The Nanfang / Blog

Shenzhen Home to 50 of China’s Billionaires

Posted: 05/9/2014 8:00 am

Shenzhen residents: Love thy neighbor. They may be very, very rich.

Financial magazine Xincaifu has compiled a list of the richest people in China, and wouldn’t you know it—Shenzhen is home to 50 billionaires.

Well, they might not live in your neighborhood, but borrowing a little Grey Poupon is easier in Guangdong Province than anywere else in the country. Guangdong is the Chinese province with the most billionaire residents, followed by Beijing, Zhejiang, Shanghai and Jiangsu.

As if to signal the bursting of the real estate bubble, the list mentions the current ten richest people in China as having made their fortunes outside the real estate industry. The fields by which this year’s top moneymakers have rung in their gold include new energy and the internet.

We wonder what could it be that attracts them the most: the clean air, former Hong Kongers with a desire to drive on the right side of the road, uh, the local sports team?

We guess those guys that handle Shenzhen’s position as a technological and manufacturing leader have to live somewhere.

Photo: eChinacities


Rent-a-mourner: Hiring Filial Substitutes for Qingming Festival

Posted: 04/8/2014 1:13 pm

qingming replacement filial piety

To be a good Chinese, you must be filial towards your elders. While this means providing parents with grandchildren so they still feel relevant, this also means worshiping and remembering your deceased relatives and ancestors on the annual festival specific to filial piety, Qingming (清明节).

But Qingming isn’t just about reminiscing about your extended family like a feel-good recap of a Chinese “Family Ties” (80′s entrepreneur Alex P. Keaton FTW). It’s hard work. Memorials for Tomb Sweeping Festival are held at graves which can be located at the tops of hills; while you compete for position among throngs of other Qingmingers, you’re out there in the pouring rain while stuck in huge traffic jams like the one we had this year that included 80,000 cars and 18 clogged highways.

*SPEAKS DIRECTLY INTO CAMERA* “If only there was an easier way!”

If the enterprising spirit found on Taobao is any indication, you can now comfortably worship your ancestors from the leisure of your own home, catamaran, or jacuzzi. All it takes is for you to hire someone to perform all of your Qingming duties for you.

What only served as a wacky plot device from the Ge You vehicle “Personal Tailor” (2013) is now a service for hire on Taobao. Competing outlets will offer to perform for you such Qingming duties such as tomb sweeping the, lighting of incense, bowing, the reading of a memorial speech, tomb decoration, and picture taking. Nandu reported that there are 58 such online services at varying prices to be found on Taobao in areas covering the entire country.

The proprietor of one such online shop, a Mr Lei, says that his line of work is often misunderstood to the point that a former girlfriend once left him due to these circumstances. Mr Let said he has been doing this job for four years and fondly recalls once helping a family that were located overseas:

The entire family knelt in front of the computer (on Skype) and cried towards the grave marker for a long time. At that time, I cried as well… We don’t do this purely to make money, but instead do this to help those friends who are inconvenienced and are not able to return home.

Here at the Nanfang, we’re always interested in being the most filial we can be, so a brief search for “tomb sweeping replacement services” on Taobao turned up the following results:

For 500 yuan, you can get this guy to bow at your ancestor’s grave:qingming replacement filial piety

This guy will show up in a suit:qingming replacement filial piety

Or you can opt for this service, strangely promoted by using a picture of Rosa and Karen Peralta mourning at the grave of Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary in San Diego, California:qingming replacement filial piety

You can still be that filial son you’ve always meant to be as you tee off on the golf range, or that doting daughter as you go browsing for luxury goods. And to prove that you’re extra filial, you can always buy your ancestors a trending paper Phone or tablet to burn instead of the traditional “hell money”.

Photo: Taobao, (1, 2, 3)


Forbes says Guangzhou number one place in China for business

Posted: 12/3/2013 7:00 am

Cantonese are known, fairly or otherwise, for being very good at business. Facts tend to back it up: Hong Kong is Asia’s premier financial centre and Guangdong is the richest province in China. Now the industriousness of the Cantonese is being recognized by Forbes magazine.

The Chinese version of Forbes has put Guangzhou as the top city in China in which to do business:

Guangzhou, which moved up from No. 4 a year ago, topped the new list in part on the strength of the city’s infrastructure for both cargo and passenger traffic.  The southern business hub is home to 13.6 million people, notably including billionaire Zhang Li of Guangzhou R&F Properties, one of China’s richest people.


Even better for Guangdong, neighbouring Shenzhen finished second on the list, with Shanghai falling to third place. Foshan, also in Guangdong, placed 10th.
Despite concerns about the long-term competitiveness of the region, the Pearl River Delta continues to thrive.

Campaign launched to find Guangdong’s top 10 businesspeople

Posted: 09/18/2013 7:00 am

With its GDP reaching 5.71 trillion yuan (US$913.8 billion) in 2012, Guangdong has been ranked China’s richest province for 24 consecutive years. A huge part of this is the business talent that sets up shop in the province.

Now Guangdong Television Station and Yangcheng Evening Newspaper Group have co-launched a campaign to find the best 10 businesspeople in the province. According to the organisers, the campaign will: “Target businesspeople who have helped their companies or industries achieve sustainable development amid the global industrial reshuffle.”

According to the paper:

In the past nine years, a number of businesspeople in Guangdong, including Pony Ma, CEO of China’s Internet giant Tencent, and Dong Mingzhu, president of Gree Group, the most competitive manufacturer of air-conditioners in China, have won awards in the campaign.

Late last year, published a list of the country’s top 10 business leaders. If you want to learn more about doing business in the Middle Kingdom, Mr. China by Tim Clissold is an entertaining and informative read. “Where East Meets West” by Sam Goodman is also an excellent guide.


Is Dunkin’ Donuts on the way out of Shenzhen?

Posted: 08/6/2013 11:00 am

Dunkin Donuts joined the likes of other international food shops to give it a go here in China with some of their first stores in Shenzhen. They seemed to have a bit of a following, and quickly opened in Dongmen. Soon after, they sprung up in the CBD near the Exhibition Centre, Coastal City, the Kingkey Banner Centre, Shekou Seaworld, and finally in the underground mall, Link City.

They’ve been offering similar fare to what they have in the US: doughnuts and coffee (hot, iced, or frozen), but it never seemed to get the recipe exactly the same (the texture was a bit off). They also sold souvenir mugs, large boxes of coffee to go (“Boxes of Joe”) and some fancier desserts like cheesecakes and sandwiches. But while it seemed they were on an aggressive expansion drive, now it appears they’re going in reverse.

Since last month many Dunkin’ Donut shops been closing around Shenzhen. All of the venues above have closed except for the one at Coastal City. Is this another foreign fast food concept that couldn’t catch on in China?  Do Chinese not appreciate donuts?! Or maybe their doughnuts were too sugary for the country that finds many of the Western desserts too sweet. Let’s hope this isn’t the end of Dunkin’ in Shenzhen.


Express deliveries ramp down in Guangzhou for CNY

Posted: 01/19/2012 12:41 pm

As online retail businesses have flourished in recent years, express delivery services have become a vital part of many people’s lives. And as many of those people are now rushing back to their hometowns to celebrate the coming Chinese New Year, the express delivery industry itself is also taking a break.

As reported by Southern Metropolis Daily (SMD), most express delivery company branches in Guangzhou have already stopped accepting new packages, and will suspend shipping beginning January 20.

SMD talks to a Mr. Fan, who heads the Haizhu branch of Yunda Express, which stopped accepting packages destined for the northeast or northwest of China on January 15, with yesterday the last day it would accept mail to Jiangsu or Zhejiang province, Shanghai or anywhere within Guangdong during the holiday period.

“We stopped offering pick-up service earlier than we did last year, so that our warehouse won’t become overloaded again,” Fan said, adding that “We will try to have all mail delivered before Chinese New Year this time.”

Similarly, Shentong Express also stopped accepting parcels this week, but says that it will still deliver orders during the holiday, albeit more more slowly. Other express delivery companies plans to continue to provide pick-up services in certain CBD areas.

Among those is Yuantong, a spokesperson for which has said that mail pick-up fees have gone up as high as three times the normal price, or approximately 45 RMB per item. The company says that the higher fees are to cover costs for air mail transport, the only channel open throughout the holiday. Even so, Fan says, arrival times still can’t be guaranteed.

The only two express delivery businesses which explicitly state that all services will continue as normal during the holiday are Shunfeng Express and China Post EMS.

SMD also talks to a customer service representative with Shunfeng Express, who says that all deliveries during the official New Year holiday will be given an added charge of 10 RMB to compensate for overtime costs, and that deliveries will be delaye by between 4-7 days.

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