WeChat in China, a study in culture

November 17, 2015

I’ve mentioned WeChat, a messaging application produced by Tencent, during my visits to your classes. Beyond its functionality as a messaging app, it provides a window into modern Chinese culture both in design and usage. The article posted at this link (Evernote) describes its use as a marketing/selling tool.



Full link to Article: https://www.evernote.com/l/AEISPwxN4TdE57qsMCQ4m-2Xd9BsBajd4YU

Currency Conversion App and the Chinese Currency

November 8, 2015

As I said in an earlier email, there are many currency conversion apps available. Here’s the one that I use: XE Currency   This links to the Android version but all popular mobile operating systems are supported. I use the IOS version and it works well.

The Renminbi in Foreign Exchange
During the command economy, the Chinese Yuan Renminbi was set to unrealistic exchange values and as a result, severe currency guidelines were put in place. When China’s economy opened in 1978, the Yuan Renminbi was only used domestically and foreigners used exchange certificates; this led to a powerful black market. From 1997 to 2005, the Chinese government pegged the Chinese Yuan Renminbi to the US Dollar at approximately 8.3 CNY to 1 USD. In 2005, a flexible mechanism of exchange rates was phased in, with the RMB being re-evaluated to 8.1 Renminbi per US dollar. The Chinese government launched a pilot program in 2009, allowing some businesses in Guangdong and Shanghai to execute business and trade transactions with counterparties in Hong Kong, Macau, and select nations. The program has since expanded to all areas of China and all international counterparties. China has also made agreements with Australia, Japan, Thailand, Russia, and Vietnam to allow for direct currency trade, instead of converting to the US Dollar. As a managed float, the Renminbi’s value is determined by a basket of foreign currencies.” … from the XE Currency website


The Ghost Children of China

November 8, 2015

China has recently announced the relaxation, if not lifting, of the “one-child” policy. Behind this policy, implemented in 1980, are millions of ghost children, born in violation of the policy and deprived of the hukou, the “foundation of Chinese civic life.”

This is a long read (links to Globe and Mail newspaper) but useful  for understanding one aspect of the Macro Environment of China: laws and social policy.

… from the article: “The foundation of Chinese civic life is the hukou, a maroon-and-gold household-registration document. It is a form of identity used to control people’s movements inside the country, set up by the Communist regime, and similar to systems used in Soviet Russia and imperial China. With it, a person can secure a national-identification card, attend school, access basic medical services, find a place to live, board a bus or train, open a bank account, get a job, and secure a passport. Without it, each of those things becomes difficult and, for those with too little money or too few connections, often impossible.”


South China Sea

October 29, 2015

The South China Sea has been in the news this week as the U.S. sent a military vessel into the waters that China claims as its own.

Though this piece first appeared in 2013, it still presents an up-close look at what we sometimes call the Spratly Islands. The link is to the New York Times.