Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #44

A wide variety of news over the past week, I think the biggest business opportunity listed below is with elderly care and “old age” homes.  But that would probably be at the top of the market segment because most cannot afford it (even if they can culturally accept it).

Thanks to Kevin S and Sinocism for many of the links:

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #43

Several interesting stories, including a nugget about upcoming college entrance requirements and the removal of English as a requirement (see the Xinhua story below).  According to that story is this stat:

The Ministry of Education says that there are 50,000 companies specializing in English training, with the value of the market estimated at 30 billion yuan (almost 5 billion U.S. dollars).

Thanks to James M and Sinocism for some of the links:

The world’s second language: English

Over the past few days I’ve had talks with a couple of business people regarding EFL opportunities in China.  While there are still many (see Chapter 9), I think entrepreneurs should be aware that there is global demand for this language.

Several years ago Jay Walker gave a short TED presentation that highlights the fact that there are around 2 billion English learners globally now.  While he doesn’t cite sources he probably drew it from the British Council which publishes a similar number on its website (or perhaps it was from research done by David Graddol).

For more information about teaching and demand, be sure to check out Dave’s ESL and Angelina’s ESL.

Bitcoin in China: Fall Edition

I’ve discussed BTC and cryptocurrencies and their adoption in China before (here), time for a quick update.

A local channel out here called International Channel Shanghai (ICS) recently broadcast an English-based profile of BTC (and LTC) on its program called Money Talks (click here to watch it).

Overall its a fairly in-depth and accurate explanation of Bitcoin and doesn’t really devolve too much into scaremongering (though it does talk about all of the risks/regulations in the US and elsewhere).

According to the show there are now 14 exchange sites on the mainland that have been set up in the past 2 years (the two it mentions are BTCChina and

The show found a professor (Yang Qing) at Fudan here in Shanghai who thinks that the government will be hands off for now because the overall market is very small.

They also interviewed another professor who errs as to why Bitcoin is not money: because there is no physical army backing it up.

Again, it is about 20 minutes and does a decent job of presenting it to the audience without fearmongering.  (FWIW, Bobby Lee, the CEO of BTCChina is the brother of Charles Lee, the creator of LTC who is over at Coinbase now, see this recent Wired profile on him).  Lastly, Jesús Huerta de Soto is name dropped at the end; for those of you unfamiliar with him, he’s an economist who has written a number of books on banking policies, credit and finance.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #42

Some opportunities around for real estate developers in the new free trade zone being developed in Shanghai.  And if you manufacture air filters, the northern areas (especially Dongbei) would probably have a lot of potential customers (see these photos).  Thanks to Angela X and Sinocism for some of the links.

If it works, you apparently cannot complain… “How to become the president of China”

So much propaganda squeezed into 6 minutes.  Nothing is mentioned about the powerful families, regional cliques or special interest groups that work behind the scenes to get their relatives or friends up the chain.  Or the amount of bribery (hongbao) needed to initially obtain any position in government (the going price in small towns is 50,000 RMB).

Stat of the day: Chinese tourism abroad

According to Chasing the Chinese Tourist Yuan from The Wall Street Journal:

But in the aggregate, Chinese tourists have now passed Germans and Americans to become the biggest spenders abroad. About half of the 83 million Chinese who traveled outside the mainland in 2012 spent more than $5,000 per trip, according to British payment processor WorldPay.


Chinese authorities expect the number of travelers going overseas to hit 100 million next year. But that will still leave 93% of the population at home—potential travelers. The travel industry, hoping that the number of Chinese travelers keeps climbing, is preparing to serve the next wave.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #41

A few stories from the past couple of days.  The free-trade zone mania seems like a positive trend, here is hoping that the entire country is eventually turned into one free-trade zone instead of the hodge podge of a million fiefdoms.  Thanks to Kevin S and Sinocism for some of the links.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #40

If you want to run a standardized test taking center in Hong Kong or South Korea, you could probably make a bundle the next few years.  Or if you know how to setup trust funds, you can probably help the “new” rich figure out how to emulate Western families and their wealth management strategies.  Thanks to Sinocism for some of the links.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #39

As I have told my younger Chinese friends who are looking to start their own sport companies, I recommend trying to get into sports that are very popular outside of China that are currently not popular here (e.g., Cricket, Rugby, Ice Hockey).  See the Cricket story below.  Thanks to James M and Sinocism for links.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition #38

This is a combination of news from the last two days as well as the first days of the summer.  For those in the alternative education industry and training sector, there may be opportunities to tap into a growing customer base dissatisfied with the traditional education system (see links below).  Also recommend reading that petro article from FT at the very bottom.  Thanks to Matt L and James M for some of the links.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition XXXVII

Because the business news cycle was very slow in China this past summer, many of these links are a couple months old but their stories are very relevant today.  A few stories involve other Asian countries.  Special thanks to James M and Sinocism.

Another Brick in the Wall: Link Edition XXXVI

Mostly China-related news from the past couple of weeks.  Special thanks to James M, Michael T and of course

How to do business in China: Small and Medium Enterprise Edition

I had lunch today with a former colleague of mine at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.  He noted that after a lot of sweat and coding, the new SME Center site is up.

Based on my own interactions at the SME center (I had several friends that worked on the team over the past year), I highly recommend the information for entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs.  Be sure to check out the FAQ section first.

Robotic appliances for household uses

In some non-China news, last month iRobot celebrated it’s 11th anniversary.  DailyFinance published an interesting piece discussing the future of the company that makes Roomba, Scooba and other robots.  Also, Engadget posted an interview with Colin Angle, the CEO regarding the past, present and future of the company.  Hint: it will look a lot like Jude Law and Rosie the Robot than most people expected.

Bonus: SingularityHub has posted a couple videos of some rugged robots in development at Boston Dynamics.