Hello again from Aim2D a real time, 24/7 China Business, Marketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of Bic Brands based in sunny Shunyi. Tuesdays we take a look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is usually image gallery but there is not much of offer this week so a quick look at Beijing from a geographical perspective.
Occasionally, usually on a Friday, we get a bit carried away and end up with double our usual 600 word sized posts. It also often includes links to sites with further detailed information. Short story: it can end up as a long read.
So we suggest you boil up the billy, make a pot of nice green tea, settle down with a bar of Taitau dark chocolate and enjoy our Tea N Chocolate Bar offering!
We will be back, Tuesday 21st ,hopefully with fresh, useful, informative China Business or Marketing breaking news. But to be frank, even they are getting thin on the ground these days. Eclipsed by negative news. Ok, moving on.
Understanding the hype behind sensational Beijing news
Apart from filling in for a “Low Image” day, this post also ties up a lot of questions we get centred around Beijing when ever something salacious, contentious or sensational is reported in overseas media. Our experience is that people generally do not, (understandably) have a great geographical knowledge of China or Beijing.
So let’s address that.
WARNING! Do not depend on this article for your Geography exam! It is a simple, basic introduction only!
To state the obvious: China is a biggish country. And like most large countries, events in one place usually have no bearing or impact on another. So it is that when an earthquake hits Sichuan or floods ravage Hunan, the impact on most other parts is nil. Including Beijing.
Like most countries, China is divided into different areas; regions, states, territories provinces etc. Of which China has many.
34 to be exact. 21 of them are provinces.
You may be familiar with 广东 (Guǎng Dōng) which encompasses Guangzhou and Shenzhen – gateway to Hong Kong.
Each province is further sub classified into districts. But we won’t go there today,. Provinces of China // The Complete Guide to China’s 34 Divisions is a great starting point if you wanted to dig deeper and learn more.
Out of the 11 remaining areas, 4 are municipalities. These will be our focus today.
Learn a Little Chinese.
OK, no, it’s not compulsory, but if we knew that NAN meant SOUTH (In English) DONG meant EAST, XI meant WEST and BEI meant NORTH, we could conceivably deduce Beijing is in the North. And you’d be right. But don’t get too excited here. Just as in English when hair hare, here hear, where wear, their there and no know sound the same, so different characters in Chinese have similar sounds.
Focus on Beijing
Beijing is one of the 4 municipalities in China, also the country’s capital city – today we will look at it from the perspective of an onion. Different layers. That means we need to begin with a Province. No, Beijing is NOT a province, but, just to make things messy, it sits pretty much in the middle of one. Hebei to be exact.
Going back in time, there was Nanjing and Beijing, meaning South Capital and North Capital. So, presumably, when the then Emperor decided to have a seat in the north as well as the south he never imagined Beijing, his capital, becoming a mother of a gigantic, sprawling megatropolis. To him, it was just “His Palace” in the middle of Hebei. Very convenient really.
So far so good, let’s get stripping. No! No, not you miss – the onion. I know its hot, but really? As we hinted above, Beijing is quite big. Covering such a large area it too is divided into different segments or areas. Beijing has 16 of these, called DISTRICTS. Now, this is where it often gets confusing, especially for dim witted overseas media when they report on Beijing. So stay close to me now – OK?
Righto, (pronounced Right Oh for American and other non native English speakers) just as China’s provinces can be sub-divided into districts, these too can be further classified into sub districts, in some cases, further still into towns. We will come to those in a few more moments. Let’s clean up this Beijing DISTRICT issue first.
Of those 16 districts in Beijing, 6 of them are located towards the centre south of the Beijing Municipality. Collectively they are known, probably unofficially, as Beijing City. The place where most foreign firms are based as well as Embassies and where hotels most foreign reporters live in are located. The loosely defined Beijing CBD, Financial district and “Silicone Valley” are also here. This site, courtesy of Beijing Municipal Government has a nice clear map of Beijing’s Districts.
So if you are reporting for CNN, wake one morning to look out of your Beijing City hotel window, see barricades and deserted streets, well, it makes sense to write an article stating: ” Beijing, a city of 21 million people is locked down, streets totally deserted.” Well, OK, it doesn’t make sense but it makes darned good click bait headlines and salacious copy. An ideal platform to write about mass imprisonment, concentration camps, denial of freedom, abuse of civil rights, ad nausea.
The alternative would be a headline that reads: Fengtai, (a district in South West Beijing) announced a lock down of several of its business and residential areas in one of its sub districts today. Closer to the truth, but no where near good or sensational enough from a readership and advertising revenue perspective.
Little wonder the Reuters Institute survey shows further decline in news trust.
Now if you were crazy enough to want to leave the concrete jungle of high rise, brass and smoked glass skyscrapers , foreign restaurants and seedy bars etc and travel to the suburbs, (AKA rural or countryside) at some point you may catch a glimpse of a road side marker stating: ” End of Beijing City Limits. “
That probably means you are now entering one of the other 10 Beijing Districts. It also means if you bought something from IKEA, their Free, Beijing City wide delivery stops at that point! Sadly though, that point is often in the middle of nowhere – well Beijing wise anyway – so you needed to have made alternative delivery arrangements.
Likely as not is also means those restrictions and limitations you read about don’t exist. That’s because these outlying, more rural or suburban districts – such as Shunyi – whilst still part of the overall Beijing Municipality do have considerable scope to implement their own policies. Something like a SAD – Semi Autonomous District. It also means that the NEWS you read about Beijing is probably only relevant to a fairly small area and % of the population. As we noted in the Fengtai headline, above.
Which brings us nicely to Shunyi, the home of Aim2D and other great, prestigious organisations showing great taste and style~ It is also home to many of Beijing’s International Schools. A decade back, Shunyi was prized for its clean air, laid back lifestyle, plenty opf sprawling open farm land and a population just under 1 million.
Well, the price of fame. Today population of 3 million ( probably 5 million Benz and Audi FWD ) and a massively expanded airport, Shunyi suffers from many of the same ills that most big cites world wide struggle with.
Situated in the far North East of Beijing’s municipality Shunyi comprises of around 1000, square Kilometres and is almost as far as one can get without actually stepping into Hebei Province. As one might imagine, surrounding Capital Airport, logistics and airline related business are abundant in Shunyi.
To continue with our onion analogy, Shunyi is also divided into sub districts and “towns. Just 6 sub districts and 19 “Towns.” However, as you can imagine with a population barely 3 million, each “Town” is relatively small. Aim2D is located in Kong Kang sub district, “Houshayu Town” a mixed model area of commercial and residential complexes. Just a KM or two north west of Beijing Airport and the Tech and Business Zones.
If you wanted to pursue this further this out dated link ( 2000) has more info on Shunyi District. The local Shunyi District Government has a more updated , although definitely more parochial propaganda site here if you were curious as to what is going down in Shunyi now.
If you wanted to experience a more 21st century, cutting edge technology, visual version of Shunyi ( from the comfort of your armchair and chocolate) then this VR-Enabled “Cloud” Tours Around Shunyi of Beijing offers a “cloud” tour of Shunyi by means of VR technology offered by the Shunyi Tourism Department.
So endeth today’s sermon! The take away is – or is supposed to be – that next time you read or hear something on your news re a disaster or whatever in Beijing, take it with a grain of salt unless it gives specific district details. It most likely only involves a very small % of Beijing’s population and even then, likely as not no where near what media has hyped it up to be.
If you are searching for relevant, real time China business, marketing social or tech news we can recommend these reliable sources:
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