In 1990, when I was in China’s capital, I stayed in a cement block disguised as a hotel and watched horse-drawn carts rattle along streets filled with thousands of bikes. The modernisation of Beijing has exploded in the ensuing decades — further encouraged by Beijing´s success in snaring the 2008 Olympics — so carts have now no place in the current bustle.
PROGRESS IS GOOD?
There are, however, many good modern hotels, restaurants and other facilities appreciated by business visitors, so maybe progress isn’t so bad. Sadly though, the old women selling banana pancakes on street corners are probably gone: Now there is a great loss to the city. For more information on Beijing check out: this informative publication on business in Beijing, interesting aspects of Beijing Business from within the country, and these useful articles about business travel to Beijing.
Another city that you will probably want or need to visit is Shanghai: an exciting, confusing, eclectic city where fake designer goods fill hundreds of markets and skyscrapers are taking the place of old neighborhoods (25% of the world’s cranes are in this city). Shanghai has its own growth spurt, partly due to preparations for the 2010 World Expo. Doing business here will probably take you to Pudong, the new business district where a new international airport, shopping complexes and business centers add to the cacophony and madness. This area contrasts to the “Old Shanghai,” where colonial buildings along the Bund (river bank), colorful fabric market and the Peace Hotel, a city landmark built in 1929, provide some peace outside of meetings.
Flying to China is easy with many flights from international destinations offered by small and large airlines, including Malaysian Airlines, KLM, Air China, Korean Airlines, etc. Only this year, American Airlines underwent a gruelling process to obtain a license to operate within China. Cathay Pacific has just put in a takeover for Chinese airline, Dragon Air, giving it access to various domestic destinations on the mainland. China surely is a happening part of the world. It isn’t easy for many business to get through the red tape, but it will often be lucrative.