Sunday, June 12, 2011

Internet and Tech in Shanghai

getting out of shanghai metro and Internet censorship


There are frequent rail lines to suzhou, similar accent to hangzhou, i'm told that i have.
hotel suggests to buy the train ticket to suzhou the day before departure as they get sold out fairly quickly.
Internet filtering makes it really difficult to access any sites outside of China. The service it intermittent. Gmail is really slow. This city is probably the most frustratingly difficult city to navigate in my recent experience. I think the reasons are a combined problem of a

1) really confusing map that combines both english and chinese characters.
2) metro system is not well laid out - there are now 13 metro lines and some of the lines seem haphazard and redundant.
3) the metro line is slower than taking a taxi during non-rush hours.
4) The size of the city is very large. The distance between metro rail stops fairly large.
5) There are many metro stops per line.  
6) Places with similar sounding names.

Subway - line 2 is old - the cars . line 10 is very new opened as recently as 2010 for the shanghai world expo.

Very much a 2 speed economy.  i thought they would have moved past this problem already but i am guessing that 10 years is too much to expect too soon.

Ricky said that - power brownouts  are expected this summer. especially with the number of air conditioning units coming online they need to restrict power usage.

In a way it feels like the government upgraded the infrastructure, the roads, the malls, the housing but they forgot to upgrade the people. English fluency is a rare commodity.  Students who have studied english speak it really poorly including those who work in tourist destinations, hotels, airports. I don't expect the average person to speak english well on the street, but after the 2008 olympics and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, I would have expected a little better.  If I had to rename the country, it would be Infrastructure's Republic of China, not people's republic. :)

Tech Sector

We visited a mobile video company called Wondertek referred by Joe. They are looking to acquire new software technologies. We talked to their founder CEO. The problem with China Mobile phone service is that its is government controlled. You have to have a person filter words that are used in your application. Wondertek has managed to squeeze its competitor out of a large part of the market. The competitor was a french company located one floor down from their office and was recently acquired by an Israeli company. The competitor has shrunk its size and was mostly europeans who were working in the offices. The Wondertek guy says that europeans are lazier, but I have a hunch that the chinese guy 's close relationship with China Mobile is mostly because he has some relationship with party members that are controlling China Mobile. Like everything in China, you have to be in bed with the party in order to get large amounts of business. Square footage of office space is pretty high. more than $1/sq ft. This is on the pudong side, near the river.

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