It’s around 11:00 pm on Friday at Yuyintang, one of Shanghai’s main live music scenes, and an appreciative crowd of a few dozen Chinese and foreigners cheer as Duck Fight Goose finishes its last act, a compelling blend of exotic synthesized harmonies and driving beats. After the show, the four members of the experimental rock group, one of Shanghai’s top bands, gather in a room on the second floor of the bar. “We all have to work nine-to-five,” says half-shaven front man and guitarist Han Han, whose day job entails project management at an events planning company. Just as with most local bands in the universe, Han Han and his compatriots aren’t banking on making money from doing what they love. Their songs can be downloaded for a price, or streamed for free on Xiami.com, a popular Chinese music site. CDs are sold at the club entrance for RMB 30 a pop. Corporate sponsorship pays more, though still not enough to get by. “You cannot sell a lot in China,” says Han.
My story in Aeon Magazine: “Game boys”
“From a vast subculture of gaming addicts in China, only a few go professional and get rich. Is the social cost worth it?”
Below are some of my contributions to China Economic Review, a monthly business magazine in Shanghai. All items have appeared in print, but the dates refer to when they were published online.
“Amazon is one of the main foreign players, along with Microsoft and IBM, that are driving the development of the cloud computing market in China. If they can be successful they will earn huge revenues and deliver the benefits that businesses in North America are already realizing. In their way stand national security issues, regulatory hurdles and a lack of market trust.”
Sidebar: “China’s dreams of IT dominance start in the cloud” | July, 2014 (PDF)
“It’s hard to see what rice wine has in common with big data. But poor, mountainous Guizhou province in southwestern China, mainly known for the traditional liquor Maotai, is vying to be China’s main hub for data centers and cloud computing.”
“The short queue at the ticket counter for the Claude Monet exhibition is deceptive: Inside, the rooms are crowded with people studying paintings by the French Impressionist master. Stern-faced guards keep close watch on the proceedings, which are subdued and quiet except for the frequent bleep of an alarm when visitors lean too close to the priceless portraits and landscapes.”
“Recent economic data have troubled markets and analysts about the direction of the Chinese economy.”
“Despite the frequent ups and downs in the political relationship between Beijing and Washington, trade between the world’s two largest economies is booming.”
“President Xi Jinping is often called the most powerful Chinese leader since iconic reformer Deng Xiaoping. But most people outside Beijing’s inner circle have no way of knowing just how much power Xi and his team wield, and how their stated agenda for economic reform will actually play out.”
“China’s tight credit environment has fostered some interesting financial innovation. In some cities, stacks of wool can be traded for an apartment. Amid this desperate demand for capital even pawnshops, a traditional lending channel, are changing how they operate.”