Arrival, Synchronicity, and my E-mail Address: Welcome to Beijing

Travelling the Silicon Road
BEIJING — Well, I arrived in Beijing on Saturday night, Oct. 8, local time; it is Sunday morning as I write this. I’ve only just glimpsed Beijing, but from what I can see it is a huge, sprawling, vibrant city. It’s funny, but I got caught in traffic Friday morning on my way to San Francisco airport, on Hwy. 101 (no surprise there), and got stuck in traffic on the way into downtown Beijing from the Beijing Airport.

I’ve actually got my first interview/company meeting this afternoon, so I need to wrap this up for now, and go find some Chinese food for breakfast. But below is a blog entry I wrote while on the 12-hour plane ride here — it seems traffic jams aren’t the only synchronistic events on this trip so far.

And before I forget, it seems I didn’t publish my e-mail address here when I solicited people to contact me directly. It can be found on Electronic News‘ Web site, but even there, it’s not obvious where to look, particularly if English is your second language.

So here it is: jchappell@reedbusiness.com

More later,

Jeff

OFF THE COAST OF ALASKA — You can ignore the date/time stamp on this entry; at the precise moment that I’m typing these words it is 7:55 a.m. on Oct. 8th in Beijing and 4:55 p.m. on Oct. 7th in San Francisco. I’m about 3 hours into the 11.5-hour flight, somewhere off the left coast of North America, between Juneau and Fairbanks, Alaska.

I just felt like busting out the laptop because 1) I’ve got plenty of time on my hands at the moment, and limited options to fill said slot of time, and 2) I had an odd moment of synchronicity just a few moments ago.

This morning I realized that I had never procured new business cards like I had planned before my trip to China; and I left my old ones at home. One of those little details that slipped through the cracks in the midst of a jillion others involved in a month-long business trip to China.

To make a long story short, after considering all the options, Harold Abrego, my publisher’s admin — who has been instrumental in establishing my travel plans — and I decided that he would whip some up at Kinko’s today, and ship them to my hotel in Beijing via DHL. He was going to have to ship some paper airline tickets to me in Beijing anyway (tickets for some domestic Chinese carriers that I’ll be traveling on during my trip) that naturally arrived — via FedEx — moments after I left for the airport this morning.

Ain’t business travel grand? As the kids say today, I’m so over it.

Anyway, I assumed that I could get them as soon as Monday, but Harold noted that it would likely be Tuesday. FedEx might get it there on Monday, but DHL is our corporate shipping service. And that’s not a dig on DHL — they found my house out in West Virginia recently, which doesn’t have a street address, or even a rural route number — never has had one that I’ve been able to determine; it’s that rural. Some other shipping services, including the aforementioned DHL competitor, balk at the idea of shipping out to my house in the boonies, but not DHL.

So, no worries, I’ll get new business cards on Tuesday, if all goes well.

So I’m sitting back in coach — got a bezillion frequent flier miles on this airline, and apparently I got booked with some special fare that precludes upgrading — love that business travel — reading the Wall Street Journal that my seat neighbor loaned to me. And there is an article about DHL expanding its operations in — you guessed it — China. Well there you go, supply and demand, economics at work.

Seems DHL is pumping $100 million into its air freight hub in Hong Kong to double it capacity, citing the rising volume of parcels and documents to and from China. Indeed. And ding-dongs like me who forget their business cards will be able to get them that much quicker.

DHL will open its expanded sorting facility at Hong Kong’s International Airport in 2007 — a little late to help me out with my business cards. But still, an interesting piece of synchronicity, stumbling across the article about DHL expanding in China to meet demand, after wondering about DHL shipping stuff to me in China.

Incidentally, FedEx and UPS are also expanding their Chinese operations, according to the WSJ; UPS is opening a hub in Shanghai; FedEx is building a hub in Guanghzhou in the Pearl River delta — an industrial area that is attracting its share of electronics business as well. In fact, I think someone suggested in a reply to an earlier blog entry that I should visit there; it was originally on the list, but there are only so many places you squeeze in, in a month’s time.

And for those of you always wanting to know the future, DHL sees the Asian economy growing at least 7 percent annually over the next decade.

Now for a complete non-sequitur: I think that Will Farrell movies like Kicking and Screaming are just as funny with no sound as they are with sound; the dialogue would seem to be irrelevant. Not a dig on Will; it just occurs to me in the simplistic world of a Hollywood flick, physical comedy doesn’t really require dialogue inspired by Shakespeare. I never would have discovered that if I weren’t sitting on a plane on the way to China, trying to use a laptop in coach.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaAnd why is it that, when you are on a plane and flying coach, at the very moment you decide to get out your laptop, the guy in front of you decides its nap time and cranks his seat all the way back? Every time.

But don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll have some more relevant epiphanies and observations for you once I’m on the ground.

Jeff
jchappell@reedbusiness.com

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a blog entry of mine that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. While its former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge), as far as I know, this blog content isn’t hosted anywhere else on the Internet, hence my reproduction here.

Original Comments

at 10/10/2005 3:29:22 PM, Chinese Food said:

Please try Beijing duck. It is the best Beijing local food. Mike

at 10/11/2005 2:23:16 AM, Buan said:

If you carry a PDA, just need to beam it over to any one you will be meeting. Er… may be company need to standardise the format, but who cares, is just digital.

at 10/11/2005 12:55:00 PM, Travel Monkey said:

Some companies on their job ads are taking travel off the listing because no one is applying. Sometimes you have to consider is the excursion value added for the company or for some given executives log book?