Where in China, Indeed

Travelling the Silicon RoadWhere should you set up shop in China? What about where I would set up shop in China? Well, being a telecommuting journalist, I can, within reason, live wherever I want.

Theoretically, if I have high-speed Internet access and a phone, the world is my oyster, or some such metaphor.

Many of the friends I made while in China would often ask me where I would live if I moved to China, or, out of all the places I visited, which one I liked best. Well, realistically, to cover the semiconductor industry, I’d probably have to call Shanghai or Beijing home, or at least home base. But if I could live anywhere in China — as to my favorite place so far, that is difficult to say.

It’s like trying to decide my favorite place in the United States; I can’t narrow it down to just one.

I loved living in the Bay Area of Northern California, but I gave it up for the wilds of West Virginia, to be closer to family, and because I love West Virginia, too (hard for you Left Coasties to understand, I know, but it’s true). Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas and Santa Fe, NM, are on my short list of places I’d love to live in the United States, as is Athens, Ohio (went to college there).

Now that I think about it, you could tack on Flagstaff, Ariz. to that list as well (I actually did live a half-hour away from Flagstaff, once upon a time). I also loved the two years I spent living in Cleveland, believe it or not; it’s one of the best large American cities, in my humble opinion.

And anyplace near water automatically has something to recommend it, as far as I’m concerned.

As for China, it’s an equally difficult task to decide where I would live, if I were given carte blanche. If I could only take the culture of Beijing and the food of Chengdu — oh, the food of Chengdu — and put it in downtown Xiamen, without making it any bigger — that would be ideal. But I must admit, I enjoyed every place I visited in China, and could be happy in any of those places on the original Silicon Road itinerary.

Plus I’m sure there are many more places I will discover when I return.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaJust as I will discover similar places the next time I go to Europe, or visit the places I haven’t been to yet: the rest of Australasia, and the Middle East & or poking around my home continent, for that matter (New York city; Portland, Maine; Athens and Savannah, Ga. and Key West, Fla. all have yet to be explored by yours truly). Then there is South and Central America, and Africa — I’d love to visit it before more of its ecology is destroyed.

You know, having the travel bug is a mixed blessing. Part of the joy of traveling is returning home to the familiar: sleeping in the same bed every night, and seeing friends and family. Yet I haven’t been home two weeks, and already I’m somewhat restless, thinking about where to go next, memories of language barriers, intestinal distress, jet lag and pit toilets not withstanding.


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 11/23/2005 12:47:40 PM, Scott O from Ohio said:

I have been following your stories for the past several weeks and think your writing is fantastic. I am a Manufacturing Engineer and I have traveled between Ohio and Shanghai several times this year. I am returning to Shanghai again for two weeks after Thanksgiving. I can really relate to your stories and your point of view… Keep up the good work! I am looking forward to your next article!

Editor’s Note (slight return): D’oh! Once again, when I downloaded the Silicon Road microsite, Adobe Acrobat managed to grab only one of 10 original comments that were attached to this blog entry – it grabbed more than a thousand other pages (most of them empty; I guess it’s an inexact science), but not that one. Damn.

Kingtype: Sussing Out the Chinese CATV Equipment Market

Travelling the Silicon RoadCHENGDU, China — While in China this past month, Electronic News Editor Jeff Chappell sat down with the founder and current board chairman of Chengdu Kingtype (Electronic) Group Co. Long Yon Gaing to talk about China, its burgeoning electronics industry, standards, and, specifically, the market for cable, digital and satellite television electronics.

Kingtype, the biggest manufacturer of CATV equipment in China, is one of the first domestic, privately held companies to form under China’s economic reforms of the early 1990s. In addition to the Chinese market, it also exports equipment to other parts of Asia, as well as to the United Kingdom.

What follows are excerpts of the conversation.

Electronic News: Can you tell us a little bit more about the history of the company and how it came about?

Long: Under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, the central government in the late 1980s and early 1990s embarked on the policy of opening up China and its markets. It was at this time that several engineers including myself organized the company. There were six of us that started Kingtype in 1992. After 13 years, we’ve seen steady growth and great progress. The government’s policies have helped us achieve stable growth. Our current net assets are worth 260 million yuan [$32 million].

After so many years of development, we now stress technological innovation. We’ve had to address many problems of the years, but we’ve developed high quality products. We are the best among CATV equipment suppliers in China; we’re the No. 1 brand. Our company has also been directly involved in developing CATV standards in China. Others and I in the company were invited to serve on the National Broadcast and TV Standards Committee.

Electronic News: As a supplier of digital and analog CATV broadcast equipment and set-top boxes, do you do all of your own system design in-house? And are the components of your system produced domestically or abroad?

Long: Yes, we provide system design and system integration. Much of the materials and components, as related to semiconductor content in our products, come from outside China, while the rest of the system components come from domestic companies.

Furthermore, our industry is very professional, or business-to-business; it’s not like the consumer electronics industry. The domestic capability of China to design and produce its own chips is still relatively weak, so we must get our chip components from outside China, and will continue to do so for the time being. In the future, however, particularly for our set-top boxes, which just went into production, and satellite receivers, which we’ve just begun to start manufacturing, we perhaps might begin to use domestically-designed components.

Nowadays, the Chinese government is heavily supporting domestic chip design, manufacturing and the related software technologies. It is developing very fast. But today, our main products are CATV infrastructure equipment, such as network transceiver equipment, optical transmission equipment and wireless emission products, and system management software. And also digital signal broadcast equipment. We do make set-top boxes and satellite receivers, as well, but the set-top box isn’t that popular in China; digital television is still a small market.

As we’ve learned from the U.S. market, it’s not an easy one. This market is tough, and we also face outside competition. You see, unlike the United States, CATV in China is a public broadcast and service medium. So it is difficult to sell related products to the consumer. We would like to see China follow the U.S. FCC, which has set a new policy requiring that digital tuners be integrated with television sets in the future within the United States. As the set-top box isn’t popular here, we think we should follow this example in China.

Electronic News: With the growth of China’s economy, could that possibly spurn the growth of the market for consumer-related CATV and digital equipment, such as set-top boxes?

Long: Of course we will see considerable development in the future, and this will help promote the whole industry. Next summer China’s first direct satellite television broadcasts will begin, for example. That is when we plant to start selling our new satellite receivers. And the future integration of a digital tuner with the TV, this will promote sales of digital television. Once common people have the means to receive digital broadcast signals, it will spawn more digital programming – at that point we’re looking at a bright future.

Electronic News: Can you tell us about the state of broadcast and TV standardization in China?

Long: How fast the industry develops depends on China’s standards development. There are a lot of old standards: DVB, MPEG-2, and so forth. And now there are new global standards emerging, such as H.264. Here in China, we want to develop our own standard: AVS . Of course, the semiconductor industry is also concerned about this problem. These varying standards affect their design and manufacturing, and their design and manufacturing in turn affect ours.

Electronic News: So China’s own domestic standards will help China’s internal IC industry then?

Long: It should promote domestic IC design. It is why we set up our own standards. The H.264 standard, it costs too much money for domestic chip companies to design and produce related components. The MPEG-4 [a standard technically identical to H.264] actually is a good standard. …

Personally, I prefer the H.264 standard. But as a member of the committee, we can’t support it. But it does have a lot of support from the chip industry at large, however. If we did support it, we might see our own market [for related end-user equipment] develop more quickly. The number of chipmakers designing for the emerging AVS applications is still quite small. But this isn’t only my opinion. A lot of other committee members feel the same way. If the H.264 standard can eventually offer us a reasonable cost, we will accept it. That’s why China is waiting for the standards to mature a bit. We’ll wait and see. And that’s why we haven’t put our set-top boxes into mass production, because of the standards issue. DVB was the standard, now we are waiting for the new standard.

Electronic News: Can you tell us why Kingtype chose to set up shop here in Chengdu?

Long: Sichuan [Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province] is a base for the electronics industry in China. It stems from the era of Mao Zedong. In the interest of national security, the central government at that time adopted a policy of moving key industries inland.

Nowadays, the environment and talent here is quite rich. There are several excellent universities here, and a lot of electronics companies in China originated here; a lot of other companies in other cities – Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. – their founders came from here.

The maturation of government policy has helped Chengdu grow, as well, but perhaps it has helped other cities such as Shenzhen even more so. But it will all lead to a more prosperous Chengdu. This city has demonstrated a lot of advantages under the new policies, such as the engineering talent available. There are a lot of multi-national corporations here now, too. And the living environment – the cuisine, the lifestyle – that’s why we chose Chengdu as our base.

Electronic News: Is there anything you would like to add, or anything else we should cover?

Long: Right now Kingtype is the main provider of CATV equipment in China. The next step for us is to cooperate with an overseas partner. We can learn advanced technology and management techniques from them; they can gain valuable access to the Chinese market. We are interested in mutual market development and R&D. It can be a win-win.

We also want to begin exporting more of our products beyond China. In fact, several companies outside of China have contacted us about OEM partnerships, inquiring about production of equipment for export.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaI’d also like to mention our involvement in two-way HFC [hybrid fiber coaxial] network equipment. [In 2004, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television set up an HFC network technical lab within Kingtype. The company handles technical training for HFC operators in China.] Our company also wants to share its leading edge two-way HFC technology with the world. We’ve attracted a lot of attention already from Americans in this industry that came to see our two-way HFC technology; it’s won a lot of praise. We can build the related infrastructure for two-way HFC networks; our labor costs are low – it’s an advantage for us. But I want to stress the importance of the advantage of this type of network. Just in the last several months, we’ve done projects in this market, and it’s been well-received by consumers.

Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a news story written by me that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. It’s former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge). You can still see a copy of this story at EDN.

Grasping at Straws … er, Spicy Noodles

Travelling the Silicon RoadCHENGDU, China — It is with a somewhat heavy heart — and a very depressed palate — that I find myself in the Chengdu airport waiting to catch a flight to Shenzhen.

There are a number of reasons for this; I’m acutely aware that my trip is more than three-quarters over; in less than a week I’ll be back in the States. And yet I feel like I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of China, much less gain an acute understanding.

Not that I expected to develop an innate understanding of an ancient culture in a matter of weeks, but I feel like I’ve only just begun my task, and soon it will be over — but not finished.

Plus, I’ve had to say goodbye to Zhike, my interpreter, who has been an invaluable asset these past three weeks — not to mention a new but nevertheless trusted and valued friend. I would not have guessed that I could grow so fond of someone that is twelve years younger than me and from a different culture so quickly.

I find myself not really wanting to leave Chengdu, either. Its food has been fantastic, some of the best I’ve eaten ever; I could happily eat genuine Sichuan food once a day for the rest of my life. Plus the women here in Chengdu seem to be nearly as spicy as the food. Maybe too spicy, says Zhike, both about the food and the girls, but on that score I have to disagree with my new-found friend.

But beyond the spice the Sichuan lifestyle seems more in tune with my own lifestyle — Xiamen tugged at my heart strings, and Beijing stimulated my mind, and I firmly believe that home is wherever I put my head down at night. But Chengdu almost feels like it could indeed be home for awhile.

I think this also has to do with the fact that after three weeks straight of business class hotels, cabs and conference rooms, interviews and airplanes, we actually got out in the countryside this past weekend, and I saw aspects of China that many Western business travels don’t see. You’ll read more about that later on, I promise.

But the green mountains outside Chengdu reminded me of my new home in West Virginia, and it didn ‘ make me homesick, exactly — part of me really would like to remain here in China for awhile — but it reminded me just how tired I am of business travel and hotels, and all the attendant hassle. Someday I will return here for a month, maybe longer, perhaps, with nothing but time and a backpack.

Most important of all though, I find myself with mixed emotions because I feel like I’m getting close to understanding something important about Chinese culture, but I’m not sure yet what that quite is. I’ve gone from thinking Chinese culture is really different, to thinking that’s it’s not that different, to realizing that below the surface it is very different from my own culture. And I feel like I’m getting close to being able to grasp that difference and understand it, but I haven’t got there yet.

And I’m not talking about the mundane differences, like the way traffic works here or what there is too eat, or the status of China’s economic and technological development. I guess I’m talking about what makes me a Westerner, specifically American, and what makes the Chinese … well, Chinese. Of course if I could articulate what I’m trying to grasp, I would have grasped it.

It suddenly strikes me that these words sound familiar.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaAnyway, I had a long talk with Zhike today, about why certain things are the way they are in China — not because I’m annoyed that they aren’t like in the States, or any silly thing like that, but because I feel like there’s something I’m missing, something I can’t understand, and I’m not sure what it is yet. I fear that I’ll be on a plane back to the States before I can grasp that epiphany.

Ah well, my plane is boarding soon. The mundane duties of life intrude. …


P.S. Actually, the data function on my cell phone’s smart card wasn’t working for some reason when I was at the Chengdu airport earlier, so this was technically filed from Shenzhen at 2 a.m. the next day, but that’s neither here nor there.

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 10/31/2005 12:02:21 PM, yours truly, reader said:

I found you are a passionate person. When I read your article, tear running in my eyes. I am not sure why I got that feeling..

at 11/1/2005 1:51:13 PM, Sonia Harrison said:

Jeff, I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your Blog the last few weeks. Thanks for letting me visit China with you–even if only through your stories.

at 11/1/2005 3:31:45 PM, Jim H. said:

It’s been fun reading about your journey, both geographically and mentally. I see parallels to my experience with marrying into a Chinese family after growing up in a typical midwestern family. I too went from thinking that they were really different from us, to thinking that they are the same but just talk a different language, to realizing that there are some differences that I will never comprehend and there are things that they will never comprehend about me.

One difference I see is the American desire to be self-sufficient, to be able to repair things oneself, to be able to take care of oneself, to even survive in the wild if one needed to (our recreation of camping). The Chinese see a virtue in relying on ones family and reciprocating by helping ones family. The first is useful if you are in a frontier environment (which we no longer are), the latter is useful if you are in a fully settled country of a billion people.

The Chinese also cannot comprehend why anyone would ever want to be alone, and I cannot comprehend why they always want to be in large noisy groups. Of course these are generalizations, not all Americans or Chinese fit these stereotypes. I will be interested to see what you come up with.

at 11/1/2005 4:45:32 PM, Jane said:

Shenzhen is a very young city. The average age of the population is only 27. A lovely place you sure will have a good time there.

at 11/3/2005 10:23:44 PM, Jeff Chappell said: Thank you all for the kind comments. Jim H: you are dead-on in that observation about self-sufficiency. This is the only place I’ve been where people seemed shocked and bewildered that I would want to carry my own luggage. I didn’t understand why at first. … It was a foreign concept for Zhike and other new friends that if I needed or wanted help, I would ask for it; otherwise I did not want it or need it — that I appreciated the show of respect and friendship, but was quite capable of managing on my own.

I fear I’ve inadvertently insulted hotel bell staff from one end of China to the other. And I confess, as much as I have truly loved China, I think I’m ready for some quiet solitude in the middle of nowhere 🙂

at 11/4/2005 2:10:38 PM, Bill in Mpls said:

Having spent a very short time in Korea, I also searched for some way to explain differences in culture from my own. I see in the Koreans a sense of ethnicity over nationality which is almost opposite of our upbringing. Their history (their “people’s” history) – what they all have in common – goes so far back beyond whatever the current government is that they identify more with their family and neighbors than any larger-scale institution. Our history in the U.S. is focused on what we have in common – our government, local, and national institutions. We don’t have a common ethnicity or history with most of our neighbors. Thanks for the blog.

No McDonalds Please; I’ll Have the Fish Head Hotpot

Travelling the Silicon RoadCHENGDU, China — I never would have thought something with a fish head floating in it could taste so good, but more on that later.

I want to make an observation about something that always bugs me when I travel abroad. Why do hotel employees always want to send you to some place that’s foreign friendly? Even when you tell them that’s not what you want.

I suppose there is some general truism to be gleaned from this observation, but I’m not sure what it is. Surely I’m not that different from most business travelers?

Tonight my intrepid interpreter and I returned from dinner to the hotel, but I decided the evening couldn’t be done yet. It is Friday night, I’m in a foreign city — I’m not going to go to bed early. So we asked a bellhop to direct us to a good nearby local bar. He disappeared behind the concierge desk only to return and apologize that there were no bars nearby, and then proceeded to give me a card from some Irish bar, making it a point to say that it was popular with laowai, expats, etc., and that it was only a short cab ride, blah blah blah.

I promptly declared “Rubbish!” and strolled out into the night (that was probably the bottle of Great Wall cabernet we had with dinner talking), Zhike in tow. This is a business class hotel — people on expense accounts are constantly running in and out — smack in the middle of a city of 4.1 million people; there was bound to be a local pub somewhere nearby, I reasoned.

Sure enough, I promptly spotted two within a stone’s throw of the hotel. Had the bellhop never actually set foot outside the Sheraton? Why does this always happen in nicer hotels when traveling abroad?

Sure, I could understand if I moved to a foreign land permanently, I’d want to have a bit of home now and then, and go to the American restaurant or the Irish pub. And it was fun in Shanghai to introduce Zhike to all sorts of goofy Western food and drink.

But when I’m visiting a foreign place and only have a short time, I don’t want someplace familiar. If wanted to experience familiar, I’d stay at home. If I travel to Chengdu, I want to experience what Chengdu people experience. That’s the fun of traveling, experiencing the unfamiliar.

The only thing I can conclude is that many business travelers want what’s familiar; I just don’t understand why. Seems to me if you are there on business, it’s even more important to understand the local culture. Incidentally, I’ve found that when I’ve traveled on my own abroad and stayed in cheap hotels, you seem to get directed to cheap local places, rather than tourist/businessmen-on-expense-account traps.

Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest. After three weeks of this, it gets a bit frustrating at times. It’s hard to explain through an interpreter that no, you don’t want to go to the tourist place. You don’t want to go to the place that caters to foreigners. You don’t want to go to a club with the flashy neon lights, overpriced, water-downed drinks and bad, pop music that was old ten years ago. You want to go where the locals go. …

Anyway, Onto the Fish Heads

We couldn’t locate The Little Chili Pepper referenced in the previous blog entry. Apparently it’s so small and so local that most of the locals haven’t heard of it, although one person we stopped on that he knew of the place, but failed to prove it with adequate directions. If the folks at Agilent-Qianfeng read this, please call me or e-mail me with proper directions

So we ended up at a restaurant called Tan Yu Tou, a chain of popular Sichuan restaurants in China that started out here in Chengdu. It’s a “huoguo” place, or hotpot. Translated, the restaurant’s name refers to the surname of the person that started the place, Tan, and “yu tou,” which means fish head.

I told Zhike, my interpreter, upon hearing this — after we had left the restaurant — that he had no idea how amused it made me to dine at a restaurant essentially called Tan’s Fish Heads. And that’s true; I’m sure he really did have no idea. Cultural differences. …

But I digress. Essentially hotpot cooking is kind of like fondue; you dip meat and veggies and whatnot into big pots filled with heated, spicy oil; and I do mean lip numbing, tongue-searing spicy. It was one of the hottest, flavorful dishes I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I instructed Zhike to tell our waitress to make sure that we did not get the laowai-friendly version; I was not disappointed — poor Zhike even complained at one point, albeit with a smile on his face as he wiped his forehead, that it was too spicy.

I assured him there is no such state of being. It wasn’t as good as yu xiang rou si, the Food of the Gods, but almost. Even now, my stomach feels warm. Should have some interesting dreams when I finally go to sleep tonight.

Oh, almost forgot the fish heads. In addition to all manner of spices, fish heads and miscellaneous parts are added to the hotpot for flavor, and of course, you can eat some of the fish. Like I said at the beginning, being a Westerner, I never would have guessed that a dish with half a fish head floating in it would taste so yummy.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaThe rest of the evening, I’ve had that Fish Heads song from the early 1980s in my head. You 30-somethings like me, members of the inaugural MTV generation, know what I’m talking about. Google “Barnes and Barnes,” like I did just now, and take a trip down Nostalgic Lane. And now I know what the line that states “floating in the soup” is about.

Thank you and good night.


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.

Peanuts, Tea and Massage: A Night at the Sichuan Opera

Travelling the Silicon RoadCHENGDU, China — Last night I attended the Sichuan Opera here in Chengdu, the capitol of Sichuan province. Lemme tell ya, it ain’t fat ladies in brass brassieres and horned Viking helmets singing Wagner, that’s for sure.

Nor is it a black-tie affair. Peanuts, sunflower seeds and tea are served, and people roam the aisles offering massages, their white jackets proclaiming “Ear Cleaning and Health Massage.” And there are boisterous conversations throughout the audience, throughout the performance — I confess, my Western sensibilities sometimes got the best of me, and I found myself wishing I knew how to say “Give it a rest!” or “Shut the hell up!” in the local dialect once or twice.

In fact, during the one part of the performance that actually involved dialogue, the woman next to me was getting a full-body massage — while fully clothed, get your minds out of the gutter — and her and her masseuse kept up a steady stream of conversation. Then, on the other side of the theater, there was some sort of fight or altercation that distracted everyone except the performers — a night at the Sichuan Opera is kind of like being at a bar or a ball game back home, or maybe a football game (think soccer, my American brethren) in the U.K.

I think the European tourists sitting next to me were rather appalled.

But I of course thought it was great; one of those wonderful “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more” moments that I treasure while traveling abroad.

No, opera means something entirely different to East and West. I confess that I’ve never been to a Western opera; the closest I’ve come is that hilarious Bugs Bunny cartoon that spoofs the aforementioned Wagner. But I know enough to know it isn’t anything like what I saw here last night.

But there are some 1,300 operas throughout China, and they vary from region to region, from what I can gather. There are some 300 types of opera as well. So from what I understand, if you’re familiar with the Beijing Opera, well, Sichuan may be something else again.

Where to begin? I’m not sure I can describe the spectacle without offending the literary sensibilities of at least one reader, Goose Hosage (see the comments section of this particular blog entry). The Sichuan Opera has a 200-year tradition; it is currently housed in the back of a very crowded market adjacent to the Wuhou Temple grounds, Wuhou Temple being a monument to Zhuge Liang, a famous Chinese military strategist who served the emperor Liu Bei some 2,000 years ago.

In other words, you probably want to hook up with someone local in order to find the opera. My interpreter, Zhike, almost refused to go, when he found it was 120 yuan per person to enter (about 12 bucks American); he was sure we weren’t paying the Chinese price. But then he queried a Chinese tour group, and sure enough, they were charged the same price.

Then he decided that it must be a tourist trap, as surely the local Chengdu residents couldn’t afford the admission price. I tended to agree, but I still wanted to see what it was all about — after all, that’s part of the reason I’m here, finding out what China is all about.

And in the end, he decided it was pretty cool, as did I, and well worth the admission price.

Electronic News Travels to ChinaHow to describe it? Part slapstick, part performance art, part magic act, part circus acrobatics, part modern dance … flame eaters, puppets, balancing acts, skits, martial arts … acrobatic tea pouring, a voluptuous MC in a flaming bright chartreuse dress — the list goes on. The evening culminates with the mask dancers, elaborately costumed dancers who, with the flick of a wrist, as they dance, constantly change their masks — elaborate, full-face affairs that match the costumes.

In short, the opera is about as spicy as the food in Chengdu. Speaking of which, it’s dinner time, and me and my trusty interpreter are off to a restaurant whose name translates into English as The Little Chili Pepper, or some such. Sounds right up my culinary alley.


Editor’s Note: As explained at length elsewhere on this site, this is a news story written by me that originally appeared on the now-defunct Electronic News’ website, which is long gone. It’s former sister pub Electronic Design News (EDN) currently holds the copyright to all Electronic News copy (to the best of my knowledge). You can still see a copy of this story at EDN.

Original Comments

at 11/8/2005 9:41:01 AM, David said:

How does one arrange for a personal interpreter in Chengdu? What is the cost?

at 11/15/2005 1:20:14 PM, Jeff Chappell said:

David, there are a number of ways to go about hiring a local interpreter. If you have professional contacts in China, I would start with them (that’s what we did; the student that traveled with me was hired through our staff at EB China). There are a number of expat Web sites and language translation sites where people advertise their services as interpreters and translators. If you are looking specifically for someone local in a certain place, I’d start with Google, and advertise on local message boards as well.