Tag: China

Advice to China: Be Like Japan

| May 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

The following is the English language version of my article in the June issue of New Fortune Magazine.

When Chinese companies seek to invest in the United States, Americans frequently advise them to “Be like Japan.”  Given the current Sino-Japanese tensions,  this is probably not advice that Chinese businesspeople want to hear. But it is well-intentioned and based on historical fact.

During the 1980s, Japan went through a period of strong economic growth and globalization similar to what China is experiencing today. At the time, many Americans felt great hostile toward Japan because America appeared to be in decline while Japan was on the ascendant. Companies such as Sony, Toyota, and Honda were putting great pressure on American companies that had previously dominated the US market. At the same time, Japanese buyers were acquiring iconic American companies, as well as famous landmarks such as Rockefeller Center in New York.  American politicians demonstrated their hostility toward Japan by smashing Toyotas with sledgehammers on the grounds of the US Capitol. Continue Reading

A Trip to the Bund

| July 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Went to the Bund at the recommendation of the concierge.  It is the waterfront walkway that overlooks Shanghai harbor.  He said there were shops and restaurants. I found neither. It was a very scenic place.  The Shanghai skyline is truly unique. It’s like the skyline that people in the 60’s would have predicted for the 21st century. Kind of like the Jetsons.

It was blazing hot. I walked along the waterfront and saw fewer and fewer people. The place was deserted and I was starving.  I actually, got a little light-headed. What a place to have my heart attack.

Finally, I just decided to walk off “The Bund” and go into the city to find food. Went down some back alleys, incredibly grim. Dirty and smelly. People in little hovels cooking food for sale in open pots with the trash nearby. Dogs and cats roaming freely. Incredibly unsanitary and I have a high tolerance for those things. Starving, but couldn’t eat. Do I have to go all the way back to the hotel for food?

Finally, I stumbled upon “tourist central” and bought a cantaloupe on a stick just for sustenance. It was actually very good. Then, I wandered into a large open tourist area that was packed with people. Found a Coldstone and was very excited. But it was not like U.S. Coldstone. Two scoops of ice cream in a cup. The clerk ripped open a small package of M&Ms and just poured them on top. I threw half of it away to maintain my diet.

Still hungry, I came upon a long line for a dumpling place. Figured they must be good dumplings, so I got in line and waited about 20 minutes for my dumplings. They were fine, but again, threw about half of them away because they seemed so heavy.

Went back to the hotel to cool off. Secured a private tour for the evening.

 

Mass in Shanghai

| July 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

St. Ignatius aka Xujiahui Cathedral

I attended Mass at St. Ignatius Church in Shanghai. It is presumably a Jesuit Church. It was much more traditional, in every respect, than Mass in Beijing. In fact, outside of the language, it was more traditional than most of the Masses I’ve been to in the U.S.

I went to the 7:30 am Mass on Sunday, which in the U.S. is usually a short Mass. One American priest said in his homily that he keeps his sermons short for the 7:30 am Mass, because people that come to Mass that early “have things to do.”  Not so in Shanghai. In fact, the 7:30 wasn’t even the first Mass of the day. They had one at 6 am.

This Mass was a full “smells and bells” extravaganza. I was splashed with holy water and immersed incense before the priest even gave the sign of the cross. And the sermon was interminable, even allowing for the language barrier. It went on for about half an hour, where sermons in the U.S. are usually about 10 minutes.

Otherwise, however, I have to say it was a pretty rich experience. The choir and the congregation filled the church with song. And, unlike Beijing, the hymns were traditional western church music, though sung in Mandarin.  I enjoyed the Mass and it was a good view of authentic Shanghai, as I did not see another non-Chinese person in the congregation.

 

Traveling at 187 mph

| July 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

I’m on the high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Honestly, it was a bit of a let down. It’s very cool to travel at more than 180 miles an hour. But once you’re at that speed, that’s it. Nothing changes. So, the novelty wears off.

That said, it is an unbelievably smooth ride. It makes the Acela seem like a steam engine. But the seats are pretty common and it’s not a particularly luxurious experience. And I couldn’t get wifi to work.

So, one thing off the bucket list.

The video below is taken out the window and I regret that I stopped the video just as another train was passing. Of course, the relative speed between the trains was almost 375 miles an hour. Now that’s cool.

Sunrise over Beijing

| July 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

5:00 am, July 5th, 2013

The Company Song

| July 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

I had a very nice business dinner in Beijing this week. It was a traditional Chinese banquet, with course after course of food and a lot of wine flowed. The highlight was when two of the woman attending sang the company song. They were described as PR staff, but I was told that their primary responsibility was to sing this song. As you can see, they are very accomplished.

Mass in Beijing

| June 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

20130630-173918.jpgI attended Mass in Beijing at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in East Beijing. I’m not sure whether this church is approved by the Vatican, but the Mass was essentially the same as I would have seen at home.

The church was very historic, dating from the 1600’s. it was burned down and rebuilt a few times. It did have a modern touch. Big flat screen TVs hanging on the columns that projected the words of prayers and music. Good idea.

On big difference was the “enforcer,” a young man who stood next to the priest questioning people as they received Communion. Occasionally, the priest would get involved. Some were denied Communion and at least one woman had her Communion taken away after the priest gave it to her.

Another difference was the music. Most of it was familiar. But the processional and recessional hymns were, shall we say, unusual. The processional hymn was sung to the tune of Morning Has Broken, written by Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam, noted follower of Ayatollah Khomenei. I don’t think his music is approved by the Vatican. But the recessional hymn tried to rock the house. The cantor announced that the “recessional hymn will be I Will Follow Him from the movie Sister Act.” I KNOW that is not approved for the liturgy.

Check it out:

A Month in China

| June 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

I’m at Dulles Airport about to board a plane for a month in China for business.  Will visit Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and, possibly, Mianyang.  I’ve never spent more than four days in a row in China, so this will be quite the adventure.  I hear July in Beijing is delightful….NOT.

Still, I am looking forward to visiting Shanghai for the first time.  I’m particularly psyched about taking the high speed train there.

I hope to be posting among various media, this blog, my company blog, Twitter and even Weibo.  So, to the literally dozens of eyes who will read this, feel free to follow me and provide comments.

View from my taxi

| December 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

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I’m heading for Tianjin, a city outside of Beijing. Don’t know much a out it but it gives me an excuse to ride the high speed train.

In Beijing

| December 3, 2012 | 0 Comments
View from the J.W. Marriott in Beijing

Just arrived in Beijing to participate in the U.S. Ambassador’s Investment Forum, designed to educate Chinese companies on the challenges and opportunities of investing in the United States.  I will be on a panel with other service providers, including lawyers, accountants and investment advisors.

 
The 13 hour flight over was pleasant, even though it was delayed by four hours.   Once airborne, we had dinner and then I watched an episode of Breaking Bad on my IPad.  Figuring I should get the sleep in early since I would arrive at 8 pm, I popped an ambien and dozed off.  I woke up an hour and a half before landing, which was not my plan.  Must have slept for about 8 or 9 hours and now, here I sit, wide awake in my hotel room at 10 pm at night. 
 
What to do in Beijing in the middle of the night, since it will be a long time before I get back to sleep.