China CEO II review

This is why I don’t read non-fiction anymore. Big words like “talent” and “ambition” and “culture” are thrown around — but those words are such strong bullshit indicators because they’re neither an actual goal nor an actual strategy. Yes, there is some concrete advice in here, but in two hundred-plus pages it doesn’t get beyond […]

China’s young identity market

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.) It’s hard to imagine how different China was only fifty years ago. Chinese people largely dressed the same, ate the same food in cantinas and decorated their homes in similar fashion. Few brands were known, most originating from before the Japanese Occupation, the civil war and the tumultuous 50s, 60s and […]

China’s media landscape and lessons for the West

Earlier trips to Shanghai already taught me that looking at China with an air of Western superiority is ill-advisable. While rural areas are still developing, urban areas are so far ahead in some aspects that at times, Shanghai felt like science-fiction. In moving from Amsterdam to Shanghai and started as a strategist at Seventy Agency, […]

China’s Great Wall

I must have seen the Great Wall a thousand times. In school books, Mulan, Age of Empires, Discovery Channel, murals, and cheap reproduction paintings. But now that I’m actually here (Jinshanling 金山岭), I can barely believe this has actually been built. The wall, despite being so massive, feels like a part of nature as well, […]

Is China scary? A look at mundane life

When I was back in the Netherlands last month, one thing I often heard was that people see China as a scary country. And I don’t want this to be some justification for all of China’s flaws — nor whether you should agree with it. If you’re a journalist, China can be scary — but […]

Fake Dutch windmills in China

I’m pretty sure there are more fake Dutch windmills in China than there are real windmills in the Netherlands. Some photos that I can quickly find in my photo album: Shanghai, Shandong, Shanghai.

The site of China’s first rocket launch

Shanghai often feels to me like a GTA map or Azeroth: Massive with distinct areas and yet so many tiny places and sidequests to explore. Today I went on a sidequest, to see the site of China’s first rocket launch. (Thanks to Historic Pudong for the tip.) On the site now stands a pillar, with […]

Smartphone pictures of China

When I was in art academy, the vaguest class we had was on concept development (‘workshop activity’, or in Dutch ‘atelier practicum’), and one part of it was just collecting pictures, which we’d then discuss personally with the teacher. This was always on Mondays and the continuous struggle of it is burned in my mind. […]

Understanding China (or actually; how not to misunderstand it)

In 2017 I decided I wanted to move to China and I started to prepare myself, trying to understand the culture and market. I had nobody to really guide me, so I read books from several categories; Online media on how to do marketing in China. Most of these books were kinda nonsense that didn’t […]

A good look at China

路上,乡下,中国 Long rides on the National Day of the PRC are becoming a ritual. 136 km from Shanghai to Nantong today. My favorite part is always the ferry. Cars can choose one of two huge bridges, but not so much for bicycles. The Yangtze river is massive — and because all the passengers walk around […]