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Mainland Tourists, Avoiding Hong Kong, Head to Macau Instead

Posted: 10/7/2014 9:16 am

Tourists walk past a luxury store in Hong Kong

The number of mainland tourists to Macau swelled to 1.2 million in the first four days of the week-long national holiday, surpassing the figures recorded last year as people stay away from Hong Kong as streets remain blocked with protesters.

On October 3, more than 300,000 visitors entered Macau, more than double last year’s 115,800 tourists on the second day of the week-long holiday, according to figures released by Zhuhai Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection Station and Macau Government Tourism Bureau.

Meanwhile there were 157,212 Mainlanders heading to Hong Kong on October 1, a 2 percent decline compared with a year ago, Wall Street Journal reported. China has temporarily suspended visas for tour groups heading to the city because of the unrest.

Anti-occupy protesters beat a protester in Mongkok.

According to figures released by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, 165,685 visitors from mainland China arrived in the city on the second day of the national holiday, a 70 percent decline from last year. It’s a “very low percentage during the Golden Week,” wrote Shenzhen Evening News on October 4.

Pro-Beijing Chinese newspaper Ta Kung Pao said the protests have brought instability and financial losses to the city. ANT bank estimated the protests cost the city HK$2.2 billion of losses in retail, the newspaper reported.

Photos: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty ImagesTyrone Siu/Reuters



CCTV Singles Out More Foreign Clothing Brands For Poor Quality

Posted: 08/28/2014 11:39 am

Clothing brands Forever 21, Zara, H&M and Mango are the latest additions to China’s long list of brands blacklisted by the country’s watchdog for quality problems following MUJI and Jack Jones, both were called out earlier in August, CCTV reported on August 27.

According to a post from the country’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, a total of 12,305 items produced by foreign clothing brands failed to reach the watchdog’s quality standards. However, it didn’t give any indication on what precisely the problems were.  Common quality problems found in clothes include color fastness, fiber content, and pH index, problems which could cause allergy and skin irritation.

Photos: CCTV 


You Can Soon Order From US Amazon And Have Goods Delivered To China

Posted: 08/21/2014 3:42 pm

amazon online retailerBuying things in your underwear has just gotten easier: Amazon will soon allow customers in China to make purchases from their US site, and then have the products directly shipped to them in China.

Amazon has also announced it is building an international headquarters, warehouse, and distribution center in the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone, meaning Amazon customers in China will be able to buy the same things Americans can at the same price (with some additional shipping costs).

According to Wang Peng, general manager of the Asia E-Pay Company, delivery will take seven to ten days. Wang also said eager customers can begin placing orders sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

With e-commerce being one of the things that immensely helps expats in China, this news should make life a great deal more convenient for anyone that needs to buy a three wolf moon T-shirt, a slanket that makes you look like Superman or Wonder Woman, or maybe a set of Chinese finger traps that one can’t seem to find around here.

Photo: People’s Daily Online


Beijing Puts MUJI, Jack Jones, and 62 Others on Brands Blacklist

Posted: 08/7/2014 9:06 am

jack jonesYour trip to the mall has just become more complicated as a Beijing quality watchdog has declared 64 brand names unacceptable because of quality concerns.

In its inspections of clothing and shoe products from around the city, the Beijing Industry and Commerce Department said there are ten clothing brands and 54 shoe brands that do not comply with government standards, reports Sina. There are apparently problems with the fibers in products from Sussi, Peacebird Home, Bosiman, and Prince’s Password. The agency said it has concerns with the dye in products from Muji, Jack Jones, and K. Flower.

Apparently 54 shoe brands, including Foxer, also had problems, namely not complying with standardized sizing.

Other brands were not mentioned in the report.

Photo: 51fashion


Police Free Hostage in Tense Situation on Beijing’s Wangfujing Pedestrian Street

Posted: 07/31/2014 1:38 pm

beijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorismA middle-aged man armed with a knife took a hostage on the Wangfujing pedestrian street in Beijing last night, reports China News. The incident occurred at 9:22pm near the newly developed Dong’an Mall, right near the Wangfujing police sub-station. Eyewitnesses say young woman was taken hostage in an alcove just outside a GAP store.

Armed police cordoned off the area and police were seen aiming rifles at the suspect.beijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorism

While police were negotiating with the suspect, officers moved in to subdue him with an elbow to the throat. The hostage was finally freed at 9:57 pm, not 35 minutes after the incident first began. She was unharmed, and apparently did not know the man who took her hostage.

The suspect is surnamed Tan, is 38 years-old, and from Liuzhou in Guangxi Province. No motive for the hostage taken has been given.

Wangfujing is one of 14 “anti-terrorism locations” in Beijing that are mandated to have a police response to emergencies within one minute.

beijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorismbeijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorism

Crowds of onlookers thronged the area craning for a better view:

beijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorismbeijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorismbeijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorismbeijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorism

This is a photo of Tan during the subsequent police interrogation:

beijing wangfujing hostage knife police shopping gap pedestrian street anti-terrorism

Photos: Shenzhen Evening Report, Weibo (2)


Hong Kong Party Resents Special Book Fair Prices For Mainland Tourists

Posted: 07/22/2014 1:11 pm

hong kong book fairTensions between the Mainland and Hong Kong are bubbling to the surface once again over the price of tickets to Hong Kong’s annual Book Fair, which wraps up today.

Members of the “Hong Kong People First” party protested at the entrance to the fair on July 20 accusing organizers of discriminating against Hong Kongers with their pricing plan for admission. The group said ticket prices should be uniform.

Tickets to the Book Fair cost HK$25 for Hong Kong adult residents, HK$10 for children, and HK$10 for tourists.

A representative for the Trade Development Council said this pricing scheme has been in place for a while now, and is designed to make the fair more “international”.

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong restaurant called “Real Taste” is also being criticized for treating Mainlanders and Hong Kongers differently.

inequality beef tripe offal hong kong mainland tourist

As reporters from the Economic Daily Report discovered, inquiring about bowls of beef offal in different languages lead to being served different bowls at different prices.

When a reporter requested a bowl of beef offal using Putonghua, the reporter was given a smaller bowl that only cost HK$30. However, when another reporter requested a bowl speaking in Cantonese, the reporter was given a larger bowl that cost HK$50.

inequality beef tripe offal hong kong mainland tourist

The report notes that the differently-priced bowls are of different sizes, but that the larger “Hong Kong” bowl only has eight more pieces of offal than the “Mandarin” bowl.

When confronted with allegations of discrimination, a worker at the “Real Taste” restaurant said Putonghua speakers only want to try the dish, so they offer a smaller bowl at lower cost. Hong Kongers, rather, prefer to eat more, the worker said.

Photo: Tianya, CNTV


Stranded, Broke Zimbabwean MPs Call Time in Guangdong “Hell”

Posted: 07/8/2014 1:04 pm

zimbabwe-parliamentThe stranding of 27 Zimbabwean Members of Parliament in Guangdong Province for five days last week has become a case of finger-pointing after they missed their flight home, reports NewsDay.

The 27 Zimbabwean MPs had separated from the official delegation in Beijing to head to Guangzhou for some shopping. But after blowing all their money, they were unable to get back to Beijing in time for their scheduled flight home. The stranded MPs, who have all mostly returned to Zimbabwe, described their ordeal as “hell”. The MPs had no money, nothing to eat, and nowhere to shower.

ZANU PF Makoni South MP Mandi Chimene said the incident began when Zaka Central MP Paradza Chakona (Zanu PF) led a group of MPs to go shopping in Guangdong against her orders.

READ: Zimbabwean MPs Blow Money on Shopping Spree,
Trapped Penniless in Guangdong

Chimene refuted the suggestion that she had abandoned the breakaway MPs, and gave her own opinion as for why the Zimbabwean MPs got stranded:

Maybe it was God’s form of punishing the MPs for not obeying my advice and revolting against all my efforts…
I did nothing wrong, but helped MPs to get exposure. Maybe God was angry, even Moses had the same experience and God punished the Israelites by sending snakes. Maybe that was the same case here. 

Chimeme then elaborated upon Chinese regulations, and how the stranded MPs did not abide by the rules:

They were told by an Embassy official that if they go there, they should not come back on a Saturday (the day of departure) but they disregarded that and chose to travel that Saturday. They were told to come straight to Terminal 3, but again they argued saying they wanted to pick-up another MP at Terminal 2. I tried to negotiate with officials, but their things have systems. 

We agree that life in Guangdong can be tough, maybe even a little unforgiving, but to call being stranded here “hell”? We’re just glad that they weren’t stranded in Shanghai.

Photos: Amazing Victoria Falls


Zimbabwean MPs Blow Money on Shopping Spree, Trapped Penniless in Guangdong

Posted: 07/2/2014 10:25 am

zimbabwe parliamentTraveling to China can be an overwhelming experience. There’s the culture, the language — and of course the amazing shopping.

Bargain hunting became too much for a delegation of 27 Members of Parliament from Zimbabwe. The group of MPs were in Beijing to promote the country’s “Look East” policy, but took an unofficial detour to Guangdong Province by bullet train to go on a shopping spree. They ended up not only running out of money, but also missed their flight back home, reported Newsday.

To complicate things further, the Zimbabwean MPs fly Air Zimbabwe, and the next flight from Beijing to Harare isn’t until July 10.

The breakaway party of MPs were apparently warned not to travel to Guangdong, according to a source with the group:

We tried to persuade them not to travel to Guangdong as it is very far and they did not have enough money, but they did not listen… They did not have enough money and now they are stranded. We do not know where they are sleeping, what they are eating and how they will come back.

Guangdong is 2,294 kilometers away from Beijing and requires at least ten hours of travel by high-speed rail.

The Zimbabwe Parliament convened yesterday, so the 27 stranded MPs are now missing sessions in the Senate and National Assembly.

Photo: SW Radio Africa


Hong Kongers May Get Reprieve If Special Mall For Mainland Shoppers Opens in Shenzhen

Posted: 06/25/2014 12:54 pm

qianhai economic zoneHong Kongers have long complained of Mainland shoppers clogging streets and crowding the city’s famous MTR subway system, but it looks like some hope may be on the horizon.

Qianhai, a special economic zone in northwestern Shenzhen, may be home to a “mini Hong Kong” featuring a special shopping mall with Hong Kong brands,  reports The Standard.

The Qianhai Management Authority revealed they are currently negotiating with Hong Kong merchants as they showed off the proposed area to Hong Kong and mainland media.

The report states that the Qianhai Management Authority plans to have the shopping mall developed and operational by the end of this year. However, the same report quotes Qianhai authority spokesman Wang Jinxia pouring a bit of cold water on the plan.

“The concept of setting up a shopping center in Qianhai to provide another choice for mainlanders is purely exploratory at this stage.”

The Qianhai Management Authority said the shopping center will be able to ease pressure on Hong Kong from the flood of visitors under the individual travel scheme. However, data shows that mainland visitors to Hong Kong dropped during the Labor Day long weekend, the first such drop since 2003. From May 1 to 3, there were only 388,070 visitors to Hong Kong, a drop of 1.7%.

And yet, others have been suggesting that mainland visitors who want to shop for Hong Kong goods be able to do so without having downtown Hong Kong involved in the process. The Heung Yee Kuk, a rural Hong Kong group, has recommended the establishment of a shopping center in Sha Tau Kok to divert mainland shoppers from the cool parts of town that Hong Kongers frequent.

This all sounds like a good idea that should have been implemented years ago, but one factor still remains unresolved. Wang stated that the Qianhai Management Authority has still has not yet decided whether the sales of Hong Kong products in the new “mini Hong Kong” will be tax-free.

For that, we may have to wait until the end of the year when the mall is finally completed or exploratory plans have been confirmed.

Photos: Hexun


Top 10 Things To Buy Now that FamilyMart has Opened in Shenzhen

Posted: 05/22/2014 4:33 pm

familymartFor being a hushed secret whispered between expats, Shenzhen kicks ass. It’s rated as one of the best places to live in China as well as being one of the cities in China with the cleanest air. It’s right next to Hong Kong, the weather is nice (if humid and wet), and best of all, it isn’t Beijing or Shanghai.

As more proof of Shenzhen’s ascension to a metropolis of kickassery, the city has now become that much more convenient. Last week, eight FamilyMart stores opened in Shenzhen with further locations to come in Dongguan by the end of this year.

To celebrate this great news, we’re going to provide a run-down of the ten most essential items you’ll be purchasing from FamilyMart—because let’s face it, the one time you really need a FamilyMart is at 3am when you’ve had too much to drink and badly need food.

1. Western Junk Food Knock-Offs

oreas junk food familymartWhen looking for a little sugar fix, you’ll be attracted to the brands that you know and trust (or, at least their logos if you can’t read Chinese). However, there’s something different about it; something’s a little off. It’s not the junk food you’ve become so familiar with…

2. Fruit Sandwichfruit sandwich

If you’re still not over your culture shock, you’re probably going to stick with food you’re familiar with, like the sandwich. How hard can that be to screw up? It’s two slices of bread and some cut fruit, just like your mom used to make.

3. Tea Eggstea egg familymart

And we don’t mean the “virgin boy” type. Tea eggs are always a good purchase because no matter your feelings on how they taste, and no matter the time of day, there are always tea eggs for sale at a convenience store. It’s like as though it’s used as a type of currency a la “take an egg, leave an egg”.

4. Instant Noodlesinstant noodles familymart

There’s a reason why there is usually an entire aisle dedicated to instant noodles, and it isn’t because there is a fundamental difference between any of them. No, the instant noodle is the one reliable food that you can’t screw up, but it does need one thing…

5. Pre-Packaged Chicken Feetchicken feet familymart

No, you don’t make a wish on them like you do on a monkey’s paw. You may not be partial to the delicacy of chicken feet, but you will learn to be more culturally sensitive at three in the morning when you’re ravenously hungry and lack your usual ethnocentric tendencies. You can’t just eat instant noodles on their own, you know.

6. Over-the-Counter Baijiubaijiu familymart

Sure, there’s usually beer available at a convenience store in China, but you want to continue the party, not have a refreshing beverage to cool down. Browse the baijiu section and pick the bottle that looks like it can strip paint off a wall, and you’re set to go.

7. Aspirinaspirin familymart

For tomorrow morning. Buy it now, or wait until you’re dizzy and nauseous.  But, you’ll also be needing…

8. Bottled Waterbottled water familymart

In this day and age, a bottle of drinking water is as necessary as a smartphone. Thirty years ago, who’d have thought that we’d be paying for water and be using portable phones to do everything but make calls?

9. Pepto Bismolpepto bismol family mart

If FamilyMart doesn’t sell this, then what good is it?

10. Condomscondoms familymart

You may need these, perhaps. One day in the future.

With the arrival of FamilyMart, Shenzhen will join Guangzhou as places where you can buy whatever you need at every hour of the day in full disregard of the daily sleep cycles our sad, non-partying forefathers were burdened with.

Thank you, FamilyMart. You’re Japan’s greatest present to China.

Photos: the Beijinger, Daxue Consulting, ChinaDaily, GiantBomb, traveling around the world,, pzr services, mousetourtravels,, xinhua, Bloomberg  

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