Our Perspective

      • The Same, but Different

        18 Sep 2014

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        How to get a McDonalds in Beijing? Get on a bike! Photo: Augapfel, 2007

        By Hannah Ryder - I’m entering into my fourth week here in Beijing, and one of the experiments I tried last weekend was to order a takeaway. I was tired from a very hectic week of meetings – that was my excuse anyway!  But it turns out the process of getting a takeaway in Beijing is quite different from getting a takeaway in London or Nairobi – two other big cities I’ve lived in.  In London or Nairobi in order to get a takeaway you usually need to phone the restaurant directly, and if they don’t offer a takeaway service then you either have to collect the food yourself or you have to try another restaurant.  In contrast, here in Beijing, restaurants don’t generally offer takeaway services themselves. Instead, customers need to phone – and pay – a special company set up simply for the purpose of takeaway to pick up the order and deliver it to your home.  That’s right in the language of economists Chinese restaurants effectively “outsource” their takeaway services.  But it’s the same outcome or result wherever you live – a lovely takeaway delivered to your door, but just a different process.  Thinking about it as anRead More

      • As Print Media Fades: All Eyes on Social Media

        18 Sep 2014

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        By Yumna Rathore - Every morning I wake up to the sounds of my iPhone. With instant news updates from every corner of the world, my phone with its various social media apps is my primary news source. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, or Google Alerts, I know exactly what I need to know about any given problem or country the minute I wake up. Every week I see a stack of newspapers and magazines on my doorstep that are later recycled. I pick up the newspaper and toss it into a news rack, where it stays untouched the entire week.  I think we all can agree that gone are those days where we drink our morning tea while reading the morning newspaper. Gone are those days where we actually wait to watch the 10 o’clock news. While the demise of print media and spread of social media may seem like a great leap forward, very few understand the risk of social media today. Specific newspapers certainly have their own biases and perspectives, but social media outlets can often be even more bias and inaccurate than our traditional news source! I saw a picture of a wounded child go viralRead More

      • A Ride to Prospect

        04 Sep 2014

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        By Carsten Germer -   Do you like the smell of a new car? Do you like the look of a new car? Well do you like cars? I do not particularly like cars. Cars is something that get you from point A to B, keeps you dry when it rains and most importantly it provides you with your private space where you can sing along to old pop tunes unnoticed while moving along the endless network of roads now covering our cities. As you might have guessed, I do not know much (or care much) about cars their make, their 0-100 km stat’s and similar things which normally get a car enthusiast up of their seats. I nonetheless was quite excited when I opened the door to the exhibition model, which was about to started its tour around China. One reason why I was excited was that I normally drive stick shift so getting into a car with automatic gearshift was a bit of a conceptual challenge (which lasted less than five seconds). However, the real excitement was that I was about to enter the realm of driving a fuel cell vehicle – it all seems a bit futuristic. TheRead More