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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chines Gifts

Good article on Gift Giving in China and I agree, Gift Giving is important.  Its important not just to be a taker.  So if you go to someone's house, you should bring a gift.

I already knew some of them.  Alcohol is usually a safe gift.

Chinese Gift Etiquette, Gift Ideas and Taboos - Jazz Violin

A book that has some great advice on Chinese Customs that I use as a reference:

Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide To Chinese American Celebrations And Culture


Google in China

A Google manager in China got fired for using her expense account for purchasing iPods for gifts to Government Officials.

In the US giving gifts like this is a bad idea for government officials, but I see Vendors giving gifts.  Not iPods, but chocolate during Christmas I saw a lot when I was in the technology industry.  Being around Vendor Marketing people's desk during the Holiday Season is a bad idea if your on a diet...

Google's inner workings detailed in book - San Jose Mercury News

A glimpse inside Google's Beijing headquarters - San Jose Mercury News


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Confucius Statue Vanishes Near Tiananmen Square

Strange...  Some type of power issue within the party leadership.

Confucius Statue Vanishes Near Tiananmen Square - NY Times

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China is 3rd in Plastic Surgery in the World

Key Facts on China's Plastic Surgery Boom
  • Estimated $2.3 in Revenue
  • Number of operations is doubling every year.
  • #1 operation is bigger eyes
  • #2 operation is raise the nose bridge
  • 4th most popular way to spend discretionary income
  • #3 in the world for most Plastic Surgeries (US is #1, Brazil #2)

For Many Chinese, New Wealth and a Fresh Face - NY Times


US Technology Firms, China, Tangle over Contracts

U.S. Technology Firms, China Tangle Again Over Contracts - MarketWatch

My 2 cents...

Words are one thing, but deeds another.

And technology transfer may be an excuse to award the contract to a Chinese firm, that has better relations with the local government (bribes and/or kickbacks may be).

And I agree with this:

"China's interest in developing its own companies is just what it is," he concludes. "Everything else is on the fringes."


Yuan's Role in China Trade Grows Quickly‎

7% of China's trade in the first quarter was in Yuan, up from .5% a year earlier. 

Yuan's Role in China Trade Grows Quickly‎ - Wall Street Journal

And with the decrease in the US dollar for commodity pricing (Oil and minerals) and worries of inflation in China, I would not be surprised if the amount of trade done in Yuan grows quickly. The pricing of Gold is a great indicator of the fear of a weak dollar.

I agree with this article, I would not be surprised if there was a revaluation soon for the Yuan. Waiting for a Chinese Curve Ball - WSJ

From the actual report - a depressing read, but interesting the Chinese view on the US:

My guess this is both a political as well as economic statement.
  •  “AA” to “A+“ downgrade US debt repayment capability.
  • new round of quantitative easing monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve has brought about an obvious trend of depreciation of the U.S. dollar
  • An overall crisis might be triggered by the U.S. government’s policy to continuously depreciate the U.S. dollar against the will of creditors.
  • Due to the abuse of credit, the United States became a net debtor country in 1985.


China Tries to Curb Fancy Tombs of Rich That Irk Poor - NYTimes.com

This goes along with the story of the paper iPad 2.

There seems to be a lot of worry about social problems due to the rich/poor divide in China by the ruling party.  A lot of revolutions (such as the French Revolution, and now the Jasmine Revolutions) have started due to economic issues.  And mix this in with the corruption issue.

China Tries to Curb Fancy Tombs of Rich That Irk Poor - NYTimes.com


Right to see Child's College Report Card?

My guess is as part of the divorce the Father was required to pay for the child's college.

For parents in general, your child will need to sign some type of permission if you want to see their report card with most universities.  From the comments at least one if your paying the tuition bill, will send you a report card.

Divorced Dad Who Is Paying for Child's College Has Right to See Report Card - Tax Prof.


China's Train Wreck?

I hope this is not right, and China has built a good high speed train network.

It seems that China's High Speed Network is:
  • Built with inferrior materials that may cause safety issues soon
  • High Cost to run each year
  • $276 Billion in debt (borrowed from Chinese banks)
  • Railroad minister charged with taking bribes
  • Lots of corruption with contractors
  • Accelerated building as an economic stimulus in 2008
China’s train wreck - Washington Post

I love Trains and one of my first memories is of my families HO Train set. We had a train board when I was growing up in the garage and when I am on vacation, its always nice to try out any local trains.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Cheapest E-Books Upend the Charts

I wonder if what happened in the Apple iPhone App. Store is going to happen to e-Books?  Many applications are now 99 cents.  Its great for a consumer, but as a business its troubling to think about how many 99 cent apps you would need to sell to make your investment back.

Cheapest E-Books Upend the Charts - WSJ


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Understanding China's Global Impact

Good article.

I like how the article discusses both internal and external forces that have impacted China, both for the positive, and negatively.

Understanding China’s Global Impact  - Edward Friedman in The Diplomat


eBooks can only be loaned 26 times?

A physical book has a lot of positives!  Once you buy it, its yours.  There is no way anybody can electronically go back and re-possess it (like Amazon did to one book).  Or put this type of limitations on it.  And you can also resell it.

Good question - can you resell an e-book?  My guess is no.

ebooks on borrowed time - Guardian

HarperCollins says US libraries can lend its ebooks only 26 times as print books have to be replaced after that


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Online Sale Tax Update

Currently only within California is sales tax charged because I don't have a physical presence in other states (Nexus).

That is the current law, unless Congress changes it.

There is another online bill headed for congress.

My personal opinion is online commerce should be taxed, but it needs to be made simple for retailers.  The current mess of various sales taxes charged around the US is super complicated.


Chinatown Surbuban Burglary Suspects

It's amazing the amount of houses with alarms on them now in my neighborhood...

What I heard was people come from out of town to target Asian Residences, since they often have a lot of gold and cash in the house.  Unfortunately for those robbed, Insurance companies have limits on how much they will payout for gold and cash losses from a robbery.

Two people taken into custody, deputies still searching for one suspect in Diamond Bar burglary - SG Tribune


More non-Californians are offered freshman slots at UC schools

The UC Regents increased the amount of out of state students to 10%, up from 6%.

What is not mentioned is some UC campuses are much higher than 10% (UCLA and UC Berkeley).

More non-Californians are offered freshman slots at UC schools - LA Times

When acceptances finally come in on May 1st it will be interesting to see what the final make up is.  Offers are different than acceptances.


Sad Chinatown Story - Flushing

My wife's Aunt lived in Flushing, and we visited there.  Flushing is a suburban Chinatown in NY.

The Poor Mother. To have her daughter go to the US for education and help her family with a better life, and for this to happen.  My heart goes out to the Mother.






Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another View on China

The comments are a good read, as well as the article itself.

I understand the author's viewpoint, but I am not sure if I agree with it.

China's hard landing- Foreign Policy

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Selling - Huge Increase in eBooks

 I am surprised at the huge growth in e-Books. 

Now about the same level as soft cover books.  And other segments are down (paper backs down 22%, adult hard cover down 43%).  And hard covers traditionally is where authors make their money.

And in related news showing how the old retail model is broken.

Borders pre-bankruptcy returned 31% of its merchandise for credit annually.

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El Monte Phony Army - Looks like right...

Looks like my guesses were right...

Status, social capital may have motivated El Monte man to recruit phony Army in Temple City - SG Tribune

Its been running 3 years.  My guess is the main charge will be counterfeiting (he made fake miliary ID cards with the US Army seal on them). 


Southlands Update

My daughter went to this school and its been sad to watch the church that owned it attempt to sell it to a developer.  They used the money from the sale ($12 Million) to build a new church in Brea.  And now its fallen out of escrow and the Church is trying desparately to find a new seller.

The church just did not understand Rowland Heights and what was necessary to be successful here.  Their school had such potential!

Rowland Heights residents hope developer has abandoned polemic apartment complex project -  SG Tribune


Movie Rules in China

Movie Rules in China 
  • Only 20 foreign films are allowed in a year (forcing lots of co-production, but then with censorship)
  • Censorship Rules -No sex, politics, violence, or time travel.
  • WTO Ruling may change the limit. 
  • Producers who upset those in power, can be prevented from making any new movies for a while.
  • Rampant piracy hurts domestic sales of movies.
  • The number of movie screens in China is expected to double in China in 2012
  • China ranked as #6 worldwide for box office revenue
  • Mandarin is the preferred language for mainland China (Hong Kong produces most movies in Cantonese, and then dubs them into Mandarin for the mainland Chinese market).
  • Korean Soap Operas with Chinese dubbing are becoming more popular.

Bullets, Love and Beijing's Heavy Hand
At Hong Kong festival, bright vies with bland; China's Jiang scores a satirical and popular bull's-eye
Arts & Entertainment, WSJ, Morgenstern on Film

China still restricting foreign media, U.S. complains - LA Times

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

UCLA and UC Berkeley Admissions by Residency

What caught my eye was:

2010 - UC Berkeley admitted 8.3% International and 18.5% out of state for a total of 26.8%.  My guess is this will increase for 2011 admissions.  In 2010 it was 5.7% International and 9.8% out of state for a total of 15.5%.

2010 UCLA total was 24% out of state and international.  In 2008 it was 17.9%.  I understand this year it will be worse.



China - World's Largest Luxury Good by 2020?

This caught my eye in an article about Burberry in China:

China is set to become the world's largest market for luxury goods by 2020, when sales are expected to exceed $100 billion, according to investment-research group CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets

Burberry also believes that China will become its largest market within 5 years.

Burberry Stores in China Get Digital Makeover  - WSJ


More on Fake US Army Unit

The picture amazes me...

Defense questions charges against Chinese national suspected of creating fake Army unit in Temple City - SG Tribune

Interesting how they were caught:
Recruits also were told they could get a free pass on tickets from police and deals on airfare due to their status - promises that led to the investigation, Yglecias said.
Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_17840166#ixzz1JXiYYKoI


The money side is not making sense to me. 

A SWAG - Yes, I have an MBA :-)

  • 100 recruits with a first time fee of $450, and $120 renewal.  That works out to around $45,000 for the first years. 
  • Assume his office rent cost $1000 per month. 
  • This leaves $35,000. 
Either there is more money involved from recruitst that I am not seeing (how much did promotions cost?), or he was also using his own money and this was more about some fantasy.

My previous posts
Supreme Commander in the US?


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

China Film Guidelines - No Time Travel

I am surprised...

This week, China decided to ban time traveling from Chinese movies. That may sound like a joke, but the Chinese government is not fooling around, and it’s not willing to take any chances.
The reason? Time travel in films “disrespects history.”
Says QQ, a Chinese film blog, translated by ChinaHush:
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/04/13/china-bans-time-travel/#ixzz1JSbSuLL2

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Why straight-A's may not get you into UW this year

Very similar to what happend with UCLA and UC Berkeley this year.  UCLA in 2010 was 17% out of state/foreign students, and UC Berkeley was 27% in 2010.  My guess is the numbers grew in 2010.

Excellent quotes from the article
  • Valedictorians with straight-A's were denied admission, while out-of-state students with lower grades were accepted.
  • The decision is based squarely on economics: Nonresident students in effect subsidize the education of Washington residents, providing a much-needed boost in revenue at a time the UW could see its funding cut by $200 million over the next biennium.
  • Flagship universities have aggressively courted out-of-state students to make up for lost revenue — notably, the University of Oregon, where 47 percent of the school's freshmen were from out of state in 2010, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, where 43 percent of freshmen were from out of state.
  • Some Washington parents whose children were denied admission to the UW have asked if they can pay out-of-state tuition to get their students in, Ballinger said. (The answer is no.)

Why straight-A's may not get you into UW this year - Seattle Times


Supreme Commander in the US?

This article just blows me away at first and it got me laughing.

'Supreme Commander' of phony army unit that recruited Chinese nationals charged - latimes.com

Then, thinking about it there were some nuggets there:

1. What this shows of some US Resident Chinese Nationals perception of how business is done in the US.

2. Thirst to get any help to get immigration help possible.

At least the Supreme Commander had the good taste to do a tour of the the Midway in San Diego (great tour).


Shanghai Disney

Interesting the influence of the Chinese government on the design.

Shanghai Disneyland: Uncovering secrets about the new Chinese theme park - latimes.com


Wooing the Chinese market

Wooing the Chinese market- The Lawyers Weekly.

I agree, if your going after the Chinese market it helps to have your materials in Chinese, as well as having some language ability.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Appealing to Chinese Tourists

Some interesting tidbits about appealing to Chinese tourists in the US:



Cal Poly - A tale of two schools

I graduated from Cal Poly!

But which one?  May be this helps:

A great Engineering school and famous for their Rose Float entry (which I helped build 2 years).

I went to Cal Poly Pomona, but the description is true for both schools.  Their are actually two Cal Poly's in California.  One in Pomona, and the other in San Luis Obispo (SLO).  Both are highly ranked in Engineering, Architecture, and Agriculture.  Pomona was originally a satellite campus of SLO.  Both have the motto of Learn by Doing, and I appreciate the Engineering Education I received with lots of lab time.

Last week was my first visit to SLO and I was impressed.  The rankings, graduation rate, and entrance requirements are generally higher than Pomona.  The feel of the campus was very similar to each other.  There was definitely a Cal Poly feel to the SLO campus.  Pomona does have a much better restaurant :-)  Pomona is a commuter school, which SLO is not.  SLO is in a beautiful area on the Central California Coast, and Pomona, is umm, next to Pomona.  But near Los Angeles and OC.


College Tours - Done!

Last Thursday and Friday I went on my final two college tours!

I am so glad this is over!

At one school we went on four tours.

1. Tour of campus by Campus Advisors.
2. Admissions presentation.
3. Tour of Business School
4. Tour of Campus housing

We also ate dinner at a restaurant on one campus, as well as lunch the next day.  Great restaurant!  I was surprised there were not more customers. Sage Restaurant   All the parents who came to the campus tour should have been there!  Yes, I found it through Googling.  I was hoping the Cal Poly Slo had a student run restaurant as Cal Poly Pomona does ( The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch  4 star and great value).


Getting Past the Puff - College Admissions

It's a challenge to get past all the smoke and mirrors thrown out by colleges to figure out is the college a good fit for your child.

Some tips:

1. Google!  I found this site about UC Santa Barbara that had a different view than presented on the college tour, for example.  The Dark Side Of UCSB

2. Make your tour interactive!While your listening to a college presentation, and if you have an internet connection using a smart phone (go iPhone), check out the claims.  One college tour guide would make a claim, such as on graduation, and I would google it.  Hmm...  90% vs. 70%.

3. Look at the bulletin boards on campus!  The flyers can be very revealing about campus tours.

4. Go to a college tour during a weekday!  Look at the students on campus.

5. Check out the real college graduation rates!   http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

6. Go to the career center online for the campus.

7. Investigate the job titles and salaries of recent graduates for your school.

8. Go to the web page for the major your child is applying for.


College Loans approaching 1 Trillion!

Student Loans are now more than credit card debt.

And you can't get rid of them through bankruptcy...

My opinion is make sure that the college cost makes sense with the  job you have after graduation.

Its amazing how expensive college is.

Burden of College Loans on Graduates Grows - NY Times


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Freeway Traffic Jam in Chinatown

I got caught last night for 90 minutes on the 60 Freeway between Hacienda and Azusa. 

Big rig turns over on the eastbound 60 Freeway in Hacienda Heights, all lanes closed

 - SG Tribune
7:32PM - Accident happened at Azusa just after the exist (under the overpass/bridge for Azusa).
8:09PM - I got on the Freeway at Hacienda - why was it not blocked?
8:30PM - CHP shows up.
  • Couple of vehicles attempt to use reverse to get off freeway.  CHP tells them no.
  • Cal Trans Vehicles use emergency lane are blocked by drivers using it illegally to get ahead.  I saw a black mercedes, BMW, etc. do this. 
9:36PM - Finally get off on Azusa and go home.  90 minutes to go just over a mile! 


FaceBook Privacy for Teachers

I have such mixed feelings on this.

It just reinforces the idea that never put anything in electronic form that you would not want on the front page of the NY Times.  Jokes can be misunderstood.  My guess is the comment to personal drug use is a joke/sarcastic.

Azusa teacher's Facebook page contains vulgar comments, references to personal drug use and underage drinking - SG Tribune


Monday, April 4, 2011

Apple iPad 2 replicas burned, sent to afterlife in Chinese Qingming festival

My something new I learned about today:

Apple iPad 2 replicas burned, sent to afterlife in Chinese Qingming festival - LA Times

Qingming is the tomb festival sweeping day


Friday, April 1, 2011

$100 Bills in Chinatown

Lots of Chinese use $100 bills.

And lots of Chinese stores have ways of checking if a bill is real or not.

Its not a good idea to try to pass a fake one in a Chinatown, as this person found out.

Man arrested for allegedly trying to pass fake $100 bill - Honolulu Star-Advertiser


Learning English, Chinese-Style

Interesting article about the learning Chinese industry in China:


And specifically about studying for the SAT test.

My daughter went through a class on the SAT and I also taught one for a while, so I have a few thoughts on the matter.

1. Vocabulary lists do help.
2. Learning test techniques help.
3. Understanding the viewpoint the questions are written helps.
4. Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary.
5. Practice, practice, and practice.


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