Six of China’s Most Successful Foreign Businesses

An interesting article:

It's getting warmer

After a tough winter the weather in Guangzhou is finally getting warmer, after two months of degrees below 12°C we are definitely ready for some of those 20+ degrees! Ok, I hope you get the irony as the winter here has been mild except for a few days of really cold, but as I mentioned in a previous post it's not the weather outside that's the problem - it's the lack of central heating and insulation that makes it colder inside than outside. And you can be a Viking when walking to your job for 20 minutes in 0°C but spending a whole day in an apartment/class room that's 11°C is actually worse according to me.

As I mentioned in the heading, warmer weather is on its way although it's probably going to be cold for a few days here and there for the coming month.

Feeling lucky?

The standardized language/ dialect of China is Mandarin (which is what people mean when they say "speak Chinese"). Mandarin is interesting since it doesn't really have a great vocabulary, instead it's the tone of the words that is important. So a word that an English/Swedish person would pronounce "ma" might mean "mother", "linen", "horse" or "to scold" all depending the tone used - rising tone, falling tone, rising tone then falling or flat tone.

This gives rise to an interesting phenomenon; people try to avoid words or numbers that might have a bad or unlucky meaning. Let me give you a few examples when it comes to numbers:

Number 4 (pronounced: ) is a very unlucky number in China as it is homophonous with (sounds the same as)  “death”, this is why a lot of streets skip the number four and people will go out of their way to avoid using the number in phone numbers or on car license plates.


They skipped the 4th floor in this building and you can only go to 3 or 5.


Number 8 (pronounced: bā) is on the other hand considered a lucky number as it sounds similar to “prosper” or “wealth”. Because of this the number eight is prominent in phone numbers, and the phone number with all digits being eight was sold for $270 000! I suppose that person was already fairly wealthy!


A very lucky number plate!


Another example of the Chinese attitude towards the number eight is that the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing began 2008-08-08, at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm. And you might have been part of this craze if you ever been on the KLM flight from Hong Kong to Amsterdam - named KL888.


The number 13 which is considered unlucky in many western cultures is actually considered lucky in China as it sounds  similar to “definitely living”.

I'm back

I never thought that I would go to Sweden on a vacation but after two lovely and relaxing weeks back home I'm inclined to say that it was one of the best holidays I've had. It was a bit odd coming home to Sweden, even in the centre of Malmö I thought everything was quiet and I enjoyed walking in a city without having to plow through thousands of Chinese on the streets. I loved visiting friends and family, I even paid a visit to the school I taught at before going to China, and I realized how much I miss everyone back home. That's one of the major downsides to be working abroad - even with Skype the sheer distance takes its toll.

I'm sorry I didn't update the blog during the Chinese New Year but I was enjoying warm cups of tea in our cosy sofa way too much and I was making an effort of decreased computer usage while on "vacation". That's one of the things that struck me, how cosy apartment we have. My apartment in China is nice, grand even with its white marbel floor but it's designed as an hotel room and it feels like one.

Now the long haul awaits, 10 weeks until May and Rebecka's arrival but it'll be fine. My job at the school is ok, not too stressful but it keeps me occupied. I only wish I had one more psychology class and one less English class.

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