2013 China Business Snapshots
China is always amazing us with its contrasts and changes. Here a few recent items we’ve noticed that you might find interesting too.
Shanghai apartment rents in a nice area one-and-a-half hours outside Shanghai center: 127 meters (1,367 sq. feet), 2 bedroom, 17,000 Yuan (U.S $2,737) per month. A 217 meter (2,336 sq. feet), 4 bedrooms, 27,000 Yuan (U.S. $4,347 ) per month. Apartments in the same high-rise building sell for 5-10,000,000 Yuan ($800,000-$1,000,000 and more). Contact Century 21 (152-6864-7692).
Most college graduates, we’ve been told, earn the equivalent of $200-$300 U.S. per month. We don’t know who can afford these apartments, but obviously many do.
Chinese business continue to change: According to the Feb/March 2013 issue of SBR: Shanghai Business Review-
Now “McDonald’s 1,500 outlets in China are regular chain stores, the complete reverse of its other locations around the globe, of which 75% are franchises…The hamburger chain entered China in 1991 but failed in attempts at franchising” (18).
However, McDonald’s has begun accepting franchise applications to open the chain stores in Sichuan Province and Chongqing (an emerging Megacity, perhaps the biggest city in the world—in area larger than the Czech Republic, in population – 32 million). Chongqing is the economic center of the upper Yangtze River.
Within the next 10 years, Baskin-Robbins, American global ice cream chain, to open 249 more ice cream shops in China (19).
Apple sold 2 million plus iPhone 5 in China in the first three days after it was officially released (20).
US-based Starbucks recently started buying 20 times more of the local Puer coffee (the place name of its source in Yunnan Province) than it had previously been ordering.
What I’ve wanted to find is a good place to exercise, to do more than climb stairs and walk everywhere. I’ve been looking for a gym and have wanted to join a yoga or Pilates class while I’m here in Shanghai; however, I can’t bring myself to pay the equivalent of $15.00 or more a class that seems to be the going rate for yoga. The Pilates fees are even worse: the only one I’ve found from a Google search costs $300 U.S dollars for five classes! The website did mention the four stages of awakening and apply them to skill at Pilates: unconscious & incompetent; conscious & incompetent; conscious & competent; and unconscious & competent. Funny! Perhaps the classes cost so much so the teachers can have lots of time to read and work on their spirituality. As for me, at least for now, you’ll find me climbing the six floors to our guesthouse room and using my Pilates DVD.
In my classes too, I am continually surprised. My students will be studying abroad in the U.S. or UK, so I want them to be aware of cultural differences that are sometimes vast. In one recent class, I took in letters to “Dear Abby,” a lesson I’ve tried at other schools, to see if my students would handle the issues differently than she does.
In one letter to Abby, a 15-year-old boy says that his parents yell and scream at him all the time. A group in my class suggested that the boy find out what he is doing that upsets his parents so much (and then not do those things). My students, all economic majors, also suggested that financial stresses might be a cause of some of the tension, so the boy should get a part-time job and help contribute to the family. In her answer, Abby said the boy should tell a counselor or another adult about his parents’ behavior.
The Chinese answer of being self reliant seems really admirable, but the reality is there’s not yet much mental health support in China. Learning to be self reliant is imperative here especially for the boys who have huge pressures to get the best grades, get in the best schools, graduate from the best universities so they can earn a lot of money so they will be able to buy a house, get married, buy a car, support his parents, her parents, any grandparents, and provide the best for his one child. According to the career counselor at my Shanghai university, only 20% of the 2013 graduates are likely to get jobs! The competition is fierce and the responsibilities especially for males are daunting. And in the Chinese culture, they aren’t to talk about their problems; it’s shameful for the family if anyone knows there are difficulties. Last week a student—a boy—jumped from the top of the university library and died – a tragedy.
However, learned helplessness and feelings of entitlement can be issues in the U.S. Perhaps we could learn from each other!
Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée