Aim2D: real time, 24/7 #ChinaBusinessMarketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of The Bicaverse based in sunny Shunyi, North east Beijing. Tuesdays we look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is image gallery where we examine a place, topic or subject giving you greater insight, background to life in China, and of course, your Chinese consumer. If hard, practical, realistic China consumer marketing support is what you need, do drop into our sister site: Unegager. Finally, in a sign of the times, we can assure you that our content is 100% loving created and hand crafted by a fellow human. No AI chatter bots here.
Some times, usually but not always on a Friday, we publish double or more our usual 600 word sized posts. We include more links to sites with further detailed information a wider, personal view or videos. Our Aim is to give you our reader and potential China investor or marketer more factual, current information than is available in mass media and help you to see life in China more through the eyes of your Chinese customers.
Short story: it can end up as a long read. So boil up the billy, make a pot of nice green tea, unwrap a bar of Lithuania’s Tai Tau dark chocolate and settle down for a slightly longer read from our Tea ‘nd Chocolate Bar collection.
There are a few options for International travellers arriving in China to enter Beijing. Obviously the most popular and convenient is to fly direct, either to Beijing Capital Airport, in Shunyi, just across the road from Aim2D, or the – relatively – new Beijing South Airport. Of course, one can take a connecting flight if one’s carrier lands at, say Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong or some more remote location.
For those who are tired of sardine like life and seeing nothing but fluffy white clouds out of a small circle of class, whilst the conditioning and pressure ducts hiss incessantly overhead, China rail provides another option. On the surface, this may seem like a time hungry choice. However, and it does depend on from where one is embarking, many train stations are located significantly closer to the CBD – and by extension – probably your hotel. So, not only is a train ticket a tad cheaper, but there is a saving in time and taxi fare to and from station to hotel. In both directions.
Whilst in actual travel time, air seems faster, factoring in hotel to airport travel and minimum check in times there may not be such a big difference between air and tracks. Especially with today’s China Hi Speed trains. If a few moments is neither here nor there to you, or you prefer quality over quantity, trains provide a more relaxing and comfortable experience.
Some may argue it is a better environment to chill out and go over your notes or brush up that all important big sales pitch. You can grab a snack from the lovely stewardess or steward’s trolley or wander off to the dining car for a relaxed meal and drink. Try doing that in cattle class air lines. Alternatively you can just push your seat back, relax and watch the countryside as it flashes past at around 350 kph.
Although train travel today is more comfortable and a better overall experience than air, it too pales in comparison with the hey day of train travel in China 15+ years ago. Those were the days of slower, throbbing diesel locomotives – albeit far longer journey time. But at the plus end, you could at least see the landscape from the window. For long distance travel, one could chose a hard or soft sleeper.
Soft not always referred to the mattress but the degree of “luxury” and privacy – you shared a hard bed with 5 fellow travellers. Well, shared the cabin that is, not the bed, although … ! Anyway, a soft sleep cabin was limited to 4 px, or, for a few dollars more, it could be just you and a friend. “I’d like to get you on a slow train in China!”
Today, unless you are a real, intrepid, go anywhere back backer who opts for one of China’s long distance buses, those are the only choices available. But, maybe, in the not too distant future, those with all the time in the world, a yen for romance and the feel of the sea breeze on her face may have the opportunity to travel by boat. Well at least from Hangzhou to Beijing – and back again. Which leads us nicely into our topic today:
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal
The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the earliest and longest man made canal in the world. Covering almost 1800 Km, it flows from Beijing, through Tianjin, Hebei Province, Shandong Province, Jiangsu Province ending in Zhejiang Province. It is 21 times longer than the Panama Canal, and surpasses the Suez Canal by 10 times. Now we know you are thinking, yeah yeah, another of China modern multi billion dollar engineering miracles, ho hum. But you know what – you’d be wrong.
The Beijing Hangzhou canal is actually comprised of many parts, each constructed at different times. It was fist dug in 486 BC by Emperor Fu Chai ruler of one of the great superstates at that time. Well, not by him personally, but by millions of slaves and prisoners. Fu Chai, having beaten several of his neighbouring Kings had aspirations to enlarge his territory power and position further. He conceived the idea of a huge waterway toward his enemies as a way to achieve this goal.
Fu Chai sadly never lived to see his dream to fruition. He was brought down by a woman. A king from a competing state recruited “China’s most beautiful woman” as a spy who was sent to seduce Fu Chai. Thus was born China’s first Mata Hari. The woman, XI Shi, was, or so the story goes, so incredibly beautiful and probably seductive, that the King was totally besotted, spending all his time with his concubine, abandoning his duties as leader and monarch. Over time, the once was powerful state deteriorated and weakened until in a battle with Xi Shi’s King’s army Fu Chai was easily beaten. Xi Shi had completed her mission.
Today Xi Shi is remembered as one of China’s top 4 beauties. Understandably at the time there seems to be no permanent portrait made of her and so, a bit like Robin Hood, her exploits, romantic skills and beauty have no doubt as Shakespeare wrote: “In time growest.” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and given what we know about our own European ideals of beautiful woman have changed over time, it is quite likely Xi Shi may not be considered so today. Still it does seem sad that no matter how beautiful one is, one can never be any better than 5th!
If you’d like to read more about Xi Shi , background on her and her romantic, covert exploits, this site: Four Beauties of Ancient China: Xi Shi is a good beginning, as is this piece: Consort Xi Shi – The Spy Whose Beauty Brought Down A Kingdom or for more historic background: Xi Shi, the Fairest Beauty of Ancient China.
Perhaps their is a moral or cautionary tale in their somewhere!
Right, back to the muddy Beijing-Hangzhou Grand canal. Over time, the canal was extended by subsequent Emperors and work continued in 2 more separate stages. The second around 600 AD, then, in was eventually completed sometime in 1200 AD. So, it took almost as may years to complete as it is Km long. The canal functioned well, mostly as a vital water highway to move grain and produce through the top half of the country. But over time, ravages of nature and silting saw sections of the canal dry up so by the middle of the 1900’s, it was no longer possible to traverse from Beijing to Hangzhou.
Until now that is. At the end of April this year, restoration work on the canal was completed. Dried-out sections were refilled, and for the first time in more than a century the full waterway is connected. With a history of more than 2,500 years, it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014. For a more scholarly, indepth read: The Grand Canal is very good reading. Finally, if you are more visual,
Grand Canal Connected Again provides a photo gallery, courtesy of Caixin Global
Today we have introduced you to the joy of long distance hi speed train travel in China, warned you of the dangers of becoming romantically entwined with Chinese beauties and offered you an insiders peek at what maybe soon the most romantic and serene way to travel from Hangzhou to Beijing.
We hope you found it entertaining at least, and perhaps gives you some cultural insight to help you understand your Chinese consumer better!
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Introducing Everlyne YU
In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.
She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.
Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne
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Everlyne is also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China. She is CEO of Uengager, business development officer for Bicyu.
Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.
If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.
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