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blakeley guerriere's travel blog, business, society & culture »

[ By | 14 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]

When Meng Yanmei quit her job of 18 years, friends and family begged her not to throw away her career as a general manager for the subsidiary of a government-owned apparel manufacturer, ChinaTex.

Yet Meng wanted something more. “I think it’s better to live,” she said, “so I decided to live.”

She realized that despite her success, she would never be able to attain a top executive position at ChinaTex because of the glass ceiling created by gender discrimination in China’s new free-for-all economy. So in 2005, she started NewTex, a company dedicated to manufacturing licensed apparel for American brands.

“In China, successful women business leaders are increasingly self-made,” said CCTV anchor Jacqueline Chen in a March 2006 interview with Beijing This Month magazine. “They want to make it big with their own creations, rather than being tied to a huge establishment.”

business, liang shi's travel blog, on the street »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
The two sides of a crêpe

At the intersection of Di’anmen East Street and Di’anmen Inner Street stands a small crêperie no bigger than your average walk-in closet. Crammed inside, is a multinational and multicultural conglomerate owned by two people who couldn’t be more different.

Harbin native Cai Wen Bo, 23, is an aspiring musician who made a living traveling around China wherever he could find work. His most recent job ended after a disagreement with his boss, which lead him to vow to never work to please someone else again.

business, rebecca persons' travel blog, society & culture »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]

When Chinese citizen Karen Dang took a job as an office assistant at Learn First, an English conversation school in central Beijing, her goal was to parley her impeccable language skills into a teaching position. This past May, however, she quit when she says she realized the school’s unwritten policy of hiring only Caucasian foreigners as instructors would prevent her from ever getting the job she really wanted.

In talking about her experience, Dang expressed polite disappointment: “They didn’t offer me a better future,” she said.” [And] I’m a good worker.”

At the same time, Dang’s experience reflects the complaints of a growing number of young Chinese speakers of English who claim they are denied job opportunities in Beijing’s burgeoning foreign-language teaching market. The bruised feelings are understandable. A foreign English teacher can make as much as USD 30 an hour. Chinese teachers aren’t likely to make nearly as much but they would still like the opportunity. . . .

business, dawn jones-garcia's travel blog, featured, mike melanson's travel blog, society & culture »

[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | 2 Comments ]
Mission impossible? Using tourism to close the rural-urban gap

The village of Nuanxuan is just a three-hour bus ride to the west of sprawling, modern Beijing. Uneven dirt roads swallow tires whole after a good rain, laundry is hand-washed in a concrete reservoir in the center of town and bright storefront billboards starkly contrast with the sharp odors wafting from 300-year-old outhouses across the way.

But according to Zhang Wenbo, the town’s mayor, Nuanxuan is on its way up in the world. In late 2005, the town was one of 85 across China . . . .

business, dawn jones-garcia's travel blog, on the street »

[ By | 8 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
An entrepreneurial ocean view in the heart of landlocked Beijing

I’ve been in Beijing for less than a week, but already I have a favorite place to sit and watch the world go by: Jin Hai Restaurant, just outside the old neighborhoods in the original city. My Chinese vocabulary doesn’t stretch far beyond “ni hao” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you), but my translator explained that Jin means “landscape” and Hai means “ocean”.
And here, on any given day, you can sit on the patio and observe waves of sweaty blue uniformed workers, gossiping grandmothers and egg-delivering scooters pass by, as this fishing net of a restaurant lures neighborhood denizens and visitors alike to its plastic patio furniture and the sound of hearty greetings from owners Ho Pin and Ho Kon.
The Ho brothers epitomize a changing China, a nation in which capitalism has taken hold and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive. . . .

business, international, julie horwitz's travel blog, society & culture »

[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]

China’s economy has been growing by leaps and bound in recent years, and Western fast food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s have made some impressive strides of their own. The first McDonald’s appeared in Shenzhen in 1990, while the first KFC opened its doors in Beijing in 1987. Today, there are 960 McDonald’s across the country and nearly 2,600 KFC’s.

How did American fast food get so popular so fast? Do Chinese people really relish the taste all that much? Is it a matter of convenience in an increasingly fast-paced society? Or is downing such fare as American burgers and fries seen by Chinese as status symbol in a country now aggressively linking its fate with the global economy?

The answers to these questions vary a lot depending on to whom you happen to be talking. . . .

alice ju's travel blog, business, on the street »

[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Support your local developer… lose your business

When Luo Lei and his wife signed a five-year lease last year on a small storefront in Beijing’s historic East Town District, they thought they had found the ideal place to fulfill their dream of launching their own line of stuffed animals. They had planned to open branch stores by 2010, followed by a themed restaurant. Now the couple’s big plans have slammed into an immovable object — a new city subway station.
In April, Luo and his fellow business owners discovered that they would be forced to relocate within two months when the local authorities would begin demolishing their neighborhood to accommodate the new facility. The shopkeepers will have to start over in a new area, losing the time and money invested in their local clientele. None of them received individual notices – the news was announced through flyers posted in the neighborhood. . . .

blakeley guerriere's travel blog, business, international, on the street, society & culture »

[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]

There’s usually a fine line between the real and the fake when it comes to purchasing designer goods, but in the Sanlitun neighborhood of Beijing it’s a narrow road – quite literally. Sanlitun Village, one of Beijing’s trendiest shopping malls, boasts glistening new Versace, Lacoste and Esprit stores and, in so doing, embodies the image of the up-market Beijing, as advertised in American TV promos for the 2008 Summer Olympics, that many foreigners now hold dear.

Yet roughly 50 feet away, across that narrow street, sits the squat, four-story Yashow Market. . . .

business, julie chang's travel blog, society & culture »

[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]

There is little debate among Beijing’s cognoscenti that Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) is one of city’s most prestigious medical schools. Yet PUMC first-year graduate student Zheng Li regrets the path that has taken her there.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer because my Chinese is very good,” said Zheng, now a biochemistry major who relinquished her law aspirations in high school. “[N]obody from my family supported me, so I had no [option to pursue law].”

“Doing research is boring,” said Zheng, yet she finds it difficult to consider another career path after investing six years of hard work into pursuing medical research.

When it comes to choosing careers, Chinese traditionally value stability over happiness. And as the stagnant Chinese economy tends to spur desperate job searches in an already highly competitive environment, college graduates in general are under pressure to find well-paying jobs.

business, society & culture, vianey luna's travel blog »

[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Making the Monkey Style dream come true

Once upon a time, four friends drinking together at a bar in Beijing discovered that three beer cans placed together resembled a monkey. Today, four years later, their company, Monkey Style, is growing into a brand that caters not only to the city’s burgeoning population of skateboarders but ordinary young Chinese who find confirmation of the city’s new urban cool in the trucker hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and shoes that bear the monkey logo. Although the four partners are convinced the search for new means of personal expression. . . .