Beijing First Impressions

by | Apr 25, 2011 | General

Dan’s Travel – Part One

T-shirt for sale in Beijing:

“Money is not a problem, no money is a problem.”

Maybe a good slogan for Dock Street!

Some sample headlines from the China Daily:

“Parents decide to send their kids to learn English earlier.”

The scene below is the result of a new English school opening for Kindergarten aged children.

“Gap in work wages widens, says report”

More than 70% of those working in Beijing make less than 30,000 RMB per year. That’s about $4,600. The average is close to $6,000 per year and these “middle income” workers pay between 40% and 50% of their wages in rent. Still, they are much better off than their cousins in the small towns and villages.

My only other experience in mainland China is Shanghai and the difference is stark: 1) Beijing is older with a large retiree population, 2) Shanghai retains its old city street pattern, while Beijing has leveled vast spaces for new 10 lane roads and endless skyscrapers, 3) Those attracted to Beijing tend to be the credentialed few who will qualify for government jobs, while Shanghai attracts business people and those who want to join that class.

There are similarities: 1) The traffic is terrifying—a red or green light means little and pedestrians never have the right of way, and 2) plenty of small shops everywhere—the small businessman is alive in China.

Clients need not worry that we will be investing directly here anytime soon. This is still a place where who you know is way more important than what you know. More about the crony capitalist culture tomorrow.

Best regards,

Daniel A. Ogden

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