Weird & Wonderful China part 2

Well I’m into my third week living in China now and it feels like I have been here 3 years. Amazing place and I am really enjoying myself here. I can’t really get across on this blog how crazy this place is but like last week here are a few sly iPhone snaps of what I’ve seen while factory hopping.

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Multi storey carpark within a multi storey carpark. Each floor of this carpark was doubled up, that’s the sheer amount of cars on the road here! You dont even want to know how bad the traffic is at rush hour.

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Phone repair shop – this is the only place in the world where smashing your iPhone screen for the third time is no biggy. Five minutes and about £8 gets you a new one fitted.

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Speaking of iPhones here is a fake iPhone 4s and a fake iPad 2 up against my real iPhone 4s and real iPad 2. I bought these just for kicks to see what they are like, obviously exporting them is a no no. They look EXACTLY the same but the software is slightly different.

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The majority of locals here that aren’t cruising round in a Mercedes s class live in miles upon miles of alley way networks like this. It’s crazy to think that just behind me about 10 metres away is an apartment condo which is £900 a month and here there are families living in one room, it’s just unbelievable how drastically different social economies are that are right next to each other.

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I asked for a place to get some chicken to make up a stir fry, I decided to eat out instead.

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I have visited a whole bunch of bicycle factories since landing here. The problem is you have to really sift through them to come across anything exciting, bikes like this make the searching worth it though.

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Zombie nation. This is what it’s like pretty much all the time on the tube. It doesn’t seem to effect the actual running of the train system though which is both cheap and efficient. No one talks to anyone though, my interpreter says that people would think it weird or creepy to just randomly chat to a stranger.

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Dating china style. While out for dinner in Guangzhou this young couple next to us were having a date on there iPads all evening without talking. Are they talking to each other online? Are they on a first date? Are they using fake iPads? So many questions….

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Networking. I have met a lot of great people here from all over the world. I met these two guys (Max and Billy) in a bar, they are here exporting stateside. I met another cool guy called Chris who is part owner of www.waboba.com, he has come here to manufacture and export his Swedish product to the rest of the world. So yeah met a great bunch of people who, like me, have come here to export, import and manufacture. Going out on a night to the westerners bars and clubs is a sure fire way to meet up with people who can show you the ropes and point you in the right direction. The downside is that these places are stupidly expensive, the upside is that this is an indication of how well these people are doing here.

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Joey the translator looking very excited at the jelly baby’s I brought her from England. I picked up a 5kg bag of them from macro as you can’t get them here in china. Just stung me for 80 euros on my extra baggage though.

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In my spare time I like to visit LED lightbulb factories like his one. It’s a real mine field in this sector as the diode manufacturing process can be royally butchered meaning a lot of bulbs end up lasting only a few hundred hours. This is another example why thorough factory visits and product QC are super important.

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The bicycle taxi industry here is flat out.

That’s enough photos for now, thanks for dropping by. I have an apartment full of samples at the moment that I’m messing around with so I will probably add some details of those products in the next few days.

8 thoughts on “Weird & Wonderful China part 2

  1. What a great, brave experience you are living here, I will definitely keep following your blog, and I may contact you when you will find something interesting for my market.
    I sell in Australia and New Zealand, so it is nice to know that we will never be competitors :)

    I don’t have much experience in China even if I import regularly from there, but I am deeply involved in the South Asian market and I have an office in Vietnam. I am not going to give you suggestions as I can see that you know exactly what you are doing, but I can tell you that in my experience you should avoid other expatriates.
    The problem is that usually they are not young entrepeneurs like you, but mangers and employees. They need to look after an organization that is already established, you are startin from zero. You need to spend as much time as possible with locals, both in the high class and low class. They will give you the sort of insight and informations you are looking for, and the real understanding of the world around you.
    I know, it is nice to chat and have drinks with someone that speaks your same language, it is very tempting. But in my personal experience that was a waste of time in the long run, when my local friends were and are invaluables.

    Rico

    • Hey Rico,

      Some great advice there thanks, I will definitely take it on board.

      Please feel free to throw any further advice or ideas at me, I am here to learn as well as share my experiences.

      What market do you work in? I would love to settle over your end of the world for a bit one day, hopefully I may.

      Look after yourself bro.

      • Yeah, not a bad corner of the world. I come from Europe as well (Italy) but I’ve been living in the tropics of Australia for few years now. My story is similar to yours… I had a good business in Europe, but I needed to see what’s next, and test myself in starting all over again. I am 35 now, and it has been a very nice ride so far. You are doing an amazing job, I always add issues in doing all the leg work, it is boring and it is painful, especially in a country with a crazy language and an even crazier traffic, but it is the only way to go!
        My main business is in the high level outdoor sport industry, mainly hiking and mountaineering, both distribution and retail. You can have a look at http://www.AdventureFriends.com.au to get an idea. I also have a start up business in the fashion industry http://www.onefiftythreads.com, and an early days operation in South Korea, which may be my retirement money one day.

        Feel free to send me your private email address using my web site, and we can discuss better my requirements.

        Cheers,
        Rico

  2. I am in the motor related trade myself, was thinking of going to china for a week to source some products. After reading your blog it seems as though a week will not be enough.

    • Yeah you really need two things here. Time and money, I think time is more important though. I would say a month here would be minimum. Sure you could come here for a week or two, find a supplier and go home to deal with them directly but I don’t think that’s the way to do this.

      As you know I’m in my third week now, I work flat out everyday (it’s 5.30 am here and I’m up researching the products I’m viewing tomorrow) and I’m a long way away from getting what I need done.

      But as you may also now I’m very committed to this and I know not everyone can take the life changing move that I have so if I can help you out just let me know.

      Thanks

Any comments or questions? I'd love to hear them.