Sunday, December 31, 2006

I earned money from Internet to pay Internet service I enjoy

Today, i got the email the "me" sent to me on December 31, 2005. The content is as below:

"Dear FutureMe, what are you doing now? I really want to know if you have got a fantastic career and a warm family. I am now preparing to set up the IBM system. Remember, the X41 system. This is the last day of 2005. I may fly to Milan next year. Do you know it would be good or bad? I still wanna to go further. At the same time, I miss the family.

P.S. do you know what you would do in 2007."

In fact, this website really moved me. The email "me" last year made me remind a lot of thing I went through in the past time. Thanks to to give me such an enjoyable feeling. So I donated US$1 to the website via my paypal account. (Accidentally, I have several bucks in the account because of a year's work for a VOIP weblog last year).

The website said it need donation to make everything free. Unfortunately, only 17 people including me have donated it. Wish there will be more. Internet is not always a free lunch.

Isn't Internet amazing?!!! you could listen to the "old you" and write to the "future you", too.

So this year, I will write another piece to the "future me" next year. I know, she will enjoy this.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Internet to the outside world down

such a terrible turn down on the cable which was damaged by yesterday's Taiwan earthquake. I couldn't access to my Gmail. Also couldn't access to MSN from the office(but could from home). But why blogger still works if gmal doesn't? and why everything was fine yesterday evening just after the earthquake happened but nothing worked today?

So strange.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Earthquake touches Hong Kong

I experienced my first earthquake in Hong Kong during 8:40 to 8:50 pm on December 26. It was really scaring when I was sitting in the office working on my features. The floor had been swinging for five or six times before someone in the office started screaming. Then a silent period for five minutes. Another round came but only for one swing this time. But in fact, I was already prepared to run out of the building with some water.

Checked quickly on the TV news which said Taiwan just had an earthquake, details are here(reuters). Seems Hong Kong and Southern China both felt it. TV news said that the Kowloon Bay area is the most serious attacked place. Seems nobody got hurt, which is lucky.

I never met earthquake in Hong Kong. Isn't that people saying the city is a lucky place without any earthquakes? Anyway, no place is safe.....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

print turns to electronic, reluctant or hard?

My long-time online friend Fons seems didn't care on what's going on in the Hong Kong's largest newspaper. To him, "By maintaining a solid financial firewall, its articles fail to become part of the ongoing online discussions, making into the laughing stock of the 21st century." I could understand his feeling. As one of the active foreign bloggers in China, Fons has more than enough reason to believe the Internet power, and in turn, he thinks many things should be exposed out of the financial wall to Internet users.

When I was a young journalism student and active Internet surfer too, I couldn't agree more on his opinion. But after working in newspapers for several years, I understood more on the worries of newpaper, especiall the leading newspaper, from an inside view. SCMP is not the only one having the wall, Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, two most accomplished business newspaper, also have the financial wall. As a new start-up media company, it is much easier to share the content freely in order to attract new readiers, and thus new advertisements; but for established and branded newspaper, their worries on turning around to use the new online profitable model, may kill their already-successful business model in one day. Destination to the electronic age already exists in everyone's mind, but "when" and "how" are the biggest problems. Several issues to consider:

(1) Subscribers.

When you could read the newspaper online freely, will you still buy newspapers? I believe that's the most important question in the desk of every newspaper executives. Possibly, many people will stop buying newspaper, so in the turning-around process, how to make sure the smooth connection between the time point when the subscribers could still buy the prints and the time point when the advertising could cover the loss of subscribing revenues.

(2) Content.

How many content could be publicized freely is also another question. It decides finally on how many print readers will leave and how many advertisement could attract. will make the first and second paragraph of every story as free, which is a common model among many media; getting advertisers' eyes as well as readers' stomach is a good trick.

(3) Employee.

Online expansion also needs more stuffs to work on more as getting rid of the space limitation on the print copies. It is hard to recruit good employees when online revenue is still zero(except for the period of Internet bubble). So if is it a good way to push the current employees to contribute more to the online copy or invest more in the expansion remains a question.

Having said those, one of my good suggestions for estabilished newspaper is trying to set up "free" model in the emerging market providing new content to new customers. The online Chinese version of Financial Times and Wall Street Journal have done a good job in bringing many Chinese readers without affecting the current revenue from English version. They also brought a bunch of advertisers. At the current stage, the newspaper could subsidize "the new model of new content" based on the revenue from "old model of old content". When the new model is profitable enough, the old model could be subsidized in a reverse way to finish its turn around.

That's just like the egg-basket strategy. When you could afford the risk of losing all eggs, you could definitely put all eggs in one basket; but if you couldn't, then better put some eggs in another basket to test its stability, and then try to move more. Finally some day you will put all eggs in one basket when you trust that basket fully.

P.S. SCMP also started to provide its Chinese content freely on the website. A good beginning but still in the progress.

Monday, December 25, 2006

something interesting to read

Keso is one of the few bloggers in China having deep knowledge on the IT industry. In this post, he publicized a letter from an employee with Ebay Eachnet on the inside first hand info behind the deal between Ebay and Tom Online. The letter is in English, and quite interesting, though couldn't be confirmed it is true or not.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Could U.S. International model work in China?

Heard from someone on a very interesting observation: "There are two theory in China's internet world: (1) If U.S. could do it in this way, we could also do it", (2) Nothing in U.S. could be implemented in China.

In fact, I would like to see U.S. International model will work in China but only under the management of local professionals. Say, when Ebay finally reached the deal with on selling(sorry, they called it the cooperation) of, many big financial media called it is a failure for American Internet model to work in China. However, it seems no one could remember how, a once popular star auction website based in Shanghai, wrote a new page in China's internet history when the two HBS-graduate founders successfully implanted Ebay's model into China. The failure today is not caused by a couldn't-work model, but by the local management Ebay hired to run Eachnet.

So I would only sigh to Eachnet which couldn't deserve some excellent local management. But in another word, it is more like U.S. corporate culture to control everything in its acquired companies. Different from European peers, American companies consider the controlling right as the most important item when they make international acquisition. For example, Citigroup, who just bought Guangdong Development Bank, already assigned a new CEO to the Chinese venture. Succeed or not, we will see, though I hold a negative view.

In the different business environment, businessmen should try to trust the local professionals as they are the only people knowing the market. That's the most important key in developing business in other countries and other cultures.

Good luck to Eachnet, and thousands of companies which may follow its fate.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Such a long week

Sorry for having not uploaded posts these days. It's such a long week to me since Monday when some sudden news came. I am always quick to adapt the latest news, but this time it took me a week to think through the whole thing.

I am not in a position to do a story on the whole thing(as I couldn't be fair enough) , but when this website reported on it in a unfair way in terms of biased view, I think I should say something to balance the article. Many outsiders, especially people doing business in the mainland China, have seen our changes in the business coverage during the past seven months. We have more breaking news, more in-depth features, and more efforts in trying to cover a true mainland China. The direction is different, but absolutely correct, while most of the readers I've talked to praised it as a good move. Behind all the politics, we should see the effort made by someone to pursue a long term development. It is hard for a regional newspaper, once only focusing in Hong Kong for 100 years, to make such move. But it has to for its own sake. When economists are talking about the peg between Hong Kong dollars and RMB, when stock market sees many mainland-concept IPOs, Hong Kong media has to extend its hands and legs to meet the demand of all readers.

Having said, politics, sometimes, makes the situation more complicated, and makes people including me angry.

Will Hong Kong be marginalized when other mainland China cities are developing fast? Even the taxi drivers in Hong Kong will tell you there is possibility, say, in ten years. What HK should do then? be more open and be more involved in the China's economy. The city does have an advantage based on the efforts from the older hard-working generations, and now, with the changing surroundings, Hong Kong people is also quick to adapt to new things, so will Hong Kong media do, I believe.

"Adaptability and flexibility are the most important two things in a new situation", a foreign expat working in BJ and having a successful career once told me. Now, I sent the words as Christmas gift to all Hong Kong media. And Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

3G, the second round for service providers to grow

Hong Kong has its honor to hold the ITU Telecom World 2006 from December 4 to December 8, the first ever city outside of Switzerland to hold such an event.

The event is so big to even affect the telecom stock in Hong Kong. When China Telecom president Leng Rongquan said China will launch the 3G service soon, the company's stock increased by 15 percent that day. Market is always driven by breaking news, while however, not many people think it in a long-term way.

From my telecom experience, the creative business model usually doesn't come from the telecom operator side. Say, the model of SP, or service providers, only followed after thousands of small private companies which support the China Mobile and China Unicom. Telecom operators, whose main character is monopoly, are hard in trying new and effective model because of its own big strucuture. So the smart way is to give a piece of pie to private companies, and thus, benefit themselves.

So to me, 3G is more like the opportunity for second round of growth for service providers. In the first round, companies such as, and benefited most, while in the second round, the most creative one may be from some new one.

Among them, media conglomarates such as CCTV and Shanghai Media Group are likely to benefit. The two already competed hardly on the launching of IPTV, a way for people to watch TV via handy or order programmes freely. With 3G, they will have a better platform which are faster.

However, to them, the problem is still their character. As state-owned companies for a long time, it is a question if they could response quickly as small private ones and if they have any advantages beyond their monopoly character.

Saying so, monopoly usually win at last, though not the full pie, 80 percent is pretty enough.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

coming back from BJ to HK

I am back to HK today. The weather is so nice, cool and dry. Feel much more comfortable in my apartment than the hotel.

Need to find out what's happening in Hong Kong....

Also, could access to my blog now and have a 100M internet. so happy now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Climbing fragrant hills in BJ

Fragrant Hills, or Xiang Shan, is the most popular place during Autumn in Beijing. Red leaves, clean air and cool weather, you couldn't find a reason not to go there.

The hill was once the place for the emperors to rest and have a breath out of their busy lives. They would definitely enjoy such a peaceful place.

I used almost an hour and half (including the rest and shopping time) to climb to the top from the bottom, which is really impressingly fast. The view is so fantastic beautiful, especially when you could shout strongly saying "I am on the top of the hill". In the minute, I feel like the happiest person in the world.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

diversifying Focus Media's profitable terminals

Focus Media, a legend in China's media industry last industry, is famous for its idea to put terminals in the offices and residential building. The concept is simple: the middle-class people usually working or living in those buildings will look at those advertisements showing on the terminal flat screens when they are boringly waiting for the lift and taking the lift.

Here, I, as a common client but not as a professional financial journalist, think something may go wrong on this idea. The building I am living in BJ right now, (I am on a trip to BJ from HK if everyone remember), has two TV terminals on the first floor. It may be for people waiting for the life coming. Unfortunately, I have been living here for almost four weeks, but couldn't remember a single advertisement from those terminals.

First, because I never need to wait for a lift to come. The lift is always available, so I only need a maximum five seconds to get to the lift, while never put my eyes on the screen beside.

Second, and more importantly, is I am never interested in pure advertising content. In fact, I will call the sales way of focus media more like a forced advertising way, while people have to, not actively seek to, watch the advertisements. Imagine if you will watch a pure advertising TV channel. No, I will not, as I will be bored.

Focus Media is still making good money, as advertisers already believed in this story created by both company and the venture capitalists which once invested in this company. It also expands quickly with more terminals covering more buildings. But I would like to remind all of the people to check the effective number of clients the terminals attracted, instead of a null quick expanding number. One terminal doesn't certainly mean people paying attention to those advertisements.

When I was in SH, I found many taxies already had a small screen in their cars. I found the ones carried more interesting contents, say Music Videos from Channel V, are more attracted to me and I watched them closely even when advertisements come. it means audiences need interesting contents, instead of pure, or boring even worse, advertisements. So I doubt Focus Media's profitability in the future.

Just personal opinions, not on behalf of any others people or any media.

Monday, November 06, 2006

how to find a job in China's financial sector

I got an email from one of my readers. He(or She) asked me to advise the job hunting in China's financial market. I am trying my best to answer it here. Hope it will help that reader, as well as many others. But what I would like to say that it is more important for me to tell more details which sector in the financial field you guys want to work in.

- the job market, number of job opportunities available

The job market is pretty good this year. Many of banking getting listed are recruiting more people, especially from overseas. one example is ICBC is recruiting now, even including fresh graduates, which is not that usual. Securities firms and insurers are also have a good time, too.

- the skills generally required (language, technical, quantitative)

Languages are basically English and Mandarin. You must have some finance degree or better some working experiences from overseas, which will help a lot.

- Credentials, education (masters, CFA, MBA, the school name)
All of them will help, but depending on what types of firms you want to join. MBA will be the best to join the investment banks and consulting firms, while others will help you with other financial companies or industrial companies which need financial person.

- what is the usual career path (starting positions, promotions, exit opportunities, the easiness of transitions into other industry)

Starting positions is depending how many experience you have. It is hard to tell in general. But I believe in a new sector, it will be easier to get promoted. As I know many investment bankers are pretty young, beyong their 40s.

- the pay scale (compared with other industries, benefits, tax)

Paid normall better than others, if not the best. Commercial banks paid pretty good among all types of careers before, and now investment bankers and consultant are catching up. But commercial banks usually have off-the-record income, such as house compensation, while the others may not have that.

- What are some of the bigger industries within Finance and what are the developing ones (Asset management, risk management, consulting, Investment Banking, Hedge funds, private equity, etc) ?

Bigger industries are commercial banks and brokerages. Hedge funds and private equities are growing, but still small. Fund managerment companies is also big, while expats could easily find a lot of sino-foreign joint ventures. Consulting, to tell the truth, is not as popular as before. Risk management is a pretty new area, but I believe it will develop quickly.

- Which cities are good for this industry (Shanghai, hongkong, guangzhou)?

hoho, this also depends on various sector, but to tell the truth, Guangzhou is not comparative with SH and HK. Hong Kong is still the international financial center, which is more efficient and regulated. Good place for investment bankers, at least based there to enjoy the low tax benefit. SH is better for sino-foreign joint venture career development, such as funds and importing/exporting related. BJ is a place for financial experts working closely with policies, such as commercial banks, investment banks, and even brokerages. Private equity and venture capital are usually based in BJ too. Also, SZ is also a good place for small and medium size companies, the city also has a lot of loca private equities and hedge funds.

All in all, it depends on various choices, and my understanding is just for reference. just meeting a banking expert last week, and he told me attitude is more important than others for financial professionals overseas to work in China. And that's true.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

India and China

I was attending the Business CEO Forum in BJ on Wednesday. One of the session is on India and China's competitiveness. Why people always like to compare country from country? Especially like the emerging China, people first compared it to China, then India, then maybe some time U.S. But I would like to argue China is always China, with its unique history and opportunity and weakness. China has its own fantasy.

Among the Q&A session with a governor from Saudi Arabia, a guy from China Beijing Secondary Exchange, a government-owned secondary market for company sales, stood up and invited governor for a visit. It sounded no problem if he could stop then. But he continued to complain a lot on the foreign investors' bad opinion on China and....( I almost forgot his point in fact). The moderator had to stop him in a really rude way. I could say he is really brave but the timing was not proper, and the manner was not polite. One senstence, not a good show-off time.

Many Chinese businessmen are agressive these days, especially when dealing with foreign people, but in fact, they haven't learnt the well-rounded way to show themselves. I still remember when I meet the guy, a senior official with that exchange, in a conference where he gave an exciting speech. But during the conference break, I tried to talk to him, but he behaved in a really strange way: he raised his two hands near his mouth, without speaking anything, only his lips moving around, trying to show me he couldn't speak; doesn't make sense at all, right? if you don't want to talk to the media, then just tell them directly. why behave so strangely?

I always remember this, and I believe it shows they need a lot of professional training on how to do a good show off.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Difference between ICBC's A share and H share

ICBC, finally, got listed, after a month's hard work of my colleagues and me. The first trading day, interesting things happened, A share in Shanghai increased by 5 percent, while H share in Hong Kong rose by 15 percent. (A share and H share were priced same) People asked why, and I asked too to SH fund managers. They have different answers, and I quoted them as well. But I got one simple answer for myself(not for newpaper, nor for anyone else) is like this:

Compare the average consumer price in SH and HK, SH is lower than HK of course. Then how come could the stock to have the same price between SH and HK?

So the trading different is natural to me. Then I got the question: so what will be the relations between stock market and consumer price? Will the stock market in HK with many mainland stocks same with SH lead the SH consumer price finally? or SH stock price will tend to be lower than HK for the same company?

terrible BJ transportation

Hong Kong could always be a financial center, just because of its efficiency: this is what I think most when my taxi met with traffic jam during the past days in BJ. For my working 12 hours in a day, almost a third was on the way, or on the way to get a taxi. So many transporation lights, so many traffic jam in every minute(even in the noon of Friday). I am kinda of used to it as I learnt that it will not become better even I become angry.

So HK, the city with no jam, will always be the place for the efficient work. In one second, you could reach everywhere without waiting in a taxi.

BJ is still good for politics, SH is catching up with BJ in terms of traffic jam(see how long it takes to go from Pudong to Puxi during the busy hour), while HK, smaller, is the most efficient. That's the advantage no one could catch up in five years, or maybe ten years.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wikipedia's ban got lifted

After I just complained on the wiki connection, I found the story from my professor Andrew Lih's blog on a comprehensive research of wiki's connection in every province in China. In fact, the ban on the wiki's english website was already lifted. Congratulations. China has another channel to communicate with the world la.

Speaking of wikipedia, it grows so fast. Every time I search something via google, link to wikipedia will always appear among the top five, which is quite impressive.

I always want to write some tips on how to make use of different search engine. With a computer background, I always use three search engines:

Google: good for direct search in english and Chinese for the specific websites. always good for search in english

Baidu: good for search the most popular info in Chinese. you will always know which article people read most. but bad for searching the right websites. created by it is kind of hidden behind the big name Sina, but I suggest seperate it as single searching business. This website is so good at searching on news archives, especially good for journalists and PRs. you could find all news for certain topic in the time sequence from the website which is backed up by the fantastic news database of really a waste when doesn't promote it much.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

what happened to Wikipedia accessed in China?

In one second, it worked suddenly for wikipedia's english website after I accessed to it from google searching link; then, suddenly, in one minute, everything stopped working.

I am using the internet connection in Beijing right now. Such a strange behaviour.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chinese voice in the blog world

The 2006 Chinese blogger world will be held on Oct 28 to Oct 29 in Hangzhou soon. I believe the conference this year will attract more people from last year dut to the fast growth of the number of Chinese bloggers. Company employees and students are the most active groups in the blog world, while the joining of celebrities, such as their blog in, also added more exposure to the blog. I hope it will become a successful conference in which attendees will get what they want. For examples, I overheard that some venture capitalists will attend to look for their investment target....

P.S. Hiking picture last weekend. The Peak in Hong Kong is always fun, no matter when you go and who you go with.

Wealthy Chinese feel no safety

I talked with an assistant of a rich Chinese businessmen on Thursday. He told me his boss is going to finalize his business in Hong Kong at last as the city is more safe. I keep wondering what the businessman is afraid of right now?

Two guess: first, his money is illegal, but from what I know, his business is pretty legal without involving many politics and state-asset stuff. Second, he may be concerned on the safety of his millions of yuan asset, which may be under danger when the whole society lost balance. Seems the second answer is more close to the right answer.

President Hu Jintao has talked for several times on the social harmony. It is a right direction, but needs more solution. This is a target, but behind the social harmony, we should see people's scare. A shanghai financial controller of a state-owned group told me that there is so many bubble in the economy right now, and he wonders how the country will go in the future. His worry does reflect the concern of a lot of people, especially among wealthy class. They have seen their peers fall down and lose their wealth, even their lives, in one night; they also have also sensed the jealous group which hadn't made as much money as them. When Deng Xiaoping allowed a group of people to become richer, he may, or may not, predict that the conflict between the group and the others will be harder and harder.

Under those conflict, China is kind of wandering between the two groups: it could try to stand at the side of the still-poor people, or it could try to protect the already-rich people. It is a hard decision-making process, while no answer has been given out yet. That's why wealthy people ended up in the huge worries.

Glenn Hubbard, a senior economist working with U.S. Federal Reserve and the Dean of the Columbia Business School, said in a recent speech that China's fast growth is highly boosted by the enterpreneurship, rather than from the companding heights. I agreed partly: I agree the commading heights are not well structured to give all transparent policy, but some of them did try to protect the enterpreneurship. Hope more and more officials will be aware of this in the future.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Youtube is fun

It's my first time to try the, which was just bought by Google in the stock valued at US$1.65 billion. The website is really funny. Plus, the speed is really good. I always believe a good video website should have fast downloanding speed. The most annoything is to wait the downloading for ten minutes.

Compared with Google with a market value of over US&130 billion, the deal is not that big. Google used this opportunities to add a strong subsidiary, while increase its exposure when every newsppaer makes it the headline. Good marketing strategy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Does TOM really need Eachnet?

Tom Group is said to be in the preliminary talk with Eachnet, the 100 percent owned online auction website owned by Ebay. Though both side declined to comment official, Tom's website already has a link of "Auction", marked in the red color, which forwards visitors to Eachnet. They may have the off-the-table relations for a while, I have no doubt.

As one of the biggest media group in China, Tom group, with the biggest shareholder of Li Ka-shing family, already covered several fast-growing areas in China, including Internet, Outdoor advertisting, Sports, TV and film, and Skype. With its strong capital backup, it is good at M&A to strengthen itself in various sector. For example, it spent US$10 million, half in cash and half in covertible bonds, to get 27 percent to Huayi Brothers, the company making films including the recent-showing The Banquet, and The World without Thieves.

However, it is a question for Tom, already with a online shopping part but without experience on the Eachnet, to help Eachnet to outperform its strong competitor Last time, I said Eachnet is out of the style because it already among the popularity among sellers. For instance, compared with the laptop sector of the two side, Taobao has over 11000 laptops on sale, over three times than Eachnet with 3600 units. How Tom could beat Taobao, when Ebay couldn't succeed?

I stay concervative on this deal, however, Tom may need a channel of real money, while Eachnet could provide one. Tom's Skype website definitely wants to attract Eachnet's users who already have accounts. The Merge may help consolidate the users, but don't always forget users are also easy to go away after the consolidation.

Good luck, Tom, Ebay and Eachnet. Not sure which investment bank is advising on the deal right now, but please make some good point first.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Warm Springs_a brave president

I am honored to attend the first screening of Warm Springs in Hong Kong this Saturday evening. The producer HBO will show it from October 2. The film tells the story on how Franklin Delano Roosevet, the only U.S. president to serve three terms in U.S. history., win his fight with paralytic illness and finally succeeded. He is brave, optimistic, funny and firm. During the resting period in Warm Springs, the peaceful small town, he learnt his responsbility as well as knew his weakness. A leader would never be perfect, but he will always perfectly know his strength.

The film moved me. Watching together with many people suffering from paralytic illness and the charity gentleman who sponsor the event, I felt the charity event like this is really inspring. Luckily, I am still healthy, but I should be responbile to help those non-lucky people. They are trying their best, and I should try my best to serve them. The world is never perfect, but we should know perfectly what we could do.

Shanghai Media Group_My Shanghai Experience_Part two

Shanghai, as the most fabulous city in the eye of foreigners, should have its own big media group.

Shanghai Media group, set up based on four TV stations inthe city, has about 5200 staff with the asset of 11.7 billion yuan. Big number, isn't it?

As the second-largest biggest media group just following CCTV, the official media group led directly by central government, SMG is trying to expand as a full media corp covering print, radio, Internet, newswires and TV stations. TV is its strongest part right now which contributes all the profit, I guess. They has the newspaper named China Business News, which is also trying to make money though hard. Also do its radio and website. The group also tried to buy a news wires, while unfortunately, no target is available as news wires are so few in China.

Could Shanghai Media Group become really big? the question depends on if Shanghai's strength in media could outperform Beijing. As the international city, Shanghai should try to diversify its media into different fields to meet the needs. For example, Shanghainese, which are always used by Shanghai-origin anchor on the screen, should be banned. People living in Shanghai is from every corner of China and Shanghai should learn the culture of Beijing to accept everything.

Luckily, Shanghai Media Group is trying its best. At least, it has more freedom to expand itself. But how to get rid of the geography restriction is still a question, at least they should change their english website address into something without the "sh".

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Taobao is everywhere_My Shanghai Experience_part one

I already came back to Hong Kong. Time flied fast while 22 days just went away in a second.

It's the longest time for me to stay in the mainland China for the past year. I have to admit, things go faster than I thought. China is an amazing country, I would say, in many areas.

Near my place in Shanghai, there is a street where people sell various stuffs along it during the night. For example, pirate DVDs, make-up, and cups. I shopped around for some cheap, really cheap accessories on the street before the day I left. And the experience is really interesting.

"How about the quality of this necklace?" I asked a boy who must be under the age of 20.

"Good, good. It is just transported from Thailand". The boy answered.

"Really? are you sure it is really good?" I asked again, just for fun.

"Yeah, definitely'. He said firmly, then handed out a name card to me with the name for his accessory store, something like "luxury jewlery", and a website address.

"We are a famous store on". The boy answered. "So we will not cheat".

Oh, my god, this is amazing. someone selling stuffs out of the street told me to go to a website to check his stuffs. I wouldn't imagine it before, but now it seems true. He must be not the only person who do it, and I guess there are thousands of thousands of.

That's the amazing thing about, as well as other websites in China. As China is so big, Internet suddenly becomes something businessmen shorten the distance from the customers. I am not a fun of Jack Ma, the founder of, but I would like to say he knows a lot on China's common consumers. I once had a flatmate in Hong Kong who sells her clothes online, and who really likes Taobao.

On the other side,, the Shanghai-originated website founded by two Harvard Business School graduate, has went out of play these days, at least, told by my former flatmate.

Say, that's the Internet, where Jack Ma, a former English teacher, could beat two HBS graduates. And there will be more amazing things.

Monday, September 18, 2006

How the China's financial futures market going?

I attended the two-day China Futures International Forum last weekend. The conference was a little bit different from the conferences I attended before, where speakers only talk their own ideas without any kind of Q&A and replies. Compared with other conferences where people could only argue, this conference is more like an investor education course, where attendees could only listen to speeches from overseas stock exchanges, investment banks, brokerages, and academics. Just like a baby, China's financial derivatives are learing how to walk, though slowly, walk.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

China FX, do people care?

I am attending the two-day conference of the 4th China FX forum held by Euromoney in Shanghai. To my surprise, attendees are not as many as the people I have ever seen for the Euromoney conferences before. Does it mean not many people care, or what?

Here is some update on the coming 2006 Chinese Blogger Conference. As I overheard, they are still short of half of the sponsors. If you by chance know anyone who would like to sponsor it, please contact the organizer. If your company wants more exposure, please try to register it, too. As I overheard again, the attendees of starting companies in 2005 conference have all got funding till now. So good choice for enterprenuers..... Never too busy to attend a good conference.

Friday, September 08, 2006

the newspaper's struggle 2

BTW, it shows people are still interested to read the print copies, isn't it? It feels different when your photo are carried online compared with carried on a print, black-and-white, and famous newspaper.

the newspaper's struggle

One of my interviewees asked me for ten copies of our paper carrying an article on him. (Of course he promised to pay) My first response is like this: "what, ten copies, I don't even have one for me. " Then I calmed down to understand his feelings that he may love the story so much. So I called around to my colleagues in Hong Kong but seems no one had the clue. Their responses are: "Hi, come on, it is an electronic age, and we could send him the electronic copies".

Hmmm, speaking frankly, it is weird for newspaper to say "electronic age", or at least not in a right position. I know most of the newspaper still make money from selling paper copies as well as the advertisements carring on those copies. Then why it is hard to do print print copies specificly, or seems everyone is reluctant to?

As I wrote months ago, newspapers are struggling between the print copies, the main source of profit, and the online copies, the emerging source of profit but still small. How to balance the production in the two area is a hard question for every CEOs managing newspaper. I even read an article from the print copy of Asian Wall Street Journal which is trying hard to attract readers to its charged websites. It is a breaking story, but in the second paragraph( the paragraph in the journalism is a complimentary part to explain the lead in the first one), it says things like this "WSJ. com is the first to report it yesterday". So what? So people should read stuffs on as the print one doesn't carry breaking news.

It is hard. To be fair, WSJ did a good story on how the website of MTV, the most popular music video television station amoung teenagers, failed to attract the same group of audience. Those youths, aged between 15 to 25, preferred more "cool" place such as

I would say it is the problems among all traditional media. They use the traditional thinking to set up an emerging media, which is wrong. They have the expertise, but it doesn't mean they will succeed in the new world. Getting rid of the old, and sometimes arrogant thinking, they could listen clearly on what the users think.

Speaking all things above, I feel a bit of weird, too, as myself is a newspaperer. Anyway, to be fair again, I found something for the interviewee who asked for ten copies of our paper. We do have a website for reprint, though you need to submit a lot of information such as the reason you reprint it. There is still a solution, though I would think it will be exciting if you could order online and then print as many copies as you want.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A new generation of China officials

Talking about Chinese officials, what will you think? someone very old with a pair of big glasses. No, they are a totally new generation, educated in the west and then coming back to China for government career.

Got the leaflet of a finance forum in Shanghai. Reading the officials' resume, I learnt that they are different. Examples:

Mr. Fang Xinghai, Deputy director of Shanghai Financial Services Office
42, PhD from Stanford University, Previously investment officer and the economist of the World Bank

Mr.Zhang Guangping, Director, business Innovation & Supervision Department, China Banking Regulatory Commission
PhD in Economics from U.S., worked in Standard& Poor, Deputy President for JP Morgan Japan, studied in Harvard Law school on securities and banking regulation

Mr. Qi Bin Director for the research center of China Securities Regulatory Commission
MBA from Chicago Business School, worked in the asset management department of Goldman Sachs, Partners in a New York venture capital fund.

And there should be many other in the same type.......

A new generation of China officials

Talking about Chinese officials, what will you think? someone very old with a pair of big glasses. No, they are a totally new generation, educated in the west and then coming back to China for government career.

Got the leaflet of a finance forum in Shanghai. Reading the officials' resume, I learnt that they are different. Examples:

Mr. Fang Xinghai, Deputy director of Shanghai Financial Services Office
42, PhD from Stanford University, Previously investment officer and the economist of the World Bank

Mr.Zhang Guangping, Director, business Innovation & Supervision Department, China Banking Regulatory Commission
PhD in Economics from U.S., worked in Standard& Poor, Deputy President for JP Morgan Japan, studied in Harvard Law school on securities and banking regulation

Mr. Qi Bin Director for the research center of China Securities Regulatory Commission
MBA from Chicago Business School, worked in the asset management department of Goldman Sachs, Partners in a New York venture capital fund.

And there should be many other in the same type.......

Monday, September 04, 2006

How China could set up a worldwide financial organization

I was in the 3rd China Finance Forum last weekend. Some speakers are really good and open, while some others are talking on rubbish and wasting audience's time. The last speech from Xu Xiaonian, the managing director of Goldman Sachs Gaohua, the U.S. investment bank's joint venture, however, gave something unique for me to think.

His topic is on how China, the world's fastest developing ecnomy, could set up a worldwide financial organization. He compared the financial sector to the manufaturing sector, and expected some successful private financial organizations will come out to serve the world as Lenovo or Huawei, or ZTE in the manufacutring sector. His basic arguement is that China should continue to open its financial sector as well as introducing managements with international views and incentive salary system to set up world-level financial organizations. He also said that the successful financial organizations will finally come from private sector in which profit is everything, instead of state-owned ones, where management cares more on the employment rate and society stability.

I don't usually believe in economists, especially those in-house researchers, as they always speak for their companies. Xu may have a point saying state-owned companies may not become the worldwide successful onew. I have seen many bankers, or traders from state-owned companies are complaining on their salaries as well as their jobs. but I don't believe the private companies could neglect the employment rate and society stability. As one of the corporate ethics, companies should care about the social principles instead of 100 percent caring on revenue.

Also, I think Mr. Xu may miss another point on the creative culture among the sectors. Lenove as well as Huawei both have their own technology, while now the financial sector in China is only learning from outside. During the conference, it is so common to hear people, from banking to futures brokering, all talking about the difference between China and other countries.

"Now, China is *****, different from the other countries with ****, so that's why China will change".

I am not sensitive on the gap. If China has 1 percent people drink milk, while 60 percent of the U.S. people drink milk, I still don't think China will have 60 percent of people drink milk in the future as China will not become U.S. I believe in China's own character, say, environment, geography, habit, and or so.

That's like the financial sector. We may not have another Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, but we may have a Chinese financial service provider doing different business with investment bankers but succeed in the world. Let's see.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Arrived in Shanghai

It's my first working day in Shanghai. I stayed in the city for almost two months in the summer last year and then left for Hong Kong. Now, I am like a totally freshed person to the city. No idea how to use subway to go to Pudong, no idea of the humid weather, and no idea of the people here.

Staying in the office, I have a private room, much more comfortable than the Hong Kong office. People here leave office really early, while I still continue working as a HKer, the only one remaining in the office.

Tomorrow will be a big conference. Will be terribly busy. I should have some time to enjoy myself in SH.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another tip from Wiki conference

Jeremy Wales said something quite right during the conference: The block of Wiki will not only inhibit the information flowing into China, but also inhibit the information flowing out of China. Nobody in the mainland China could update the Wiki in the way they want, which means they will not involve in a internationl world where everyone has the right to speak.

A little bit like China's foreign policy right now. No one talks too much. In some extent, it is right; but in other extent, it mean the country loses its freedom of speech to the other countries in the world. Better to think about it.

Wikipedia Chinese blogger conference in Hong Kong

The most exciting thing to attend the conference is to see Jimmy Wales, thehedge-fund-manager-turned-non-profit-organization-founder. I am just a huge fun of him. So when i talked with him, I feel I even stammered to speak. bad, bad, bad, just because I am too nervous or what?

I agree with lawrence Li (in chinese) that the conference is a little bit boring, though my job as a volunteer was really chanllenging. Could you imagine doing a real time translation for a five-person panel discussion? Everyone speak fast and love to challenge each other. More terrible, four of the five person are non-native English speakers, and it makes harder to translate other people's secondary language. I was almost crazy. Will never do it again...... just for wiki this time.....

The content in the panel discussion is boring: why Chinese government blocked the wiki? everyone was guessing, while someone tried to explan from a Hong Kong perspective. Most of the speakers, except Jimmy Wales, tried to connect it to the democracy in Hong Kong, and BTW, most of them, except Jimmy Wales, are just occasional Wiki readers or never use Wiki before. The whole topic is a little out of way.... It is more important to talk on some practical topics, say, how to solve the problem, or how to make more mainland Chinese contribute. When a young college student standed up to give his idea which is to set up a version of Wiki without politics, two of the speakers even refused immediately: "You are self censorship yourself". What? at least that young student is thinking of some creative way, not even like someone just sitting there to judge others' creative idea all the time.

Anyway, Jimmy Wales is so cool. And I just like like like him. here is the photo. Am I a lucky girl to be shooted together with him?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

google and blogger has started to let its gmail user log on Frankly speaking, I hate it. Come on, I am already the user of and Now with my gmail opening, I have to log out first when i go to the and then log in again. Troublesome.

It is not a google way. in my concept way, google should be cool, cool, cool. It just needs to attract users by excellent services such as google map, gmail, google talk and so on. But not by forcing users using the service under the same account...automatically......

Just want to say another thing but first annoyed by the above things.

An employee of was killed by the door guard after she finished the work in the midnight. It was late then, almost the midnight, so she just slept in the company, while the door guard, a bad guard, went inside trying to rape her. However, the girl resisted hardly and then the guard killed her. (Quote from the link in Chinese)

It was not about, though it may be be that popular online if it is another company. but the security is just so bad, even guard will do illegal things. When economy develops quickly, people miss a lot of other things, such as ethics.

The old China has various rules on ethics; though they are old, they are still useful in maintain the peace in the society. or the society will expand too fast, just like a balloon, and bo....

Friday, August 18, 2006

do people care about China's capital market?

I've been writing on China's capital market in English for a while, especially in the stock market. A question remaining in the mind is if English readers do care about this market. Frankly speaking, China's market is still a domestic market, while players are all, or mostly Chinese. So why people still want to read the news in English? Do English readers care about a Chinese company buying another Chinese company, or a Chinese tycoon has been punished?

I am still on my way to find the answer. However, a lot of media have been trying to do that. Have a look at Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and even Times magazine. A lot of stories on Chinese companies. Nobody did it before, so everyone wants to be the pioneer. It's not easy, especially for reporters. They have to be familiar with both side, Chinese side and English side, to find a way to cover interesting stories.

But I still wonder if people really care. Anyone has idea?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Chinese Wikimedia conference 2006 in Hong Kong

Chinese Wikimedia Conference 2006 will be held in Hong Kong from August 26 to August 27. I almost missed it as I was so busy with my job these days. However, Luckily, I found it just before the conference, and thought it would be interesting to attend and volunteer there.

Wiki grows fast. I first heard about it in 2004, when it was pretty new with only a few users. Now, it is so big, covering every corner of the world. I am not sure if the Chinese bloggers are more active now, maybe not as active as in the English version. But I believe people will soon fall in love with it.

If you just drop by HK in the period, come to the conference and have fun.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Say something for Carlyle Group

As one of the biggest and government official-backed private equity funds in U.S., Carlyle may be already used to political pressure. But I couldn't quite understand why it faces so much hurdle in its deal in China.

I remembered cleard a classmate from U.S. once told me the nationalism among Chinese is very dangerous. I was angry to hear that at first, but then found the words had a point. In fact, as Chinese suffered a lot in the war before 1950s, they knew they have to love their nation as much as they can in order to survive. But the fact is that the country becomes bigger now, which means the nation needs to do things to strengthen herself, instead of just protecting herself. But most Chinese still hate Japan, though Japan has taught Chinese a lot of the industrilization and corporate governance. Governments, unfortunately, make use of this kind of nationalist to play on the politics.

Now, it is the same with foreign merge & acquistions in China. Government is afraid that it will lost control on the state-owned companies after selling stakes to foreign investors. So it tells people that it will do harm if foreign investors buy into the company. And then many people protest again, just like they did to the Japanese.

But people should try to investigate before making a judgement. Like Carlyle's deal to Xugong group, one of the biggest heave machine makers in China. Carlyle wants it, Xugong wants it, and even the local government wants it. Then why central government couldn't make a decion in the period as long as three months? Some competitors even said Xugong was sold cheaply. But that's not a reason, isn't it? When foreign investors first came to China in 1990s after Deng Xiaoping made the decision, they also thought China's things are cheap, the reason why they came and buy factories. Why people at that time didn't say the state-owned companies are sold cheap? More important, what Carlyle will bring will be a transparent governance system, which will be much better than a non-transparent company where a lot of bribery will happen?

I am not a Carlyle fun, but just want to make a balance when all the Chinese newspaper which blamed Carlyle all day and when Carlyle hasn't said anything. Today people even argued that Pacific Insurance, in which Carlyle bought a stake a few years before, was also sold cheap. Come on, a bread in China now is sold at least five times expensive compared with years ago, and why couldn't a company? If someone wants to sell and someone wants to buy, the deal should be made, and that's called market economy.

Monday, July 31, 2006

People's Bank of China blamed a business newspaper

It is rare for a Chinese government agency to blame a Chinese newspaper. But today I saw it(the link to the central bank's statement in Chinese) The annoucement said the central bank strongly blame the July 27 report on China Business News saying China could acommodate the yuan to increase by 5 percent in a year. The paper quoted an expert saying that China may first step increase 2 percent or 3 percent, and finally make a 5 percent rise. The central bank spokeman said the paper didn't check the accurancy of the sources properly.

The last sentence is the central bank strongly condemn this non-responsible operation of the paper.

Say first, currency is always the most important or sensitive topic for the central government. I still remember some foreign reporters were jailed due to reports on currencies. This time, it is about a Shanghai-based paper belonging to Shanghai Media Group, the second-largest media corp after CCTV. Unfortunately, the paper itself didn't live well these days as the group wants to sell it, though it reported a lot of interesting stories. As the first daily business newspaper in the mainland, it lacks a strong group to back up.

Behind the currency topis, I see the different situation for official media and non-official media to live in the current time. Foreign media always call all the mainland media official ones; in fact, it isn't true. For some of them such as China Business News and 21st century Herald, they are living on themselves, depending on good stories instead of government ties to survive. It is hard in terms of both revenue and reputation. Say how Central bank blames China Business News, you will know the difference. But it is those papers or media trying to bring fair business environment in China. Free media will help setting up a fair, transparent and stable securities market. Have a look at Hong Kong where media is free to say everything. It is hard to try in the current Chinese market, but someone trying now will become the hero.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

bad Mozilla Firefox

When I first started to use Mozilla Firefox two year ago, I thought it is really cool. Sunny brand, plus convenient function of opening multiple pages in one window.

Now I really hate it especialy when I open the task manager and see how much space it took from my laptop's RAM.

The space Firefox takes seems bigger and bigger, or biggest of all. Basically, it loses the advantage as a thin tool. Of course, it adds much more function, but more complicated. To persons such as me who like simple things, Firefox becomes boring. Even today when I opened, a website said it preferred Firefox, the software could only open half of the pages, and then stopped, saying "done".... what a stupid software la.

So I opened the IE to work on everything, though it is troublesome to open so many windows. hoho, back to something familiar, the feeling is not that bad.

I like simplie stuffs, finally found...

bad Mozilla Firefox

When I first started to use Mozilla Firefox two year ago, I thought it is really cool. Sunny brand, plus convenient function of opening multiple pages in one window.

Now I really hate it especialy when I open the task manager and see how much space it took from my laptop's RAM.

The space Firefox takes seems bigger and bigger, or biggest of all. Basically, it loses the advantage as a thin tool. Of course, it adds much more function, but more complicated. To persons such as me who like simple things, Firefox becomes boring. Even today when I opened, a website said it preferred Firefox, the software could only open half of the pages, and then stopped, saying "done".... what a stupid software la.

So I opened the IE to work on everything, though it is troublesome to open so many windows. hoho, back to something familiar, the feeling is not that bad.

I like simplie stuffs, finally found...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Last week in BJ

Outside a bar in Shi Cha Hai, the most popular bar site in Beijing these days.

I really like BJ. People are nice, peaceful and open. The atmosphere just feels like home. Maybe I should seriously consider go back there.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Beautiful Hangzhou

Beautiful Hangzhou and West Lake, though I really had no time to enjoy. Run, run, run!!! flight, airport,hotel, airport, flight. Life is just a circle!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Crazy Amy in a crazy Hong Kong

It' s always interesting to begin a new job, except that it always makes me crazy. New environment, new colleagues, new style and more important, new pressure. Am I a gongzuokuang, meaning crazy working type? I guess so. I could work for non-stop eight hours, and then water, and then another four hours. Even in the dream, I am still working.

Life is just like a box of chocalate and you never know what you will get from there. That's exactly true. Now what I get is a hard Swiss black chocolate. It is not easy to bite but really chanllenging. Also, you feel more and more sweet flavor for the process.

I've been thinking about the role of newspaper in the era nowadays. Peter Lynch, the famous fund manager, once said that newspaper is such a good and profitable business. Right then, but now so many competitors around the newspaper. For example, websites, companies don't need to release information to newspaper; instead put infos on the website. Another example, newswires who could operate for 24 hours and update every seconds.

So what will make a newspaper special? The content, the specific content, and the breaking content. That will make people curious to know the "new" thing from the newspaper, not the thing already given in the press release, not the repeating of the stock market annoucement. It is hard to maintain the principle as reporters are so easily attempted to do the easiest job. But newspapers have to maintain the principle, just as they have to maintain the balance way.

Something new, something I must get.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 will provide free content

I've been hearing complaint from several friends on the website of South China Morning Post, the largest English newspaper in Hong Kong on its restriction of the free content. Now, according to reliable source, it will soon, only in a few days, allow readers to access to part of its content without subscribing the newspaper. (

Good news for those expats only reading English but caring about China. Congratulation, the paper has its first step to attract the online readers.

With more and more media covering China, the country has become a hottie among reporters and editors. Someone who has the vision to report the China in a balanced and neutral way will finally beat others. Hope the Post would be the one.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More people come in to the PCCW deal

Among the buyers of PCCW's assets, it became more crowded with three funds coming in, Ashmore Investment Management, Spinnaker Capital and Clearwater Capital Partners.

This is the most interesting deal process I have seen: more and more bidders(both small and big) , and higher and higher willing-to-be-exposed price. Are the assets too good to be omitted? Or people are just too optimistics? Or Richard Li is so friendly with everyone that his asset are a must-see?

The three funds, according to their websites, are expertised in investing in debt, especially in distressed debt(one of Amy's expertised area, too). Coincidently, the three are jointly bidding for undersea cable carrier Asia Netcom, which is exactly belonged to the category "distressed debt", from China Netcom and its Beijing parent. It is said that the three will give Asia Netcom three years before a final solution. If the three also bought PCCW's alive assets, would three years too long?

Among PCCW's assets, the fastest growth comes from Now Broadband TV. It certainly beated other cable operators in terms of user number, and reported a good result in the PCCW's annual report 2005. I would call the service "alive asset", which will not be the right investment category for the three funds.(So why are they here?)

So now three groups, Macquarie, Newbridge and the three-fund consortium, are in the queue. Any further one coming into this fake game?

Big bet today(just for my readers):

If I were the banker, I will approach Mr. Rupert Murdoch, who just sold 20 percent stake of Hong Kong-based Pheniox TV to China Mobile, suggesting him to buy the Now broadband TV. It will be a good choice for the Australian tycoon to buy the opportunity in the growing cable TV market in Hong Kong, and thus opening the market in China as a result. Plus, he has the cash now from China Mobile.

Big belief today:
China Netcom will never allow any foreign companies buying the whole PCCW telecom network. In the political thinking, it must be in this way. So the choices remain with China Netcom: one is to buy PCCW itself in a decent way(isn't that many bankers planning to advise China Netcom) , or the other is to refuse and never cooperate with anyone.

Interesting findings today:

Lehman's relations

Rob Petty, the managing partner of Clearwater Capital Partners LLC, based in New York, once worked with Lehman Brothers, the advisor to PCCW on the deal, for 12 years. Lehman also worked with Ashmore on raising the funds. Hmmm, financial world is always small.....

PCCW's sale may be only a camouflage

The most breaking news in town these days is Tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai, the biggest shareholder of PCCW, plans to sell the company's telecom assets, including broadband, mobile, wireless and TV services,(see PCCW's annual report here) ,possibly to one of the two private equity funds, one is Australia-based Macquarie Bank, and another is U.S. Newsbridge Capital.

People's attention was suddenly attracted to PCCW's rising share price, and the deal price, reportedly over HK$60 billion; Unfortunately, no one thinks on the other side: why the two private equity funds exposed their interests in PCCW, so early before any decision come? Any specific purpose to publicize it so quickly?

Private equity funds are famous for their deep pocket, and more importantly, beating return. Macquiarie Bank said on their website that the average return was 28 percent for its total portofolio by the end of 2004. Normally, the funds usually buy part or the whole stake in a company before restructuring it and selling out in three to five years.

So let's now guess the plan the two private equity funds are making on the PCCW deal right now. Maybe they see the trend for Hong Kong telecom operators to merge together in the future ten years, and make the assumption that PCCW, the biggest fixed line operator, will stay at last. They will have two options then: one is to list the assets on the stock market, possible, but difficult as it is hard to expect the situation of the stock market at that time: another option is to sell it to another party. In Hong Kong, except for Li's family, the only possibly buyers with enough capital are the mainland telecom companies including China Netcom. (China Mobile, which already bought a small HK operator, raised the example for further buying out from the four rich state-owned tele companies)

The plan sounds good, but unfortunately, China Netcom, the already second biggest telecom operator with 20 percent stake, couldn't agree on selling assets which will charge it more in the future. Off the record, I believe it has the assignment from the Ministry of Information Industry to do something in Hong Kong, the reason it doesn't want to make money from any share deals. Its spokeman also said it never plans to make money from the PCCW's stake.

So both Macquarie Bank and Newsbridge are facing a deal that will upset future buyers, which is unwise to do. Plus, HK$60 billion is not a small number to both parties. Newsbridge's total managed assets in the world is only US$3.2 billion, or nearly HK$ 25 billion, accounting for less than a half of the reported price on PCCW's assets, according to its website.(Macquarie's asset number couldn't be found)

Then, the only result I could get is that nothing will happen, except for the rising up stock price of PCCW. (Or maybe some secret deal between PCCW and China Netcom)

(Update on June 24 for some grammar mistake)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

China's Best Banks

One of my blog's readers sent me a letter asking for China's banking sector, while I always has conservative words to say. Banking stocks are the most popular stocks in the Hong Kong stock market, but in fact, investors, especially retail investors, had no idea about the bank espcially the brick-like IPO books. Dangerous to invest in some companies nothing familiar except for the name is really dangerous.

(P.S. the names for Chinese state-owned banks are really famous these days. I met someone from Germany a few days before, where he could recite all Big Four's names. Lol, isn't that amazing)

I will talk about some real experience in using the service of the banks, which I always believe will be helpful in choosing stocks and make long-term investments.

China Merchants Bank, is the best bank I've ever met. Its retail service will not be worse than, or even better than the HSBC, the largest retail bank in Hong Kong. As a new bank originated from the young city Shenzhen, China Merchants clearly develops its advantage on the high quality of the service as well as its good online system. With easy clicks, one could do everything on the lender's website. Also, its credit card is the best, too, and almost every of my friends living in big cities have one CMB credit card. I remember I received the short message confirming a deal on my mobile phone just 30 seconds after I paid on the counter using the card. Isn't the speed amazing?

The CMB's logan is most interesting "we are everywhere", and it does.

China CITIC bank and China Everbright Bank, the two mid-size lenders due to be listed in Hong Kong in 2006: I once used the card of CITIC banks, hmmm, how to say, not that comfortable, but required to use by the university to pay the tuition. Both belong to the conglomate group, but will that help?

Big Four:

Bank of China is good at its service in foreign currency service. Hong Kong investors are enthusiastic about its stock partly because Bank of China's Hong Kong branch has done a good job. Many friends used the account in BOC to buy U.S. dollars. If Bank of China has departed its foreign currency service, I will definitely invest.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China: big,big,big. but in fact, never use its service before. Just too far away from me.

Agricultural Bank of China: farmers know the brand better than me. But it just want to escape from this special advantage. Come on, agricultural services could make a lot of money if you could focus on it.

China Construction Bank: the relatively smaller size made it flexible. One of its most famous serivice is to pay electronic and water bills. But I always have to queue up to pay them as there are so many people.

"Good housewives couldn't cook without rice", but with so many options in banks these days, why not go to China to test the services? All in all, it's the only and most effective way to know your investment.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mainland Chinese telecom operators enter into the real capital market

Among all the Chinese state-owned companies listed in Hong Kong, the telecom sector have exposed most to the capital market. especially these days.

China Mobile: acquistions overseas, such as buying into Millicom and Pakistian Telecom.

Comment: Good way to expand, but the operator's lack of experience in overseas market may trigger the crisis in the management of new merged companies.

China Unicom: South Korea Telecom is in talks to buy 10 percent stake of China Unicom, possibly in the form of buying new issue covertible bonds.

Comment: Will the deal help with the performance of China Unicom? I wonder. 10 percent stake will not certainly improve the service as well as expanding the market share.

China Netcom: Australia-based Macquarie Bank may spend 40 billion HK dollars to buy the telecom assets of PCCW in which China Netcom has a 20 percent stake.

Comment: I guess PCCW is doing this to press on China Netcom, the second largest shareholder, to join the bid, but China Netcom may not want to do this, especially after Edward Tian suning, famous for his skill on capital market, left the company.

China Telecom: nothing has happened yet, as its performance isn't good these days. But I believe Wang Xiaochu, the former chairman of China Mobile, will do something soon.

One of my friends writing a "Gossip" finance column once did research on the places where state-owned companies held the annual group meeting. He found that all four telecom companies moved the place to Hong Kong from Beijing, which is unlike from giant companies. In my view, holding the AGM in HK at lease shows the company wish to expose to the capital market.

Now is the telecom sector, my next bet is the banking sector, active in M&A market in the next ten years.

Friday, June 16, 2006

I am in Nanjing

I am on a business trip to Nanjing now. Thing really change fast here.( I guess so do the other cities in China).

Picture: my little sister(not in a real family relation) and me in a coffee bar in the Interntional Trade Centre in Nanjing.

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 4, in Victoria Park, candela party

It has been raining these days, but I was impressed yesterday, when over 19000(official number) or 44000(non-offcial number) HK people went to Victoria Park to join the memorial pary for students died in June, 4, 1989. They were peaceful most of the time, but really enthusiastic when crying the slogan. (Picture will be uploaded soon). No matter what the truth is at that time, there HK people is respectful, for their 17-year persistance

Thursday, June 01, 2006

breaking stories make brands, but then

It's always breaking stories making brands for media. I broke a story last week(link), then the next day, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and South China Morning Post all made a follow-up story. Moreover, New York Time quote the Standard in one of its stories, which really made me flattered.

It's always cool to break news in the business reporting. But on the other hand, business reporting has to be careful to be critical, not that close to your business sources. It's hard to balance. Reporters are always tempted to make the deal with business sources in getting first-hand news, but then hard to be neutral to balance various business bodies.

I need to be careful all the time..... remember....

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The best cappuccino in Hong Kong

I had the best cappuccino in Hong Kong on Saturday, and along with a great blueberry cheese cake. The place is called Cova in Lee Gardens of Causeway Bay. (the introduction and the address could be found here from our paper).

The cappuccino is not as much sweet as others do, and there is no gap between the level of milk and the coffee, both two mixed pretty well. The Blueberry cake is beautiful, along with some soft cream. (Pity me didn't photo it before I eat it out). Besides, the environment is good, with decent tables and chairs. My friend who was with me there definitely knows the best place in Hong Kong. The price is not that bad, three cappuccino and two cheesecake cose 255 HK dollars.

Good try for all.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Never proud of anything

My professors in the University of Hong Kong always told me that my English is not good; However, I don't believe at all, the reason I slept well in the past few months.

In fact, it isn't so good as I think. After an experienced reporter told me my weak writing standard yesterday, I felt so frustrated. Yes, never proud of anything, because I still have a lot of things to learn.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bank of China, a must-buy or not?

Bank of China's coming IPO made every retail investor in Hong Kong crazy. Everyone is waiting for the opening of application on Thursday, because of what? Tycoons' lead in buying the lender's stake, its famous brand, or others?
I am not a huge Bank of China fun, just like this person in the Bloomberg's story today(BTW, it's the only story I considered as "neutral", not "flattered". Personally, the only bank I like in the mainland China is China Merchants Bank, great service and high-quality people.

I may be too narrow minded on the BOC's service, as it doesn't only include retail services. It also has monopoly rights in many wholesale and enterprise services, but I will not buy stocks for the company I don't like.

Maybe a lot of people will blame me on that. Right, there will definitely a short-term profit from buying its shares on the first day and sell them in several days, say, a month maybe. Because the IPO organisers should try to maintain and increase the price(I guess, no factual cause). But don't you remember Warron Buffett's famous words: invest in long-term profit. Short-term investors, especially smaller ones, couldn't win all the time.

I'd better not to say much, but I really want to say something different.

VC aiming Toodou, a podcasting website set up in 2004(if I didn't remember it wrongly), has got the second round of investment, or US$8.5 million from three VC. Marc should be so happy on that. I have seen how this website grows up, from nowhere to some big idea.
To tell the truth, the website is still small now. But the website does have potential to develop with more people falling in love with the camera shooting and editing. Also, it does have good management. Hope they will have good luck.

P.S. English press release here. (the founder's website)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How to be an effective social network website?

I always get email from Linked in, friendster,and other social websites. Now there is a new website named wealink, started by one of my VC friends Issac. After a round of Internet bubble, the trend now comes to the Internet's social level, more complicated but easier understood by common people.

When I discussed with Lutz Winter, a German Internet enterpreneur, last week, we just agreed that the social network needs to provide more personal details. You couldn't imagine that two strangers could become friends in reality finally without any knowledge of the other. For example, it is always easy to make friends through blogs; after reading one's blog for a while, it is easier to understand the blogger and his/her thought and then next step, be the friends. If social websites could do something just like blog does, it will be much better.

For instance, if I get some messages from people who wanna to be my friends, then the website should provide some functions like trial period, to give me some time to read his/her blogs to really know the person. After that, it will be up to my mind to meet her or not. Then it will be more perfect.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hukou makes differences

When I was in the junior school, I had classmates who were from rural area. They have to pay more tuition than I did as they didn't have a urban Hukou, which is just like the a born certification for farmers.

This is not good, I always believe.(Except for those family want a second child, they could have the quota if their first child is female and the mother has rural Hukou). But for many, they are curious of having the same treatment as ones from urban areas. At least, all my friends are eager to get them.

So many of them tried through illegal ways such as spending a lot of money, maybe a year's income. Then they will have the advantages to enjoy better schools, better medical system, and even better husband/wife. Also, a Hukou in big cities such as BJ and SH will enjoy special treatments in entering universities and job huntings.

But, wait a moment, how come different borning place, instead of hard working or smart minds, could decide a person's fate? That's at least unfair to almost two thirds of the total populations living in rural areas.

So here I saw some good news: Zhejiang province said it will unit both urban Hukou and rural Hukou together by 2007, Xinhua reported. If Zhejiang could do it, the other areas may be on their way.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The future of E-paper

One day in last August, when I gave a lecture on New Media and Internet to a bunch of experienced reporters, someone raised the below question:
E-media couldn't replace print media as people still prefer to read papers instead of computers.

Suddenly I came up with the idea of e-paper. I answered: right, but rememer technology improves faster than people think; maybe one day we have the e-paper, just like print media; you don't even need to read as it will read for you.

Now, seems my answer comes true. A Belgium newspaper De Tijd, is planting the traditional newspaper style into the electronic form without any change in the format, probably coming in this month. Though the e-paper still lacks color, it is no longer a science fiction, said New York Times.

Wow, amazing? isn't it? That's Amy always like technology. You couldn't really imagine what kind of chocalcate in that box.

It is expensive, but you could imgagine the future. No paper waste, always changing text and advertisement, more importantly, you could only bring a piece of paper instead of inches-thick paper.

When the newspaper is said to be dying, here is another solution. But don't make it too complicated at first. At least, I don't need to update it " Wi-Fi hot spots or through Internet connections", as it will be too expensive charged by greedy telecom operators.

Say, I have a X41 Tablet, but never(maybe once or twice per month) to use digitizer pen; I also have the news service on my mobile for financial news and entertainment news, but I never read them as it is too complicated and easily be charged more than you planned.

So let's say if e-paper will be nichy or mass........

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Super boy show was killed by SARFT

The State Adminstration of Radio, Film and Television killed the application from Hunan TV station to hold the Super Boy show, another expected successful show after the Super Girl.
In an annoucement coming out in April published on the website, SARFT said it will only allow Hunan TV to organize the 2006 Super Girl show, but not the Super Boy. In addition, it gave eleven guidelines to the program including right propoganda direction, limiting the size of joining cities as well as delaying the real-time broadcasting.

For Super Girl, a successful American Idol-like show, it may be a pity always having girls joining the competition. If Super Girl is ok, why not Super Boy? It is the period of competition, and the capable program will always attract people.....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

always nice to have friends in HK

It's already a week since I came back to HK. A extreme busy week until yesterday when I could have some fun with the friends. Always feel warm to meet and talk with friends, and I think I am lucky.

Julie,one of the best friends, and her fiance Ed, took me to Shek O for lunch. Shek O is based on the east side of Hong Kong island and has a beautiful view of mountains and seas. We tried Thai food which are really good. People there are more relaxed than in Central, and you couldn't believe it is part of HK.

Then in the evening, I met Melissa, the so-called Spicygirl from Sichuan province, through Andrea's online introduction. The world is smaller and closer because of the Internet, isn't it? Though I still dreamed to open a farm and get away from the computer, Internet is something must, I have to admit. Oh, back to the Melissa, she is a fun girl; we talked a lot about life in China, HK, U.S. and Europe. She is a bit older than me, but amazingly, we had a lot to talk about. Maybe that's because of the same culture we come from. At last, we decided to go for some sport later.

That's Hong Kong. When you feel lonely, someone will always come to you. Just like yesterday evening, some stranger in the bar smiled at me for almost a minute. Though I may never want to know him, I still feel happy. At least, friends will always be the reason I stay here longer.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Media_difference between mainland TV and Hong Kong TV

One thing I always enjoy at home(not the apartment in Hong Kong) is the difference in the TV channels. Besides the language, HK TV always brings in the western culture, while mainland's TV stations totally tell different things. My parents, especially, are super funs of the TV series from CCTV-1, the most important official TV station of the central government. Now on the show is about how a emperor three hundred years ago united Taiwan and the mainland.

History is always similar now and then. The series tell the current situation between mainland and Taiwan, everyone knows that. Will there be war or will the officials support negotiations? Questions always remain within people's mind, but apparently, everyone cares.

This is part of the usage of the media. Unlike from HK's which is totall entertainment, mainland's are more concerntrated on politics and country affairs. Media people in Hong Kong, including newspaper, radio and TV, always ask what is the right way to develop themselves. I would argue at least they should care more about the country instead of the city, more about serious matters instead of the entertainment. Then, they may have the way.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Amy_back home again

Amy is enjoying holidays these days. May not have enough time to write blogs coz I spend most of the time with my parents. I am not a good daughter, but I will try to be in these few days. Please forgive me, my dear readers...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Back Home

Amy is back home these days, enjoying a pieceful holiday. Here is some picture from London, and I really like London, except for its expensive goods.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The second day in London

Today is more exciting in London, though cold.

The most interesting thing I did today is to visit the Royal Academy of Arts. It has an exhibition named Three Emporors in Qing period, which I really like. The warm-hearted U.K gentleman Simon took me there when the other "Shopping Animals" are busy working in Havods. My big dream was to visit British Museum, but unfortunately time was not enough. But the exhibition in the Royal Academy was already pretty fantastic with valuable stuffs from thousand years ago.

The work today was really busy. But I learned a lot on hedge funds and funds of funds industry. An interesting part from a top financial manager who has an engineer backgroud: people always say market is already efficient, but we think in reverse. That's the value of engineers, including me(maybe): we always want to change everything.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The first day in London

London, in my imagine, should have been some noisy and busy city. But when I arrived the city in the Sunday morning, it is so peaceful with clouds around.

Staying in the Grange City hotel in the center of the city, I could see half of the city view just from the eight floor.(such a different image from Hong Kong where you couldn't have a full view even you are in the 20th floor in the Central). Buildings decorated with traditional designs tell the long long history of the city. People are not that nice as I thought before, but maybe they are decent gentleman inherited from the royals.

I will have a private tour with London Eye this afternoon(or evening in the HK time). really eager to do it. I should breathe some easy air before starting my busy and serious work tomorrow.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Job_trip to London

Amy will go to London to visit a financial group tonight. The company involves in many businesses, including hedge funds and fund of funds. I am super excited now, just thinking of the visit to the most developed financial city in Europe.

Always staying in Asia, especially in Hong Kong, it it easily to just think about the region, which may only take up several hundred percent of the size of the total financial world. Especially when China is rising, the country and its people are likely to believe the earth is going around the nation. But it is not the truth. The economy of the emerging country always has the fastest growth, but only takes a small percent. The world is not going around it.

Will post more in the future.

Media_Good journalism, bad journalism?

Met a friend in the university today and talked about the current journalism. He said traditional journalism is already going to die. "The problem is everyone could do bad quality journalism online".

In some extent, it is right. When I studied the journalism history, the newspaper was created when people feell the need to exchange informations between each other; now the problem with the born of Internet is people need the medium to exchange "useful" or "valuable" information. With the decentralization coming to the peak, the centralization will start. That's I learned from history: He jiu bi fen, fen jiu bi he.( the centralization always comes after long-time decentralization, and the reverse).

But the most difficult thing is not the result, but the timing. Just like the stockmarket, you could easily guess the price will go up or down, but always hard to get the exact timing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Revolution from the Edge; the Demoratization of Media---Lecture given by Dan Gillmor

It's already one year passed when I listened to the lecture from Dan Gillmor. He is still with a bunch of enthusiasm to the new media, just like he did in the new media classes, which, in turn, always impressed people. And impressed me in yesterday's lecture held in the University of Hong Kong.

Dan Gillmor is the one who helped the University of Hong Kong to be the first school in the world to teach blogs(Isn't that amazing).He was the technology columnist for San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley's daily newspaper for ten years. Now he is leading a non-profit project named "Citizen Media" with Harvard University and Berkley to help grassroot media. (

Some of the notes I made during the lecture (and the ones who made me think deep)

(1) The media is made up of production, distribution and access. (which one is taking the lead now? of course access, see, Google who helped with easy access with people around the world)

(2) A read-write web (I would like to know how many people are reading, and how many are writing)

(3) Dan asked if it is still right today that "Journalist writes the first draft of the history"? ( hoho, depends how to define the "journalist")

(4) Dan said the truth in the journalism, both print and electronic, is accuracy and trust.

(5) Dan gave us some example on "Every object tells a story". A PDA-like handset could tell people what the medicine is, if it is expires, the price(and the price difference), and if it conflicts with other medicines, after scanning the label.

(6) BBC held a project named Action Network, also another sort of grass media.

(7) Dan said he is amazing to find Hong Kong is using criminal laws in copy rights cases. He thought the copyright law should be a bargain , or balancing rights, between creators and communities, and I totally agree. Law is used to make the society work, not to restrict its development.

(8) Last, the most famours words from Dan, "I learn from people think me wrong, instead of people think me right"

Some questions in my mind during the lecture but I guess I could already solve them as a professional journalist, which I couldn't do when I was a journalism student one and a half year ago.

(1) Does online journalism have a worse quality? (It varies, but there are really good pieces outceeding the print media)

(2) People spends more time on new media now, such as reading online stories. Is it possible to reduce people's creativity by that? (But believe me, sometimes it helps with the creativity)

(3) Will the traditional journalism be used into online media one day? (yeah, I believe, just the issue of the time)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Media_Where to find Chinese Community in Hong Kong?

Maybe I'm wrong, but it's really hard to find some mainland Chinese community in Hong Kong? The media, including newspapers and TVs, almost neglected this group of people, who came to work in decent professions in Hong Kong but always disperse in every corner of the city?

Am I right?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Media_my professor will leave

Andrew Lih, my new media professor, will leave for Beijing to start writing his book on Wikipedia. Mei, his beautiful wife, will start her new job in Beijing, too. Such a great couple will go to Beijing, which is really wonderful, though it means I lost good friends in Hong Kong.

Andrew was the first professor I saw in the University of Hong Kong, and also the one helping me most during my study. I still remember the girl, who was still an engineer-type, came to visit HKU and talk with her dream in China's new media. The one who just sit opposite to me and listened my dream carefully is Andrew. We had same language at that time, maybe because we both know the computer programming. My feeling was that he is so cool that I must join the program to learn from him.

He didn't only help with the study, as time proves, but also on how to dedicate yourself to something. He is stubborn some time, to tell the truth, but a great advantage to achieve the success. When we built the website for Hong kong's politics, he worked so hard on the project, even harder than we students. He also introduced a lot of friends to me, such as fons and Isaac, the two who turned to help me a lot, too.

Unfortunately, I couldn't be one of his best students as I switched my career partly into business journalism, a more "flamboyant" direction, making me feel I betrayed my previous promise. Andrew may feel angry, too, as I guess, the reason we were not close in the second part of my program. But I still believe he is always my best professor and coach and forever.

In Chinese, people say "diffrent routes always turn to the same destiny". The words suit me, and also hope it will suit to Andrew.

Best best best wishes....

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Media_Free newspaper

I don't know if China has free newspaper, and I don't think so. (maybe some "illegal" ones). But in Hong Kong, free newspaper already becomes a large market. You could easily see somebody reading the free paper in the subway or on the bus. Now Singapore wants to catch up the fashion,too.

-Singapore Press Holdings will launch a free Chinese morning newspaper in June, in addition toits three existing Chinese-language papers, Southeast Asia's largestnewspaper publisher said on Wednesday. The paper will initially be distributed Tuesdays to Saturdays at underground train stations, offices and some households and shoppingcentres.

hoho, we couldn't live without newspaper, but we could just live on free newspaper. I should start a first Chinese newspaper, and the future looks great.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Media_free newspaper

All the newspaper will become free one day, I believe. They could just live on advertisements. Then how about the paid TV?

Media conglomates always think big futures in paid TV. But I still wonder if customers will pay for it in a world you could always have free things from Internet. See, blog, has already changed people's concept to pay to read; and radio and TV will follow the same trend when people could easily make their radio and video productions online, just like they did to the blog.

Lol, let's come on to get another big business.

just get back from Beijing

Amy had a trip to BJ from Thursday to Friday. It is really cold there, but fortunately, I didn't need to go out quite often. I had a busy schedule there, finishing two interviews for my job, then getting together with many old friends.

Time flies quickly and many of my friends already got married(isn't that quick). And me, still hanging around in Hong Kong without knowing who will be my Mr. Right.

But it is ok. My job already brought me many happiness, knew different people everyday and wrote interesting stories. You couldn't always have the world, so just choose the most favorite.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Personaly_still wanna to go to Italy

I gave up an opportunity to go to Milan, Italy last week, which, as a result, a bad decision I've ever made. So I still want to go there, meet handsome Italians as well as the city's extensive design culture. Chinese need some innovative education, to have their own brands in the future. The world factory will not always work.

Tomorrow I will fly to Beijing for some interviews. It will be great to meet some people there. If you wannt to meet me, send me a line:)