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Online shopping is more educational than traditional shopping

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

About three years’ ago, I was a little suspect on the online shopping market in China, especially when most people believe there is a big TRUST issue in  Chinese Internet world. “Are you really wanting to take the risk to pay for something before you actually see it, not to say get it?”

Today,  with the support of fast development of online payment services, online shopping is becoming a common sense. And as a new mom, I think it is indespensible in my daily life., a subsidiary site of Alibaba, is the one leading the C2C/B2C market. Two years’ ago, we were talking about how Taobao defeated eBay in China by winning the sellers. Today,  CNReviews called it “Toxic”(Chinese Web Insights: Taobao Is Toxic)  as it is addictive for shopper like myself. The most recent statistics shows that the estimated sales of is over 200 billion RMB (~ 30 billion USD) in 2009, it is 3 times as big as the total sales of all major supermarkets (Walmart, Carefour, etc.) in whole China.

I used to think online shopping is less of fun because I can’t see, touch and feel the product as the real time matter. However, there are some advantages over mortar-and-brick shopping other than cost.

Education is one of the big advantages.

I become the first-time mom in Feburary this year.  Although I got a lot of help and advice from my mother and mother-in-law, I still want to take advice from outside and buy the best I can find and afford for my baby. At the same time, I knew I have zero knowledge about the baby&mom world. Online shopping sites are perfectly for education for such situation. For example, I found this stroller buying guide is very helpful in understanding what kinds of products for what kinds of needs in the market, and what is avaliable within my budget range.

Living in city like Shanghai means that we needs a light weight stroller with which we will carry around when we go out by taxi. By research on the web, I got to know that Maclaren is very good for light and steady requirements. But I have never heard about it before in China.  Luckily, I later got a Maclaren from my boss as a gift.

When the baby gets old and we were considering feeding him solid food, high chair become another key item in my shopping list.  “Easy to clean” is one of the most important feature I learned and we picked one of  IKEA’s product called ANTILop as the result of research: simply,  easy to clean, save and cheap. A lots of mom said the fancy features are really not necessary in feeding baby. And we are not very happy with it.

Happy shopping!


Shanghai 2010 Expo Boulevard – “Sun Valley” is Completed

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The horn-shaped structure is called “Sun Valley” . It is the main structure of Shanghai 2010 World Expo Boulevard which  will be the entrance to the Expo. It will be link four streets, connect five blocks and link three Metro stations. It will also have cafes and restaurants.

It is reported to be completed a few days ago and I found it extremely spectacular looking. This architecture will be a permanent one and kept after the show. There are 6 “sun valleys” all together. In between them are 69 pieces of huge white covers so that raining won’t be a problem during the Expo next year.

Here are more images took on Sept 13, 2009:


The red building behind is China Pavilion.

shanghai world expo

A closer look of “Sun Valley” where workers are cleaning the walls.

shanghai world expo

The “valley” collects sunshine as well as rains.

I am totally exciting about the event and have signup to be a volunteer.  Welcome you to Shanghai and wish to see you there in 2010.

Happy International Children’s Day, 儿童节快乐!

Monday, June 1st, 2009


You are 16 weeks’ old today on International Children’s Day June 1st. Mommy and Daddy  wish you a happy holiday, your first Chilren’s Day!

We have been so proud of you seeing you learning new things every day. We are so happy every moment with you. You smile, we laugh; you cry, we worry.  We hope you can grow up freely, try out new things bravely and pusuit whatever you are passionated about without hesitation.

Zijin, happy holiday! and kids around the worlds, wish you all a happy holiday!

Visit Shanghai World Expo Online – 3D Virtual Tour

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Shanghai world expo 2010Shanghai World Expo 2010 is the super event that the whole city is expecting the most. Local medias have related report and count down every day.World expo mascot Haibao can be seen everywhere which makes me can’t ignore it anymore. I bought the ticket from local post office already where I got RMB 30/ticket discount. [full price of a regular ticket is 160RMB.] If you happen to be in Shanghai before July 1 2009, these discounted tickets are available from any post offices in Shanghai.


Shanghai World Expo ticket - 3 day pass

A 3-day pass ticket sample for Shanghai World Expo 2010

But if you can’t come to Shanghai from May 1, 2010 to Oct 31 2010, you can visit and enjoy the Expo online. The platform will be accessable the same day as the event opens.

Expo Shanghai Online is a platform for fun alternative Expo experiences and real-time interaction with people and exhibits at World Expo 2010 Shanghai China. It will present virtual pavilions and exhibitions as the online edition of the physical Expo in a bid to make Expo 2010 an everlasting event.

Check out more details from the following video:

Hope to see you in Shanghai next year!

Shanghai World Financial Center has “probably” the best Christmas light in Shanghai

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Christmas light

Christmas light 2008

(Photo courtesy:

If you don’t have any specific things to do on Christmas night, take a walk around the Shanghai World Financial Center, the view will be grand!

Shanghai Oriental Art Center tour

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

We went to see a ballet show <Swan Lake> last Friday as an activity to celebrate my birthday. The venue is in Shanghai Orienal Art Center (东方艺术中心) in Pudong, Shanghai. This butterfly-shaped architectural artistry is among China’s most important performance venues.(See the brilliant photo below. Photo courtesy to jordipostales.)Shanghai Oriental Art Center

The art center in day light.

It is designed by architect Paul Andreu of Paris who has created a building that is “bright and transparent as if by magic” in the words of the architect. The complex encompasses three venues: a 1,979-seat philharmonic orchestra hall, a 1,054-seat lyric theatre, and a 330-seat chamber music hall. It also features ancillary public facilities such as an exhibition hall, music shops, a restaurant and an arts library, as well as a multimedia and training centre. (source here.)

Here is the photo tour of my night:

Shanghai Oriental Art Center exterior

Shanghai Oriental Art Center front

Swan Lake poster at Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Shanghai Oriental Art Center inside

p1010021.JPG   p1010022.JPG  p1010025.JPG


The performers are from Russian National Ballet Theater. It is my first time to see a formal ballet performance and the performance definitely gave us a delightful and pleasant night. I was amazed by the scene/stage design – so beautiful that I can’t believe my eyes.

How to Get There (by Metro): Line 2 Shanghai Science & Technology Museum  Station

Visit China (Shanghai) without a Visa with Disneyland

Friday, November 21st, 2008

During the past few months, especially before 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, I have heard a lot of stories about the difficulties to get a visa (long term) to stay in China, either for work or for pleasure. One of my blogger friend was forced to leave China right before Olympics when they have been in Beijing expecting the Games for more than ONE year and were ready to witness the grand event with a whole heart of enthusiasm. (story is here.) That was really sad.

The good news is that foreigners may not need visas to visit Shanghai along with the Disneyland amusement park opens. Disneyland has been the most exciting BUZZ word in the past two days. The stock market fluctuated with the announcement that Disneyland is finally coming to Shanghai, according to all the major local medias.

We knew there has been a rumor that the first Disneyland amusement park in Greater China Area was supposed to open in Shanghai instead of Hong Kong a few years ago. But the Chinese government wanted this project to stimulate the travel industry of Hong Kong after SARS. Now, at the moment of global economy recession, a lot of local investors or companies are so exciting to see the project will pull the domestic consumer needs. It is said that the real estate/land price around the park location has gone up 30% in a few days since the news came out.

The amusement park will be built in an area called Huang Lou (黄楼) in Pudong, 15 mintues drive from Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG).  The most attractive policy is that China will issue 48-hours in-transit permits for travelers who have no valid visa. Isnt’ it cool?

I am so looking forwards to a day when Chinese citizens can visit more foreign countries without applying visas, and happy to see that China will make this first step in the coming few years!

Shanghai World Financial Center is going to be completed!

Friday, June 13th, 2008

The new Shanghai landmark is going to be completed:

Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)

A closed look at the top. it is going to be completed.

Shanghai World Financial Center (SWFC)

Take a look at it in last Dec. here.

Most Searched Hotel Brands in China

Monday, May 12th, 2008

China’s No. 1 search engine has a datacenter providing searching related data for a dozen of major industries, such as real estate, travel, auto, online games, finance, etc. In a report released in April 2008 about travel industry, there are some very interesting data.

For example, what are the most searched hotel brands in by Chinese netizens? Here are the original data in Chinese. Top 3 are: Shanghai Jinjiang Hotels, Beijing Tourism Group (BTG) Hotels and Shangri-La Hotels. Interesting enough, ony the the first and second are China local brands. The rest are international brands.

1 上海锦江酒店
2 首都旅游国际酒店
3 香格里拉酒店
4 喜达屋酒店
5 雅高酒店
6 万豪国际酒店
7 洲际酒店
8 凯悦酒店
9 凯宾斯基
10 希尔顿酒店

Shanghai Jinjiang Hotel is a HongKong stock exchange listed company (ticket “2006“). It is the largest hotel group in China with 270 hotel properties and 54,000 hotel rooms, including luxury 5 star hotels (Jinjiang Hotel) and budget hotels (Jinjiang Star). Beijing Toruism Group is listed in Shanghai stock exchange (ticket ”600258)and owns more than 200 hotel properties across China.

No. 5 is the top hotel operator Accor (brands: Ibis and Novotel) from Australia. According to Lang LaSalle Hotels’ annual Top Operator Survey, In 2007, Australia’s largest hotel operators, Accor Asia Pacific Corporation (AAPC) and Stella Hospitality Group both increased rooms under management by concentrating on the serviced apartment sector – both primarily in the 4-star arena.” While according to, an Autstralia hotel booking site, Quest Apartment is Australasia’s largest operator in the serviced apartment sector, with over 110 complexes for unique Australia, New Zealand and Fiji accommodation.

No. 6 to 10 are JW Marriot (万豪), InterContinental (洲际), Hyatt (凯悦), Kempinski (凯宾斯基) and Hilton (希尔顿).

Brands like Radisson and Regal didn’t make to the top 10 list in China.

Radisson Plaza (xing guo hotel) in Shanghai: 兴国宾馆

A sign in Ridisson Plaza (and Garden) in Shanghai closed to my place. It s a very nice garden with villas.

Radisson Plaza (xing guo hotel) in Shanghai: 兴国宾馆 1号楼

Building No.1 in Radisson Plaza Garden , a historical building constructed in 1930s.

More data about this travel industry report in English language can be found here.

My Last Minute Trip Plan to Suzhou, China

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

May 1st is a public holiday in China, as it is International Labor’s Day which is originated from a labor dispute in the United States (although it is not a public holiday in the States today). lol. We had a rough plan to visit a nearby city in the three-day long weekend. However, when we were on elong and ctrip (the two major travel booking sites in China), almost all the hotels under 400 RMB in the downtown area were fully booked, even through May 8. Obviously, there are quite some tourists around the country taking vacations during this long weekend.

The weather in May is so beautiful – warm enough to walk outside without wearing layers of clothes, but not to hot to get sweaty easily. So, it is a good time to visit East China cities: Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Yangzhou, and other tourism destinations such as Thousand Islands Lake(qiandao hu, 千岛湖), Putuo Mountain (putuo shan, 普陀山). This beautiful weather will continue until the last week of June – a tip to plan your trip to East China.

So, I want to get out, but don’t want to over-spend for our outing. My last minute holiday trip plan starts from cutting the trip length. Suzhou is only 50 miles away from Shanghai and it takes 37 minutes by train. So we cut the 3-day trip to 1 day long hour trip. The last train from Suzhou to Shanghai is 10pm. We can be home before midnight.

My plan is to visit a 2000+ year old historical site called Huqiu (虎丘, means Tiger Hill) + Suzhou Museum which has a new wing designed by Chinese American architect, Pritzker Architecture Prize winner,  Ieoh Ming Pei (贝聿铭), + one of the gardens. The other important “mission” is to try the local Su style food. The restaurants can be old style, the service can be bad, but as long as the food are good, we won’t complaint!

It will be a cheap holiday trip. My secret of a bargain holiday is to think about what are the most desired things to do in your vacation. Then plan around the objective/goal, the earlier the better, the more flexible, the cheaper.  I will share my photo trip when we are back.