Browsing all articles from May, 2009

Flattr this!

While I’m more of a 回力 (Hui Li) sneaker fan – I own about 5 pairs now!, I will give Kudos to Nike, for this well made video for whatever sneakers they’re pimping out these days.

Shot in and around my neighbourhood (from all the locations that I’m spotting, and going, wait a second!), it features a man running around town with nothing but a pair of…

You’ll have to watch the video for more:

Flattr this!

This rather well done song and video about swine flu (aka H1N1) has been doing the rounds on the Chinese sites that I frequent.

As Shanghai Tattoo says “Hopefully this means the end now that it’s made it to pop culture”.

猪流感之歌 lyrics below.
Now sing along – Zhuuuuuuuuu!

Sung by:欧子
Words by: 每子爱


Crappy google auto-translation for those who don’t read Chinese as well as I *obviously do*.

Cough. Cough, ahem, sorry a bit of H1N1 there…

Pigs, your earth-shattering influenza
When you are scared of the cold I can not breathe

Pigs, blame your foreign brother
Sneeze their victims, we avoid

Pig, you had such a poor physical
We are all victims do not know the result in the吃啥

Pigs, blame you eat and sleep ah
Raining Cats and the nose is punished by God

Ah … …

Marshal canopy you get into trouble this time
Sneeze a dozen of his victims home

He worried about every day they are worried
Ah his meat
I dare not吃啦

Pigs, I know you is not easy
In fact, your meat
Our already can not afford to eat

Pig, I help you put on cotton coat
Cold if you fall ill
God can not afford

Marshal canopy you get into trouble this time
Sneeze a dozen of his victims home

He worried about every day they are worried
Ah his meat

Flattr this!

This is a response to this post about how to find an apt in Shanghai.

I’ve updated the post to reflect that this can be done in other cities in China also, not just Shanghai, as this was getting re-twittered with questions about how to do this in other locations.

You may also want to support me, and buy a set of my Chinese / English Fridge Magnets (as these are useful for newcomers to China – you can use them to communicate with the ayi!). More on those here – has city sites for the following locations currently:

北京 (Beijing)  上海 (Shanghai)  广州 (Guangzhou)  深圳 (Shenzhen)  成都 (Chengdu) 南京 (Nanjing) 杭州 (Hangzhou) 苏州 (Suzhou)

In order to select the city you want, visit one of the city sites eg, and click the link next to the city name 其他城市 (other cities)


See the image above for an example where I choose 深圳 (Shenzhen).  The direct link for shenzhen is

You’ll still need to find out the chinese names for area that you want to live in for your city, unfortunately, I’m only familiar with Shanghai and Zhuhai, so I can’t really help for other locations!
I can assist with translations, and update this post if people leave comments though.

In general, you want to be using the web to do the research, not go to agents.
When I say this, I mean do the research yourself for the apt’s you’d like to look at, *then* go to the agents in question, and ask to see the apt’s.
Agents generally range from clueless, to inept, to downright timewasters, so only go look at stuff you think is good for your requirements.

There are a number of good websites that just do apt stuff.
Here are some of the common ones for Shanghai and Beijing. You’ll find that many of the apt’s will be listed on multiple sites, so generally you’ll only need to use one site to search. I like Anjuke, because it has a clean interface, and is easier to use. The cheapest places in Shanghai are generally the ones on though.

上海 Shanghai

北京 Beijing

You can find suitable places fairly easily online, and just arrange to visit the ones that are in budget, and look suitable.

Using the Chinese sites is a lot easier than it looks!

First and foremost, learn the Chinese for the area you’ll be in.
The main foreign friendly area’s (in Puxi) are:

卢湾 = Lu Wan (Xin Tian Di and surrounds)
静安 = Jing an (Portman (Nanjing Xi lu) through to changshou road)
徐汇 = Xu Hui (huai hai rd / french concession)
长宁 = Chang Ning (zhong shan park)
红桥 = Hong Qiao

Rental is 租房

Here are some quick instructions for using Anjuke

Anjuke, you would click 租房 (rent) –

This will give you a search similar to the one below. Its fairly nice to use, and essentially you filter out the locations you want (or don’t want).


区域 is area (see the ones listed above)
租金 is monthly rental – choose your price range
房型 is how many rooms (leave that at the default, price is more important)
装修 is buildout – this goes from 毛坯 (bare concrete), through to standard (aka hovel), through to 精装修 (ok/fair) and 豪华装修 (acceptable/ probably tacky).

不限 means I don’t care. (You use this in conjunction with the options above, so if you didn’t care about the renovation, click that to show any renovation type).

If you want to find a place in Jing An for 2000RMB , you’d click 静安, 1000-2000元, then take a look at the listings.



面积 refers to area size.

In the listing above, there were 307 results, and the first result is for a room in an old house.
The size of the apt is 48sq/m, and its on the second floor, out of 3 floors.
The build out is 普通装修. This tends to mean never been cleaned or painted, or otherwise maintained.
As the price is cheap, its quite probable that it has a shared toilet / kitchen (which is quite common for old houses).

Click on the title of the listing to view the details. (the large blue link on each listing)

Also check in the listing title to see if the listing says 单间出租 – that means they’re renting a room, and you’ll be sharing a flat.

Most places have pictures, (but don’t assume they’re correct). Each listing will have an agent, and a phone number.
Call the number, and talk to the agent, if you are interested.

If you don’t speak Chinese, then print the page out, and ask someone for some help.

You can translate any page listing to chinglish fairly easily using Just copy the url for the page, open another page and paste the url into the google translate box. Click translate, and it will give you a bad translation, which is generally good enough to get the gist of things!

These were my tips for someone else recently who was asking the same questions for Changning area:

No problems to find a nice apt for less than 3000RMB for that area furnished. Prices online in Chinese sites range from 2300 – 3000 for 60 sq/m around that area.
You won’t really find unfurnished apt’s here in China.

Electricity is expensive here – if you leave the a/c on – eg in summer months its a necessity, expect bills of 500rmb upwards.
Water, gas is cheap < 50-100rmb. Internet 150rmb a month for 2M line.

Contract usually signed for 6months to 1 year. Typically 1 – 3 months deposit, and 1 month to the agent as commission.
Most of the agents here are clueless unfortunately.

Suggest look for apt’s in larger buildings, as those will be newer, and have lifts (anything >7 floors has a lift)
eg 总26层/第15层 – this means that its the 15th floor out of 26floors.

You can use google translate on the pages that you look at in order to give you a little more info, but pretty much all the info you need is easy to see – eg m2, price..

Another important point not mentioned at all is that you should exercise caution.

If the landlord is an asshole, don’t bother, even if its a nice apt.
The ideal landlord is one you don’t see until the rent is due.

Also small repairs are usually better off getting organized by yourself, rather than the landlord. Workmen are cheap here, and spending 50-100rmb for fixing a leaking tap is less hassle than having the landlord do it. If it will cost > that then use the landlord…

Another hugely important thing is to make sure that you don’t get ripped off.

Buy a cheap disposable camera, take pictures of the state of the place when you move in. Have the landlord sign these – it will cost you less than 50rmb.

When it comes to moving out, you won’t have any arguments over who scratched this, broke that etc.

I’ve moved into places where the furniture dated back to before I was born, and it was crappy then, and worse condition now, so be prepared, and record everything so that when you move out, they don’t steal your deposit by claiming you broke stuff that was already falling apart.

Also important is to make sure that the landlord is allowed to rent the place out. Make sure that the name on the rental contract matches the name on the Landlords ID.

I’ve had a few friends who have had to move for various reasons related to that. Also make sure that the landlord can give you a fapiao for the rental, as this 95% guarantee’s that the apt is legal to rent.

Ask for a discount if you don’t need a fapiao.

Good luck!

Flattr this!

Why do I need an ICP licence?

As we often get asked why people need to register an ICP licence, as well as whats required. I thought it would be a good idea to explain what it is, and why its needed.

Essentially, an ICP licence is a permit from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII) in order to have a website in China.
In Chinese this licence is called a Bei An (ICP备案).

This was made law way back in September 2000, but not enforced until the late parts of this decade – 2007 onwards.
The latest documentation about this, and other requirements (in Chinese) is over here –

It is mandatory for any websites hosted in China to have an ICP licence, under penalty of law.
This applies whether the site is a .com, or a .cn or any other kind of domain name.

How do you apply for an ICP licence?

Website ICP licences are applied for at the MII website ( ), as this is all in Chinese, we typically assist clients with this process.

What do I need to apply for an ICP licence?

The official requirements are below:

Name of the website owner
Ownership information – ( Is the site is owned by an individual or a company? )
Valid identification documents (e.g., passport, ID card, etc)
Passport ID or Identification ID

Name of website investor
Your Location (in China)
Address (in China)
Operation type

Contact Person
Types of valid identification documents of the contact Person (e.g., passport or ID card, etc)
Passport ID or other Identification ID of the contact person
Office Phone (in China)
Mobile Phone (in China)

Name of the website
Home page of the website
Domain name of the site
What type of site it is (e.g., blog, forum, etc.)
What is the content of the site?

Although foreigners should be able to apply for an ICP licence, in practice that’s not possible (we haven’t been able to successfully have an ICP licence issued for a foreigner for at least a year).
Effectively this limits us to the following two requirements (we can fill in the rest for you):

Legal Chinese Company Licence Number
Company Name (in Chinese and English)


Chinese Name
ID number.

Note that while companies are able to register multiple websites, individuals are only permitted to register a single site.

Where do I put the licence?
The excerpt from the official wording reads as follows: 并在取得经营许可证或备案号后 3 天内放在网站主页下方显著位置.
This basically says that the licence must be placed on the website within 3 days of receiving the licence, and must be placed on the home page at the bottom of the page.

Note that we do check clients sites on a semi regular basis for this, so if you redesign your site and forget to put the ICP licence in, you may find your site closed until this is done.

How long does it take?
Typically licence application takes less than two weeks. We have seen licenses issued in as little as a day though, through to taking 2-3 months!
This all depends on when you apply, and what kind of business you are doing in China.

We recommend that you avoid leaving things until the Chinese Holidays if things are urgent, as the relevant departments are usually understaffed, and about to go on vacation.
In a worst case scenario, we can host sites oversea’s until the licence is issued.

The licence department will ask us to close down acccess to the site when they perform the check though.

We recommend that licenses are applied for well ahead of time, so that you don’t have any downtime.

What does it cost?
Applying for an ICP licence is free. If you are one of our clients, we perform licence application as part of our service.
If you aren’t one of our clients, then why not become one!

What kind of sites can get licenses? / What can we host?
Any site that does not contravene China law can get a license. We cannot assist you with hosting anything that is illegal in China!

China law prohibits the following kinds of websites:

  • Pornographic or promoting immoral behaviour.
  • Sites offensive to the Chinese government or people.
  • Sites that sell online drugs or satellite equipment
  • Sites that promote banned activities or organizations.

Note that certain kinds of content do require additional licensing, in addition to an ICP licence.

An example would be BBS (Forums).
If you require a forum, we recommend that the forum is hosted outside of China until a license can be issued.

Note that BBS licensing requires additional fee’s and documentation due to the amount of work involved.