Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Online retailer Alibaba eyes markets outside China [AsiaOne/AFP] #RisingChina #DigitalEconomy

Alibaba: Expanding its grasp on the digital marketplace by connecting first with its overseas Chinese to build on 500m existing users

Taobao is expected to be part of the listing vehicle for an expected initial public offer by Alibaba, which analysts say could value the group at between US$60 billion (S$74 billion) and US$100 billion, prompting comparisons with Facebook’s blockbuster IPO.

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Online retailer Alibaba eyes markets outside China
Source – AsiaOne, published May 10, 2012


HANGZHOU, China – China’s online retail giant Alibaba aims to expand beyond its home market by targeting overseas Chinese through its flagship e-commerce website Taobao, an executive said Friday.

Taobao is China’s most popular e-shopping platform, and has more than 90 per cent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions in the country. It had more than 800 million product listings and over 500 million registered users as of last year.

“We hope to provide services to markets of overseas Chinese consumers first so we can have the experience and ability to further promote Taobao in other markets of non-Chinese consumers,” said Daphne Lee, director of overseas business for Taobao.

Such a move could eventually make Taobao, which marks its 10th anniversary Friday, a threat to US giants eBay and Amazon.

Please click here to read the full article at AsiaOne.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, History, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Reform, Social, Technology, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute #Singapore #Diaoyu #Senkaku [AsiaOne]

AsiaOne: Cafe in Singapore rides the wave of the East Asian island dispute by reaching out through a true-blue Singaporean, if not their primary past-time – food.

Singapore is multicultural by legacy, design and device, and expressed largely through the collective love of diverse foods – the more diverse the better – anyone who visits Singapore can attest to this – it is a global epicentre for cuisine in both high and low places. Peace Centre where this cafe is located is somewhat in the city, but nowhere near the central business district.

There is limited space in Singapore – we are all of 42km wide with barely 20km running north-south. It is the second smallest country in Asia and urban density stands about 12,000/sqkm. 40% of the island is thankfully zoned as a green belt because we cannot do without the rain catchment areas, for now. That also means more than 5+ million (3m citizens, 1m Permanent Residents, the rest imported workers) share a living space of around 400+sqkm. Of course that means if everyone had to stretch out their arms all at once it would be a problem. Most live high-rise, so at any one time the reality of that density is not apparent. Helps that it is a 24-hour city too, makes movement a little bit more spaced out.

Having spent the past three years on travelling cycles of – Australia – Singapore – China documenting and getting a first hand view of China I can almost acutely feel the clear impact population density makes. Australia is at 4/sqkm (in June 2010 it was 2.9), China at 116/sqkm, Singapore – as I mentioned, about 12,000. The difference is clear.

I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of the past two years that population density through a decade of opening floodgates, is becoming a serious problem but I digress. I think the reality that the authorities had no qualms allowing this name to be used for the business as positive. They banned Ministry of Sound from setting up a dance club in Singapore because they felt the Ministry name would resonate negatively with officialdom. They eventually relented after years of deliberation, but case in point.

And that there is a large body of Japanese and Taiwanese working and living in Singapore for decades, I know many of them frequent the area – with no qualms, I think here is where Singapore can be a useful model. Despite the ongoing online vitriol for the past two years, they qualify as growing pains – any host nation can attest to that, as you add more layers to your identity, some meet, other’s don’t, and some just need a bit more fine-tuning, talked over a meal perhaps!

This is a great read by Professor Brenda Yeoh from the National University of Singapore –
Rapid Growth in Singapore’s Immigrant Population Brings Policy Challenge (Migration Information Source, April, 2012) if you’d like a pulse of Singapore’s challenge towards this aspect of globalisation – convergence of movement and with divergence needing attention of consensus, felt made more apparent in confined space.

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Sophia Rd cafe cashes in on island dispute
By Adrian Lim, for myPaper
Source – AsiaOne, published November 6, 2012

Source – AsiaOne, 2012. Photo from myPaper

SINGAPORE – The decor is nostalgically Singaporean while the affordable food served includes casual Chinese-Hong Kong fare like bolo buns.

But this street-facing cafe at Peace Centre in Sophia Road, which opened two weeks ago, bears a moniker which might raise a few eyebrows.

It is called Diao Yu Dao, named after the group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, hotly contested by China and Japan for sovereignty. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Culture, Democracy, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Hong Kong, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Social, Taiwan, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , ,

Fewer Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore [AsiaOne]

Singapore: additional buyer’s stamp duty and a slowing Chinese economy sees drop in Chinese nationals buying homes in the city state.

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Fewer Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore
By Paul Lim
Source – AsiaOne, published August 6, 2012

The number of Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore has fallen.

The Straits Times reported Monday that hefty new stamp duty and a slowing Chinese economy are deterring them from buying property here.

Caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority said the Chinese fell to second place behind the Indonesians, buying 259 homes in the first six months compared to 372 homes bought by the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Property, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , ,

China doubles loans to Africa to USD$20 billion [AsiaOne/AFP]

China has been the African continent’s largest investor since 2009 in my mind, for both resource and strategic reasons.  Trade amounted to US$166.3 billion last year and China has just made a pledge of a $20b credit line to Africa at the Beijing forum on China-Africa cooperation.

Despite competing claims – that on one hand, it made too aggressive an inroad causing friction with locals causing anti-Chinese sentiment to rise. And on the other, for politically treating African countries as equals. this means there are two polarised receiving ends to China’s policy of non-interference in its foreign policy.

I believe this is a key opportunity for China to set a clear benchmark on what they mean in being a responsible international leader. On paper, it seems, the ministerial conference seems set to fix existing problems, from inculcating social responsibility to its companies operating there to measures to expand out of the current unequal trade relationship.

If the wealth of the west in the colonial age was built on the back of the exploitation of Africa, will twenty-first century China prove to be different? Will it play the role of a fairer partner in its resource relationship with the second-largest and second-most-populous continent, by engaging in equivalent exchange instead of exploiter?

For more, see

President Hu: China to strive to open up new prospects for China-Africa strategic partnership (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2012)

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China doubles loans to Africa to $25 billion
Source – AsiaOne/AFP, published July 19, 2012

BEIJING – China said Thursday it would offer US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship’s growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.

Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

But its aggressive move into the continent has at times  -’caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Africa, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Economics, Europe, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

China university students accused of ripping off Victoria’s Secret fashion show [AsiaOne]

Just last year reports surfaced about fake Apple and Ikea stores sprouting in the city of Kunming. Now a ‘pirated and risque’ fashion show from pops up from Chengdu – China’s fourth most liveable city. The south-west interior of China has certainly been getting some attention. Beyond the ‘ripping off’ accusations, in some way it reinforces the notion that Chinese are not loathe to copy what is deemed as a better idea from the west. Second there’s also some way to go before agreeable notions of intellectual property are shared.

For more photos (and a video from Youku), check out Chinasmack’s report here.

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China university students accused of ripping off Victoria’s Secret fashion show
Source – AsiaOne, published March 8 2012

Source - AsiaOne

Students from Chengdu University’s School of Radio, Film & Television raised eyebrows when they recently staged a risqué fashion show featuring women’s lingerie.

But it was not just the skimpy clothing that set netizens abuzz.

Students strutted down the runway in outfits that were almost identical to American lingerie retailer, Victoria’s Secret’s televised runway collection. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Education, Lifestyle, Media, Social, The Chinese Identity

Farmers’ rights to land ‘must not be violated’: China’s Wen [AsiaOne/AFP]

Beijing, Monday: To mark the start of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) China’s premier Wen Jiabao repeats his stance that farmers’ right to land “must not be violated” a day after elections in Wukan village – increasingly a symbol of resistance against official land grabs.

Also – see the Wall Street Journal – Rebel Village Vote: No Big Deal?(March 5, 2012) –

A lot of people believe that the resolution of the problem at Wukan was the opening of a new channel and a foreshadowing of political reform,” he said. “But the elections were held according to the organization rules of the village and the election regulations of Guangdong province. There was nothing new about this,” Guangdong Provincial party chief Wang Yang.

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Farmers’ rights to land ‘must not be violated’: China’s Wen
Source – AsiaOne, published March 5, 2012 

BEIJING – Farmers’ rights to their land “must not be violated”, China’s premier told parliament on Monday, a day after elections in Wukan village, a symbol of resistance against official land grabs.

Government seizures of land have become a major source of discontent in China, and sparked a major revolt last December in Wukan, where residents said Communist officials had been seizing their land for decades.

In a speech to mark the opening of China’s National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao said farmers’ rights must be protected. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, Wukan

China’s ‘most loyal dog’ waits 8 hours everyday for owner [AsiaOne]

Amidst the political coverage… the Chinese celebrate their own version of Hachiko.

For more, check out Chinasmack – China’s “Most Loyal Dog” Waits Outside for Owner for 4 Years (with video)

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China’s ‘most loyal dog’ waits 8 hours everyday for owner
Source – AsiaOne, published February 28, 2012 

Wang Cai has been seen daily for four years waiting for his owner to finish work in the Western interior city of Chongqing.

A Chongqing dog has fascinated Chinese netizens, likening him to the faithful Japanese dog known as Hachiko.

For four years now, the dog, known as Wang Cai, has been seen waiting outside the doors of a local bank from 9am. He moves little, does not accept food, and chases away other dogs from his spot.

This is very similar to the story of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita who waited outside the Shibuya train station in Odate for his dead owner for nearly ten years. His story has since been immortalised in the movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Charm Offensive, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Social, The Chinese Identity

Chinese village experiments with democracy [AFP/AsiaOne]

Seemingly stimulated by the Wukan incident: China rolls out an official disclosure of democracy, perhaps a little ahead of time.

They’ve been having elections such as these for a while but the key difference is now the elections are no longer closed-doors.

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Chinese village experiments with democracy
Source – AsiaOne, published February 12, 2012 

A Chinese man casts his vote as thousands of residents take part in the voting for their first-ever open democratic elections for the village committee in Wukan, in Shanwei city, south China's Guangdong province on February 1, 2012, after they protested for months in autumn in 2011 against their allegedly corrupt leaders. Residents in Wukan won rare concessions after they faced off with authorities for more than a week in December in a row over land and graft, including pledges to hold free village polls. Photo: AFP

SHANGHAI – A Chinese village which staged an extraordinary rebellion against authorities last year has taken a key step in a process to freely elect its own governing committee, residents said Sunday.

Thousands of residents of Wukan in the southern province of Guangdong voted Saturday for more than 100 representatives who will put forward candidates for a seven-member village committee to be elected in March, they said.

The move followed protests by the village last December when they faced off with authorities for more than a week in an uproar over land grabs. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Democracy, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Wukan

Female bodyguards start gruelling training regime in China [AsiaOne]

This story for me has got to be one that prompts my old mindsets of sepia-toned China are diminishing.

Of course, it was probably quite sensationalist for the security company to have the trainees in skimpy (and colourful) swim-wear but I digress.

To get on top of the game in China, some Chinese females take the step up with an 8-10 month training regime to become security personnel for the wealthy. Cunning but true – it is believed that ‘women are especially in demand because they are less visible than men and can take on other positions like a secretary or nanny.’

And it comes with an amazing pay package, for everyday Chinese terms. Female bodyguards are paid up to $130 a day when the average wage in China is a reported $308.

See full slideshow from Reuters here.

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Female bodyguards start gruelling training regime in China
Source – AsiaOne, published Jan 8, 2012 

Trainees dressed in swimming suits follow the instructions of a trainer from Tianjiao Special Guard/Security Consultant Ltd. Co. during a training session in Sanya, Hainan province, January 8, 2012. REUTERS/China Daily

Twenty women gathered at a beach in Hainan, China in their bikinis. They were not there for a day out on the beach but instead they began their intense training regime in the hope of becoming bodyguards.

The women, mostly college graduates were kicked, dunked, near-drowned and forced to carry a heavy log between them during a tough boot camp run by professional bodyguards on Sunday.

Tianjiao Special Guard/Security Consultant Ltd. Co will train the potential bodyguards for eight to 10 months to develop the skills needed to serve their clients. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Lifestyle, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Chinese teens sell sex for extra pocket money [AsiaOne]

Few parents would want to hear this: “I don’t want to be a normal worker like my parents, living a hard life to earn money… To me, it’s not even realistic or worthwhile to study hard, go to university and have a decent job.”

Is China’s domestic socio-economic reality of having such a wide income divide really hitting home, has consumerism become the guiding force for self-determinism in youth, or is the lack of sex education the key?

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Chinese teens sell sex for extra pocket money
Source – AsiaOne, published November 7, 2011 

Photo: AsiaOne

Police have taken in 20 teenage girls in Shanghai, China, who have been offering sex to earn pocket money.

Among those arrested are mostly students under 18 years old and two under 14.

Three of the suspects are believed to be the masterminds behind the “teenage prostitution ring” and face charges of offering sex services and inducing classmates and friends to enter the business, reported Shanghai Daily. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, AsiaOne, Crime, Domestic Growth, Mapping Feelings, People, Population, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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