2010 Shanghai World Expo opens tomorrow
Here’s a really cool photo of a semi deserted elevated walkway at the site of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo minutes before the opening ceremony today in Shanghai, China. Shanghai has tightened security around the 2010 Shanghai Expo site ahead of the opening ceremony which will be open to only a select number of people, and some roads around the Expo site are being closed off. The official opening to the public will be tomorrow.
Underfloor heating has been a part of eastern culture for a long time
A lot of people talk about underfloor heating these days as if its a new idea. Plenty of older cultures have been using similar technologies for hundreds or even thousands of years. Korea is particularly well known for its interesting history with heating homes. Check out what Wikipedia says:
In contrast to the eventual disappearance of the Roman underfloor hypocausts, underfloor heating has remained in use for millennia in Korea, where it is known as ondol. It is thought that the ondol system dates back to the Koguryo or Three Kingdoms (37 BC-AD 668) period when excess heat from stoves were used to warm homes.
Ondol continues to be a typical feature of the South Korean home, and is widely credited with making possible distinctively Korean customs such as removing one’s shoes upon entering a home and sitting on its floor. (The “sitting culture” brought about by ondol influenced the design of hanbok, the traditional Korean outfit; hanbok trousers are loose and have enough room for people to easily bend their knees and sit for long periods of time, and traditional shoes were also made to be easy to take off and put on compared to Western shoes.)
Definitely not a new concept but still a good one.
Will Chinese automakers take the world stage?
The world’s major auto manufacturers have been on a tear in China, pushing sales estimates to the millions over the next several years. But what of China’s own automakers? Could they be preparing to enter to the world market? Chinese automobile quality has risen significantly over the last several years. It could be enough to tip the scales in their favor should they choose to expand to other countries.
BEIJING (Reuters) — When Ric Hull first looked at launching Great Wall Motor pickup trucks in Australia last year, he considered rebranding them, worried their obvious Chinese origins would raise questions about their quality.
Ateco Group, Hull’s auto importing and dealership company, decided against marketing the low cost models under “GWM” label, instead embracing the trucks’ made in China credentials, and sales are booming.
“We initially thought: do we resolve the brand question, do we call them GWM? But then we thought that people would know anyway, and that seems to be working very well,” Hull said.
We have more coverage at Dashboard News.
China’s economy continues to grow
China’s economy just doesn’t seem to stop growing. According to the most recent figures, China’s GDP grew by 11.9% in the first quarter of this year. That’s the kind of growth that actually worries economists because it raises stability concerns. How do you manage such explosive growth over a period of, say, a decade?
A lot of the state spending came in the form of bank lending. That’s where China and its banks will have to be careful. Plenty of Americans are shackled with debt they can’t repay, and they’ll be paying interest for years and years to come. Luckily, credit counseling services have popped up that can help, but it would probably have been better if we had never gotten into this mess in the first place.
GM expands its outlook in China to 3 million cars a year by 2015
As much as GM continues to struggle in the states, the automaker is hoping it can make a dent in China’s blooming market. Recent company statements show the company is hoping to sell 3 million cars a year by 2015. That’s not so far off. The Chevrolet Volt is expected to hit the Chinese market in 2011, and for some reason Buick continues to grow overseas. Whatever the reasons, GM is doing well in China’s young market, so it will be interesting to see how the next few years progress. Check out our full coverage on the topic at Dashboard News.
Small Businesses Go Green with Online Printing
It seems pretty rare in this day and age for companies to really stand behind the “go green” philosophy. After all, no matter how nice it may sound from the outside, it usually ends up costing more, right? Well, not necessarily, and a number of “green activities” are becoming common practice for small business owners. One of theseis eco-friendly online printing.
What, exactly, qualifies as eco-friendly? Sure, online printing might reduce your carbon footprint, since you won’t have to drive to and from a local print shop, but the fact that the papers still have to be delivered to you from the online printing company will quickly balance this out. However, many of the environmentally conscious online printing services do something more. From using 100 percent recycled paper to utilizing soy based inks, various tactics will ensure that your printing project is environmentally friendly.
As nice as this may sound to some business owners, the bottom line remains the biggest concern. Can this be done profitably? The good news is that online printing services will save money when contrasted with local print offices, even after you calculate shipping, which is often waived for bulk orders. So as long as you plan ahead, you can go green while saving money. One thing to remember, though, is that a company’s reputation is even more important in a scenario where online support may be all that you have.
Another tip for reducing your environmental impact while printing is to make sure that you do your orders in bulk. This reduces additional waste when it comes to shipping, and it can usually save you more money. The ultimate goal for any environmentally conscious company should be to go “paperless,” an objective which may not be practical for every aspect of business just yet. However, it’s a goal that’s worth having.
China’s thirst for Iraqi oil
BusinessWeek has a great article explaining China’s investment in the oil fields of Iraq.
BP is the largest partner in the venture, but only by a dipstick: It has a 38% stake, while the Chinese hold 37% (the rest is owned by an Iraqi company). The media focus has been on BP’s decision to take up the Rumaila challenge for a low fee of only $2 for every barrel the venture produces. But the more important story could be China’s role. “CNPC’s involvement brings together the country with the most rapid growth in energy demand in history with the country that plans the greatest buildup of production capacity ever,” says Alex Munton, an Iraq specialist at Edinburgh-based oil consultants Wood Mackenzie.
There’s also some interesting information about China’s commitment to training workers who can work in the oil industry.
China is the low-cost provider in the industry. “As a general rule of thumb, Chinese management and labor costs are about one-third if not one-fourth of Western costs,” says Gao, the ex-CNOOC executive. Nine colleges and universities focus exclusively on oil studies in China: “The Chinese treat the industry as a life-and-death issue,” says Gao. The Western oil industry’s workforce is aging rapidly. “Analysts always mention that the oil majors face personnel shortages,” says Xu Xiaojie, an independent oil and gas adviser in Beijing. “In China we have a surplus.”
The Iraq ventures still face formidable obstacles—sectarian strife, corruption, and government instability, among them. The Iraqis also may not welcome large numbers of Chinese to their fields. “Yes, bringing in low-cost engineers is China’s advantage,” says Trevor Houser, a partner at the Rhodium Group, a New York-based research firm that studies India and China. “But that has created tensions [elsewhere]. Look at Zambia, where an election was pretty much fought over China.”
It will be interesting to see this play out.