Old China Hands 2 June

All away?

The RSVP I received for the lunch of Old China Hands 2 June 2023 revealed so many of our friends were traveling or simply busy. Well, we made it with a total of 24 OCH happily chatting and enjoying the food in Morel’s Restaurant.

See the menu and some of the dishes!

Poor Greg pushing the wrong buttons

Our friend Greg had the disappointing news his video of the Anniversary failed. Well, at least we had the pictures!

Our famous OCH – Renaat Morel

Renaat is always somewhere in the news.

This time he was honored for his restaurant by BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV) in an event on 23 April. You can see the frame in the restaurant.

Other famous OCH

Oops yes this is Raja and myself.
All details you can find in a previous post.

Raja had found an old picture of the two of us, somewhere in the late eighties we guess. Location and exact time unknown…

DiDi app update

Didi Rider app today

The latest Didi app update mentions: “With DiDi you can catch/get a ride with a tap of your finger within minutes. Our full English interface, 24/7 in-app English customer service, and presence in over 400 cities across China makes us the most reliable and convenient service to get you where you need to be!”
This link supposedly gives details about DiDi Rider app.

However reality is different. Again my Belgian Mac App Store says it is not available. Apparently it was available at some stage, it is in my mobile and it seems to be working fine, see the screenshots above.
Then I found this link with a QR code:

It says: “Scan the QR code to Download DiDi on your phone”.

You can see a list of countries, not sure if it corresponds with the Mac App Store availability:
Argentina • Australia • Brazil • Chile • Colombia • Costa Rica • Dominican Republic • Ecuador • Egypt • Japan • Mexico • New Zealand • Panama • Peru • Russia
Interesting enough the list does not mention China. I did not scan the QR code as the app is on my mobile and it could mess up everything. But if someday the app goes dead I might try.

I also found a possible download from a third party, worth a try…

softonic download

The download link is here.

Total confusion is the word. So, don’t ask me how I got the app working…
It all depends on your mobile (iOS or other) and for iPhone where your App Shop is located; if in China sure more easy.
Any feedback is appreciated!

Didi back in app stores. Really?

On 20 January 2023 SCMP wrote:
Didi Chuxing’s main app returns to Apple, Android app stores in China after Beijing gives green light for new user sign-ups
The ‘Didi Chuxing’ ride-hailing app returned to Apple’s store on Thursday, while the Android version was restored by Wednesday on various local platforms
Didi Shunfengche, a car-pooling service, and Uber China, the Didi-owned local platform of the US ride-hailing giant, remained inaccessible on app stores.
Well that was not the end of the story!

Didi resurrected and don’t ask how

After my warnings about the Didi app on the iPhone, the app finally crashed. Now (February 2021) the English Didi app is resurrected. Like a miracle!

Earlier, “Didi is gone!”

As I wrote on 15 May 2019, Didi app disappeared from App Stores.

Impressive industries in Yantai

A day tour

On 19 April 2023 the Foreign Affairs Bureau of Yantai organized a bus to visit some impressive industries in Yantai area. Visits in the morning and in the afternoon the day after the Conference.
I was impressed by the scale and quality of the offices and factories we visited. The bio-medical facilities and other were spread over a huge campus with the most modern buildings and most advanced equipment.
One can wonder what Europe can still do to compete with those.
We did not visit any company with foreign investment. All were pure Chinese, private companies but clearly with very strong government support.

An eye-opener. Yes one can ask if China is still a “developing country”…
In some of the bio-medical facilities a few foreign doctors are employed.
My good friend Michel Humbert was sadly not around, he is the adviser of Yantai but was in Paris that day. About him:
2 June 2022 – Michel Humbert nommé Ambassadeur de l‘amitié du Shandong
18 July 2003 – Frenchman Chez Lui in Yantai

Six companies.

See a more detailed overview of the six companies we visited.

The pictures are in the order of the companies we visited:

  1. Shandong Dongyi Photoelectric Instrument Co., Ltd.
  2. CIMC Raffles
  3. Lu Ye Pharma – BIOasis
  4. Tayho Advanced Materials Group
  5. ZH-BIO
  6. Exhibition Center of Yantai International Bio-medicine Valley

One pharmaceutical company invested in research for over ten years without any income. Now their cancer medicine is mostly sold to the USA with big profit…
In the afternoon visits we traveled far away from the city and crossed immense petrochemical industries with kilometers of pipeline racks along the roads, to reach Tayho company.
The pictures show the very large industrial zones with the most modern buildings.

Yantai International Conference

Big turnout

As reported earlier, I joined the 2023 Conference on International Exchange of Professionals and International Experts’ Tour in Yantai. On 18 April 2023 I was present in the Yantai International Conference to listen to the speeches of the Yantai mayor and vice mayors, among others. Yantai as many other Chinese cities is eager to attract more foreign expertise.
During the morning coffee break a pretty impressive buffet table by the hotel, sadly most of the goodies I had to skip because too much sweet and carbs. Instead I tried to talk with the robot but it did not understand Flemish.
There was a big lunch for the participants, again lots of seafood and interesting dishes. And an interview by local media. (What’s new?)

In the afternoon I gave my short speech on the theme of foreign experts.

Free time

On 19 April we had time to relax. And the fog cleared and we could see the sea and the beach from the hotel.
We walked towards the beach, discovering the very large cemetery along the way, hidden in a forest. The area was littered with rubbish as a few weeks ago on 5 April 2023 there was the Tomb-sweeping Festival (Qingming) () when relatives decorate the tombs. But they can no longer burn the offerings so the wind blows it all over the place. Not sure how the deceased feel about it…

The beach was nearly deserted but very large and quite OK.
On the way back, in front of the hotel. we discovered a small Chinese BBQ place that was fully packed. We got a seat in the basement. Surprisingly they had a large beer collection and I had a (Belgian) Kasteel beer with the plate of goose. pretty tasty.
In my next post I will report on the factories we visited, an eye-opening experience.

Yantai City in Shandong

Big conference

We were invited to Yantai City in Shandong by the Foreign Affairs Department to take part in the 2023 Conference on International Exchange of Professionals and International Experts’ Tour. I was there as rotating chairman of the Foreign Experts Group of the Belt & Road International Talent Fund, under the State Administration of Foreign Experts.
The Conference originally planned to have 300 attendants but I understand they finally had over 500. Location was the Crowne Plaza Yantai Sea View in Laishan District.

On 17 April we traveled by train from Beijing South Railway Station (after a coffee and snack) to Yantai, always comfortable.
Near every day we could hardly see anything from our hotel room as there was always fog coming from the sea. Only the last day we could finally see the sea!

Yantai has a population of around 7 million, located south of the junction of Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea. It is the largest fishing seaport in Shandong. Yantai is currently the second largest industrial city in Shandong, next to Qingdao. However, the region’s largest industry is agriculture. It is famous throughout China for a particular variety of apple and Laiyang pear, and is home to the country’s largest and oldest grape winery, Changyu.
Major industries are agriculture, wine and brandy, petrochemical, gold mining, biomedicine and many other.
This is the first post about Yantai, more to come about the Conference, factory visits and more.

Seafood and seafood!

On the evening of 17 April a first seafood dinner with friends in Xiao Hong Jing (Little Red Whale), supposed to be one of the best in Yantai. The choice is impressive: abalone, cockle, mussels, shrimps, prawns, oysters, scallops, crab, screw shells, octopus, fish, snails, razor shells, ostrich eggs, silk worm cocoon, worms, bugs, … The mussels were rally soso as I am usd to the top quality in Morel’s restaurant…
The next day we went back again to the same restaurant, along with other foreign guests who brought vodka of I think 65%.

See the short video! (VPN needed)

I later discovered I had some seafood allergy, I blame the screw shells because it all started already in Beijing where I ate those for the first time. A bit annoying but found the right medicine cream (Eloson).