Sunlight… finally… It can’t be too far anymore… just keep moving… In life we often face situations that challenge our mental limits, physical limits or even both. Especially in China we, as foreigners, are frequently confronted with situations that seem to be mysterious, surreal or even abstract. These situations often challenge our cultural empathy or, in the case of a broken elevator, even our physical fitness to climb up the stairs. Hopefully your flat or your office is not too high up. I’ve never imagined that I would have had to climb as many stairs as I did last weekend (03.13.-03.15.) Also, I now know that going upstairs is more a matter of will power than of fitness. It all began on Friday when we, the InternChina staff at our office in Chengdu, met up with the German group who had come to Chengdu for a two week business and marketing programme. Besides learning about business and marketing in China, we also gave students the opportunity to study Chinese and learn more about the Chinese culture. As the giant Buddha statue is worth seeing and the Emei Mountain is not far away we went to see both. Determined to go to the top of the Emei Mountain we spent the night at a hostel and started climbing the mountain early on the next morning. Luckily, the weather was nice. First of all, we realized that climbing a Chinese mountain connotes climbing stairs which has nothing to do with a typical hiking trip in Europe. Secondly, we discovered that the stairs seem to have no end. I need to mention that Paul, the Office Manager in Chengdu, had warned us that this would be a hard trip, but even I was shocked about all the stairs. Moreover, it was a constant up and down. For every set of steps we went down we had to climb up ten. After nine hours of climbing (or a few thousand stairs later) we finally reach the temple where we spent the night. We had climbed so high that we were above the clouds. All of us were exhausted from the hike, so all we wanted to do was having dinner and going to bed. The next morning we got up very early and, after a short breakfast, started our last day on the mountain. After three hours of climbing we reached the snow zone. Despite of the low temperature, most of us were covered in sweat. Determined to climb to the top, we carried on. And then, after what seemed like an eternity, we saw the sun breaking through the clouds. The top wasn’t far anymore. And there it was – the golden statue. We had reached the top of the mountain.
As we already mentioned in a post from last week, Wechat is becoming a great platform for online payment. But unfortunately there are always uncertainties about online shopping for foreigners in China. Chinese customers use Taobao and Wechat payments, but for the creation of the bank account they provide their own Chinese ID. That becomes an issue for foreigners that plan to stay longer in China, and blocks them from all the benefits of cheap online shopping.
We can inform you that there is a way around this. For WeChat payment a foreigner can create account in some banks and enjoy the freedom that this creates. Not all banks allow people from abroad to sign-up for WeChat payment. Some of them require a Chinese ID and the process gets you stuck. Here are a few options that will allow this procedure:
Chinese Merchants Bank – for both debit and credit cards
Agricultural Bank of China – credit cards only
These are the banks that we know of so far. We are certain that in the future this operation will increase as China becomes more open towards the foreign markets and many foreigners come to live here.
As mentioned in our earlier article, a person can add his credit or debit cards through the “Wallet” menu in WeChat. Simply press the “Add Card” option and follow the procedure.
The next menu will just ask for your card details and then if needed it will require the Chinese ID. But for the banks that we suggested there won’t be a requirement for Chinese ID.
WeChat offers a lot of extremely convenient functions which benefit everyone. After the credit/debit card is set up, a person can get access to each of these features:
- Mobile Top Up – top up your credit for the phone. Very convenient and easy.
- Wealth – Track your spending and savings in the account.
- Lottery – who feels like some gabling? It’s on the tip of your fingers.
- Order Taxi – Easy way to get a taxi if you are in a big city.
- Specials – Online shopping mall for any kind of products.
- QQ Coins – buy currency for your QQ account with an ease.
- Lucky Money – Send and receive money from friends or contacts.
- Group Buying – special offers for meals in restaurants. Reduced prices and promotions.
- Credit Card – send money to another card or account.
- Tencent Charity – Donate money for charity.
- Movie Tickets – Buy tickets for the cinema.
- Go Dutch – find a dining place, choose how much you would like to pay and meet new people on that table using the same program.
- Air Ticket – Buy plane tickets.
All these awesome features are easier and easier to access. Tencent is creating a dominant platform for online shopping and is challenging Alibaba on its own territory. But this struggle between giants benefits only us the simple customers, because we receive more special offers and reduced prices. Hopefully this article was helpful for every foreigner that plans to stay for a longer period of time in China.
Make sure you check our Blog for more amazing news and opportunities in China!
With the Ice Bucket Challenge drowning everything else on social media, I thought I’d stick to the charity theme with this post, but stay away from the ice cubes!
In China, virtually all the vast amount of charitable work is coordinated by government departments. However, many NGOs also operate in China and here at InternChina we are proud to work with some brilliant organisations in Zhuhai and Chengdu in particular.
In Zhuhai we have been involved in coordinating an annual charity event called Come Together for 3 years – www.ctcommunity.org. The event raises money for the Zhuhai Autism Society and CPAZ, a children’s charity we have also placed interns with in the past. CPAZ supports families who cannot afford the basic equipment, travel and lunch costs for their children at school, as well as providing school fees for children from migrant families who do not have access to free education. It’s a brilliant cause and IC are very proud to be involved! I am visiting Zhuhai in a couple of weeks and am excited about Come Together 2014 on the 13th September!
In Chengdu we are also organising a charity event on 14th September. The inaugural Chengdu Charity Football Tournament, which we are organising alongside the British Chamber of Commerce SW China, will support the Chengdu NGO ‘CRDF’. The Chinese Relief & Development foundation (CRDF) provides relief for victims of natural disasters, primarily in Sichuan province. We have placed several interns with the NGO and are very proud to support their work in Chengdu.
Our NGO internships are listed here: http://internchina.com/law-ngo-internships-in-zhuhai/ and here http://internchina.com/law-ngo-internships-in-chengdu/.
Get in touch for more information about attending our charity events or donating to the good causes we support!
After what felt like forever sitting on a bus, we finally made it to our first stop, Huanglong, which is located in the Southern part of the Minshan mountain range; a good 150km from Chengdu. The name Huanglong literally means “yellow dragon”. This area is known for its colourful pools, formed by calcite deposits.
We took a vertigo inducing ski lift to reach the top of the mountain. One thing that we all noticed is how high to have to go to get to the top . It is just beyond the clouds, so it’s rather foggy. Also, you notice the air is much thinner at this altitude. Here is some of the InternChina clan at the top of the mountain, embracing the cold, damp foggy weather! Although it was wet and cold, everyone was in high spirits enjoying time away from the busy streets of Chengdu!
When walking down from the top of the mountain, you will see calcite deposits with crystal clear blue water and waterfalls that are hidden behind dense forest trees.Walking down from the top of the mountain is a long and winding path, but it’s all worthwhile… I promise!
Following the trail down the mountain, we found a temple, which was really beautiful so we decided to take a photo … Unfortunately Jordan had better ideas and decided to photo bomb us! I thought I would add this in the blog to publicly name and shame him… Gotchya buddy!
After spending the day at Huanglong, our tour guide organized for us to meet local Tibetan people who live nearby. We received such a warm welcome, it was a great experience. We were greeted at the gate, and given a “Khata” to put around our necks, which is to symbolize friendship.
We sang a Tibetan song in front of the fire; highly amusing, as no one actually knew what they were singing.Until they decided to put us out of our misery and let us inside, but it was all good fun! We were given barbecued goat meat and “Bai Jiu” to drink, while we were entertained by a Tibetan singer who sang some traditional songs; until he decided to do a cover of Michel Jacksons “ Just Beat It” , which had everyone laughing! Eventually they turned on Harnick, yanked him out of his seat and asked him to sing for them, which was really awkward (Harnick is not known for his singing!). Harnick then decided to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” which was rather hilarious, as we all joined in and sang along with him.
The next morning we were up at 5am, ready to make our way to what we have had been looking forward to all along. Although the stop over at Huanglong and the visit to the Tibetan people was great, Jiuzhaigou was really what we were all looking forward too! The National Park operates a bus service, which is included in the park fare. We decided to get the bus all the way to the top and spend around 6 hours walking down. Yes, it was a long walk, but it was totally worth it! The lakes at Jiuzhaigou are absolutely stunning! The views are breathtaking, but I must say that a camera does not capture all the true beauty this place has to offer. I think everyone who is able to should go to and see for themselves! It was totally well worth the long and arduous journey to get there.
On the way back to Chengdu, we were stuck in a four-hour traffic jam because there had been a landslide 13km ahead on the road. Luckily, no one was hurt! However this was probably the most entertaining traffic jam I have ever experienced. Everyone decided to come out of their bus and socialize with others who where also stuck in the jam. Locals came with their bikes to sell food, drinks and water. It almost felt like a street party on the side of the road. Many locals were curious to know where our group of interns came from, asking us many questions and wanting to take photos with us. They even showed us some tai chi and in return we showed them how to do the macarena dance which I think that was a fair trade off! What an interesting traffic jam that was!
Why not create your own adventure here in Chengdu? Apply now for one of the many great internships offered in this city!
With the football world cup in Brazil just about to start on Friday morning 4 AM Chinese time, I get asked by friends back in Germany the same questions time and again: How is it like to watch the world cup in China? What is the Chinese world cup experience like? Do they follow it at all?
In answering these questions, you’ll have to differentiate between the general atmosphere in the streets in Chengdu on the one side and certain places like bars and cafes prone to foreign (mostly “western”) football enthusiasts on the other side. With regards to the general atmosphere in the city, you barely see signs that the world cup is about to start. Images you may be familiar with in your home country – national flags in the streets, special world cup bargains in supermarkets and bakeries – are not that often seen here in Chengdu.
Well, this has something to do with the standing of China’s own football league and its national team. The fact that the Chinese national team is not participating in the world cup 2014 in Brazil doesn’t really help in creating a somewhat exhilarating world cup atmosphere. Due to their relatively bad performance in the world, the Chinese professional football league as well as the country’s national team have a very bad image among Chinese sport fanatics. There are quite a few Chinese, who follow European football leagues, but I have never met someone who talks well about Chinese football and this eventually has a soothing effect on the general atmosphere in the streets.
On the contrary, the Chinese Basketball league and its national team are considered to be performing better in the world. Chinese NBA stars like Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian have certainly triggered the fan support of basketball in China. That’s why quite a lot of Chinese people will rather chose to watch the world’s most popular basketball games also starting this week: the NBA finals.
However, when it comes to certain places in the city, I am still expecting a quite exuberant world cup atmosphere. There quite a few football maniacs from western countries among the 14 million people living here in Chengdu. You can already notice that Western bars, restaurants, and supermarkets (such as Carrefour) have started big marketing campaigns in order to attract Western (and Chinese) Football fans.
There is one really great place for watching football in Chengdu that can only been beaten by very few places in the West: The “Beer Nest”. The “Beer Nest” is a brewpub with fantastic self-brewed Indian Pale Ale and German wheat beer among many more classy beers from around the globe. For the world cup, they will put up two big screens and offer special Belgium import kegs for the cup final – can you ask for more?
There are football oases all around Chengdu, such as the Irish pub “Shamrock” not far away from our office, and a so-called “Fan Fest” held on the rooftop of a skyscraper downtown. We, at the Chengdu office at InternChina are very much looking forward to mingle with Chinese and foreign football fans from all around the world – I expect it to be a special experience for all of us.
What is KTV?
KTV is quite different from traditional western karaoke which is usually just a big screen at the front of the bar and a guy with a crappy computer program running the music and organizing the waiting list of singers.In China, KTV is a more private affair with private rooms, with a big flat screen TV, a fancy entertainment system and couches. It is a place, where Chinese people go to sing and have fun with friends. KTV is usually an evening activity, but many clubs in big cities are open 24 hours. So KTV can really be something to do any time of day or night. Typically, the rooms are booked for a minimum time (for example, 2 or 3 hours). KTV clubs are full-service and you can order a full array of snacks and drinks throughout the evening.
How does it work?
If you are not going to KTV with Chinese friends or Chinese colleagues and you don’t know how to go about making a reservation, I would advise having a local friend, to help you. Or even ask your hotel concierge or your tour agent for help.
Especially in big cities on weekends, KTV is a popular thing to do. You may be able to walk up and book but you don’t want to plan a big night out only to find the rooms fully booked. Rooms vary in size so you’ll have made the reservation for the appropriate number of people. The rooms are usually big enough for up to 10 people but it can depend. Furthermore there are many different quality levels of KTV – it ranges from quite cheap to extremely expensive.
Advice: It is best to make sure you know the location of your party’s room before you leave to look for the washroom, as the hallway design is quite confusing, and if you’ve already had a few drinks – it may take you a long time to find your party room again!
KTV is a really fun way to spend some hours doing something that millions of locals enjoy doing, so you can consider it an authentic cultural experience.
Want to sing the night away and show off your talent at KTV? Apply now for an internship in Qingdao, Chengdu or Zhuhai
It has been just over one month now, since I packed up my life again and stepped onto the plane headed for Qingdao. Before that, I had spent six months in Chengdu – a fiery city, full of exciting opportunities, impressive architecture and racing development.
Since I’ve now lived in both Chengdu and Qingdao, I think it’s time I put into words how I felt the two cities compare and differ, what I miss and welcome.
Firstly, let’s talk about food. Qingdao has a delicious variety of seafood – clams in particular are my favourite, as well as other great dishes such as aubergine with potato and peppers (Di san xian), or something akin to sweet and sour pork (tangsu liji), which are always a favourite at our Thursday dinners. The food is mild, although there are spicy dishes too of course, and the street barbecue is a highlight after every night out. Other than that, you also get beer in a bag… what else can I say?
All this is great, but honestly speaking, I do actually miss the spicy kick the Chengdu food offers. Paul (Office Manager Chengdu) probably won’t believe me when I say this though, since I’ve only ever complained about the spice while I was there… Sorry Paul, looks like I developed a love for spice only after I left! Key ingredients to Chengdu food are a lot of chillies and the famous Sichuan pepper (Huajiao) which creates a peculiar numbing feeling in your mouth when you bite it. These two (and quite a few more spices) create a culinary experience that you will most definitely never forget, and although it takes some getting used to, the Sichuan food is bursting with vibrant colours and flavours. When you visit Chengdu, make sure to try the renowned hot pot. It might look daunting at first, with a chilli-red soup that is filled to the brim with Sichuan peppers, but trust me, you’ll love it!
So, in my book the food point goes to Chengdu, I think.
Next up, scenery. This is a difficult one, because both cities have their own character and particularities. Chengdu is a fast-developing and growing city. Home to the immense global centre, impressive malls and striking roadwork, Chengdu’s cityscape is an awe-inspiring sight. Travel a little further out of the city however, and you’ll encounter beautiful mountains, hot springs and little villages. I particularly recommend climbing Emei Mountain and visiting the Giant Buddha at Leshan when you get the chance. And of course we cannot forget the Giant Panda Research Base. A must-see for cute and cuddly fans, and apart from watching the lazy giants munching away at bamboo, it’s also nice to simply stroll through the vast park of bamboo forests, lakes and gardens.
Qingdao on the other hand boasts long, sandy beaches, a beautiful sea side promenade, mountains in the middle of the city and captivating architecture both old and new. Admittedly, I haven’t explored Qingdao as much as Chengdu, but I look forward to discovering the city, the mountains and the seaside. Particularly the Old Town, in the West of Qingdao, is an area I would like to see more of. I have visited the old church and seen some of the German architecture, but I think it’s not something you can do in one afternoon.
So overall, both cities have a lot to offer from fantastic scenery to amazing food and rich culture. I miss Chengdu’s lifestyle and hope to return soon, but I am also loving my new life by the sea and beaches!
Which adventure and destination will you choose? Apply Now!
Tomorrow is my last day with InternChina. I have been interning in the Chengdu office, in a marketing/business development role for the past two months. Whilst I have been to China before, especially Chengdu, for travel/study and so on. This time round has been a real eye-opening experience for me. I was given the chance to study Chengdu’s unique business environment and in the process I have learned lots useful and transferable skills.
The marketing side of my internship was very interesting. I learned how social media plays an exciting and ever-changing role in reaching out to people, appealing to their interests or simply sparking interesting conversation that leads on to greater things. Thinking of your own ways to deliver content to a wide audience through social media always challenges your creativity and is exciting.
For the business development side of my internship, I have regularly been going out for meetings with or without my colleagues. Some highlights have been a mixer and an annual meeting held by the British Chamber of Commerce as well as several other business-social events held in local venues.
Aside from marketing and business development I was assigned several ad-hoc tasks as well, such as a video editing and blog editing/writing. Its been rewarding learning how to balance one’s time and efforts.
Most importantly, I have enjoyed using my Chinese for business purposes. Even though I am passionate about Mandarin and Cantonese language and culture, before the main purpose of speaking Chinese was to get a degree and to communicate with my Chinese friends. This time round I have used my Chinese in meetings, events and general business tasks. I would say my Chinese is already proficient, but having the chance to learn new professional vocabulary has been a real plus.
I will be coming back to Chengdu to intern with a local company here, which will hopefully turn into full employment after 6 months. I am therefore very grateful to InternChina for providing me a platform from which to develop my prospective career. I was given time to not only learn new things that will help me later on, but also to establish more connections here. Business in China is all about who you know. Good-old guanxi (關係).
If you would like to know more about a short-term interns role in the Chengdu Office, my intern interview will be uploaded shortly to YouTube. For information specific to Chengdu, as in living/nightlife….our blog is packed with useful information and first-hand experience for your reference.
If you are looking to garner some real, professional experience, why not do an internship with InternChina. It may just give your CV that boost you need, helping you stand out for future employers! Apply Now!
Last Friday we visited one our interns at work – we went to the “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”. It is the largest fair of its kind in China and brings together hundreds of different wine dealers, beer/spirit companies and food chains here in Chengdu. It was also a very good opportunity for Western beer and spirits companies to enhance their visibility on the Chinese market. The fair was really, really big and for us, from the Chengdu office, it felt that something was definitely going down in the city. The streets were much busier than usual.
Luckily, Niels invited us to his company’s stall at the “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”. Niels comes from the Netherlands and he is currently doing an internship with a German wine producer, selling German wine in Chengdu. He’s obviously learnt a lot during his internship as he could explain to us what kind of wine we were drinking, how it was produced, and why it was special and so on. So here we are in front of his company’s stand.
Having tasted some really enjoyable wines with Niels, we decided to walk around the fair. There were quite a few different foreign wine and beer companies from France and Germany. Although the beer they offered was rather standard, we were able to have a sip of each beer at mostly every stall we passed, so it was quite a pleasant visit!
The most interesting part for us was checking out the Chinese companies and how their alcohols differed from European wines and spirits. At one stand, there was a company that sold rice wine which tasted of cheese (well, it reminded us of cheese anyway). So that was actually a rather strange experience…. In yet another hall there were only baijiu companies. From my experience, I only know people who love baijiu or plainly hate the stuff. I am actually from the minority of (young Western) people who enjoy drinking baijiu whilst having Chinese dishes in the evening. So I had a decent sip of Moutai, which is considered to be one of the best baijius of China.
Finally, we let Niels continue with work at the wine stand and headed back home. It was a really nice experience to see both “Western” spirits as well as Chinese drinks all in one place, and to see the differences between them – both in terms of presentation and taste. The next “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair” is held in spring next year – so if you are interested in doing an internship with a company that is also joining “Chengdu Food and Drinks Fair”, we are happy to arrange an internship for you! Apply Now!