Fear makes one only weaker

Yesterday morning I received a call from one business partner complaining about two german students not satisfied with the internship position at another business partner in Changzhou. So we decided to drive to Changzhou in order to get a subjective grasp over the issue. And the issue was more serious than we have expected: neither of the two interns are satisfied with the placement, and one was in a very bad physical situation. Plus, he had lymphoma — a type of cancer — a few years ago and is still recovering from the treatment.

Strange thing was that he felt quite in Germany, but since he was pale and didn’t feel very well, we took him to the hospital for a check. We we arrived at the hospital, he couldn’t even stand up and we had to use a wheel chair to escort hime to the emergency treatment department, where the doctor checked his heart rate, body temperature, oxygen level, and a comprehensive blood test.

We looked very serious about his situation, but the doctor said everything was OK with him. She smiled and said to us in Chinese, “I believe he has hysteria”. I’ve heard about hysteria before but never really met someone with such symptoms. So I observed him carefully as the doctor give him a saline. One of my colleagues sat next to him and chatted with him. He seems extremely normal to me when he is not discussing about his illness or cancer. They constantly bursted into laughters when they talked about funny experiences, which is a bit weird since patients next to him are really seriously ill.

After confirming with the doctor again and again, we decided to go for dinner before the saline was finished and he seemed much better. We went to a german restaurant and had a really nice dinner. Over the dinner no one mentioned about his illness nor cancer. And he seemed totally fine.

This is really the first time I see how one’s mind may affect his physical state — in such a drastic way. That’s why when one is afraid of bad things, bad things always happen. Because fear of something makes one weaker, so that one does not have enough energy to defend oneself. This is another ‘scarcity’ problem: when you focus too much on something, you’re using too much bandwidth and leaving too little bandwidth for other things. And you’re trapped deeper and deeper until you are completed depleted of bandwidth or energy — that’s when you collapse.

The best way to fight this problem is to lose some focus on the fears. Then you’ll have more bandwidth to cope with other more important stuff. Just step back, ignore the fears for some time, and find out the long-term plans or goals. After all, not all in life are important, at least some are not any important as we’ve thought.

Online Shopping in China

For those who have been to China but have not tried online shopping, they haven’t really been to China. Online shopping is probably the fastest growing industry in China. Here are some numbers to testify that:

  • In 2012, online sales counts for 5.5% of all domestic retail trade in China; whereas in the U.S. the figure is 5.1%. Chinese love online shopping more than Americans!
  • On Nov. 11, 2012, the sales on Taobao & Tmall (both belongs to Alibaba) reached 19.1 Billion CNY ($3.12 billion), dwarfing American’s Cyber Monday sales, which totaled $1.5 billion. And that $3.12 billion went to just one company in on day!
  • In 2012, online sales totaled $212.4 billion, playing a catching up with the U.S., where online sales totaled $228.7 in 2012.
  • The industry was growing by 75.3%, 66.3% and 48.5% in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

If the above figures do not impress you, consider this scenario: on Monday morning you go to work and one of your colleagues recommends you a lipstick that she finds excellent. You go to your favorite online shopping website and added the lipstick to your shopping cart and check out without really paying for it, choosing to pay when the lipstick is delivered to you. Then you continue working and have lunch. After lunch the delivery guy showed up and your lipstick is here. You pay for it and you just bought a lipstick and are already trying it!

That was not exaggerating at all, especially if you live in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. If you happens to live in smaller cities like I do, I still get most of my purchases within 10-24 hours. I usually buy books at night and the next morning they’re delivered to me. That’s probably I bought a lot of books! When I was living in Finland, the delivery often takes days, if not weeks. You will definitely feel the difference the first time you try online shopping in China.

But the fast delivery is not the only reason why online shopping is popular in China, most people buy stuff online because it’s convenient and you can compare things. And often you have many choices. Online stores ofter many different models for the same product. Different stores sell different things. And you can literally find everything you need online. Clothes, shoes, books, tickets? Of course! Meat, vegetables, eggs? Why not? Gold, investments, Cars, apartments, helicopters? No problem, how many do you want? OK, you made your point. How about boyfriends and girlfriends? Hell yeah, pay now and you’ll have one tomorrow!

Besides, things are cheap online, even if you count in delivery fees. Clothes are sold from a few dollars to a few hundred. Most are of good quality. And if you are not satisfied, you can most likely ask for a refund. Most stuff sold online are warranted. What? Chinese only make cheap crappy stuff? Jesus, from whom do you hear that from? Your grandma? Well, we may have different standards for “crappy stuff”, but I do believe most things are more than worthy of the money you paid for.

I’m not here to persuade anyone to try online shopping in China, but I assure you if you do, you’ll be amazed. I was amazed when I first come back from a few years of stay in the Nordics. If you ask me for advice, there just one: check your credit card regularly so that you do not shop too much!

Anyway, bellow are the top online stores in China. They are mostly in Chinese and you should ask your Chinese friends for help.

http://www.taobao.com/ and http://www.tmall.com/, they are the largest online shopping store in China, both belonging to Alibaba. Taobao is mainly C2C and Tmall is mainly B2C. Often stuff on Tmall are also available on Taobao, but Tmall stuff usually are of better quality.

http://www.jd.com/, the second largest online store, mainly B2C. Best known for its fast delivery.

http://www.yihaodian.com/, online supermarket. Meat, vegetables, seasoning stuff, imported food, etc.

Happy shopping!

Traditional Chinese Festivals: An Infographic

Last week I made an infographic on Traditional Chinese Festivals. It’s the first time I make this sort of things and I’m already in love with it. Infographics are straightforward in showing ideas using numbers and pictures. Unlike blog posts, infographics are easier to read; and unlike tweets, infographics can contain a lot of information. In a way infographics are similar to fruit salad: you like it because it tastes good, and it’s good for you because it supplies you a log of nutrition; plus, you never get bored with it since it comes in various combinations!

So here’s the infographic I made, probably not the best one you’ve ever seen though. But shut up and I’m working on getting it better! 🙂 Continue reading

Chief Flyer Officer a.k.a. CFO

We went to attend the Expat Show Shanghai this weekend trying to promote our Yabroad Open Platform. In the show we have to talk to different international people that may be interested in our business. Our targeting group is international youngsters who might be interested in coming to and living in China for internships, studies, traveling, or volunteer works. Unfortunately there were not many people within our target group in the Expat Show: not so many international youngsters came to the show. But we thought it might be worthy of convincing those mid-aged people to get interested in us. We went to speak with them and give them our flyers. I successfully sent out around 80 flyers in the morning and was nominated as the CFO (Chief Flyer Officer) by my team. Here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Stand close to the entrance. When people come to a show they may receive as many as hundreds of flyers, so it is important to talk to them as early as possible. Waiting for audience at the entrance has many benefits: they are not bored or exhausted (yet); it impossible to escape from you when they have to enter from the entrance; if people are interested in your business you can tell them where your stand is and they will remember your business when they come to your stand.
  2. Block the way. It may sound nasty but you can do it under camouflage. For example, simply stand in a narrow hallway and slightly stretch out, like bowing slightly may make you appear more politely. If you block people’s way and are smiling at someone, he/she has to listen to you.
  3. Observe and listen. Make eye contact and speak with people you feel comfort with. Generally, women are less likely to refuse your attempt to talk with them. In the meanwhile, listen to what people are talking about. For instance, I heard someone calling his friend “Patrik” with a Swedish accent, then I just asked him if he comes from Sweden. It turned out he is from Finland. Me too! Then I introduced him our business and he seemed interested.
  4. Smile, relate, compliment. Nobody likes a poker face when talked to; smile and people will get pleased. There are many occasions when I ask people where they are from, and I’ll respond “Hey! I’ve been/studied there!” or “My girlfriend is studying there!”. Then people may start to ask you questions like “how do you like it there”. Just compliment them. Then introduce them your business. Hard to refuse.

Overall I think the experience was great. I got to know more about our end customers and how to introduce our business in the shortest time, as well as how to communicate with potential customers and talk with strangers. And hey, being a CFO is not difficult! 😀 Continue reading

What a day: bus and dogs

Almost ran over by a bus at a crossroad when I was riding home from work, I jammed the brakes on and hear the rubbing sound of my bicycle tyre against the ashalt. Fortunately it stopped quickly and the bus was not running very fast, and it slowed down too. I was lucky that I had tuned the bike brakes a fews weeks back so that it can actually stop, not decelerate, in a short time.

After another block I kinda calmed down but two dogs started chasing me. They were barking and close to me. I had to lift my legs up in afraid of their bites. But then the bike slowed down and it almost ran onto the curb. Fortunately enough, the dogs stopped chasing.

So in a way I was lucky not having ended up in the hospital today, I guess there should be some good news for me in the next few days…

记一次与门卫严正的交涉

南通已入深秋,天气日益寒冷,加之办公室暖气时有时无,不得已在天猫上买了套保暖内衣,三天之后网上终于显示已签收。于是我吃完晚饭兴冲冲的准备去小区门卫取包裹,在三块白板上找了半天也没有找到我的名字,于是进传达室准备一探究竟:

“师傅,请问你们有没有收到了包裹但是没在白板上写名字的情况啊?”

“没有没有,白板上没有名字就明天来!”保安一脸不耐烦。

“但是我的东西很急,能不能帮忙找一下?”想到我身上的秋裤以及穿了八天了,我理直气壮的问道。

“没有就是没有,很急的话明天早上来。”对方不依不饶。

“那我能不能自己来找?”

“这么多包裹你怎么找,给我们弄乱了怎么办?”

“那您能不能帮个忙找一下?反正您现在也不是很忙。”

“那也不行,明天来看!”

“明天找跟今天找有什么区别?明天找不也得找?”我挺他们说就来了气,心想好好商量也不行,那就得不依不挠的争取了。

“可能包裹还没到呢。”

“怎么可能,我在网上以及查过了,不然我过来干嘛。”

“你查到的是已签收吗?”

“是啊。”

“是我们签收的吗?”

“就是啊,写的就是你们签收。”

“那我们也不一定收到了,他们有些快递都不需要我们签字的。”话虽如此,我以及感觉文卫心虚了。

“怎么可能?那你确定你们没有签收我的包裹?”

“没有就没有,说什么也没用。”好,对方已经乱了阵脚了。

“那我能不能跟你们经理谈一谈。”

“经理有事不在。”

“经理电话多少?”

“没电话。”

“我现在跟您好好商量,如果您收了我的包裹又不给我找,那我投诉你们;如果你们确定没有签收这个包裹,我去投诉快递公司。你们确定没有签收我的包裹是吧?”

“那我们怎么能确定,我们一天签收成百上千个包裹。”

“有没有签收你们找一下不就知道了?”

“那你去投诉快递公司吧。”

“你们确定没有签收?如果我投诉了快递公司最后发现是你们签收的那就不好说了。”

“那你先投诉一下看看呗。”底气不足了……

“我要确定了再投诉,如果你们签收了包裹又不给我,那我就要投诉你们。”

“我们又不拿工资,你随便投诉。”

“我不管你拿不拿工资,我交了物业费就得对我有个交代。”

这时有个年轻点的文卫已经坐不住了,去另一个房间找包裹去了,过了一会儿叫我过去,问我是哪个快递公司的包裹和我的名字,翻了不到一分钟就找到了。

“今天得罪你了,那个老头啥也不懂,你别计较。”哟,态度转变还挺快的,我一下子都没适应过来。

“得罪谈不上,刚才那会儿找的话早就找到了。得罪你倒是真的。”

“没有没有,看你挺有水平的,我以前不是干保安的,有些不懂……”

总结:这年头在中国不义正言辞的跟人交涉别人就以为你是软蛋,好声好气的说不一定管用还可能有反作用,你就得跟人比嚣张,不依不饶穷追不舍,这样才能办成事……

归国两周感受

回来半个月了,目前总体上还比较适应国内的大环境,因为之前没敢期待太高,所以没有什么心里落差。但是生活中还是有一些小小的感触,先记录在此。

首先是物价,已经远不是我三年前出国时候的水平了。到南通第一天去逛超市什么都不敢买,洗发水跟芬兰一个价,浴巾比宜家的贵质量还不好,欧莱雅的洗面奶芬兰超市卖8欧这边卖100块,进了趟超市买一袋东西两三百就出去了……终于理解到了什么叫物价赶英超美,现在英美都不在话下了,开始赶超北欧了。回来两周小心翼翼的花钱,算下来还是花了四千多,但是花在哪儿我一点印象都没有。

其次是网购,太方便了。京东一般情况下第二天就可以送货上门,还支持货到付款。不过网购的缺点却很明显,就是不知道物品质量到底如何。我在京东上买了一个床上三件套,收到后发现这个三件套是一个床单加两个枕套,太让人无语了,一不小心就上当了。

人们生活节奏都很快,在高速公路上都是不停变道,不停的鸣笛,堵车了更是挤来挤去,越堵越挤,越挤越堵。市区也是,大家经常闯红灯,各种不遵守交通规则。我最受不了的就是大家一直在不停的鸣笛,不管是什么车,卡车也好,三轮车也罢,司机手都随时按照喇叭上。在小区里面也吵个不停,晚上都一样。总体来说节奏快的结果是周围都很吵,旁边的工地一天24小时都有机器轰鸣,中秋十一八天假也是这样。我刚回来的时候早上经常五点多就被吵醒,不过适应了一段时间之后感觉也习惯了。

年轻人会说英语的还挺多的,长途汽车站的售票员基本业务上的英语都会,跟老外打交道没什么问题。另外服务行业的从业人员整体态度都还比较好,去银行柜台后面的人都知道微笑,说话也慢条斯理;公交司机也比较有礼貌;但是被服务的人素质参差不齐,插队的情况也时有发生。总体来说年轻人比中老年人素质高,受的教育愈好素质愈高。

总体来说这两周的感受偏正面,以后想到什么再加。