中国 | china | 중국 术语定义 | jargon watch | 용어의 정의

Jargon Watch: Shanzhai

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Shanzhai is translated into English as mountain fortress, in reality it means a cave, a hideout, the kind of place where guerrillas or bandits are based. It is now used to describe technology entrepreneurs who take a homebrew attitude to hardware engineering and a bucaneer attitude to intellectual property.

Want a mobile phone that doubles as a cigarette holder or an iPhone clone with a user-replaceable battery, the shanzhai fill that market. You could think of it as piracy, a hardware equivalent of mash-ups or modern-day equivalents of craftsmen who used to cater to dandy gentlemen.

They share designs and bill of materials rather like the original Homebrew Computer Club members.

Kudos to Bunnie

中国 | china | 중국 小组会议 | event | 그룹 회의 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

Chinese new year doodle from Google

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Chinese new year doodle from Google, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.

Chinese New Year doodle from Google for the year of the ox left me puzzled for a few seconds before I got it, maybe because I am still a bit spaced from sleep. Have a look and let me know what you think.

中国 | china | 중국 书评 | oprah time | 서평

Oprah Time: What Does China Think? by Mark Leonard

Reading Time: < 1 minute

What does China think? sounds like a major subject area which would require a huge volume to discuss. Leonard’s book in comparison is little more than a pamphlet which I managed to sit down and read cover-to-cover in a little over three hours during the Christmas period.  I was first switched on to Leonard’s writing by former colleague Jonny Rosemont who recommended Why Europe Will Run The 21st Century.

Over at Danwei What does China think? was dismissed as ‘wonkish nonsense’ and being unable to ‘filter the official line’, but I think that this criticism misses the point of Leonard’s book, which seeks to explore some of the ideas and organisations that help shape China’s thinking.

I found that the book gave me  (as a neophyte on all things Chinese) some questions to think about, which I hadn’t considered before and made  me reconsider some of the west’s vision for the future. It was interesting that the Chinese devoted thought on how to manage the ‘decline of the West’.

中国 | china | 중국 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅 香港 | hong kong | 홍콩

Keeping it gangster with Jingjing

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hong Kong is familiar to many westerners as a backdrop for gangster films from Enter the Dragon to Jackie Chan’s Police Story, PTU and the Infernal Affairs trilogy.

In fact, the society is much more organised and less violent than the likes of the UK, even the housing projects in Aberdeen don’t really compare to south London. However, why let the truth get in the way of a good story which is why the Beijing Olympics mascot Jingjing made me laugh.


Olympic mascots - check out the gangster panda with the hand-gun

You can see Jingjing giving it the full gangster style in shooting. And he is also an accomplished fighter and tasty with a baseball bat.


On a more serious note the games event pictograms are an interesting organic interpretation of what Otl Aicher did for the 1972 Munich Olympics. You can see them in this surround at the Bank of China building (click on the picture if you want to see in more detail.)


Bank of China

中国 | china | 중국 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

Chinese brands going global

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Chines brands going global was covered in an interesting Brandchannel article about the challenges that they face. This is particularly acute when they enter western markets.

The article is good, but doesn’t cover the recent BenQ – Siemens disaster that took out one of Europe’s pre-eminent mobile phone manufacturers at the time. More details here  its a PDF document so or Adobe Acrobat reader required.