The Nanfang / Blog

Shenzhen to roll out free wi-fi in hundreds of buses by summer

Posted: 01/23/2014 4:52 pm

Shenzhen is cementing its role as China’s most technologically-advanced cities by rolling out free wi-fi on more than 300 public bus routes later this year.

The city already offers free wi-fi on the metro, while Uber provides it when it sends a swanky car to pick you up.

The Shenzhen government announced the program, saying 14 bus routes will be selected as the pilot by March, with a full roll out to all 327 bus routes by the end of June.

Now if only wi-fi could be introduced on airplanes.

(h/t @mstandaert)


Shenzhen man publishes account of travelling the country while penniless

Posted: 09/3/2013 7:00 am

A Shenzhen-based author has published an account of the time he drove across China in 100 days supporting himself by borrowing money from strangers and handing them IOUs. The author, Liu Meisong, used a total of 222 IOUs as he drove as far south as Sanya, as far west as Urumqi, as far north as Shanhaiguan, and as far east as Mohe County in Heilongjiang in 2010, Jiangxi Television reports.

It started when Liu was having an unsuccessful business trip to Guangzhou in August 2010. Feeling impulsive, he decided to go to Haikou that night. He acquired the 452 yuan he spent on ferry tickets by borrowing money from strangers. He had to wait 15 hours to acquire all the money which was the longest he had to wait during his whole trip.

The characters “欠条” mean IOU, image courtesy of Google Images

He decided he enjoyed living like this and vowed to drive across the country without begging (he paid the money back later), working, or accepting sponsorship. He prepared hundreds of IOUs with a photocopy of his I.D card and his contact information to cover the cost of tolls, fuel, accommodation and other expenses.

He lost 10 kg on his travels as he lived primarily off instant noodles. It was a hugely stressful experience and he had all kinds of rejection along the way. Even his close friends questioned his sanity.

However, 10 of the people who lent him money were at the launch of the book in Shenzhen last week, which is a happy ending of sorts.

Liu says that if the book is successful, he will donate the proceeds to a good cause.



Shenzhen may finally get a second airport, but it won’t help ease crowds

Posted: 08/29/2013 2:52 pm

Shenzhen may be getting a second airport sooner rather than later, though it may be for general aviation rather than commercial purposes, according to a skew of reports from local media this week.

The reports come just before Shenzhen International Airport is set to open its new and impressive Terminal C, which has been built in response to growing numbers of travellers passing through the city each year. The Nanfang shared details on the new terminal in a report on August 19.

“Terminal C, which will open soon, is designed to handle 45 million passengers and 450 tons of cargo a year by 2020. But what will Shenzhen do after that?” Deng Yaoqing, President of the Pan Pearl River Delta Innovation and Development Research Institute, asked at a city forum Sunday. The possibility of a second airport has been explored since as far back as 2008, according to Deng.

“Major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have two airports, while world cities like New York and London have more than two airports,” he added, according to a report by Shenzhen Daily.

But Deng’s words may mean little if a follow-up report by Shenzhen Economic Daily this week proves correct. The Daily, quoting a local transport official, said that the second airport may not in fact serve the growing number of visitors, but instead be intended for “general aviation” purposes.

“The airport for general aviation is quite different from what expert Deng Yaoqing has suggested about building a new airport in Pingshan,” said Yang Xing, deputy director of the transportation commission’s airport department, in a quote translated by Shenzhen Daily yesterday.

“General aviation refers to civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services, and to nonscheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire. It covers a large range of activities including flight training, agricultural aviation, medical rescues, light aircraft manufacturing and maintenance,” the Daily explained.

So although a second airport may be good for local industry and jobs, it won’t bring much relief to those worried about Shenzhen’s already burgeoning transport hub as we approach 2020.

Photo credit: Wikimedia


Shenzhen airport gets set to open massive new terminal

Posted: 08/19/2013 10:00 am

Shenzhen International Airport carried out a “relocation drill” Friday in preparation for the opening of its new Terminal C on November 14, the biggest upgrade to the airport since its opening 22 years ago.

The new terminal will be nearly triple the size of current terminals A and B combined, and will have double the number of counters. Fifty-eight new boarding gates will also be included, covering a total area of 450,000 square metres. By comparison, Heathrow’s main Terminal 5 building covers just 300,000 square metres.

“The new three-level Terminal C was designed by Italian-based firm Fuksas Architects, and incorporates a patterned double skin canopy of steel and glass that allows patterned light into the building, reduces energy consumption by shielding the space from excessive solar heat and also allows mechanical systems to be hidden,” Shenzhen Daily said in a report earlier this week.

The Daily added: “The terminal has a large check-in building with a wing-like roof on one side of a cross structure. The grand departure hall resembles a large manta ray enveloping the passengers. The hall will be bright with light diffused through the double skin and contains information desks, a car rental area, and airline check-in counters.”

Forty-five million passengers are expected to pass through the airport each year by 2020, up from just 29 million in 2012.

The new terminal will be welcomed by Shenzhen citizens and travellers who regularly pass through the major international transport hub. China is a country infamous for its flight delays, with only 18.3 percent of flights departing from Beijing Capital International Airport leaving on time in June, according to statistics.

Meanwhile, a report this week showed that air service complaints in Shenzhen are on the rise, with many passengers still filing official complaints over flight delays and cancellations.

Earlier this year, The Nanfang picked up a report on a series of bomb hoaxes that affected Shenzhen airport. This week, the man charged with the false threats, identified as Wang Hongliang, 26, from Inner Mongolia, has been standing trial at Bao’an People’s Court.

Last week, a former Yunnan Province official was sentenced to six months in prison for his public display of anger at an airport February.

Photo credit:


Shenzhen Airlines slashes fares to Bangkok, only RMB700 return

Posted: 07/5/2013 10:00 am

We’ve all had “bad China days” at some point, and wished we could just be somewhere else.  Now you can, and for much less than you might have thought possible.

Shenzhen Airlines is slashing fares to Bangkok, that den of iniquity, starting on July 15.  It will set you back only RMB500 for a one-way trip (and we wouldn’t blame you for that), or RMB700 return, 163 reports.

There are actually two flights a day, with one leaving Shenzhen at 5:10pm (ZH9204) and the other at 11:15pm (ZH9003).  The return flights depart Bangkok at 8:15pm and 3:30am.

You better snap up tickets fast because competition will be fierce. Moreover, it’s probably unwise to get your hopes up about the flights being on time.


Guangzhou tackles traffic congestion, will restrict non-Guangzhou registered vehicles

Posted: 03/22/2013 10:39 am

Guangzhou aims to tackle the city’s worsening traffic problem by introducing a new measure restricting certain vehicles from the road. (Shenzhen, are you listening?)

Under the new rules, vehicles registered outside of Guangzhou proper will be restricted from certain roads, and the downtown core, during certain times of the day. The speculation is rush hour traffic will be limited, for example. But as Guangzhou Daily reports, the times and locations for the restrictions haven’t been decided yet.

The new restrictions will throw a wrench into many people’s morning commute. As everybody knows, the PRD is a vast urbanized area, and not everybody who works in Guangzhou lives in Guangzhou. There are thousands of people who live in nearby Foshan, for instance, and make the daily commute.  One person the paper talked to, Mr. Guo, said he may have to buy a car in Guangzhou and register it there if he wants to continue driving to work. Otherwise he’ll have to take the bus and transfer to the metro, meaning waking up quite a bit earlier each morning.

On the bright side, though, the moves show the government is trying to unclog the city’s main arteries.  We’ll see if this is effective.


The date is set: Guangzhou-Beijing high-speed rail to open December 26

Posted: 12/14/2012 1:56 pm

Trains will depart from Guangzhou South Station

The China Ministry of Railways announced today the longest high-speed rail line in the world, stretching from Guangzhou all the way to Beijing, is set to open for passenger service on December 26.

So what does that mean? Well, you can now take the train – with leg room, 3G access, and a dining car – to Beijing, or opt for the traditional flight, which will be faster but have none of those other conveniences.  The train will speed along the 2,298-kilometre line at 300 km/hr, getting you to your destination in as little as 8 hours.  By comparison, a flight takes roughly 3 hours.

Bloomberg picks it up from here:

“The service marks a significant milestone of our high- speed rail construction,” the ministry said in the statement. “It will ease pressure on the rail transport between Beijing and Guangzhou, especially during the peak Chinese New Year holiday.”

Guangzhou, China Southern’s home city, is in the Pearl River Delta region, one of the nation’s major manufacturing centers. It’s less than 200 kilometers northwest of Hong Kong.

No prices for the new rail line have been announced yet.  It should be noted those boarding in Shenzhen will also be able to connect through Guangzhou en route to Beijing, which will take an extra 30 minutes or so.

Bloomberg also said if you opt for a flight between the two cities, you’ll have the chance to try out the new Airbus A380s starting next year.


Gongbei MRT station to be completed by the end of 2012… maybe

Posted: 07/23/2012 7:25 am

While no firm date has been released, residents in Zhuhai and Macau can expect the long awaited Gongbei station, connecting the Guangzhou-Zhuhai intercity mass rapid transit (GZMRT) to open by the end of the year, according to Zhuhai Daily. Of the four major Zhuhai stations on the MRT line, only Zhuhai North Station is currently operational.

Far and away the most important of the four stations, completion of the Gongbei station is now well behind schedule. The station is critical as it is one of two ports of entry on land between mainland China and Macau. According to officials, the project’s delay has resulted in serious congestion throughout the port. Moreover, until the station is complete, travellers have no choice but to take a 40-minute shuttle bus to reach the border as there is no other means of public transportation.

From the beginning, development at the site has been plagued with controversy, and construction woes. The high density of underground pipelines has made navigating the terrain incredibly complicated for construction crews. What’s more, following the July 23, 2011 Wenzhou rail crash, new engineering requirements and safety regulations were introduced, all of which have further delayed the project. Yet despite the delays, a recent progress report stated that construction could be completed as early as the end of August, provided there’s no severe weather between now and then, and all final inspections go smoothly.

As to when the station will be open to traffic however remains anyone’s guess. According to the Nanfang’s Danny Lee who recently investigated the story, completion by the end of the year is incredibly optimistic: “From what I could see, the station is far from finished. Major delays to the final leg of the rail line have clearly been influenced by the Wenzhou rail disaster… I suspect the station won’t be operational till sometime in 2013.”


Baiyun airport rolls out free unlimited Wi-Fi

Posted: 12/20/2011 12:43 pm

As of this past weekend, writes Southern Metropolis Daily, Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport now offers free unlimited Wi-Fi throughout the terminal building.

They’ve named the network “AIRPORT-WIFI-FREE,” but you’ll need a mobile phone number or [Sina?] Weibo account to log on through a browser. A reporter for the newspaper went to check it out and found a strong signal everywhere from the main hall to departure areas in both the A and B gate corridors, adding that the connection was fast enough to watch streaming video no buffering needed.

Press #4 for Facebook

Also just launched are 63 “multifunction media kiosks” spread throughout the airport, where you can check flight info, update your Weibo, play games or recharge device batteries.

Baiyun International Airport has had 100 paid Wi-Fi hotspots since December 2009, upgrading service in July this year to offering 2 free hours of Wi-Fi which required calling a toll-free number. The airport’s newest Wi-Fi offering claims a maximum speed of 100 MB/s.

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