2016 Rio Olympics and China's Gold Medal Fixation

2016 Rio Olympics is going to end tonight. China is trailing the U.S. in the number of total medals while ranking the third in gold medals. This year's Olympics is different in a couple of ways for Chinese. Gold Medal Fixation, No More? China is getting fewer gold medals this time. In 2008 Beijing Olympics, China won 51. However, this time, they are going home with only 26 of them. Does it matter? Used to. But not as much. China started to fix its "gold medal obsession" since early 2015, when the central government announced that it would stop rewarding local governments based on the number of gold medals the athletes from each province win from international competition. Under the incentive system, Chinese athletes are under tremendous pressure to win only gold, dismissing silver and bronze. The shift of the policy, hopefully, may encourage more young people to participate in the sports, first and foremost, to enjoy. The interview of the 20-year-old Fu Yuanhui, who won 100m backstroke bronze medal, went viral in China. When she found out that she got a bronze medal she was thrilled and said, " I used my primordial force to win it. I am... Read more →

Why Google Translation Could Make You Look Like a Fool

Tweet Google’s search engine is great. Everybody loves it. Google Translation is a different story. From time to time, I have to convince my clients not to use Google Translation to generate Chinese f... Read more →

Abundance in Capital or Lack of Capital - Stories about China

Tweet Not until recently, China has been a land where money seems to grow on trees. A couple of years ago, a U.S. fund went to China to raise money from Chinese investors. After the presentation, someone from the audience raised his hand. He asked the presenter to clarify whether the expected investment return of 10% meant monthly or annual. The presenter jokingly responded, "if you know of an opportunity that guarantees 10% monthly, please tell me. I want to invest my money." The person said, " Sir, few people in China will invest for a return of 10% a year." Long silence from the presenter. The audience was not joking. Chinese investors have been lending to some privately owned businesses at absurd high rates, sometimes as high as 48%/year or higher. In theory, the money serves as bridge loans for a couple of months, but at times borrowers keep it longer. Privately owned businesses are poorly served by banks. Working for big and fat State-Owned Enterprises often means less leg work, less risk and much bigger transaction in dollar amount. In need of capital for operations and expansion private companies often turn to private lenders, a reliable funding source.... Read more →

Adaptablity and Flexibility A Must in China These Days

Photo credit: University of Kent Today, one of my friends visited me, sharing his recent projects related to China. One of them is helping a Chinese technology company scout Italian design schools. This company is reinventing itself through acquisition and operation of vocational training schools, first in China and overseas the next stage. This has become a trend in China these days. I often receive inquires from different Chinese companies. They have a "shopping list" of targets that they believe will help generate revenues or profits, not necessary to be in the areas of their expertise. I categorize them into two groups of needs: 1) Proven technologies that Chinese companies can take over and plug into China market. They told me, "we do not have time to do R&D. If the technology works in the U.S., we may be able to make it work in China too. " 2) Companies with profits. Publicly listed Chinese companies are under mounting pressure to boost bottom line. Traditional industries such as manufacturing are facing most challenges of over capacity and price erosion. Restructuring is under way, a long and painful process. One of the measures is to acquire a profitable company. In the... Read more →

Tweet Inspired by Fred Wilson, who uses its AVC Blog as a diary, sand box, and therapy, I am going to keep this blog exclusive to myself and try to write as long as I can. Doing business with China and Chinese since 1991, I do not lack stories and anecdotes to share. I hope it will become a cleansing and therapy process for myself, while being helpful to those who are intrigued by this gigantic country and its people. If you want to ask me what the biggest challenges are when it comes to working with Chinese. Lack of transparency is on top of my list. It is hard to see things through, from the government to small businesses. We all remember that, late 2015, China was plunged into a chaotic situation. RMB's value was dropping like a rock vs. US dollar. Investors, both domestic and foreign, were panicking. Local Chinese rushed to banks trying to exchange all their savings into U.S. dollar. , so did some institutions, out of the fear that RMB would crash and Chinese economy would crash. Nobody from the government stood up to communicate with its people and the rest of the world. Instead,... Read more →