THE CHINESE DREAM Book Launch – A Huge Success

More than 150 people attended my book launch event in Palo Alto on December 10th.  The conference room at DLA Piper law firm was filled with people, enjoying Champaign and fine hors d’oeuvres while networking with each other.

As usual, there are always last minute details that need to be attended to before an event. I was running around to help set up the book signing table, greeting friends who showed up to support me, and answering questions from fans.

As usual, there are always things that don’t work as they are supposed to.  At the last minute, we discovered that the book trailer video, which was supposed to be projected on the background screen, did not work. Oh well.

At about 7 pm, Sara Rauchwerger, the president of Chamber of Commerce International Consortium for Entrepreneurs (CCICE), opened the meeting. Then, Gerald Brady, managing director of Silicon Valley Bank, introduced me and Forbes Beijing Bureau Chief Gady Epstein, who flew in from Beijing to attend the event.

The format of the evening was that Gady and I had a fireside chat about my book and China’s middle class. Continue reading

Beijing Snapshots

Beijing is notorious for its severe air pollution. This photo was taken in August from my hotel at the Second Ring and Jianguomen Ave. Unfortunately, it looks like this every day!

Beijing has over 3 million cars. Among them, more than 2 million are privately-owned passenger cars. Divided by household number (based on hukou), it means every household in Beijing has a car. In preparing for the 2008 Olympics, Beijing exercised an “only-half-of-cars-running” policy as an experiment. From Aug. 17th to 20th, only odd- or even-numbered cars, based on license plate number, can drive on streets. That means the traffic was reduced by at least one million cars during those four days. But I didn’t see much improvement in the air quality.

There is a “hidden paradise” in the outskirts of Beijing called “The Orchard,” located just outside of the Fifth Ring near Airport Road.

Essentially, it’s a restaurant in the midst of an orchard farm, offering the best Italian food you can ever find. Its Chinese-meets-Tuscany styled interior gives a sense of exoticness. Although far away from the city, the water in the pond still looks pretty mucky. This secret garden is developed by a couple (the wife is an American). In addition to the restaurant, the couple makes furniture and clothes. The taxi driver told me they are making hundreds of millions every year!