Yesterday was the last year of the year of the dragon. Today is the first day of the year of the snake – according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

An impression about the new years celebrations on youtube (Shanghai 2013). Crazy fireworks and noise all day long.

And here 2 videos taken in Beijing in 2008

and part 2 on

Just a few useful words to explain todays match vs England to Chinese friends :

Wembley – 温布利

football – 足球

referee – 裁判员

England - 英国

big classic match – 十大经典决赛

We want revenge for 1966 – 我们要为1966复仇

On my German blog I posted some information about the most popular China-related online scam. I often get emails from companies or private customers of scammers who ask for assistance after they got ripped off. Normally there is nothing you can do after transferring the money. Just do not send them anymore.

Here is a short summary of the most popular methods

  • cheap branded articles or electronic articles are offered on online shops with a very professional layout. The support seems to be great, too. The contact happens via phone, skype, email. The prices of the products are often just 30% of the marked price in Europe or the US. After you did the payment, the scammer will ask for another payment, using some excuse like the goods are hold back by the customs. Or the special offer suddenly expired or their supplier needed more money. Whatever.  If you paid per Western Union, there is normally no way to get your money back. You wont find any company under the address mentioned in the imprint of the website.
  • Domain registration is also very popular scam. You will get a message by an “official domain name registrar” who received a request by a company who wants to register a domain name like “” or “”.  Just move those mails into your spam folder. Their only goal is to sell you an overpriced domain registration with their company
  • Forwarding payments or goods to China: This is also very popular. A Chinese company seeks represantatives in several countries. Your job as representative will be to accept payments by their customers and forward them to China. Of course they will never delier any goods. They just need your account to create trust because many of their customers will hesitate to transfer money directly to China. You will get paid by cheque. The cheque is a counterfeit. Or sometimes they will ask you to accept orders of goods and forward them to China. They do not pay those goods and after a few weeks you will get trouble with the supplier
  • Sudden contacts to potential business partners: A Chinese company contacts a western company and invites them to negotiations about a huge contract to China. They will ask you to pay for hotel fees, food, give them expensive presents. After the “negotiations”, they will suddenly disappear.
  • Sales of academic titles: You can “buy” them online or even at the side entrances of universities in China. Those titles are worthless of course, even if you do some “academic work” to get them.
  • Orders per cheque: A Chinese company contacts a Western supplier and orders goods. Payments will happen with counterfeit cheques from third parties (who have no idea about any payments). Sometimes the bank clerk will credit the cheque and the goods are delivered. After a while the third party will bounce the cheque and your goods are lost.

Microsoft is about to launch its search engine bing soon:

I wonder why the first word which comes into my mind is “disease”. Probably it has something to do with the Chinese character for disease, “病” which is pronounced “bing”.

Of course there are more than one characters with the pronunciation “bing” in Chinese language, but I really wonder what a Chinese native speaker thinks about it.
Whatever, I am sure, “病” will be a great success story in China.

I just checked a few blogs of people I met in Beijing when I did business there and found a few nice posts:

Save your time:

More important from the same author Thai noodle soup in 5 minutes:

At the moment I am enjoying my stay at Incheon International Airport in Seoul (as far as you can enjoy waiting at an airport for your departure).
I checked in in Seoul at the City Air Terminal, got rid of my luggage, received my departure stamp at the immigration center there and bought my ticket for the airport shuttle bus. The very comfortable bus ride takes about 1 hour. After my arrival at the airport it took about 5 minutes to get to my gate, I just had to get past the security check at a special entrance for passangers of the City Air Terminal. Then to the Asiana Airlines Lounge and later, after one cup of coffee, to the internet lounge (which is for free, unlike many other airports I already visited).
Just a short comparison to Frankfurt Airport:
Incheon Airport construction started in 1992 and the airport was opened officially in 2001. The airport is about 60 km away from Seoul, easy to reach by subway, taxi or with the shuttle bus. Since 2006, the airport was elected best airport in the world – every year. In my opinion a well deserved title.

The numbers: Frankfurt and Incheon
Frankfurt is the 3rd largest airport in Europe, has 2 times more passengers per year and 2 times more employees. Incheon has more tonnes of cargo per year as Frankfurt. Incheon is the 3rd largest airport in Asia, worldwide no. 11, Frankfurt is no. 5 if you count the international passengers.

The “felt comfort”, comparison between Frankfurt and Incheon:
In Frankfurt, getting from the entrance to the gate takes hours and feels like several kilometers of walking through a mace. In Incheon it takes a few minutes only. Incheon has free internet lounches, big TV-screens which have more to offer than only boring news. The employees are very helpful, the airport is clean (ok – we are in Korea, things are supposed to be clean there) and somehow designed more logically. Incheon is were Frankfurt will probably never get to.
But probably its a bit unfair to compare those 2 airports. Incheon was constructed 10 years ago at one go, Frankfurt in several steps (more runways, more buildings over several decades since the 1960s).
Anyway, maybe at the customs in Frankfurt they have a better sense of humor, it was funny when I had to pay my tax for the imported notebook last time I went there. They had very old equipment but it was really fun to listen to their comments. A few years ago they needed each form in triplicate. Now they can save the data in their computer but have to print it 5 times, computers don’t really help them to protect any forests).  I felt so sorry that I even thought about giving them my new notebook.
Anyway, my departure is at 12.30 in Seoul, I will arrive in Frankfurt at 17.00.

Yesterday, the movie about John Rabe started in China. Apparently you can already get illegal copies on the streets. I did not watch the movie yet but chatted about it with a Chinese friend who watched the movie already. He really wondered why John Rabe was not shown as hero, in his opinion, the movie always emphasized the few negative aspects of John Rabe (he was member of the NSDAP for example). The movie is not available in Korea yet. The director is a German, the movie is about a “good” German in the World War II, so I guess the movie will be full of political correctness. Its just a prejudice, I will keep it until I watched the movie myself.

I am curious about the reaction in Japan. I used to live together with a Japanese when I was studying in China 10 years ago. According to him, the massacre in Nanjing happened. But the Japanese army had no choice than shooting civilians because Chinese resistance was disguised as civilians. And Chinese exaggerate the number of the people killed there because Nanjing even did not have 300.000 inhabitants.

Well, after a while I really stopped discussing topics like this with him. But in Japanese history, the Nanjing massacre does not play a big role, its sometimes not even mentioned in schoolbooks. Japanese counted their own dead but somehow forgot to count the dead of the Chinese army and civilians during the war. Before they left they also destroyed lots of evidence.

Well, some people just can not listen. A  friend of mine (who does not care if I make some fun of him in my blog) had a good business idea, he did not want to tell me about at first. Still easy to guess: the idea was basically to import goods from China and dont sell them to customers but to wholesalers. Thats nothing new and also the goods were nothing new (some electronics, whatever).   Unfortunatly it does not always work that easy anymore (actually it never does). Of course the wholesalers he contacted had cheaper suppliers already.  Probably you can also find his products for a cheaper price on ebay. Not that it matters much now, because the second problem is, that he already ordered the goods and paid 30% in advance to a Chinese friend he knew from his last stay in China and who promised him to take care that everything in China works well (he visited the company, checked the goods…).   The Chinse friend told him he had already paid the supplier but refused to give him the address or company name.  And this Chinese “friend” appearently promised the supplier more payments and more orders in order to persuade him to deliver a quite small amount.

Now they have to figure out how they solve the problem. My guess: The “friend” still has the money. If you want to export goods, you need an export license. Unless the supplier has this export license, the “friend” needs a trading company to take care for the shipment. And until now he refuses to give any contact data but insists on the whole payment first.

This happened to a friend in Korea (Seoul). The cleaning lady already expressed her hapiness because he kept his room clean and she had nearly no work (“You are a good boy” – he is over 30 years old).

Cleaning Lady in Korea

Cleaning Lady in Korea

Validating RSS-feeds can be quite difficult, espacially if you have a website with user generated content and people use some strange characters in their own language, for example “ä” (ä) . If this HTML-entity is saved like this : “ä” in your database you have  a problem because  XML only has 5 predefined entities.

If your document is read by an XML parser that does not or cannot read external entities, then only the five built-in XML character entities  can safely be used.To get your RSS-feed valid, you need to write a function to encode and decode and I found a nice one here:

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