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Wechat Payment Foreigner Guide

WeChat Payment Foreigner GuideWechat Payment for Foreigners in China WeChat is aggressively trying to expand outside China. Now many foreigners can use WeChat payments in order to handle their purchases. WeChat Payment is available for foreigners living in China and using Chinese banks, although not with all banks.   What Can You Do With WeChat Payment (WePay, WeChat Pay)? […]
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Why You Cannot Learn Mandarin at Duolingo?

Three years ago, I casted my doubt on the English learning method at Duolingo for Chinese.

I posted my questions on

We can see the arguments between two sides of the debate.

If it was still puzzling for me then.

Now I am pretty sure to say this model can not help Chinese people to learn English, if there is no big technology change.

And Duolingo could not succeed in the China Market.

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Best Way to Learn Chinese

What is the best way to learn Chinese? How to learn mandarin fast? Many Mandarin Chinese learners tried various ways to learn the language but get poor results. Unlike other roman languages, Mandarin Chinese seems to be one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world. Are there secrets to master this language within a short […]
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Top 10 Online Chinese Mandarin Courses

1. Chinese for Beginners: Mastering Mandarin Basics in 4 hours

Learn to communicate in Chinese from scratch; make your life in China easier; learn about Chinese language and culture.

2. Chinese Online Mandarin courses in 7 days – Perfect for Beginners

Learn Mandarin Chinese in fun and interactive ways with Ned!

3. Speak Mandarin in 1 Month

Apply these Quick Steps and Speak Mandarin INSTANTLY!

4. College Mandarin Chinese on Your Own advanced Level 1

learn one semester’s advanced college Chinese curriculum in just one months and save 6000 dollars of tuition

5. College Mandarin Chinese on Your Own Advanced Level 2

Learn one semester of advanced Chinese in just one month and save 6000 dollars of college tuition

 

6. New Concept Mandarin-A New Way to Learn Chinese with Julia

Learn Chinese with top Mandarin teacher in a fun and easy way

7. wtf mandarin – Beginner Conversational Chinese

English to Chinglish to Chinese – learn to speak basic Mandarin in 4 hours

8. Mandarin Chinese Pronunciation: Learn to speak like a native

Mandarin tones and pronunciation course for speakers of all levels.

9. Learn these first! 1917 basic Chinese (Mandarin) phrases

Learn 1,917 basic phrases with this course, and you will be able to express the things around you in Chinese language.

10. Beginner’s Mandarin Chinese

A brief intro for the complete beginner

 

 

 

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Chinese Business Etiquette 101 for Doing Business in China

This is the most comprehensive collection of Chinese Business Etiquettes on the planet. What is the best part? All of the tips in this 101 guide are from my real consulting business. And they are 100% actionable. I coach my clients on these tips in their strategic market entry planning and the real business development. So if you want to […]
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How Misunderstood is China by the Outside World?

A misunderstood China: Most people coming from outside China admit China is totally different from what they think before they really arrive. Seeing is believing. Assumptions are always wrong. I am running a consulting firm in Shanghai and meeting my clients in real life from time to time. They always keep asking questions since there […]
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My Story Published on China Daily

It’s really a surprise today to see the picture of my daughter and me together on China Daily, they did not tell me there will be a picture:)

Emily, my 6-year old daughter mentioned in the story, was so excited to see herself in the newspaper.

I’d been on a phone interview last month with China Daily and talked about my consulting business (www.sinostep.com) and my life. The income part actually refers to the early days of my own business. It would be better if they let me check the article before the official publishing:)

The reporter asked me why I can grow from a $5/hour cross-border freelancer to an established strategic consulting business? Is there any secret?

My answer:

It is simple: helping foreign clients find and verify their profitable niche markets in China.

Apart from my China Strategic Consulting Service, I am also running my Chinese column in Zhihu , and a WeChat public account (taohaibaobao), where I write articles sharing my stories and experience as a startup in cross-border consulting business. Chinese freelancers often come to seek for advice on how to become a successful freelancer with a decent life.

China Daily was established in June 1981 and has the widest print circulation of any English-language newspaper in China (over 200,000 copies per issue, of which a third are abroad).

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China Daily - 20170111

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Flying experience in My US Travel

My Flight to LA was Cancelled

On my flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles

Qunar

I booked my flight from PVG to LAX on Qunar and it was scheduled to departure in the evening on Oct. 17. 2016.

The airline is United Airlines. I went to their official website and booked the seats. Everything was perfect.

In the morning of Oct. 17, about 9 oclock in the morning, I got a call from a Qunar customer service representative, telling me my flight UA199 was cancelled, without knowing the reason as he claimed.

This guy does not sound like a professional customer service representative, and he spoke in a very strong accent which is quite rare in decent companies.

Because there were so many scamming stories about air tickets and poor experiences on online OTAs, I decided to verify this with the airline.

The flight status of UA199 was shown cancelled on United Airlines official website united.com, what to do next? No one tells me what to do.

The funny thing is, UA199 tickets could still be bought in several online travel agencies. And this lasted till its scheduled departure time.

I called the Qunar representative and they tell me they will handle it and come to me ASAP. ASAP sounds quite silly in this situation.

I did not even finish my packing for the travel, and all the appointments had been arranged in the States.

There was no response within 30 mins, so I called them again to another agent. repeating my story again, and again. And the response was still very slow.

Actually they came back to me later after I called UA, and it was funny that Qunar told me that they can not solve it and I should call UA to change my flight.

Refund from Qunar
Refund from Qunar

20 days later, I got the refund for the ticket from Qunar. This is really not good.

 

United Airlines

UA website: flght status
UA website: flght status

The customer service representative is a lady with a sweet voice, in Cantonese accent, but good mandarin.

She was quite polite and professional, making an apology and help me check the possible flight I can change to.

The problem is that there are not many choices, they can not change to other airliners like America Airlines or Delta but only their own, which means I should put off my schedule to fly the next day or take a longer tranfer flight, either way I would miss one day.

I prefer checking other airliners for the same day flights.

United Airlines promised to provide full refund if I decide to buy tickets from else where, but there will be no extra remedy, which sounds not reasonable and I really didn’t have time to argue on this.

 

New Flight, Not 787, No Free Seat

I didn’t want to buy tickets from Qunar anymore,

But, new problems came too 🙂

 

America Airlines

There is an earlier flight for me to book on AA.

American Airlines Chinese website loading all the time.
American Airlines Chinese website loading all the time.

I tried many times, but the website was just loading and loading.

I tried to load it on mobile phone, it was the same.

Forget it!

I checked the site today when I am writing this blog, the site is working.

 

Delta Airlines

It seems like a lesson for me to learn how to use the websites of all US airlines.

Now I was on the website of Delta Airlines.

Everything seemed fine, and it supports Chinese, too.

But (Again!), I could not finish the registration after at least 10 times trials, and I could not figure out the reason why.

Tried many times but failed with the registration on Delta Airlines Chinese website.
Tried many times but failed with the registration on Delta Airlines Chinese website.

They system told me either wrong address, or wrong phone number, or something else, just can not continue to the next step.

Who will use this website? I changed my strategy and set the website language to be English.

Tadaa, It worked

It just took me 20 seconds to complete the registration. I just could not imagine who did the Chinese website localization for them and who had successfully registered in the Chinese interface.

I bought tickets, but I have to pay extra for the seats so Leo and I can sit together.

Now we could follow my previous schedule, the departure time was slightly earlier than UA199.

Insurance Company

I bought the travel insurance from Starr Insurance. The policy covers a lot of things including delays and cancellations, but not the situation like mine.

 

Flying over the Pacific Ocean

The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.

The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.
The best flying experience for me is that I can keep my mobile phone on all the time.

It is interesting to feel the diversities in the international flights.

Most flight attendants here at Delta are aunties and grandmas, which is quite different than in other airliners in Asian countries.

The planes flew really fast and it took only a little bit more than 9 hours to arrive at LAX.

In the Delta plane from PVG to LAX
In the Delta plane from PVG to LAX

Domestic flights in US

SouthWest

We flew twice with Southwest during this travel.

Southwest is so popular in the States and taking its flight seems really like taking a bus in the air.

I was quite surprised by its open seat policy and a late check-in means you would not have much choice in finding a good seat.

It is easy to find some movies, dramas or live TV and you can watch just on your phone.

Southwest Airline plane
Southwest Airline plane
Southwest Airlines: open seat policy
Southwest Airlines: open seat policy

From Los Angeles to El Paso

Several American uncles are working as flight attendents.

They always simile, telling jokes all the time, making the short fly full of fun.

It seems there were only two asian faces in this flight.

One uncle asked me for a favor to help switch the language setting from Chinese to English for the new ipad the company gave him, it had been a week and he could not find someone to fix this.

I found it actually was Japanese but I managed to do it. When I told him it was Japanese, the uncle was really surprised how I can solve the problem.

Flying above the desert, we can see clearly what it is in the ground. Route No. 10 is there, We’d spent quite a long time on it in the next few days.

Flying above the desert, and Route No. 10
Flying above the desert, and Route No. 10
El Paso
El Paso

From Atlanta to New York

The best time for this journey is that I have got the best view of Philadelphia and New York City from above the sky. I have a bird’s view on the whole Manhatton, it is so real and so close. I can even the statue of Liberty.

heading for New York
heading for New York
bird's view on Manhatton
bird’s view on Manhatton
bird's view on Manhatton
bird’s view on Manhatton

Fly Over Canada, Russia

China Southern Airlines: Boston to Shanghai

It felt like being back China when you passed the hatch door.

It is a Chinese Arline and almost all of the passengers are Chinese.

The whole return journey was in the night, and took 15 hours, much longer than the flight we came to the States.

We don’t have WIFI, and I can not use my mobile phone.

There are not much choice in the movies. However, many people like them since there are Chinese subtitles.

China Southern Airlines from Boston to Shanghai
China Southern Airlines from Boston to Shanghai
Flying across Canada and Russia
Flying across Canada and Russia

 

Jet Leg

I felt nothing when I came to the US after the long distance fly.

But it was totally a different experience to be back.

I got up at around 3 or 4 oclock every morning in the first week.

 

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2016 Singles’ Day: World’s Biggest Shopping Event

This Thursday evening, the eve of 2016 Singles’ Day (Nov. 11, 2016), there is not much traffic on the streets.

Chinese consumers were busy collecting coupons, searching and adding products into their shopping carts.

Deep Discounts

Online shopping discounts encourage consumers to spend more on this special day, sales have already outdone Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in the U.S. in the past years.

New Record on Sales This Year on 2016 Singles' Day
New Record on Sales This Year on 2016 Singles’ Day

Task of the Year Before Sleeping

After midnight, it was 24 hours fight to empty the shopping carts of different online shopping sites.

In less than 52 seconds, 1bn yuan (US$147million) of products had already been sold through Alibaba’s platforms. The same amount of sales had been sold through mobile devices took only 57 seconds.

It has been really like a holiday, entirely devoted to online shopping and sales.

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How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

 

Chinese shoppers have been engaged in cross-border import trade over recent years.

Buying overseas products is generally referred to as “HaiTao” in Chinese.

“Hai” (Sea) means overseas, “Tao” (Search) means find and purchase.

 

How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?
How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?

Official Brand Web Store

It is the most reliable way for Chinese consumers to buy if they know your brand.

In the beginning, most foreign e-Commerce sites don’t offer the direct shipping service to China. Chinese consumers bought through overseas e-commerce sites, and ship the purchased products back to China through intermediary shipping companies.

Language barriers, different payment, customer service and after-sales service are also obstacles for average Chinese consumers.

Customer service is critical for international buyers, I am sharing my story about Emily’s New 3Doodler Start Pen .

 

Continue reading How Do Chinese Online Shoppers Buy From Overseas?