Author Archives: Shanghai Observer

E-Currency Trading in China – Addendum

According to the self-reported volumes, today huobi.com reported a volume of 186,000 bitcoins traded – close to 1 billion RMB. #2 worldwide was OKCoin with about 46,000. While impossible to verify, given the actual market liquidity and rapid movement, there … Continue reading

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E-Currency Trading in China

Chinese financial markets don’t typically get a lot of press in the English-speaking world, with the occasional exception of some finger wagging about the lack of proper government controls over what goes on, or the occasional reference to a “shadow … Continue reading

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Why Street Vendors Matter

Street vendors are part of the fabric of Chinese life, and there is no indication that this is going to change. For consumers, they substantially enhance quality of life. For the street vendors themselves, it represents both their livelihood and independence. Easy access to self-employment (in the sense of a 个体户), i.e. the ability to freely sell, trade and provide one’s services, is a basic prerequisite for a functioning free market. Continue reading

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Property & Registration in Today’s China – Strange Stuff

Whereas prior to approximately 2000 registration was linked to mere occupancy rights, now it is linked to ownership. Without ownership, no registration. And without registration, you don’t get the various prized state goodies on offer. In particular, your children don’t enjoy the right to attend the local public schools. Continue reading

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Outsourcing in the Chinese Restaurant Industry

It is hardly a secret that division of labor and specialization are important keys to economic efficiency. The Chinese restaurant industry must surely count as a world leader in this regard. These days the vast majority of restaurants outsource a substantial portion of their dishwashing to third party companies. Continue reading

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Challenge: How to differentiate between fake and real motor oil

Regardless of the extent to which any market is regulated or self-regulating, smart consumers don’t suffer from the illusion that some amorphous government official is “protecting them”. They judge and decide for themselves. Do they prefer to pay less and accept that they might get “fake” goods? Or would they rather pay more to get a higher grade product, and if so, how do they make this judgment? Continue reading

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China’s New Silver Bank – ICBC

Bank in Chinese is 银行 – literally “silver merchant”. Alas, like so most countries around the world, China has not had a real “silver merchant” for half a century. With their paper gold accounts, Hong Kong’s banks have arguably come close. But no silver.

That has now changed. Continue reading

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