Opening of the Israel Business & Cultural Center in Beijing

July 1st, 2015

On Sunday 28 June, as member of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce (Ischam) I joined the official opening of the IBCC in 798 Art Zone. The brand-new building serves as the office of Ischam as well as a cultural and business center. Pretty cool and there were some interesting exhibits.
The weather was, well, sauna-like but that did not deter a big crowd. Luckily I came early so I could have a quiet look-around. Also good to meet some familiar faces.

Speeches were by the Ambassador Mr. Matan Vinai, Rabbi Shimon Freundlich and Peter, the Chinese businessman behind the setup of IBCC. And others. The Rabbi also affixed the Mezuzah on the entrance of the IBCC, together with the Ambassador.

Talking to MBA from USA, Holland and UK

July 1st, 2015

The season of seminars to overseas MBA groups is coming to an end, things could pick up again in September.
It was an interesting springtime with pretty different groups to talk to, all of them having their own focus and interests.
I mostly give a very personal introduction on what China is today, unfiltered and direct, also covering the multitude of severe challenges China is facing today. I often have to answer the question: are you optimistic or not? My reply is: I am indeed worried as many others are but overall I am more optimist than pessimist. The proof: I just “repatriated” to Beijing a 40 ft container with personal belongings, so I intend to stay for a while more…

The pics:
– Sunday 17 May 2015: MBA Wagner Group (The Netherlands) – group of 15 including Philip Wagner, in Duge Boutique Hotel. Additional topic was health care in China, for a group of company medical doctors from Holland. Our Rotaractor Sophie kindly joined us to answer some more questions on healthcare.
– Monday 25 May 2015 in Capital Normal University: 14 students of Westfield State University (USA).
– Friday 19 June 2015: CASS Business School of London MBA (35 students), in Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong Beijing. Organized as usual by Legacy Ventures (UK).
– Saturday 27 June 2015: Panel with Tony Liu for Saint Mary’s College of California MBA, in ARIVA Beijing West Hotel. Organized by the National School of Development at Peking University, Beijing International MBA at Peking University (BiMBA)

Interview Radio Télévision Suisse

July 1st, 2015

On Monday 29 June, interview with Raphaël Grand of RTS, in our office that right now looks more like a museum of Chinese antiques. Only audio, so we were all pretty “dressed down”.
The interview was done with and through Nicolas Ruble, the co-founder of Prodygia with whom I work closely.
The theme was: what opportunities do foreign businesses still have in China, what are the cultural differences and what should foreign businesspeople keep in mind when dealing with their Chinese counterparts.

Nic also gave an introduction of Prodygia, see my short profile video here:

For the short radio interview:
“La page du 12h30 de ce jour”

How much is the amount of construction waste in China?

June 24th, 2015

In my book Toxic Capitalism I looked in detail at all kinds of waste. That turned out to be really complicated as there are different definitions of the different types of waste (e.g. municipal waste, domestic waste and more). One number I could not find was the estimate for construction waste in China. In my book I do mention the enormous waste due to constant renovations or tearing down rather “new” buildings. Well, I finally got a figure:

In 2013, China saw construction waste reach 1 billion tons, 26% of it from the process of building and 74% from demolition, according to a 2014 report on resources utilization released by the National Development and Reform Commission.
Only 5% of construction waste is recycled, which amounts to around 30 million tons annually, the report said.
The utilization rate of construction trash could reach 95%, as is the case in many developed countries.

What are the worst behaviors of Chinese drivers?

June 24th, 2015

I found this on, dated 18 December 2014. It lists the 10 bad behaviors of Chinese drivers. Amusing as I guess there must be at least 100, the list is endless. Anyway, interesting view:

Editor’s note: MichaelM, our blogger from the US, sums up the most common, chaotic driving practices of Chinese drivers.
1. They will exceed the speed limit so long as there is no traffic camera in sight.
2. They will pass you like crazy on the shoulder of the road.
3. They will cut you off with mere inches to spare.
4. They will honk at you repeatedly with “seemingly” no patience at all.
5. They quickly use the lane of oncoming traffic to bypass numerous stopped cars or going slow in a traffic jam. Oncoming traffic just makes room for them, as if it is normal.
6. They will use the sidewalk if it’s convenient for them to get ahead of you.
7. They will pull out in front of you no matter the situation and expect you to stop.
8. They will cut in on you in traffic and expect you to submit and allow them to do it.
9. They do have laws very similar to ours in the West, but, they are totally disregarded. They mean nothing because there is no one to enforce them except for the traffic cameras, which are few and far between.
10. Pedestrians can be seen nearly everywhere walking in the middle of the road, with seemingly no concern for their own safety or the fact that they are holding up traffic. The drivers will honk at them and simply go around them as if nothing is wrong.

So, Michael, go back to the street and add the other 90!
Not to be surprised, Beijing traffic remains a mess, traffic police is nowhere to be seen and is totally useless. And makes pollution worse.