sure.

Comparing Shanghai and Beijing

I got email from Christina today asking about which city I will recommend if she comes to China.

====Original Message===

Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2003 10:40 AM

To: Jian Shuo Wang

Subject: Possible Trip To Shanghai China in December 2003 – January 2004

We are going to travel to China this coming December!!! Another good friend from Shanghai, Shexi Bouvier, told me that we should definitely travel to Shanghai, rather than Hong Kong or Beijing!!! Is this true???

It appears thta you have much information about Shanghai. Please advise if you can provide us with some good advice – both about China in general & Shanghai in particular!!!!

Thank you very much,


It is not easy to answer. Actually, it is very good to visit Shanghai. I will definitely suggest you to come.

What do you want about my suggestions? I have posted all the topics I think may be interesting to my website and I’d like to see what do you want. It will help me or other readers if you prepare a questionnaire about what you want to know more about China or Shanghai and I promise I will answer all the questions to be best of my knowledge and posted on my site – with credit for you.

For example, I am interested to travel to Washington DC and what would you describe about the city? It may not be easy to answer.

Well. I think Beijing is a must-see city in China, not Shanghai. Shanghai is the best place to live for foreigners since it is similar with other large cities like SFO. But Beijing is so different…


Jian Shuo Wang

The World is a Book – Back from Beijing

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – Saint Augustine

This sentence is written on the first page of the welcome book of Renaissance Hotel Beijinng. I love it so much!

I just returned from my short trip to Beijing. It is a very nice business trip on the business side, but for the travel side, it is boring – the exact same flight – MU (China Eastern Airlines) to and back, the same good hotel – Renaissance Hotel. I have to say I read the same page twice in a month.

I hope I will change the travel plan next time.


One of the alternative is to go to Beijing via train. It is still a very attractive option since it not only save hotel expense for one night, it also provide good thinking time. It also give you some sense of the distance to cover – you know the small stations along the railway.

Although I love the Renaissance Hotel in Beijing very much – better than Hilton, I may still need to try new hotels the next time.

Updated Train from Shanghai to BeijingAug 10, 2004

Continuing with my discussion on train from Shanghai to Beijing, I have updated information. Check this entry: Train from Beijing to Shanghai. It is a very comfortable and well arranged service.