Thursday, April 03, 2008

Communicating in 'Tech-Savvy China'

From the Wall Street Journal: "Email Isn't a Natural Fit For Tech-Savvy Chinese". A highlight:

The vice mayor of a city of 5 million residents in central China uses a email address, offered by Chinese Web portal An editor at the official People's Daily uses an account from, another portal. The chief executive of a Beijing start-up lists a Hotmail address. A professor at China's top military university uses Yahoo email.
That's if they even bother using email at all. It's really bizarre that a number of our vendors don't even use e-mail in the entire company anywhere. They require us to fax technical drawings to them which in turn get redrawn in whatever format they use and put into their clunky ERP's. Part of it I think is a certain level of paranoia that either company secrets are going to be sent to competitors but another part is that they worry employees are going to spend all day playing online games on QQ, the ubiquitous Chinese instant messenger that causes security nightmares for IT people across China (from experience, this one isn't as much paranoia as near certainty).

The article makes other good points about why voicemail has never really caught on and the insane attachment people have with their cell phones and text messaging. On the other hand, the only way that you'll get me apart from my Blackberry is prying it from my cold dead hands.

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