Alfred Wong has sent this photo of the smiling ICIS-CBI China reporting team, standing on the steps outside the offices on a warm autumn Shanghai day.
Tag Archives | CBI
When I’m in the ICIS Houston office, one of my favourite places to get lunch is the local Whole Foods Market on Kirby. That is when I’m not queuing up for slabs of beef at the Texas Bar-B-Q or down the nail salon. So I was happy to see that a flagship Whole Foods store had opened last year in London’s Kensington High Street, bringing the organic supermarket brand to the UK, but now I’m not at all surprised to read that the new venture is facing disaster after making a £10 million ($20m) loss in its first year. In these economically straightened times, it was just too classy, too expensive, too big and in the wrong place, with no parking. And while Houston Whole Foods is still thriving, 600 branches of Starbucks are closing down across the US, because they over-estimated how many punters were prepared to pay $2 a cup, and saturated areas with multiple branches.
It’s my last day in the Shanghai office, and I’m just taking a souvenir photo of the outside of the CBI building when I get an email from my colleague Nigel in London to say that he has been waiting all week for the Blog to have a picture of the Bund. And to balance this picture, here is one of the opposite bank of the mighty Huangpu River. I learn from Adam, the CIO of CBI, that the Chinese government wanted to construct on the Pudong a truly Chinese vision of the future, to face the colonial heritage of the Bund. They are both fabulous views.
Nothing can quite match the moment when a keen young reporter respectfully enters my office and hands me a printed copy of her report to critique, written throughout in Chinese characters but with a few numerals dotted throughout the three pages of text. We still manage a good session on the key points of good reporting practice, and I don’t think she finds it weird at all.
Nothing beats the daily rush-hour commute on the Shanghai metro for getting the real flavour of working life in the metropolis. From the minute you step into the station – by-passing the teams of workers polishing the ground, the railings, the turnstiles – to when you drop your four yuan coins into the ticket machine, click through the ticket barriers and swarm onto the trains along with hundreds of other office workers, the whole experience is efficient, cool, air-conditioned and above all, to a seasoned London commuter, clean. It’s six stops to Songhong Road, at the western end of Line 2.