Thanks to China's booming economy, more Chinese can afford gourmet tea these days, and Ye Huabin says his business is on the rise. Once a tea farmer in Fujian province, Ye now runs two tea shops in Beijing.
After months of waiting in line at diesel stations because of a national shortage, the government raises domestic fuel prices in an effort to close the gap between global oil prices and the domestic rate.
A long line of lumbering two-ton trucks were backed up for at least a mile along one of Hangzhou’s major highways by 11 a.m. the other day. As we crept by stopped trucks and gruff-looking drivers passing time on the roadside, our taxi driver said the holdup was at the fuel station. We soon learned that the state-owned Sinopec station would only be selling diesel until 4 p.m.
If there is a Silicon Valley to be found in China, Zhongguancun—a Beijing neighborhood full of universities and electronics dealers—is it. But can it produce an innovation culture to compete with California?
Chuck McCormick and Aaron Kowalski are two of the countless Americans looking for business deals in China today. McCormick came to China a year ago when an expat friend invited him to visit. Since he's semi-retired, he was able to extend his 10-day visit to two months. “China can be very distracting," he says. "It’s like quicksand—the more you get involved, the more it pulls you.”
This morning I took a cab and, thanks to intense road construction, walked the last five blocks, out to Beijing’s hopping Wudaokou district, home to more techie types than anywhere else I’ve seen in Beijing. Entering through a cozy bookstore as it opened for the day, I climbed a flight of stairs up to Lush, an international student hangout—with pancakes and great coffee, at last—to meet Calvin Chin, the guy behind the Web startup Qifang.cn.