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Going To Hong Kong? B.Y.O.P. Michelle Zurcher

Actually, B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Pen) and immigration cards.  Hong Kong had no pens available to write with at the immigration counters, and China had about 3 immigration cards left when I walked through the Chinese bordercrowd.jpg yesterday.

I got the privilege of being able to travel to Hong Kong for the first time… by myself… not knowing Mandarin or Cantonese.  Luckily, a ‘local’ Westerner gave me all of the instructions via phone the night before so I was a bit less confused.  One thing that was a challenge, however, was the crowd of people going simultaneously through to Hong Kong.


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Imagine coming to China after spending your childhood in a small town of 400 people in rural, middle America.  You know everyone, where they live, you know their relatives and where they live, their vehicles, license plate numbers, and pretty much their savings account balance in the hometown bank.  Now imagine coming China after a few years of law school in Lansing, Michigan.  Lansing’s population you ask?  Well, it’s around 150,000. Then there is Shenzhen where I live now… population 14 million.  Hi, nice to meet you.  I’m Michelle, and I’m overwhelmed with a bit of scared and excited. 

300 million people travel for Chinese National Day Michael Sylvester

holiday-airport-travel-1.jpgIn addition to celebrating National Day, a new government stepping into power and eating and drinking too much with the family, 300 million Chinese will be doing some form or holiday travel next week.

Having been here for a decade, it still sounds like a damn big number -- and it is.  The kind of absurdly large number that makes you smile and shake your head a bit when you try to picture what it looks like.  I'm guessing a few of you are also shaking your heads in awe -- or making some kind of face.

Really!  300 million people all on the move at the same time?  That is the entire population of the United States all going somewhere at the same time.  Could all the gas stations have enough gas? Could all the roadside MdDonalds keep from running out of french fries?  What about the bathrooms in every rest stop, airport, trainstation, etc..?  It boggles the mind and in some way is only comprehensible as if it were some form of Monty Python skit. 

Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) Discusses the Great Chinese Firewall Michael Sylvester

  firewall.jpgMichael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) has been blogging from China for 12 years.  Despite the control the central government has over the internet -- "All the servers are in Beijing" -- he says that hundreds of millions of microbloggers are in fact creating the first national public sphere in the country's history, and shifting the balance of power in unexpected ways.

See the entire TED talk might surprise you.

For those of you unfamiliar with the sturctural system here in China, a sentence or two might help to understand the sweeping changes going on and / or being prodded into existence by the Central Government in Beijing.   

Sylvester & Associates Shenzhen office in the media again

 PRD.pngRecently that’s PRD were at the chambers of American attorney Michael Sylvester, principal of Sylvester and Associates. Sylvester graduated from the University of Florida. He then went on to further studies in the Netherlands as an Erasmus scholarship student in international comparative law leading up to the formation of the Europe Union.

This American Life: Americans in China Michael Sylvester

TAM ogo.pngNational Public Radio in the USA played a program from This American Life in late June this year about what it is like to be one of the 70,000 long term residents living here in China with no current plans to return to the United States.  

We think it might be helpful for anyone trying to understand a bit about the life we live here as long term ex-patriots to give it a listen.  There is a full transcript and links to listen to the hour long program as it was originally aired.

Some things that stood out in my mind as I was listening were that none of the featured Americans were Sinophiles.  And none really supported every decision made by the State here -- but often found themselves not being able to explain why China worked the way it did to their friends and family 'back home.'  It is worth a listen, folks.

China's most prominant business journalist Rui Chenggang, argues that for China to help the world, China must help itself.

The world is increasingly looking to China for help with the economy. Europeans need support for theirdragon.jpg bailout fund, developing countries want further investment to develop their infrastructure, and the United States wants a free-floating currency to end what it says is a generation of unfair competition with US workers.

Modern China; How do we co-exist with the chaos? Michael Sylvester

keep calm.jpgThe poster shown here is from the British Ministry of Information for use during World War II, should Germany ever invade.  There were a few other versions that were placed all over the UK at the start of the war -- but this was one never used.

Yet, a message about how to deal with an unknown and chaotic world still rings true today as much as it did in 1945.  And it is still how we co-exist with chaos. Whether we are riding out an economic crisis, a possible EU meltdown, or the rise of an Asia rejoining the world after a few hundred years of isolation -- the lesson is the same. Keep Calm and Carry On.

And for any of you that may have read around a bit here on Flaming Hoops, we have noted that it is much less chaotic here than one might think -- but it is different.  And it is those differences that we all have to deal with now.

IPO a Foreign Enterprise in China; Michael Sylvester

ipo.jpgCompanies IPO for one of two reasons, fund raising or as an exit strategy and sometimes it is a combination of both.

Well, a few years ago it became possible for foreigners to take advantage of the Chinese IPO market for their foreign holdings here in China too.

And given the multiples in China in the 30-35 range, when compared to 7-10 or so in the West, even after all the taxes are paid, a company can do very well here.

 And with the ability to export profits, have any taxes paid in China be deducted from your home  country (due to the Double Tax Avoidance Treaties in place here now) there are fewer and fewer  reasons not to seriously consider using your existing company as a source of expansion capital.

China: If it seems too hard, maybe you are doing it wrong... Michael Sylvester

 driver.pngFatiuge is a real thing.  Jet lag happens.  A few bad events  all happening in the same day can make you wonder why  you got out of bed at all...

 And this can be a challening environment, even on a good  day things are still going to go wrong sometimes.  

 So, we often find ourselves reminding people that if what  you are trying to do seems too hard, maybe you are doing  it wrong.  Not that your goal is inappropriate, but how you  are trying to get there might be based on something other  than what works here.

 The modernization occurring here has no meaningful Westernization component.  So, if part of  your long term strategy has been to wait until China has "developed enough" to start to do  things your way -- you might as well just pack up and go home.  Really.

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