Saturday, April 30, 2011

Things you might not know about China

I happened to visit Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau for a business trip. It was a really amazing and memorable trip. Got to know so many new things, met so many new people and made so many new friends. I'd like to share some of my observations about China here:
  • Contrary to my belief, Chinese people are very friendly. I'd rate Chinese people among the highest so far on the friendliness meter.
  • Chinese people have a very amicable attitude towards tourists. They are really helpful and protective of tourists. They don't quote astronomical prices when you go for shopping, they don't pick-pocket you and taxi drivers charge the same amount to the tourists as to the localites. Indians need to learn a thing or two in this space from their Chinese counterparts.
  • The controversial one-child policy was introduced in China in 1978 to control the population growth. More than one child would entail more taxes, more fines and fewer benefits for the parents. However, there are some exceptions wherein the government allows for more than one child to a family. For example, if both the husband and wife are the only children of their respective parents, then they can have two children.
  • Chinese people have lunch and dinner very early compared to us Indians. Their normal lunch time is 11:30am and dinner time is 6:30pm.
  • Since Chinese names are difficult for foreigners to remember and pronounce, people working in international companies are given an option to choose an English name. That is the reason they have two different names, one English and one Chinese.
  • All Chinese citizens must attend school for at least nine years. Government provides the education for the economically backward citizens. They start going to school at the age of six or seven (compared to four or five in India). Master's degree (at least in Engineering) is of three years, compared to two years in India. Hence, most of the Chinese employees are older than their Indian counterparts by a year or two.
  • Hong Kong and Macau, which were British and Portuguese territories respectively, although a part of People's Republic of China (PRC) today, are given a special status of special administrative regions (SARs). They have separate visas and their own laws for all issues except in matters of foreign policy and defence.
  • Shenzhen, where our office is located, is one of the most successful Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in China. So, lotsa multinational companies have their offices in Shenzhen. It's also home to many of the electronic goods.
  • One of the big problems that China is facing today is the ageing population, a consequence of the one-child policy. By 2050, half the population will be 50 or older. (India's 65% population is below the age of 35, which is an asset to India)
  • PinYin is an official system to transcribe Chinese characters. It is used to enter Chinese characters into computers. So, there's a standardized mapping between a Chinese character and the corresponding English characters.
  • Many Chinese people do not consider Taiwan a separate country. They also do not support the independence of Tibet.
  • Corruption is prevalent and rampant in China too.
  • 3 Idiots and Slumdog Millionaire are the most popular Hindi movies in China.
  • Chinese people are really fascinated by the dancing and singing skills of their Indian counterparts. In China, they don't have a culture of dancing at marriages/parties (Can you believe it?).
  • QQ is the most popular social networking site in China. Facebook is banned in the Mainland China. Baidu is the most popular search engine. Google, although not banned, is censored.
Disclaimer: The content is exclusively the personal opinion of the author based on his own observations. The author does not warrant the correctness or veracity of any content subject to this disclaimer.

(Some more observations can be found here: Things you might not know about China (Part-2))