Texas nurtures investment links to China

April 28, 2016

I thought you might be interested in this conference scheduled to take place in May, in Houston.

[ Opens to Evernote Link]


Source: China Daily.com




The Changing Landscape of China’s Manufacturing Sector

April 20, 2016

As we visit China this year, its manufacturing sector is in the middle of substantial structural changes. The article posted at this Evernote link provides perspective on where China has been and why and where it hopes to go.


[ https://www.evernote.com/l/AEKE-30LjcNGIaFcg0D7ZXwml2ACJoOxuE4 ]

E-commerce fuels Chengdu’s Growth

April 5, 2016

Cross-border platforms expand into multiple industries 

With transactions thriving – particularly online – between international markets and China’s western region, Chengdu is boosting its logistics services to meet the demand of a red-hot e-commerce boom in the city.

Link to Article, China Daily


American Smartphone in China

March 30, 2016

The Lessons:

  1. WiFi is your friend.
  2. Airplane mode (or your phone’s equivalent) is a quick way to ensure you’re not using cellular data which is where the charges arise.
  3. To limit your exposure to unanticipated charges and still use the cellular network, selectively choose the applications that you want to access cellular data. You can do the same with Location Services in IOS.
  4. Monitor your data usage as you go. (I was told by a Chinese friend that no EMBA student would be as anal retentive as I was in managing my data usage 😉
  5. Beyond the data that your apps use, there is background (system) activity that consumes data. Of my 110 MB of data usage, about 65 MB was system activity that was not specifically  related to that applications that I used. More study may result in better control over these system resources in the future.

On my recent trip (March 2016) to China I wanted to test the viability of using my smartphone on the Chinese cellular network along with my carrier’s international voice/text/data plan. Your mileage may vary with a different carrier and data plan.

  1. Carrier: Verizon
  2. Device: iPhone 6s
  3.  International Data Plan: 100 MB Data/Talk/Text @ $40.00 per month

On the first day in Beijing, I walked around using an app called “AroundMe” to test its usefulness in the city. The good news is that it is reasonably useful; the bad news: in 24 hours I had used 110 MB of my 100 MB of data. Time for Plan B.

I upgraded my data plan to 250 MB for which Verizon charges $80.00 per month. I didn’t  open AroundMe again and I only allowed one application to access the cellular network: WeChat.  I used this app for calling home (free for WeChat to WeChat calls over WiFi), communicating with my contacts in China and messaging other people around the world that were also using the  app. At the end of an additional six days in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong I had used 110 MB of data. 

Using the phone in China like this appealed to me since it was the easiest option to set up for a short trip. But note that some of the phone’s capability is lost while out of WiFi range, to the extent that your apps no longer access the cellular network. In an emergency, I still had the option to use the full capability of the phone as I would at home which was and is an important consideration for me. Other methods of staying connected may be preferable, like buying a sim card for your existing phone or waiting until you’re in range of a WiFi signal.

Daniel Currie

P.S. About Location Services: “With your permission, Location Services allows apps and websites (including Maps, Camera, Weather, and other apps) to use information from cellular1, Wi-Fi2, Global Positioning System (GPS)3 networks, and Bluetooth4 to determine your approximate location5.” In IOS, you can fine-tune what apps use your location and when they do so,  to reduce data usage.



Greetings from Beijing, Sunday March 20, 2016

March 20, 2016

I am currently in Beijing and later this week will be traveling to Chengdu and Hong Kong. Time permitting, I’ll be making a series of blog posts about small things that you might encounter on your trip.

Your Health and Personal Comfort

  1. Don’t Drink the Water. Out of an abundance of caution, drink bottled water only. You’ll get a precious couple of bottles at no charge in most hotel rooms but if you need more, you can easily find a local convenience store where you can stock up.
  2. Bring your prescription medicine and over the counter remedies. If you have any hint of allergies there’s a good chance they’ll be activated due to the air quality in Beijing and other cities. You and your roommate will be much happier if you take your allergy meds and decongestant during the trip. Stomach upsets are  not uncommon as well, especially for those adventurous eaters.
  3. Walking? I recommend you walk around to get a sense of the places you’ll visit but there is one important thing you should know: as a pedestrian, you are the lowest form of life! In other words, you do not have the right away over any other moving object — not trucks, buses, cars, scooters, bicycles or sometimes strollers! And not even when you have a green walk sign and are crossing the street. Maintain your situational awareness at all times. Moving vehicles are not going to stop for you.

Your Money

  1. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in China especially in tourist areas. For merchants plying their wares in heavily touristed areas, we are a very soft target. Knock-off handbags and watches of dubious quality are widely available during the day. As the sun sets, the product mix changes slightly to include sex. And no, I have never consummated a transaction for goods or services under these circumstances, but I have been offered plenty! Your best defense is not to say a word and ignore the “merchant.” Once you acknowledge their existence, the pitch will increase in intensity and it is hard to get rid of them.
  2. Become familiar with the Yuan (Chinese Yuan Renminbi – CNY) to Dollar exchange rate so that you can calculate prices in your head. Get an exchange rate app on your phone for assistance.
    1. For example, this morning I purchased a double espresso at a local coffee shop for CNY  22.00.
    2. I saw an iPhone 6s 128 GB in a retail store for CNY 6,888.00.
    3. Traditional afternoon tea at the Sofitel Wanda Hotel (June IBR only) is CNY 118 but you can purchase the Champagne upgrade (almost a requirement) for CNY 398. You may see this written with a symbol, like so ¥398.

{Symbol ¥ is a currency (money) sign called by Japanese “yen” (JPY) and by Chinese “yuan” . The symbol resembles a Latin letter Y with a double stroke. The base unit of both currencies shared the same Chinese character pronounced yuan in Mandarin Chinese and en in Standard Japanese.}


Daniel Currie