Author Archives: William Bell

Shanghai is the most expensive city for expatriates in Asia

                                                            View of Lujiazui financial district with Shanghai Tower, SWFC and Jin Mao Tower

According to a survey on the cost of living in the world, which gives the rise of the Yuan as the main cause, Shanghai is the most expensive city in Asia and the 7th most expensive in the world for expatriates.

Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou are ranked 8th, 9th and 14th respectively, even surpassing New York’s famous district Manhattan, which ranked 15th in the survey by ECA International, a London-based consulting firm. Beijing is the second most expensive city in Asia.

Manhattan is the only US “city” listed in the top 20, with behind it another Chinese city, Shenzhen, in 16th place.

Four Swiss cities are also among the most expensive – Zürich, Geneva, Bern and Basel – and two African cities – Luanda, Angola and Kinshasa, in the Congo – which are respectively 5th and 6th.

“Despite the Yuan’s depreciation against the US Dollar over the summer, it has strengthened against most other major currencies, making Shanghai the most expensive city in Asia for Expatriates, “said Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia.

“This reflects the general trend seen in China, with Chinese cities gradually rising in our rankings over the past few years. It is likely that large Chinese cities will remain expensive destinations for mobile executives in the foreseeable future, “he added.

Shanghai and Beijing are on average more expensive than Manhattan for most foods, although fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive in Manhattan. International clothing brands are much more expensive in Beijing and Shanghai than in Manhattan, while eating at a restaurant is much cheaper,” said James Davis, director of marketing and communications at ECA International.

ECA International investigations are based on a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates, such as grocery products such as dairy products, meat and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, As well as household items, general and recreational services, clothing, restaurants, alcohol and tobacco.

According to Davis, 500 grams of ground coffee costs 22.66 dollars in Shanghai, compared to 14.52 dollars in Manhattan. Similarly, a costume costing 676.67 dollars in New York is worth 1110.49 in Shanghai.

The marinara sauce is cheaper in Shanghai if you do it yourself. A kilo of tomatoes in Shanghai costs half of what it is worth in Manhattan.

“I find that food and other living expenses are relatively cheap if I only use Chinese products and eat at local restaurants but if you have the smallest urge for imported goods or international restaurants, Usually it’s quite expensive, “said Elizabeth Oppong, an American who worked in Shenzhen.

“I have reduced the costly habits like Starbucks and shopping in international stores,” she said.

Travis Joern, an expatriate in Shanghai for the Canada-China Business Council, tries to stick to local products. “For foreign food products, you are paying the extra import duties, but for local food, it’s quite affordable,” he said.

All Chinese cities climbed in the ranking from the previous year. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong are all in the top 10 while they were 12th, 13th and 26th last year. Guangzhou went from 30th to 14th place, and Shenzhen climbed 29 places, going from the 45th to the 16th.

The Manhattan area also grew strongly from 38th to 15th place.

According to ECA, the rise in the US dollar between surveys has resulted in a rise of US cities in the ranking. Miami thus gained 62 places to move to the 71st.

“Although the prices of our commodity basket have fallen in some US cities, the rise in the US Dollar means that it is increasingly expensive for companies to move their personnel to the United States, “Said Michael Witkowski, vice president of ECA International New York.

China: 3 million deaths prevented each year by reducing pollution

China could save 3 million premature deaths every year by reducing air pollution to the level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a study published Wednesday in The British Medical Journal.

Heavy pollution on Shanghai
The study was conducted by Chinese researchers who studied the effects of air pollution on deaths in 38 major Chinese cities – bringing together some 200 million people in total – between January 2010 and June 2013. During this period, the daily concentration of PM10 particulate matter (emitted mainly by road traffic, heating and agriculture) averaged 93.9 micrograms per cubic meter of air in the 38 cities, with a maximum of 135 μg / m3 in Urumqi, a city in northwestern China, with a minimum of 67 μg / m3 in Qinhuangdao, 300 km east of Beijing.

WHO recommends reducing this rate to an annual average of 20μg / m3, while according to figures published last year, more than 80% of people living in urban areas worldwide are exposed to Pollution levels exceeding this limit. M10 particles (with a diameter of less than 10 microns) are particularly dangerous because they can lodge in the airways.

Investigating the 350,000 deaths in the 38 cities between 2010 and 2013, researchers led by Zhou Maigeng of the Beijing Disease Control Center found that an increase in PM10 concentration of 10μg / m3 was associated with an increase in the daily number of deaths by 0.46%.
Exposure to PM10 was found to be more harmful overall among women and adults over 60 years of age, according to the study.

It also had a greater impact on cardiovascular disease with an increase in deaths of 0.63% for every 10 μg / m3 increase in PM10, while for other diseases, the increase was only 0.27%. The researchers agreed on the figure of three million premature deaths avoided each year in China by making a “summary calculation”, based in particular on a Chinese population of 1.33 billion.

They also added that this figure is likely to be underestimated because the effect of air pollution may be greater in rural areas (which have not been studied).

Jack Ma, New Icon of Modern China

Jack MaThe Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, real name Ma Yun, is the CEO of the Alibaba group that controls 80% of the Chinese online business. As the most representative icon of modern China, he just met Donald Trump, promising him that his group could create a million jobs in the US.

The former English teacher has become one of the main ambassadors of the innovative China open to globalization: a more sympathetic face to the West than the communist regime. The charismatic Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce platform Alibaba, is even praised by the new American president Donal Trump who is usually very critical about China.

“Jack Ma is a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world. Jack and I are going to do great things together” said Trump in a recent interview.

Jack Ma said he has never been seeking wealth with Alibaba and his only goal was innovation. His challenge was to create a tool that would change people’s lives, which made him one of the few popular Chinese billionaires in home country.

After failing twice to enroll university, he has been an English teacher for five years in Hangzhou, the capital of the industrial province of Zhejiang, not far from Shanghai. In 1994, he set up a translation agency called Haibo.

On a trip with a delegation of officials to Seattle in 1995, he discovered the Internet. When doing a search on a search engine with the word “China”, he found no results. He then came back with the conviction that China should open up to the Web.

Ma said to his friend “why not creating something about China?” They created a very ugly page for Ma’s translation agency. The next morning, he received five emails from three different countries: the United States, Japan and Germany. Ma understood there was something to do to open China to the Internet.

Why Alibaba?

It will take years to Jack Ma to find the concept of Alibaba. The beginnings of Jack Ma in the web industry are not great. He created a directory where Chinese companies could register and gain visibility but most of them did not see the need to appear on a directory without readers, in a country where internet is still very rare.

Jack Ma is quickly overtaken by other Chinese entrepreneurs better equipped than him, sometimes graduates from Standford or other prestigious American universities, and who are immediately successful with the creation of portals, a very popular niche in the late 90’s: this was the beginning of Sina and Sohu.

In 1999, Ma created Alibaba. In order to distinguish his portal to other Chinese portals, Ma decided to focus on small businesses and international demand. The main concept was to connect local and foreign companies to Chinese suppliers. This was the first Chinese web platform translated into English. As China’s economy surges in early 2000’s, the Chinese Internet along with the B-to-B platform Alibaba experience a rapid growth.

When Alibaba was launched In early 1999, there were only one million Internet users in China. But this figure was expected to double in the following six months, reaching 17 million in the summer of 2000. Today, China has the largest number of Internet users in the world with about 700 million users.