Addressing the climate crisis in China
The current lack of environmentally friendly practices is one of the aspects that I find most frustrating about living in China. A lot of Chinese life is about convenience from Alipay to takeaway but, unfortunately, this often comes at the cost of the environment. Living in China it is all too easy to abandon the more sustainable life habits that you are well versed to back at home because they are not the norm and often require more effort. Yet, one of the simplest ways to be environmentally friendly in China is to persevere and continue your habits from home. This blog outlines some of the challenges China still faces in regards to the environment, aspects in which it is improving and ways in which you can make a positive impact along with some useful vocabulary!
The demand for shopping is huge in China as is evident by the huge number of shopping streets and malls in China selling everything from discounted fakes to Louis Vuitton. China also has a massive online retail market of 855 million digital consumers with online sales expected to reach $1.5 trillion in value in 2019.
You won’t last very long in China without hearing about Alibaba’s Taobao 淘宝, an online retail market selling pretty much everything you could imagine, similar to a combination of eBay and Amazon. On Taobao, an order of multiple items will normally come in individual deliveries because the products are sourced from different sellers across China, producing huge amounts of unnecessary packaging.
Shopping and discount festivals have also become more popular among retailers in recent years, such as Singles’ Day (November 11), a day of discounts launched by Alibaba in 2009 which regularly surpasses the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined; Alibaba made 268.4 billion RMB (£29.4 billion) in 24 hours in 2019.
Environmental organisations claim that China’s online retail industry used 9.4 million tonnes of packaging materials in 2018 with estimates that over 250,000 tonnes were produced from Singles’ Day sales alone. As of 2017, Chinese people threw away around 26 million tons of clothing annually, with less than 1% of it being reused. While some retailers are taking some small steps to encourage recycling or use more recyclable materials, it seems that more substantial changes will rely on environmental regulation of the industry.
What you can do?
Try to reduce your consumption, especially of products with extensive packaging, and recycle items wherever possible. When buying presents for your family and friends back home, consider what kind of souvenirs you are buying and opt for locally produced and more ethical options. For example, Blue Sheep in Chengdu is a social enterprise which sells locally made craft items and the profits are used to help economically disadvantaged people, particularly those affected by disease, disability or poverty.
Charity shops are non-existent in China and second-hand clothes shops are extremely rare due to a cultural stigma attached to second-hand items in China. However, expats are constantly moving in and out of all major Chinese cities and so expat groups on WeChat and Facebook are a good place to find and pass on used clothes, furniture, utensils and food. You can also talk with interns who are moving out before you or staying longer than you to see if you can transfer items between yourselves.
The WeChat account Fei Ma Yi 飞蚂蚁 (WeChat ID: feimayi90) also accepts all clothes, shoes and bags regardless of the condition they are in. You just need to enter your details, choose an approximate weight of items that you are donating and arrange a time for them to collect it from your apartment. They will sort the items and send the better quality ones to charity and the rest to be recycled.
Takeaway in China is very cheap and there is a vast range of options on websites such as Eleme 饿了么 and Meituan 美团外卖 . The Chinese takeaway market has expanded massively in recent years and a survey from the National Business Daily shows that 23% of respondents order takeaway daily. However, the growth in takeout is amounting to huge environmental damage: it is estimated that China’s takeaway industry in 2017 produced 1.6 millions tons of packaging waste which included 1.2 million tons of plastic containers, 175,000 tons of disposable chopsticks, 164,000 tons of plastic bags and 44,000 tons of plastic spoons. Delivery containers and utensils are generally not recycled because people don’t wash them out adequately and the materials used in them take over 30 years to disintegrate if they are discarded in landfill sites.
What you can do?
While everyone has those days where they return from work and don’t want to leave the house again, try and avoid getting regular takeaways. The reality in China is that you’re never more than two minutes walk from a restaurant, so why not just go out to eat and save the waste of containers, plastic bags and single-use chopsticks? If you do decide to order takeaway, you can choose the option not to receive disposable tableware (不要餐具 bù yào cān jù) or write it in special requests.
There are huge environmental problems resulting from the management of China’s plastic waste: it is often sent to poorly managed landfills or discarded in the open which can lead to it entering the sea. As a result, a quarter of all plastic waste that is discarded in the open is done in China, causing it be the home of the world’s first, third and fourth most polluted rivers.
A new recycling system was launched in Shanghai in July 2019 which has now spread to major cities and is gradually being introduced throughout China. Bins in public areas have divisions between regular waste and recycling, with more categories for domestic waste. As recycling is fairly new, many locals are still unfamiliar with how to recycle but education campaigns have been launched and the government is introducing fines for individuals and businesses who don’t recycle.
 https://www.statista.com/statistics/277391/number-of-online-buyers-in-china/ (accessed 24/12/2019)
 https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/10/tech/singles-day-sales-alibaba/index.html (accessed 24/12/2019)
 https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3037168/waste-chinas-e-commerce-deliveries-could-quadruple-413-million 23/12 (accessed 23/12/2019)
 https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1000777/why-china-is-bursting-at-the-seams-with-discarded-clothes (accessed 30/12/2019)
 https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1165893.shtml (accessed 23/12/2019)
 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/technology/china-food-delivery-trash.html (accessed 23/12/2019)
 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/28/technology/china-food-delivery-trash.html (accessed 23/12/2019)What you can do?
Recycling systems vary throughout China so this advice is based on my experience of living in Chengdu. Bins for your apartment are normally located on the ground floor of your apartment block and are generally divided into regular waste, recyclable waste, food waste and hazardous waste. The best method is to create a system within your apartment for recycling so it is easier to take it down to the relevant bin. You should tie up bags of waste, especially food waste, so that if the rubbish does get mixed during collection, food will not contaminate the recycling and can be separated at a later stage. Try and also avoid using extensive single use plastic: where you can, avoid taking plastic bags and using single-use tableware; and invest in tote bags, tupperware, metal straws, metal chopsticks and reusable cups. You may experience confusion when you say that you don’t need a plastic bag/ straw etc or if you offer your own but be insistent and use the phrases below to help you.
Recycle – Huíshōu 回收
Recyclable waste – Kě huí shōu wù 可回收物
Food waste – Cān chú lèsè 餐厨垃圾
Harmful waste – Yǒu hài lè sè 有害垃圾
Plastic – Sù liào塑料
I don’t want a plastic bag – Wǒ bùyào dàizi我不要袋子
I don’t want a straw – Wǒ bùyào xīguǎn 我不要吸管
I don’t want chopsticks – Wǒ bùyào kuàizi 我不要筷子
China is notorious for its pollution, such as photos of Beijing’s famous sites hardly visible through the smog. However, the Chinese government has taken moves to reduce pollution which are leading to results – particle pollution fell by an average of 30% in the 62 Chinese cities investigated by the World Health Organization between 2013 and 2016 with Beijing no longer being included in the world’s 200 most polluted cities. The Chinese government has introduced ambitious targets to reduce pollution levels; reduced the use of steel and coal-fired electricity for production replacing them with cleaner alternatives; banned agricultural burning; and introduced regulation for higher quality diesel for vehicles. This action has largely been a result of public pressure and concern about the health effects of pollution, and has led to the government putting more of an emphasis on trying to balance its rapid economic development with environmental concerns.
 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/14/pollutionwatch-china-shows-how-political-will-can-take-on-air-pollution (accessed 26/12/2019)
Many cities have also reduced the number of cars in the city centre by placing restrictions on which days cars can enter the city based on what number their number plates ends in; however wealthy families have combatted this by buying multiples cars with different number plates. China is also leading the way in electric transportation and Shenzhen introduced an all-electric public transport system in 2018 to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
That’s not to say that pollution is no longer a problem in China; it still reaches above World Health Organization recommended levels in many Chinese cities, especially during winter, and has also worsened in some rural areas and towns.
What you can do?
Pollution levels in Qingdao, Zhuhai and Chengdu generally remain below the Air Quality Indicator (AQI) level of 150, which is classified as unhealthy, but stay aware of pollution levels by using AQI tracking apps, such as Air Matters, or WeChat mini programs, such as 空气质量指数查询. If the AQI does reach an unhealthy level, listen to local advice and take particular caution if you have health problems, such as asthma. Face masks are also widely available at convenience shops and department stores throughout China.
Where you can, avoid getting a taxi or Didi as one person – you can ride share using the 拼车 function on the Didi app. Cycling is a great way to get around in Chinese cities because share bikes can be found everywhere and dropped off anywhere. Cycling is not only the best option for the environment but is also often quicker than taking a Didi due to traffic jams, especially at rush hour. Share bikes are also extremely cheap and Hellobikes can be used through an Alipay account for around 12 RMB (£1.30) for a month with unlimited use.
Taking trains is the most environmentally friendly way to travel in China and it is a great way to see parts of China you would not usually visit! You can choose high speed trains (高铁 gāotiě) or regular trains which are mainly sleeper trains and can often take 1-2 days. Due to the huge distances in China, taking a plane is often the most convenient way to travel if you have limited time but the lack of budget airlines means that internal flights can be expensive.
As income levels have increased in China so has consumption of meat and seafood. If Chinese consumers’ demand for meat grows as predicted, then China will produce an additional gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the current amount produced by the aviation industry globally. China also has insufficient land for food production to keep up with the growing population and consumption and so fertilizer has been used to increase crop yields but this has caused extensive environmental damage, such as soil degradation, air pollution and water contamination.
Food waste is a serious issue in China, especially in restaurants, because in Chinese culture it is the norm to order excess food to show generosity and respect to your guests. Estimates suggest that 17-18 million tonnes of food were wasted in China in 2015, an amount which could feed 30 to 50 million people for a year. However, less of the animal is wasted compared to Western countries as nearly all parts are eaten, from gizzards to brains to chicken feet.
What you can do?
The easiest way to combat the problem of food waste in China is simply to order less and bring a Tupperware with you to takeaway leftovers when you’re eating at a restaurant.
Vegetarianism has not become a mainstream diet as it has in the West and less than 2% of China’s population is vegetarian (predominantly Buddhists). This means that vegetarianism and veganism are not always fully understood in China and you may sometimes find that a plate of vegetables comes with a meat garnish or that it is cooked using fish oil. However, most restaurants have vegetarian options and large Chinese cities have an increasing number of specialist vegetarian/ vegan restaurants as well as Western restaurants catering to differing dietary requirements. Buddhist temples often have a vegetarian restaurant or buffet attached. While being vegan is by no means impossible, it is slightly more tricky if you are wanting to take part in shared meals with Chinese friends or colleagues. The InternChina WeChat accounts list vegetarian restaurants in each of the cities we offer programmes.
I am vegetarian Wǒ shì sùshí zhě – 我是素食者
I don’t eat any meat and fish – Wǒ bù chī suǒyǒu de ròu hé yú 我不吃所有的肉和鱼
I don’t eat any dairy products – Wǒ bù chī niúnǎi zhìpǐn我不吃牛奶制品
I want to takeaway leftovers – Wǒ yào dǎbāo 我要打包
 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/will-chinas-growing-appetite-for-meat-undermind-its-efforts-to-fight-climate-change-180969789/ (accessed 30/12/2019)
 https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201803/27/WS5ab9a0c4a3105cdcf65147d8.html (accessed 30/12/2019)
 https://www.economist.com/china/2019/10/17/the-planet-needs-china-to-curb-its-appetite-for-meat (accessed 30/12/2019)
While China certainly has not been struck by the Greta Thunberg and youth climate strike movement, and it doesn’t look to anytime soon, there are some gradual steps being taken to protect and conserve the environment. The rolling out of a recycling system last year was a massive step in the right direction but the impact will depend on how seriously it is implemented across China and on the accompanying education campaign. One of the main issues in China currently is a lack of education on how severe the global climate crisis is, rather than an unwillingness to conserve and recycle resources. So, during your stay in China, make sure you stay alert to how you can be environmentally friendly and talk to your colleagues/ friends/ homestay families about the environment and encourage them to change their habits!
Get in touch:
En arrivant en Chine, deux des concepts culturels les plus difficiles à appréhender sont ;
- Guānxi – 关系
- Face – 面子
Ces deux concepts sont très liés. En occident les Guanxi , ou le développement de son propre réseau, devient de plus en plus important dans les affaires. Cependant c’est beaucoup plus important en Chine, chez nous cela continue à se développer doucement .
Cependant, le concept de «face», c’est à dire savoir qui gagne et qui perd la face, nous est bien moins familier. MiànZi – 面子 signifie le visage tel que nous le connaissons, se traduit ici par «honneur», «réputation» et «respect». Il est si important dans les cercles sociaux / politiques / économiques chinois qu’il peut littéralement faire ou défaire un accord professionnel. Si vous venez en Chine pour affaires ou pour toute autre activité, il est important que vous connaissiez le concept de “face” et la manière dont vous pourriez avoir à le gérer dans votre vie quotidienne ici.
Dans le milieu des affaires chinoises, la hiérarchie est plus importante que ce à quoi nous sommes habitués; la distinction entre les différents niveaux de direction est beaucoup plus claire et plus importante et, dans cette optique, le respect des supérieurs est bien observé.
Dans un environnement chinois, un subordonné pose rarement des questions, n’est pas en désaccord avec son responsable et ne l’interrompt surtout pas, en particulier dans un lieu public. Cela entraînerait une perte de face énorme pour le directeur et potentiellement pour l’entreprise. Lorsque vous traitez avec vos supérieurs ou vos aînés en Chine, il est toujours important de respecter leur position et de s’assurer qu’ils «gardent la face».
PS : Si vous portez un toast à votre responsable, assurez-vous que votre verre est bien au-dessous du leur lorsque vous trinquez. C’est très respectueux et vous gagnerez tous les deux de la face.Vous pouvez également constater qu’en tant qu’étranger, certains de vos collègues auront peur de vous parler directement. C’est simplement parce qu’ils ne sont pas confiants en leurs compétences en anglais , ils pourraient perdre la face si leur anglais est mauvais et que vous ne les compreniez pas. Si vous rencontrez ce genre de situation, faites-leur des compliments, et essayez de leur parler en chinois. Ainsi ils se sentiront automatiquement beaucoup plus à l’aise avec vous. Savoir dire bonjour ou merci en chinois permet de donner de la face à votre interlocuteur, plutôt simple non ?
Cela marche bien sûr également en sens inverse! En effet, n’oubliez pas qu’en Chine , on essayera toujours de vous donner de la face. Dans votre stage notamment, on ne vous critiquera jamais directement sur votre comportement ou votre travail afin de ne pas vous faire perdre la face . Par exemple si vous arrivez en retard, votre manager ne vous dira rien devant tous vos collègues, mais attention c’est uniquement pour vous sauver la face, cela ne veut pas dire que c’est une bonne chose d’arriver en retard !
En occident, pour faire des affaires ou tenter de sceller des ententes, nous avons l’habitude de donner des réponses directes à nos partenaires ou clients, que ce soit un «oui» ou un «non». Ce n’est pas toujours le cas en Chine. En effet, les négociations peuvent souvent sembler assez longues et parfois une décision définitive ne peut jamais être prise. Les refus ou désaccords directs sont rares en Chine. On craint qu’une décision négative ne fasse perdre la face aux deux parties. La réponse la plus courante est «peut-être» ou «je vais y réfléchir…».
Parfois, il se pourrait même qu’une situation délicate soit ignorée jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit oubliée. Dans les cercles chinois, c’est devenu une habitude, ils savent lire entre les lignes. Alors que nous trouvons généralement cette situation gênante ou même frustrante. Parfois, un «oui» est dit pour sauver la face mais peut signifier un «non» à long terme.
La meilleure chose à faire est d’être patient, de prendre une profonde respiration et d’essayer de résoudre la situation en privé, éviter à tout prix les confrontations en public au travail ou dans la vie de tous les jours en général !
Conseils pour donner / gagner la face:
- Faire un compliment à quelqu’un.
- Inviter quelqu’un à dîner (et payer l’addition).
- Donner un cadeau lors de votre première rencontre avec quelqu’un
Conseils pour ne pas perdre la face:
- Evitez de dénoncer une personne qui ment
- Ne pas critiquer, contredire ou remettre en question la décision de quelqu’un.
- Evitez de refuser directement une invitation à un dîner ou à un événement.
Alors que de nombreuses entreprises en Chine ont une expérience des relations avec les occidentaux et inversement, le concept de face est profondément enraciné dans la société et l’histoire de la Chine; son importance ne faiblira jamais. Si vous êtes capable de donner la face à vos collègues et à vos responsables, cela sera toujours apprécié. Tachez de respecter ces principes fondamentaux !
Si vous avez envie d’en savoir plus sur la face et la culture d’entreprise chinoise lors d’un stage, alors postulez ici.
By Rosa Spence
On the 28th March, myself and four other representatives from the NGO I am interning with, CDNGO06, organised and accompanied farmers from Yunqiao village on an overnight visit to Mao Xian. A district 5 hours north-west of Chengdu and only 40km away from Wuchuan (the place where the earthquake hit in 2008!).
The aim of this visit was to introduce the local farmers from Yunqiao to local Sichuanese Pepper farmers in Mao Xian. These farmers have previously worked closely with WWF to increase sustainable farming of Sichuan pepper. As a result of this collaboration, their Sichuan pepper crops have become organically certified. The farming community has become a co-operative, having received support from Sichuan Rural Credit Union – an initiative established by the People’s Bank of China to provide credit to rural areas in China.
This, in turn, has led to better access to national and global markets. The NGO hopes that the farmers from Yunqiao will be able to learn and adapt some of the techniques, used by Mao Xian farmers, and apply them to their Luo Bo crops (the main crop of Yunqiao) with the aim of increasing quality and production rates.
We left the sleeping city of Chengdu at six o’clock in the morning and traveled in a minibus to Yunqiao village. Two hours north of the City, to pick up the farmers who were coming with us. As we drove for another three hours from Yunqiao to Mao Xian, I was not prepared for the scenery that I was about to witness.
The concrete jungle of Chengdu disappeared and the skyline was replaced with towering mountains, so tall that the peaks were dusted in snow. The cloudiness of Chengdu’s city sphere also dissipated and we basked in bright sunshine and crystal clear blue sky. I think it’s the first time that I have seen cloudless skies and unobstructed sun since I arrived!
Arrival at Mao Xian
On arrival at Mao Xian, the farmers and NGO Staff were taken on a tour and shown how the pepper was produced. The first station was the warehouse, where the pepper granules were stored; next, we were taken to the building where the raw pepper granules were ground down into refined powder and packaged to be sold in the national market. They weren’t kidding when they said it had a kick to it, I tasted a single granule and my tongue went numb for the next 20 minutes!
This farming co-operative has won numerous awards for their work, all of which were displayed proudly on the wall in the meeting room. The meeting between the two communities lasted for over 2 hours, with the NGO workers and the farmers from Yunqiao taking notes about how the Mao Xian farmers’ model worked. My role as the NGO’s photographer was to document the event. The host farming community were really accommodating, with tea being provided throughout and the meeting came to a close in good spirits and a formal photograph was taken.
After the formalities were completed, there was a chance to explore Mao Xian. We were taken to see some beautiful blossom trees, their delicate petals floating in the warm breeze. I got told that these trees and most of the surrounding area had been rebuilt after the area was flattened by the 2008 earthquake. The experience was also very culturally enriching, as the next day we were given the opportunity to observe a Qiang ceremony –an ethnic minority group, with a population of approximately 200,000, located in North Western Sichuan Province.
The ceremony was enchanting, consisting of singing, chanting, dancing, drumming and role play. We were then given a guided tour around an ethnographic museum, where we were told about Qiang history and also got to observe people going about their daily routines – these people still live very traditional lifestyles, making their own clothes and tools. We were fortunate enough to witness two Qiang men forging an iron blade, using two hammers and an anvil, the precision of the technique was mesmerising – clearly, a skill which has been refined over generations!
It has been a fantastic experience, I feel very fortunate to be so included in the work that the NGO is doing for local communities, they are truly committed to helping to create change at a local scale.
Inspired by Rosa’s Experience? Apply Now!
It’s now time for me to leave the InternChina team after a 6 month internship in the Qingdao office. It seemed like thanking the team for the amazing time I had will be a nice topic for my “goodbye blog”. However I’ll try to show you that you should definitely consider doing your internship there as well!
First of all, are you passionate about China and want to learn more about how to do business there? Also, the internship of your dreams is one where you’ll have plenty of responsibilities and support? Finally, are you ready to learn more about yourself and your abilities? Well, if yes you should definitely keep reading! But first, enjoy a few pictures of the Qingdao team!
Business in China
When I first arrived in the InternChina team I was asked to choose what I wanted to focus on during my internship. As I wanted to learn more about business and marketing I became a Business Development and Marketing Intern. Indeed. as part of our job here we need to find new partner companies who are seeking foreign interns. First of all, you’ll need to learn and understand to concept of face and guanxi. Then you definitely will always address companies as you should in China. As a result I was even able to assist a meeting with a company all in Chinese and understand it! Thanks to my 8 years of Chinese studies I could understand the language and process of a meeting with a Chinese partner company. Also, it’s definitely a nice way to develop your own network and make connections for the future.
Funny thing about talking to companies here in China: you use WeChat! Emojis and video calls are both easy ways to communicate, and are the keys to a successful and professional relationship! Business in China is full of surprises! Regarding the marketing part of my internship our aim was to promote our services. For example I add to posts on social medias about our activities and internship offers. I even wrote an article about it, check it out! I discovered that Photoshop wasn’t that hard to use and that we could do amazing things with it!
Responsibilities and Support from the InternChina Team
Being a little too shy to use my Chinese and actually go meet companies, I reconsidered my position and wanted to look into another aspect of the company, the one that we call “booking”. It’s basically the process between InternChina and a student who wants to find an internship in China and uses our services to do it. As I am French, I was dealing with French students. They were all dreaming of coming to China and from step 1 to the final details, I helped more than 10 students in a few weeks. By talking to future interns and helping them find the suitable company and internship for them you really feel so useful and talented when you finally succeed! As part of the Qingdao office you’ll be rewarded with a delicious Tsingtao beer!
During the whole process I was never alone. One thing you should know about InternChina when you join the team, is that you’re joining a big family. We are all connected to each other via Skype even if we are all located in different countries. One of the most important part of our services is to offer support to our participants, well within InternChina you couldn’t find a more supportive team. Even if I was probably annoying at some point – by asking too much – I was always given an answer to my questions and never felt left alone. Let’s meet some of them now!
Learn about yourself
Keep in mind that doing an internship with InternChina is the opportunity of developing the skills you wish for. By that I mean that the diversity of tasks you’ll be given will depends on your own abilities and most of all interests! That’s also a way to push yourself into tasks you wouldn’t imagine to be able to do. I didn’t believe 6 months ago that I would be able to understand and take part in a Chinese meeting. Or to enjoy watching the statistics on our Facebook page and try to find ways improving them! I really enjoyed working in the office – and if you’re not an office person well be aware that you’ll have plenty of occasion to work outside the office as well.
You’ll work within an international team, and that’s one of the best way to learn about communication and culture. With the Chinese staff members I was able to learn more about Chinese culture and develop my interest of it. With my British colleagues I learned a lot of new expressions thanks to our weekly “Quiz” – have you ever heard of Hobnobs before? As between offices we are all using Skype to communicate I developed some communication skills that I didn’t know I had before. Moreover you will also learn how to be more organized and how to prioritize your work – that’s super helpful and not only for your time at InternChina! Let me introduce you to the team you’ll have the opportunity to work with:
Even if the fact to answer the question “what’s your internship like” by saying “my internship is basically to help people find internships” is awesome – doing it is even better! Interested of doing that awesome internship, or come to China with our programmes, apply now !
’m Martin, a new Marketing intern at the InternChina Qingdao office. It’s my second time in China – I love this country ! I am also quite interested in fashion and the concept of counterfeits.
Before I came to China, I knew that China was infamous for its counterfeit items. In many countries and even in France, where I come from, the local authorities are working hard to reduce the amount of available counterfeit items. But the first time I came to China in 2016 in Nanjing, I was impressed how easy is it to find fake things and how it is displayed shamelessly by market seller on streets or in mall, or by people. Sometimes there can be some great high-quality fakes, sometimes there can be some really terrible fakes. Look at these Abibas and New-Barlun branded shoes ! Or this Abiboss sweatshirt (a great mix between Hugo Boss and Abibas brand) and this CEANHL bag, interesting Anagram.
Where can I find fake branded things?
You can find these fakes everywhere ! You can find them on the internet on sites like Taobao, in souvenir shops, and also in big markets. In these places, you need to bargain. While you can find these markets all over China, I will talk about the ones I know in Shanghai, where you can meet so many foreigners eager to find cheap fakes. In Shanghai, so many French visitors come to the market that some sellers have even learnt how to say the prices in French ! The starting price can be as much as five times higher than the true value of the item.
What products can be counterfeit?
Well-known and luxury brands are often imitated – you can find a lot of fake Louis Vuitton and Chanel products. You can also find fake tech, including cheap Beats by Dre and even fake smartphones ! There have been copies of the Apple iPhone called Goophone on the market. Even worse, in 2011, a string of fake Apple stores were found across China. In the same vein, in Qingdao, i’ve seen a lots of fake branded shops, in a mall that seemed normal, like a lot of copy of Polo brand. Or a Enzo shop. (Just one K and its ok)
Shan Zhai (山寨)
This trend of counterfeit products is not just a few sellers in markets. It can be considered a serious business model here in Chins. Due to a mix of history, culture and a pragmatic economy, business based on fake and pirated products has its own name in Chinese : shanzhai. The Shan Zhai model works thanks to more than 60% of Chinese people living in rural areas that are imitating the consumption trend in urban areas. This model has allowed some companies to break into a new market. For example, we can talk about Tencent’s QQ instant messaging service which is a carbon copy of the Israeli messaging service ICQ. Now, QQ is one of the most popular instant messaging services in China, and floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2004. Indeed, it is for some companies a way to start with nothing by pushing down the cost of R&D and then implement new features to existing products to better fit the local needs and expectations. Some people defend the Shan Zhai model, saying it brings economic and social benefits by providing customer more choice at lower price. Foreign companies complain about the lack of strict rules concerning property rights in China, and trying to push Chinese governments to strengthen their control over counterfeit.
If you are interested to visit fake markets and experience China, don’t hesitate: https://internchina.com/apply/
Hello! My name is Anna, and I am from Poland. Last week I started my internship with the InternChina Dalian office, as part of the Bookings and Marketing Team.
I am currently in my third year of Business Management and Chinese at University of Central Lancashire. This year is my year abroad, so I decided to spend it half on studying, half on getting work experience.
My first semester was a Chinese language course at Beijing International Studies University. It was my second time in China, and my second time at BISU! Last year I visited that university for a two weeks long summer language course, and I liked it so much I chose BISU again!
For the work experience part in China, I chose to do my internship with InternChina. As I wanted to put the theory I have learned during my two years of studying into practice, and this internship covers all subjects of my studies, it was the perfect choice!
Dalian vs. Beijing
When I was sure that I want to do my internship with InternChina, I found it difficult to decide on which office I should choose!
I chose Dalian because of its location – at the peninsula with a lot of beaches, places for hiking and greenery, and because of its history. Dalian is definitely a very beautiful city with many cultures mixed up, which can be seen in the architecture and food.
Because of Russian and Japanese occupations, Dalian has many buildings and public places in the style of those countries. Beijing is much more homogeneous in style, thus it has more developed areas with new Western-style buildings along with suburban areas with old, grey and boring blocks.
Food in Dalian is very influenced by Korean, Japanese and Russian cuisine. I really love that variety. But the main cooking style is Shandong cuisine, with the influence of North-Eastern Chinese cuisine. This means there is a huge choice of seafood from casual fish and prawns to more sophisticated (at least for Westerners!) dishes like sea cucumber or sea urchins.
What I really like in Dalian is that it is a much less busy and crowded city than Beijing. On the streets there are much fewer people and cars, and the queues in shops are shorter.
Differences in Beijing and Dalian
One big difference between Beijing and Dalian is the subway link. I am used to travelling everywhere by Beijing subway as it is the most convenient and foreigner-friendly means of transport. On the train, you can see a board with stations in Chinese characters and Pinyin, and which station the train is approaching as well as hearing the announcement in both Chinese and English.
The Dalian subway is not that well-developed, and my apartment is not located near any metro station. But do I have a bus stop very close to my house with busses leaving every couple of minutes. The announcements are all in Chinese, so I have an opportunity to perfect my Chinese listening skills!
I have already fallen in love with the winter scenery of Dalian, with snow and all the colourful lights on buildings at night. However, I am really looking forward to warm days to explore Dalian’s most beautiful places and learn more about culture and history of that city!
If you want to be a part of the InternChina story, why not apply now!
Internship Experience – Sylvia in Chengdu
Written by Sylvia Liu
It’s been a bit over a month now since I first began my internship experience in Chengdu with InternChina, and I can easily say that this experience is definitely one that will be remembered!
Having travelled to many other Chinese cities before, Chengdu is a breath of fresh air; not literally however, but rather in the sense of its pace of life.
Chengdu meanders peacefully through each day; while other cities rush and are filled with spontaneity. That’s not to say Chengdu is less developed economically, quite the contrary! Just as its numerous shopping centres, nightlife and still expanding public transport systems like to prove.
Personally I have found the pace of life charming. I have enjoyed spending my Sundays temple-seeing, sipping tea at monasteries, and nibbling on sunflower seeds while listening to the indistinct chatter of Sichuanese.
Food has also held a prominent role in my time here! You will be hard pressed to find a restaurant who won’t serve at least a bowl of chilli with the famous Sichuan Peppercorns along with your meal.
The old streets of Chengdu, the majority located in the inner South West of the city, are a delight to walk through. There is plenty of opportunity to snack on the delicious street food, while being surrounded by traditional architecture permeating with historical significance.
I believe that there is knowledge that can only be learned from doing an internship in China. In particular cultural proficiency, which is always a handy skill to have even if one does not pursue a career in international business.
Some of the more interesting tasks I’ve done at the company have included researching the potential of incorporating blockchain technology with gaming, as well as game testing for current beta projects.
The employees at the company are all very inclusive, and it is interesting to gain insight into general Chinese organisational culture. The food options available at lunch are an additional highlight of the workday. The local 7-Eleven is frequented often for its lunchtime pick-and-mix boxes!
The people I have met in Chengdu have been the best part of my internship yet. Being able to meet people from all over the world through my internship in Chengdu is something I’m grateful for. I always look forward to spending time with the other interns or going to events organised by InternChina, such as Thursday Dinner, or even weekend activities outside the city.
I can say with no doubt that it is the people I have met here that make this trip the enjoyable experience it has been!
Interested in seeing everything that Sylvia has during her time in Chengdu? Then apply now!
I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account. However, for many of you, it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us “Wai Guo Ren” (foreigners) can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
The Chinese company Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!
A Step By Step Guide to add your Bank Card to WeChat Wallet:
Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.
Select “Cards” from the top menu.
This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”
With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.
After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)
You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.
Good to know:
If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!
After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!
In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!
For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.
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Hello everyone ! My name’s Audrey and I come from Strasbourg, France, and I just graduated with a Bachelor degree in Trade in the European Environment. As part of my studies I already had the opportunity to do an internship in Shanghai in 2015, and this was by far my most memorable and rewarding experience! The idea of going back again to China has been haunting me since, s0 now I’ll be interning in the Zhuhai office for 6 months!
I always had an interest in Asia, I could not explain it, it is just a part of me! My trips to Shanghai made me fall in love even harder. Before I arrived in Zhuhai, I wasn’t stressed at all- I waited for so long after being offered the role that it felt much more like a release to finally arrive! My adrenaline level was at its height when I jumped in the plane and made my way to Zhuhai via Hong Kong and Seoul. At the airport, my roommate and fellow office intern picked me up and brought me home!
Zhuhai so Far
It has been 1 week so far and Zhuhai is better than expected. The people are nice and welcoming, the food is delicious, the views are stunning and the relaxing vibe is amazing! The IC office staff are always keen to help and explain anything I need to know. Although I got overwhelmed in the beginning of my stay, the more time passes by, the more this experience seems like to be the opportunity I needed to move on and find my path. I kind of struggled with English at the start of my stay, but time will help and now I feel more at ease with people. Especially as I can enjoy the nightlife here with people from all over the world!
I hope to :
- Develop my “Guanxi”.
- Acquire new professional competencies through my work within an international team.
- Gain more self-confidence.
- Re-discover and deepen my knowledge of China and its business environment.
- Enjoy the city and its possibilities as well as the local culture.
Vorbereiten für China: Wie man einen WeChat Account einrichtet
Habt ihr jemals was von diesem WeChat gehört und euch gefragt wie man es nutzen kann? Hier eine kleine Anleitung vom Anfänger zum Profi.
EINE KLEINE EINFÜHRUNG
WeChat ist, mit 963 Millionen aktiven Benutzern, die größte „Social media“ Aplikation in China. Zunächst ist es einfach eine Chat-App vergleichbar mit dem in Europa meist genutzten “Whatsapp”. Allerdings enthält WeChat noch viele weitere Features. WeChat ist außerdem, in Ermangelung anderer populärer Plattformen, sozusagen der allumfassende tägliche Begleiter im täglichen Leben Chinas. Es ist, während eures Aufenthalts dort, nicht wegzudenken und absolut notwendig. Ihr werdet es benötigen um euren Freunden zu folgen, Kollegen zu kontaktieren und selbst um euren Kaffee damit zu bezahlen.
MIT WECHAT BEGINNEN
Einen WeChat-Account anzulegen ist ziemlich einfach. Der Prozess erinnert dabei an das Anlegen eines WhatsApp Profils. Zunächst benötigt ihr natürlich die App. Das ist weiter kein großes Problem, ladet sie einfach über euren App-store herunter, und verbindet die App dann mit eurer Telefonnummer.
Wie das im Einzelnen geht haben wir euch hier aufgelistet:
- Ladet euch die App herunter und installiert sie
- Sobald ihr sie habt, wählt „Anmelden“
- Gebt eure Handynummer ein und bestätigt, vergewissert euch allerdings davor den richtigen Ländercode zu verwenden (UK, USA, DE usw.)
- WeChat sendet euch daraufhin einen Bestätigungs-code, gebt diesen in das vorgesehene Feld ein
- Sobald ihr das bestätigt habt gebt euren Namen an, bestätigt ein weiteres mal und stellt die Profilerstellung fertig
Um Nachrichten zu verschicken öffnet einfach einen Chatdialog mit einem euer Kontakte und gebt eure Nachricht ein wie ihr es von WhatsApp gewöhnt seid. Sprachnachrichten können ebenso einfach verschickt werden und sind auf eine Minute dauer limitiert. WeChat wird euch für alle zusätzlichen Funktionen um Erlaubnis auf den Zugriff fragen.
Jetzt benötigt ihr natürlich erstmal ein paar Freunde um überhaupt mit ihnen zu chatten. Das geht mit WeChat sehr einfach und auf mehreren Wegen.
Zum einen kann man einfach nach Ihrem Benutzernamen oder ihrer Handynummer suchen, allerdings auch einfach ihren persönlichen QR-Code scannen. Letztere Option ist mit der Grund, wesshalb WeChat für Networking und Geschäftskontakte benutzt wird.
KONTAKTE PER BENUTZERNAME UND HANDYNUMMER HINZUFÜGEN
- tippt zuerst auf das „+“ in der rechten Bildschirmecke oben.
- tippt dann auf das Bedienfeld „Kontakt hinzufügen“
- Gebt den Benutzernamen oder die Nummer in das Suchfeld ein
- Der grüne Such-Button wird aktiv
- Existiert der Kontakt, wird er sichtbar auf eurem Bildschirm und ihr könnt auf „Hinzufügen“ klicken.
- Sobald die andere Person akzeptiert seid ihr verbunden.
FREUNDE MIT DEM QR-CODE HINZUFÜGEN
- Geht wieder auf das „+“ im oberen rechten Bildschirmrand
- Geh auf die Option QR-Code scannen
- Erlaube WeChat auf deine Kamera zugreifen zu dürfen. Ein neues Fenster öffnet sich mit einem Feld zum Scannen des QR-Codes der Person deren Code ihr scannen möchtet.
- Scannt den Code der anderen person in dem ihr das Smartphone über ihren Bildschirm haltet.
- Nach erfolgreichem scannen bekommt ihr ein Feedback in Form eines Tons und der Kontakt des anderen erscheint auf eurem Bildschirm. Klickt auf die grüne Schaltfläche „Hinzufügen“ und schon seid Ihr verbunden.
LASST EUCH VON ANDEREN ADDEN
Andere können euch natürlich durch euren Benutzernamen adden, eure WeChat ID, oder Handynummer. Ihr könnt sie aber auch einfach euren QR-Code Scannen lassen.
Um diesen aufzurufen, geht im Hauptfenster unten rechts auf das Feld „Mich“ tippt auf euer Profil und dann auf „Mein QR-Code“.
EINEN GRUPPENCHAT EINRICHTEN
Um einen Gruppenchat einzurichten, geht einfach auf der Hauptseite auf das Plus Zeichen und wählt dort „Neuer Chat“ aus. Jetzt wählt ihr einfach noch die Kontakte aus die Ihr zur Gruppe hinzufügen wollt und fertig.
ÖFFENTLICHEN SEITEN FOLGEN
Gruppen sind ein wichtiger Teil der Kommunikation auf WeChat und wir benutzen sie regelmäßig um unsere Praktikanten über IC Aktivitäten zu informieren. Daher ist es notwendig der öffentlichen Seite InternChina´s zu folgen um über die wöchentlichen Aktivitäten und wichtige Neuigkeiten informiert zu sein. Und außerdem könnt ihr den jeweiligen Gruppen für die Aktivitäten darüber beitreten.
Folgen aktivieren ist relativ einfach, geht einfach so vor wie wenn ihr einen Kontakt hinzufügen würdet. Einziger Unterschied hier wählt „öffentlicher Chat“ bei der Suche aus. Gebt als Suche IC ein und ihr erhaltet eine Übersicht über alle InternChina Accounts.
WIE MAN KOMMUNIZIEREN KANN
Bei WeChat kann kann man entweder chatten, Sprachnachrichten schicken, anrufen oder Videotelefonate, ähnlich wie Skype, führen. Wichtig und gut für alle die sich mal vertippen oder versehentlich im falschen Chat posten, ihr habt bei WeChat die Möglichkeit alle Nachrichten, Posts und Bilder bis zu zwei Minuten nach Posten zurückzurufen.
EINE SPRACHNACHRICHT SCHICKEN
Um eine Sprachnachricht zu schicken tippe auf das Lautsprechersymbol neben dem Eingabefeld. Dann halte das Feld gedrückt und sprich deine Nachricht in das Smartphone. Lass das Feld wieder los, wenn die Nachricht beendet ist. Solltest du mit der Nachricht nicht zufrieden sein, dann zieh einfach den Finger nach oben und lass los. Das senden wird abgebrochen.
Wenn ihr mit eurem zukünftigen Praktikumsunternehmen ein Bewerbungsgespräch führen wollt wird dieses euch höchstwahrscheinlich per WeChat Video Anruf kontaktieren.
Daher solltet Ihr wissen wie Ihr einen Anruf per Video tätigen könnt:
-zuerst öffnet den Chat mit der Person mit der ihr telefonieren möchtet. Ihr könnt auch einen neuen Chat beginnen indem ihr die Person als Chatpartner hinzufügt.
– öffnet das Chat Menü (kleines Plus rechts im Texteingabe Menü)
-klickt auf „Videoanruf“, das kleine Kamerasymbol, und der Anruf wird gestartet.
(Das gleiche gilt für Sprachanrufe)
Sobald ihr euer WeChat eingerichtet habt, seid ihr bereit euer Leben in China zu beginnen. Solltet ihr allerdings noch weitere Fragen haben, vor allem wie man öffentlichen Seiten folgt dann seht euch einfach das folgende Video an.