Cover Stories - (Sh)e-commerce - More Hangzhou Restaurants, Reviews, Places to go and what to do in Hangzhou. More Hangzhou Entertainment Guide
Home>Archive>2014>(Sh)e-commerce

(Sh)e-commerce
By Jack Cameron

The HZ girl with the eagle tattoo who kicked a hornet’s nest, and then lit it on fire.

The amount of digital ink that was spilled during Jack Ma’s US roadshow was staggering, and while the Amazon-sized torrent has slowed-down to a Qiantang trickle, there’s nary a week that passes without another commentary about, analysis of, or paean to Hangzhou’s e-commerce savant. Here on the mainland, both mainstream media and Wechatter have given reportage a distinctly nationalistic flavor. Little to be wondered at: for many Chinese observers, Wall Street’s $25 billion dollar bet on Ma is seen a kind of validation of China, its peoples, and their potency.

This story, however, is not about Jack Ma.

---------
Phoebe Wu wakes to sounds emitted from her Sony handset, a smartphone she chose not because she is a fan of Sony but because she wanted to differentiate herself from friends, colleagues, and everyone else who was sucked into the iPhone cult, which she rejects on principle. The copyrighted tune that shakes her from her dreams was downloaded free from Baidu, a Chinese search-engine which doesn’t worry too much about things like copyright, or delivering good search results. After she jostles her handset into the equivalent of snooze mode a few times, she’ll begin her morning from under her covers, first by checking her handset to see what’s happened in the world of WeChat while she slumbered, and then by checking the weather. After a long shower, Phoebe sits on her bed and puts on her makeup while watching a popular Hong Kong series on her Lenovo tablet, which she props-up beneath her small vanity mirror. Her cellphone remains on her lap, or not far from it, and while applying her foundation, drawing her “inner-V”, and fluffing-up her already preternaturally long eyelashes, she pauses now and then to check her news feeds, or respond to a text. She no longer listens to music while commuting to her office, but while on the bus she will read posts on Weibo, and check-in on a few blogs. This bouncing from WeChat to news feeds to Weibo will continue throughout the day, all day, on all but the very busiest of workdays, and her bus ride home will resemble her journey to work. Most evenings, whether she’s analyzing spreadsheets from work or watching movies she downloaded for free from another copyright-indifferent domestic website, her handset remains close at hand, and stays close at hand until she powers-down for the evening. Her high-end Sony smartphone is never shut-off, but stays dangerously warm beneath her pillow, charging, and waiting to announce the arrival of a new day.

It is no exaggeration to say that the waking hours of Phoebe’s life are mediated almost entirely by her handset. To watch her zip from app to app is to watch something almost superhuman, but it’s a talent she shares with many Chinese her age. She responds to a blog post on Weibo, and then posts on her own WeChat page a link to the post; she then fields an enquiry from a headhunter who found her CV on a white-collar job search site, one which allows her to manage her jobseeker profile from her smartphone. She looks for new shoes on glamoursales.com, and then buys a case of toilet tissue for the house on Yihaodian -- and then double-checks her bank account to make sure she has enough money for the goods she’s just ordered. Her handset helps her execute tasks directly and indirectly related to her job, and to look for a better one, and to get done efficiently all the things that need doing. One of the things that needs to be done throughout the course of her day is deal with boredom. Another is deal with the fatigue that results from the in-your-face hurly-burly of life in a city of six-plus million people, most of whom seem to have their eyes glued to the screens of their handsets.

*   *   *

Phoebe hasn’t traveled much, and has never been outside of China; but she is very well informed about national events and breaking international news stories, even though (as with most Chinese) her news-feeds are all from domestic outlets, and more often than not are from the Weibo blogs of Chinese observers and analysts who are outside of the state media cartel. But Phoebe isn’t just trying to stay informed; she’s trying to stay intact. She tunes-in in order to tune-out. Her handset, and all of its apps, and all of the sites to which she has access, are, taken as a single functionality, an extension of her personal identity’s immune system. Some of what she uses her handset for is, of course, efficient means-end adequation. But she’s not really reaching-out, seeking connectivity – and she’s certainly not seeking either information or interconnectivity for their own sake. Phoebe is actually using the fact of the manifest hyperconnectivity around her – the existence of the cyberworld that envelops her and which she cannot avoid - to define and maintain her position in the physical world. It orients her. Her handset and its apps help her ignore things like the noise and sounds and smells of the overcrowded bus that brings her to and from her office, just as the news issued like gossip by thousands of independent microbloggers helps her deal with the marketing issued like news by thousands of state-sanctioned brand-managers. Her handset is her GPS; but it isn’t a global positioning system. It’s a geren (个人, “personal”) positioning system.

*   *   *

At the beginning of this century, when the Chinese Internet was still a wobbly-legged hatchling, Phoebe was one of the top bloggers on Hangzhou’s number-one BBS-site, 19lou.cn (“the nineteenth floor”). None at the time used the phrase Key Opinion Leader or the even more ridiculous term “thought-leader” to describe her, but while still in her late teens Phoebe was one of the most followed bloggers in Hangzhou. She writes the way Hemmingway would have written had he been reincarnated as a stunning Chinese girl from a broken home who matured in lock-step with China’s cyberage. She is more skeptical and independent-minded than many of her peers. An astute and insightful observer, her prose then as now is lean muscle-mass. (Imagine a swimsuit model with the brain of a Navy SEAL, the gentle subtlety of a chainsaw, and all of the sweetness of an anchovy. That’s her.) In 2006, a local fashion brand chose her as the “representative girl born in the 1980s.” The most widely-read local newspaper ran the story and printed a series of photos of her looking hip in brand apparel, but the inside joke which only she and a few intimates knew is that she has abominable fashion sense and is anything but a typical Hangzhou girl --- just in case there is such a thing.

For example, despite dropping the 19lou blog and dialing-down her online presence, Phoebe remains an enthusiastic commentator and critic, aiming her Lapua .336 intellect at the T-box of online nonsense and offline stupidity. In the early Spring of 2014, she blew the whistle on a local Jim Jones character, a charismatic snake oil salesman whose ministry and products were likely involved in a number of deaths. Phoebe maintained her anonymity throughout all the interviews, including her big one with CCTV, when the scam she brought to light got national attention and tons of airtime on state-run media channels. It was a dangerous errand she’d undertaken (like eschewing iCulture, she did in on principle), and the small number of threats she received confirmed that not only had she kicked a hornet’s nest, she’d lit it on fire to boot. Being anonymous, of course, no one new that the one person courageous enough to try and bring down a multi-million-dollar enterprise was the same woman who, a decade earlier, became slightly famous in Hangzhou by blogging about skincare, cosmetics, and women’s health issues, and for sometimes going around town without a bra, her chestnut-colored waist-length hair shimmering in the sunshine and bouncing as she walked.

*   *   *

In 2004, her posts – on 19lou.cn, and latterly on her microblog (Sina Weibo) – lead thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of girls to the vlogs of Xteener and Michelle Phan, Asian-American makeup gurus who taught young women about skincare and effective makeup application. Both Xteener and Michelle Phan (“Rice Bunny”) are based in the US, and in the early days their vlogs were simple, sincere, low-budget, and pleasantly amateurish. The fact that both girls were Asian Americans was one of the reasons they were so popular on the mainland: Chinese viewers found in their faces, eyes, and skin tones both practical relevance and some greater significance. Another reason for their popularity: a direct result of the one-child policy is that girls born in the 1980s are unlikely to have older sisters, someone to coach them on things like makeup and fashion; and with foreign folkways and international trends trickling into the First and Second-Tier cities, the kind of counsel that young girls in 21st century China wanted and thought they needed wasn’t likely to come from mothers or aunts, women who were nearly vestiges of a forgotten era, or at least an era most people preferred to forget. Like Phoebe, many girls watched these and similar vlogs to brush-up on their English, too. The vocabulary of Xteener’s and Michelle Phan’s monologues is neither deep nor extensive, but it’s great for learners: highly colloquial, the monologues are nicely contextualized by a domain narrow enough to support interferences about the intentions and meaning of the speakers. There was a bittersweet side to this, too, as mainland girls suddenly found themselves with a window to a world very different from their own -- a window thrust open by girls who looked like them, but who were living lives most mainland girls could only dream of.

The mainly young female viewers understood the accoutrement, the gestures, and the procedures better than the hosts’ English, and the broader cultural mis en scene of the vlogs invited more questions than there were sources for answers. But there was always one element of these shows which translated very, very well: the products.

Many of the brands Xteener and Michelle Phan used were either not available in the local shops in China, or were available only at the brand counters of high-end department stores of First-Tier cities. Some of the brands they used were positively pedestrian in the US – inexpensive and easy to score from a chain drugstore or supermarket. But in China, even non-luxury brands like Revlon, Maybeline, and Cover Girl were still fairly pricey. A teen from a well-heeled family in the US might turn her nose up at anything she could buy off the shelves of CVS; but most Chinese girls weren’t culturally or financially ready for MAC foundation, Bobbi Brown eye shadow, and Tom Ford lipstick, and few had heard of these brands anyway. In China, low-end American supermarket makeup was still highly-desirable.

For overseas Chinese students, however, things were a bit different. Whether from Boots in the UK, or Walgreens in the US, all this stuff was very accessible. By now, Weibo microblogs and QQ facilitated conversations and communiques with friends and former classmates back in the motherland, and a standard topic of the dispatches from abroad was the ubiquity of cool and (relatively) inexpensive stuff piled-high and sold cheap at places like Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree; and it wasn’t long before small shipments of (among other things) foreign makeup and skincare products began making their way into China from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.  These were gifts for friends, and for friends of friends, but the volume of branded merchandise trickling into China grew apace with the number of Chinese students studying abroad – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The basic phenomenon itself was nothing new, of course; but what was new was the number of Chinese students overseas, and the ability for them to connect via the Internet and social media in real-time with friends back home.

And there was another thing. In the early years of the 21st century, an ever larger proportion of overseas students had parents with the financial wherewithal to send them to any one of the dozens of expensive new programs in the US and elsewhere which had been created specifically to attract overseas students -- programs which cared less about the student’s skill-level and preparedness than about the parents’ ability to pay. These were the children of Chinese who had done rather well in the first decade after reform and opening up, and many were going abroad with an enviable allowance to spend. And a word further about overseas Chinese students at the turn of the millennium.

Meanwhile, the growing diffusion of Internet access in China’s First- and Second-Tier cities, and the massive popularity of Chinese social media platforms and apps, conspired to allow this cohort of overseas students to stay in regular contact with their less fortunate peers back in China. It didn’t require a great amount of sagacity to see that – sooner or later – the demand for things like affordable quality makeup and skincare products would eventually create the means of supply.

Enter Taobao.

*

Ten years on, and Garnier and Revlon have pulled-up stakes and left China. China’s e-commerce platforms and the grey-market vendors who sell on them were in no small part responsible for the demise in China of these global brands. Hangzhou blogging-sensation Phoebe Wu, whose uberpopular e-dispatches about Xteener and Michelle Phan had introduced thousands of girls to a whole new world of makeup and applicators, was, without her knowing it, one small part of the reason an industry leader like Revlon couldn’t make it in China. Innocently, Phoebe Wu was key reagent in the chemical reaction that would explode in the form of a C2C e-commerce platform and online remittance system that would revolutionize China’s retail industry.

Phoebe is currently working for a cosmetics company, not an international one, but an enormous one. She’s actively looking for another job, and hopes to find a position with an established multinational, with colleagues whose scope of interest is broader than children, real estate price, and who don’t insist on packing fangbianmian in their suitcases when they travel outwith the Motherland. But the odds are stacked against her. She’s never been abroad, never been issued a passport. Her English-language skills are remarkable, but she lacks both the right kinds of sheepskin and the right kind of pedigree. To the HR lackeys fielding CVs, she’s a dead end, a non-starter. Just around the time Alipay solved the “trust issue” that had been limiting the development of e-commerce in China, the numbers of Chinese students returning from overseas surged from a growing-trickle to a tidal bore. Phoebe (unmarried) is approaching 30, and while there are many opportunities in China’s Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities for women with Phoebe’s skills, experience, wit, and comprehensive stage-presence, the very best positions are doled-out to the PYTs from rich families, freshly back from the States and Antipodes with diplomas that are supposed to be evidence both of their English-language skills and their familiarity with Western culture (read: blunted Chineseness). Phoebe cannot even get her foot in the door, not even with her knock-off Christian Louboutin shoes.

Phoebe might have nudged forward a little bit the grey-market industry of the daigou (and hence: C2C e-commerce in China); but she’s unlikely to be hired by any of the major cosmetic brands that she helped introduce to young Chinese women, at a time when for former were unknown to the latter.

Like Jack Ma and Alibaba, Phoebe was born and raised in Tier -2 Hangzhou.  But that’s probably just a coincidence. It might not be a coincidence that the Lancome counter with the highest sales volume on the planet is also in Hangzhou, the Lancome counter in the very shopping center where Phoebe was photographed in 2006 wearing the apparel of the brand which named her “representative girl born in the 1980s.” She doesn’t think much of the brand, but wouldn’t mind working for Lancome, though she can’t really afford Lancome, or much of anything sold on the first floor of that department store.

At the moment, she is as fond of her native Hangzhou as she is of its many iPhoneys.

SHARE THIS
Latest 5 Stories

Do You Know How Much Urine is in the Swimming Pools?

The weather is getting hotter and hotter, what beats escaping the summer heat with a refreshing splash in the pool?

But have you ever thought of a question: How much urine is there in the pool?

Let’s talk about that today.

Blogger Mark Rober spoke with a couple of scientists to find out the average amount of pee in a swimming pool. The giveaway is the amount of artificial sweetener in pool water. And the unmistakable pool smell.

Mark sampled private pools and public pools four times and sent the samples directly to a laboratory for inspection

Mark visited Lindsay Blackstock, a PhD student of analytical and environmental toxicology at Alberta University to learn about her ingenious method for measuring the amount of pee in a pool by looking at the concentration of an artificial sweetener called Acefulfame Potassium, it’s commonly found in processed foods and fizzy drinks. This is commonly found in urine because it passes straight through the body undigested.

They looked at samples from some pools in his area to determine how much pee was in them and he conducted an experiment of his own to see what was the cause of that "classic pool smell". He also presented average amounts of pee in large pools as well as an equation to determine how much pee is in your own pool.

In fact, you can also get the results by measuring the amount of urea in the pool, but urea can also come from human sweat, and sweat is very common in pools, so you cannot tell how much urea actually came from pee.

Before the results of the experiment came out, Mark learned a big "secret"!

It took about an hour for the mass spectrometer to detect the results. When Mark waited, Lindsay also told him an amazing fact...

Adding chlorine into a pool can disinfect the water because it kills harmful bacteria, viruses and microorganisms...

However, there is also a big disadvantage! Chlorine for disinfection reacts with urea in the pool to form trichloroamine, that’s why you may smell it when you enter the indoor pool. It is actually the smell of trichloramine, which is the   of urine and chlorine, not just the smell of disinfectant water.

To prove this, Mark personally tested it. He prepared two 5 gallon buckets, and filled them with pure water, then added four times the recommended concentration of chlorine for that volume of water to both buckets, and then added a little urine to the bucket B.

After 3 days of waiting, it’s time for the truth.

Bucket A still smells like water even with four times the recommended chlorine concentration, while bucket B smells like a swimming pool. The only difference is that bucket B has a small amount of pee in it. The smell reminds us of summer vacations in a 5-star hotel’s pools or water parks. It turns out… it’s just pee.

The classic pool smell doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the problem is it’s kinda bad news for both your lungs and your eyes.

If your eyes are really red after swimming for a while, that’s because of the trichloroamine from the pee, not the chlorine. Trichloroamine also causes asthma, in fact, studies show that asthma is more likely to occur among lead swimmers than any other high-level athletes, which now make sense, because Michael Phelps admitted to always peeing in the pool and he says everyone does it too.

In Lindsay’s research, she sampled 20 public swimming pools and 10 public hot tubs. The average concentration of sweetener for the public pool was 470ng/L , and 2247ng/L for the public hot tubs.

So what about Mark’s samples? The concentration of artificial sweetener in his friend’s backyard pool is 69ng/L. Although it is much lower than the average, it equals just under a gallon of pee. Mark's hot tub has a slightly higher concentration of artificial sweetener at 103ng/L.

In another set of samples taken by Mark in a public pool and hot tub, the concentration of artificial sweetener is 27ng/L for the pool and 335ng/L for the hot tub, respectively.

Those numbers are much lower than the average levels of the 30 samples that Lindsay collected, which leads Mark to believe that the water has been completely replaced recently.

If you want to estimate the pee in your pool, Mark came up with a simple equation after talking to some professionals and the equation depends on the number of people.

Average:
numbers of swimmers × 1.2 = gallons of pee

If you think they pee more than average: 
numbers of swimmers × 2 = gallons of pee

If they are more disciplined:
numbers of swimmers × 0.5 = gallons of pee

An Olympic pool would contain over 130 gallons of pee.

While some people swear by the health benefits of drinking urine, which is sterile, taking a gulp of the stuff in a swimming pool is not a good idea.

Urine contains many nitrogenous compounds such as urea, ammonia, amino acids, and creatinine. These compounds can react with disinfectants (e.g., chlorine) in swimming pools to form disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

Although considered a taboo, 19 percent of adults have admitted to having urinated in swimming pools at least once.

So be cool, don’t pee in the pool!

If you are interested watching Mark Rober’s research video, go on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S32y9aYEzzo

A Nearby Summer Escaping Plan

The city has been rainy and wet for a month, and you wonder when is this going to end. When the rain stops, it’s time for the heat, and voilà, summer is here. It gets hot and humid in Hangzhou, but there are places nearby you can go to enjoy a cooler environment. These include the islands, mountains, lakes and rivers in or near Hangzhou, and the local water parks.

01 - TONGLU -
Luci Bay 桐庐-芦茨湾

Luci Village is situated on the bank of the Fuchun River and is located beside the Longmenwan Scenic Area in the south of the Yangtze River. The village of Luci has a beautiful landscape with a wealth of rural tourism attractions such as Luci Tutu and Yanlingwu Orchard. Luci Village has a long history and profound cultural heritage. This is the hometown of the late Tang poet Fang Gan. In the village of Luci, there are relatively complete ancient buildings such as Chengong Temple and Linggu Temple with historical and traditional features, ancient lanes, old bridges, and ancestral halls.

There are plenty of water entertainment projects to play. Pick a sunny weekend, bring your water gun and swimsuit, and go have a thrilling rafting or water skiing. If you don't want to go into the water, rent a bicycle to go around the lake, 50RMB for pedal boat for unlimited time, the price is very affordable. Or you can bring a small basket to dig bamboo shoots, pick some raspberries, wild vegetables and herbs. Take a bite on that ice cold watermelon, or ask for a cup of Luci black tea on the way to the mountain is also very good.

- TONGLU -
Yaolin Wonderland 桐庐-瑶琳仙境


During the Olympic season, visitors coming to the Yaolin caves can watch the live broadcast of the Games while cooling off in the caves. Yaolin Wonderland is a group of limestone caves formed by corrosion through the ages. With stalagmite and peak stones in fantastic shapes and colors as well as murmuring streams, pools and cliffs, its halls are interconnected with passages and chambers.

Yaolin Wonderland stretches 1km in depth and covers 28,000 sqm. It ranks second on the list of the newly developed natural scenic sports among the Forty Best Tourist Resorts in China. It was also awarded as one of the Ten Best Tourist Resorts in Zhejiang province.

In the spacious fourth to sixth halls of Yaolin Wonderland, 300-odd immortals from more than 20 myths and legends, such as Nuwa Patching the Skies and Houyi Shooting Down the Nine Suns, are displayed through lifelike modern audio-animatronics, complementing the beauty of the stalagmites in the other three halls of Yaolin Wonderland and adding a touch of mythology.

02 - DEQING -
Moganshan 德清-莫干山


Moganshan, part of China’s Moganshan National Park, about 1 hour by private car southwest of Shanghai, the lush mountain has long been the stomping ground of high-profile politicians (a list that once included Chairman Mao), foreign missionaries, Chinese gangsters, and well-heeled expats.

Thanks to its elite clientele and countryside appeal, the area has been dubbed the “Hamptons of China,” though visitors will have to trade a sandy coastline for rolling tea plantations and restored 19th-century mansions. Even without the beaches of Long Island, the draw is clear: It’s the kind of place where you can wander through tea plantations by day and sip French wines in a private cellar late into the evening. After a busy week of work in Hangzhou, where temperatures hover around 38 degrees in the summer, Moganshan provides cool mountain air and a blissfully wide-open itinerary.

There are a few places we recommend you to stay, simply search: Le Passage, naked Stables, Solvang Village Boutique on www.morehangzhou.com

03 - JIANDE -
Xin'an River 建德-新安江


Listed with the first group of national scenic spots ever adopted, the city of Jiande is described as a bright pearl along the golden tourist route from Zhejiang province to neighboring Anhui.

The Xin'an River attracts thousands of visitors from both home and abroad every year. Linking Yellow Mountain at its headwaters and Thousand-Island Lake at its lower reaches, the river winds among high mountains.

Due to its splendid landscapes, the river is renowned as a gallery where water meets mountains. Xin'an River is famous for its clear water - in summer or winter, its riverbed can be clearly seen. The temperature of the river remains 17 degrees through the whole year, and the fog on the river is also a wonder.

And forget to try the local specialty: Fish Head!

04 - LIN'AN -
West Zhejiang Grand Canyon 临安-浙西大峡谷


West Zhejiang Grand Canyon is located in the City of Lin'an in western Hangzhou. The canyon is one of the famed landscapes in western Zhexi. There are 4 main sightseeing areas: Jiamen Pass, White Horse Cliff, Zhelin Waterfall, and Laodui Brook.

From White Horse Cliff, you can see a landscape that includes waterfalls, brooks, and cliffs. At Jiamen Pass, you experience rafting or you can enjoy walking along trails through the canyon. At Zhelin Waterfall, you can see Yansheng Waterfall and Longmen Waterfall, the waters of which are exceptionally cool. An important feature of Laodui Brook is a display of cultural activities there.

- LIN'AN -
Qingshan Lake 临安-青山湖


Qingshan Lake is a manmade lake 4-5 kilometers to the east of Lin'an. Lined with metasequoia trees, the Lake makes a unique view. There is also a barbecue court and a small playing ground where you could go parachuting on the water. The best way to appreciate the views here is by boat. Tickets are available at Qinshan and Shenghe, two piers at the south bank of the Lake. You may board and alight at the same pier. There are two types of rides, with one taken on boats painted in the style of classic pleasure boats, and the other on yachts.

05 - LISHUI -
Songyang Ruoliao 丽水 - 松阳箬寮


Songyang County is located in the mountains of southwest Zhejiang and has over 1800 years of history. This is a famous city of provincial history. Historically, it was the economic center of Chuzhou (today's Lishui), and it has many historical relics, including the domestically and internationally famous Yanqing Temple Pagoda. The many cultural sites here also include the Huang Courtyard, the “Ming-Qing Neighborhood,” and the Xiongdi Jinshi (“Brothers Who Passed the Imperial Exam”) memorial gate.

The Ruoliao Primeval Forest is located in Songyang County. It is a small canyon between Lishui Mountain. The cool climate, dense vegetation accompanied by waterfalls and streams make the original forest a good place to escape the heat. The main thing here is to experience the farmhouse music, listen to the sound of the stream, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the fun of nature.

Shanghai’s Waste Classification Has Spawned A New Occupation

Lately, Shanghai citizens have been busy learning how to sort their garbage.

Overnight, all the garbage bins in Shanghai's major residential complexes disappeared! Residents can now only dispose of their garbage at designated garbage disposal points which are locked up during most of the day.

Each resident will be allocated with a time to dump their waste and a designated station within their vicinity, where they can sort garbage into bins.

The daily time for garbage disposal is regulated:
7am - 9am
6pm – 8pm

(Slightly different for different places)

Garbage must be sorted, otherwise the penalty will be between 50RMB-200RMB.

After the garbage bins were removed, some residents took garbage to work, some dumped them on the street late at night.

"On July 28, 2018, the garbage bins were removed. Although there was a lot of publicity previously (to educate the residents), the complex was like a big garbage dump the day after." Shi Jingjing, secretary of the party branch of the Fushi residential area in Minhang District, Shanghai, recalled, “After the garbage bins were removed and the designated garbage bins put in place, most residents, especially the elderly, found it easier to sort their garbage." Shi Jingjing said, "But some of the young people do not follow the waste classification rules. Some people throw garbage into the street trash can outside the complex. Some people take the garbage with them to throw in the garbage bins where they work.”

“In the vicinity of street shops, there will be a lot of unsorted overnight garbage in the morning.” said Wang Junxiong, head of the business department of Shanghai Jiangchuan Environmental Sanitation Comprehensive Service Co., Ltd. “The urban management, law enforcement, and other departments have their off-duty hours, some merchants would throw the unsorted garbage on the street in the evening. Even if they were discovered, the punishment is not hard enough.” In some communities, in order to find the owner of the ownerless garbage that was thrown away, the residents’ committee officials even went through the garbage to look for clues.

Garbage Disposal Service!

So some “smart” people have developed a new business:
Garbage disposal!

Ms. Chen said she goes out early and comes home late every day. Garbage disposal is scheduled at certain times of the day, which gives her a headache. After all, some people are busy.

Fortunately, some people started to provide garbage disposal services at the complex where she lives. She only needs to leave the sorted garbage at her door. At 9am every day, someone will come to take them to the designated garbage disposal point. The cost is 1RMB each time and 30RMB a month.

Waste sorting is just beginning. It will be a long journey for a big country like China. Apart from enhancing garbage storage sites, local environmental agencies are aiming to resolve garbage overflow in the districts of Jing’an, Changning, Yangpu, Fengxian, Songjiang and Chongming by the end of 2018. Other districts will follow suit next year, and it is expected that a fully conceived national system - including the enforcement of garbage fees - will be in place by 2020.

Your Latest Bus Guide to Xiaoshan & Pudong Airports

Starting from June 21st, the Yellow Dragon Stadium Station will no longer operate. There will be two locations where you can get a bus to Shanghai Pudong Airport. The journey takes about 3.5 hours and the ticket cost is 120RMB. Here are the details:

To Shanghai Pudong Airport
上海浦东机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

5:30am, 6:10am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 3:50pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
杭州火车东站


5:55am, 6:45am, 7:35am, 8:35am, 9:35am, 10:35am, 11:35am, 12:35pm, 1:35pm, 2:35pm, 3:35pm, 4:25pm, 5:05pm, 6:05pm

We also collected information for how to get to Xiaoshan Airport. Here are the details:

Bus to Xiaoshan Airport
萧山机场大巴


From Wulinmen
武林门民航售票处

(390 Tiyuchang Road体育场路390号)

Stops at: Bus station at the junction of Pinghai Road and Yuewang Road 平海路岳王路口公交车站 (You can purchase your ticket at: 平海路杭州市职工国际旅行社内)

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 15 minutes from 5am to 5pm.
Every 30 minutes from 5pm to 9pm.

From Chengzhan Train Station
城站火车站


Inside of Chengzhan Train Station Bus Station 城站火车站汽车客运站内.
Add: 12-8 East Huancheng Road 环城东路12-8号

First bus: 5am
Last bus: 9pm
Every 30 minutes.

From Xiasha
下沙


Hangzhou Eastern International Business Center, South Haida Road 海达南路杭州东部国际商务中心
Stops at:  Shengtai Kaiyuan Mingdu Hotel 盛泰开元名都酒店

7:15am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 12:10pm, 1:40pm, 3:10pm, 4:30pm, 6:15pm

From Hangzhou East Train Station
火车东站


Every 30 minutes from 5:30am from 9am.
Every 15 minutes from 9am to 9pm.

From Binjiang
滨江


Overseas Business Park, 368 Liuhe Road 六和路368号海外创业园
Stops at:  Ramada Plaza Riverside Hangzhou (华美达大酒店), and Jiangling Road Subway Station (江陵路地铁站)

6am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10am, 11:20am, 12:30pm, 1:40pm, 2:50pm, 4pm, 5:20pm, 6:40pm

From Future Science and Technology City
未来科技城


Hangzhou Future Science and Technology City Overseas High-Level Talents Innovation Park杭州未来科技城海创园

6:40am, 7:35am, 8:40am, 9:25am, 10:20am, 11:10am, 12:30pm, 1:20pm, 2:20pm, 3:20pm,  4:20pm, 5:25pm, 5:55pm, 6:40pm

From Xixi Wetland
西溪湿地


Longshezui, Xixi Wetland 杭州市西溪湿地龙舌嘴

8am, 10am, 12:20pm, 3:30pm

From Lake View Hotel
望湖宾馆


2 West Huancheng Road 环城西路2号

9am, 11am, 1:20pm, 4:30pm

From Hangzhou Terminal
杭州客运中心

(3339 East Desheng Rd. Jiubao Town 九堡镇德胜东路3339号)

6:40am, 7:40am, 8:45am, 8:50am, 9:10am, 9:40am, 10:10am, 10:40am, 11:20am, 12:10pm, 12:50pm, 1:30pm, 2:05pm, 2:35pm, 3:20pm, 4pm, 4:35pm, 5:10pm, 5:50pm, 6:30pm, 7:10pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 8:55pm

From Hangzhou North Bus Station
杭州长途汽车北站

(766 Moganshan Road 莫干山路766号)

5:15am, 6am, 6:45am, 7:40am, 8:10am, 8:40am, 9:20am, 10am, 10:40am, 11:30am, 12:10pm, 12:40pm, 1:20pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:10pm, 3:50pm, 4:20pm, 5pm, 5:40pm, 6:20pm, 7pm, 7:40pm, 8:20pm, 9pm, 9:40pm, 10:10pm

From Hangzhou South Bus Station
杭州长途汽车南站

(407 Qiutao Road 秋涛路407号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

From Hangzhou West Bus Station
杭州长途汽车西站

(357 Tianmushan Road  天目山路357号)

6:20am, 7:20am, 8:20am, 9:20am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:20pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:10pm

We recommend you this platform to book your bus ticket. Not only can you buy tickets for the airport shuttle bus, but also to other cities as well. You can use your passport to purchase tickets.

To Come Back from Xiaoshan Airport

The shuttle buses of Hangzhou Airport usually take an hour to the city center and around 50 minutes to Xiaoshan District. To buy tickets, go to Gate 14, Arrival Hall, on the first floor of the domestic terminal.

China is Getting Serious about Waste Classification

China has been making efforts on waste sorting or waste recycling for decades, but there are still many problems yet to be solved. Eight cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou were considered national pilot cities for garbage sorting in 1998. Twenty years on, their efforts have not achieved the desired results. According to the People's Daily, the failure of garbage classification was due to three reasons: a lack of awareness from residents, misconduct from garbage workers and insufficient financial support.

According to a survey released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment research center, 63.7 percent of people surveyed believe that the reason why they fail to sort the garbage is due to the lack of classified waste bins in their residential communities. 59.6 percent of people blame their behavior on the failure of city garbage disposal services, which mix all garbage together, leading people to think that there's no point in sorting.

Other reasons include that the residents don't know how to sort; they have no sense of accomplishment; they think sorting is complicated, exhausting and few people around them do it.

First Penalty in Hangzhou for Garbage Classification

On May 30th, 2019, Hangzhou Jianggan District officially imposed penalties for the classification of personal waste.

On the morning of May 30, Mr. Zhang, who lives in Caihe Street in Jianggan District, signed his name on the “Administrative Punishment Decision”. Jianggan District City Management Office fined Mr. Zhang for 50RMB because the garbage was misplaced.

Mr. Zhang became the first person in Hangzhou who was not properly sorting garbage and was subject to administrative punishment.

Shanghai Will Be the First City to Enforce Garbage Classification

Yes, starting from July 1st, 2019, Garbage Classification will be officially implemented in Shanghai!

Shanghai is going to be the pioneer city for waste sorting and recycling, which makes it the first city in China to publish harsh regulations on garbage sorting and recycling. The government has put out a list of categories for sorting waste including recyclable, hazardous, wet and dry. It also specified the punishments for individuals and companies that break the rules.

Fines for individual mixed garbage will be up to 200RMB

Fines for companies, organizations, and complex mixing of garbage will be up to 50,000RMB

For individuals, authorities will fine a maximum of 200RMB (about 29 U.S. dollars) for mixing the garbage, while companies and organizations that are in charge of garbage sorting, transporting, processing and management will be fined a maximum 50,000RMB (about 72,357 U.S. dollars).

The regulation will come into effect on July 1 and was passed by the people's congress of Shanghai municipal city on January 31, 2018.

Garbage Classification

Basically divided into four categories: Hazardous Waste, Recyclable Waste, Household Food Waste, and Residual Waste. Check out the colours and Chinese below:

These four categories are the major ones. How do we distinguish them? We explain each category for you, let’s start with Recyclable Waste.

Recyclable Waste
可回收垃圾


Paper, plastic, scrap metal, glass bottles & containers, magazines, books & cardboard, clothes, fabric, toys, take-out or food delivery packaging

This is where your plastic bottles and containers go, unless they are dirty and can’t be cleaned, in which case, they go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Pour out the liquid before you throw your drink bottles or food containers away. Rinse them with water and squash them. You’re doing the sanitation workers a huge favor by reducing the size and weight, and giving them a bit of dignity.

Cosmetic brands such as Kiehl's, Origins, M.A.C, Shiseido, and Innisfree can take your returned containers and reward you with small samples and membership points.

Household Food Waste
湿垃圾


Food waste, expired food, shells & husk, dead plants, Chinese medicine

Anything type of food waste belongs in this category. The chicken bones from last night, the shells from your favourite spicy crayfish, shrimp, or crab, the plant you bought three months ago and is now dead, grape skin, fruit peels… but leftover milk or yogurt should be poured directly into your sink.

Most organic food waste belongs here, except things that are hard to break down, like big bones and coconut shells, which go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Remember to remove the plastic from anything you put in these bins.

Residual Waste
干垃圾


Anything else goes to Residual Waste.

Bottles or cans that are dirty and can’t be cleaned should go in the Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin. Things like face mask packaging, nail polish bottles, cotton sticks, toothbrushes, towels, used tissues, tampons, diapers, cigarette butts, plant pots, plastic wrap, yogurt or milk bottles (you need to empty the bottle first). Clean food packaging goes to Recyclable, dirty and used packaging goes to Residual Waste.

Waimai containers are incredibly hard to recycle, even the paper-based ones. These containers are often lined with polyethylene and tainted with food residue so they are very unpopular among garbage collectors -- it’s not worth their effort to wash them or separate the liners. The same goes for disposable coffee cups. This is a problem.

So here are the four steps we suggest you do. First, separate the clean paper/plastics and dirty containers. Leftover food →Household Food Waste Bin (湿垃圾); dirty containers →Residual Waste (干垃圾) bin; Clean bags → Recyclable (可回收物) bin.

Hazardous Waste
有害垃圾


Used batteries (rechargeable batteries, button batteries, batteries), paint cans, waste lamp, paint buckets, pesticides (there are residues that need to be sealed in advance and then disposed of), expired or discarded drugs, and other hazardous materials.

In newer residential areas, they are usually right next to the other bins, in red or with a red label. If you don’t have one in your neighborhood, talk to your local neighborhood management about options for disposal. That’s kind of mafan but we all need to do the best we can.

If you are wondering how many garbage bags you should have at home to handle daily waste, we have an idea for you to try.

More Options for Recyclable Waste

For books, Duozhuayu (多抓鱼) is great for selling and buying second-hand books. Funded by Tencent, Duozhuayu has a system that verifies and estimates the value of your books, and they will collect the books from you free of charge.

For clothes, take them back to the store, or take them to H&M. Clothing shops Uniqlo, H&M, and Zara all provide recycling services for used clothes from their own shops; H&M even accepts clothes from other brands.

Social enterprise Feimayi (飞蚂蚁) is at the forefront of online textile recycling in China and provides a free collection service for more than five kg of clothes. Also funded by Tencent, like Duozhuayu, it’s accessible via desktop and WeChat mini-program. Find the QR code by scrolling down on their website. Basic Chinese is needed to navigate the app and fill out the form.

Aihuishou (爱回收) is China’s largest platform for recycling and selling second-hand electronics. They have offline stores in shopping malls throughout the city.

Xianyu (闲鱼) is Taobao’s second-hand marketplace. Although not desktop-friendly, you can sell almost anything there. The platform is super active due to its sheer size. There is an amazing, incredible, wonderfully efficient and hugely profitable Buy & Sell section here.

Green Initiatives offers transparent waste management for e-waste, paper, and textile waste. They also have recycling bins at URBN hotel, Element Fresh, and many other private and public collection points around Shanghai. For home pick up, Feibao, a social enterprise that works with Green Iniatitives offers recycling service through WeChat.

Click for Hangzhou, Zhejiang Forecast

Get Weekly Events to your Mailbox