Playing with fire

Many Shanghai-based expats (like me) have seen their Twitter accounts grow — explode — in terms of impressions & followers. There’s a lot more to talk about Shanghai than during normal days. The strict lockdown has given us and everyone we know new challenges, which are not just different for each district, but also change […]

Read More

Dabai at my door

I was curious about the many dabai’s in Shanghai and found one in my compound who was happy to sit down with me to tell me why he signed up & more. I think we were both a bit nervous — he for maybe saying something wrong — me of his leader coming around the […]

Read More

Shanghai’s stunning fall from grace

Mandarin version by Misaka Clover | Japanese version   The first time I came to Shanghai, in 2017, I was amazed by how developed the city was. My only other Asian experience was Mumbai, and compared to that, Shanghai was clean and organized. I was amazed by how you could pay for a laundrette with […]

Read More

Chinese consumers don’t really care about sustainability — does Alibaba?

Written for Dao Insights You might have come across lots of fruits produced by Alibaba’s PR labours, parading its sustainability efforts done for this year’s Double 11, which coincided with COP26. CampaignAsia wrote Double 11 was less about the discounts and that sustainability is top of mind. Other English media outlets such as Reuters, SMCP, […]

Read More

Writing on China

Most sports journalists ask dumb questions, like they’ll ask an athlete “Do you look forward to the match?” — and travel writing often lacks specifics, stacking superlatives: “The waterfall was amazing, and the forest stunningly beautiful.” Each way of writing or topic has its own problems. China writing is often caught in one of two […]

Read More

Old is the song, yet new is the messenger

This month I watched two nationalistic war movies, which use nationalism not just as a backbone to a story, but also because it sells. First; ‘Operation Red Sea’ (红海行动) is a Chinese war movie from 2018, and stands part for a larger phenomenon, namely China’s newly found identity and its nationalism which it no longer […]

Read More

If we are strangers, it’s difficult to be friends

If you read media like SupChina, Sixthtone or ThatsMag, you’ve probably run into some of these headlines: “Proposed immigration changes spark racist backlash in China” ‘Draft law sparks online racism’ “Immigration plans spur hateful comments” “Netizens outraged over proposed permanent residence rules” “Backlash in China over draft rule on permanent residency for foreigners” We would […]

Read More

Apples & yogurt: What money means in China

Money is the invisible friend (or foe) that appears in every story. Janet, born in the 1970s Janet teaches about foreign-invested joint ventures in China at Fudan University. At the start of her lecture, she introduces herself starting from present to past. She now travels around the world advising big multinationals — but her roots […]

Read More

4 functions of Chinese apps

Lots has been written on apps like WeChat or Tmall, but rarely articles zoom in on details. I’ll pick four functions here showing how well everything works together. These apps are not thrilling, but extremely functional. Mind you, these functions are used daily — not just by people handy with phones but most people between […]

Read More

Western brands in China: hits and misses

Western companies looking to expand their business often underestimate the competitiveness of the Chinese market. Often, what stands in the way of success is a lack of understanding on what Chinese consumers value and how they shop. But then there are some that have done their research, made local partnerships, made necessary changes, and earned […]

Read More