TechChina: The Future is NOW, High Tech Shopping Mall in China!

At the end of 2017, the news of Alibaba building their first ever offline shopping mall released, and now, it is finally unveiled! The name is called Qin Cheng Li 亲橙里(Qin is the nickname for all the customers on Taobao, Cheng means the colour Orange, which is the colour of Alibaba’s logo, Li is the name for traditional Southern Chinese neighbourhood streets, represent the origin of Alibaba, Hangzhou – a southern Chinese city in Zhejiang province).

This shopping mall is located inside of Ali Park (the headquarter of Alibaba) in Hangzhou. The original idea of building it was that Jack Ma did not want his employees to travel a long distance for shopping. So they built a big shopping mall for Ali’s employees. At the end of April, the shopping mall is officially open and it has exceeded everyone’s expectation and even imagination! Let’s go and see what the fuss is about!

The shopping mall is different from the typical malls in China. There are not many fashion apparels, luxury brands or International big names settled here. QinChengLi has a very consumer-friendly pricing level. It provides one-stop service for eating, drinking, shopping and entertaining, no wonder some people refer to describe the mall as the “Alibaba’s salary payback plan”.

In 2016, Jack Ma first publicly mentioned the concept of “new retail”, which was infinitely amplified. Human-free shelves, convenient stores…there are many interpretations but the details of this concept are still unclear. Today, Ali’s latest ‘new retail’ technology will all be demonstrated in QinChengLi. It could be seen as the textbook for all offline retailers in China or even the world!

*In China, the word 黑科技 ‘Black Tech’ is very popular, describing any advanced technology that wows people. So let’s have a look at the ‘BLACK TECH’s in QinChengLi.

Black Tech No. 1 – “Magic Fitting Room”

Do you find it tiring to keep running in and out of the fitting room and stores just to try on a few outfits? And is it even a more scrutinizing experience for guys to waiting for your other half doing that? Now, this can be all saved by “Magic Fitting Room”. With one turn, you can instantly change to a different outfit, and choose your favourite one in a mere few seconds. Now that’s the EFFICIENCY I’m talking about!

This is what the clothes shop looks like!

A customer using the magic fitting room.

Black Tech No. 2 – Facial/Voice Recognition Payment

If you’re still wowed by using your face to unlock your phone, you’re out. Apart from the mainstream contactless card, smartphone QR code scan as payment methods in the mall, facial and voice recognition technology is also introduced in QinChengLi. Now you can really go out shopping with ZERO burdens! But, be mindful of your identical twin!

Black Tech No. 3 – AR shop guide

 

Have you ever get lost in a huge shopping mall? There are hundreds of shops and even with a map you still find it hard to navigate sometimes, that’s not an issue any more with Augmented Reality shop guide. In QinChengLi, when you select the route from the help screen, it will present a QR code which can be scanned by your smartphone, and the route will load onto your phone to guide you through. Much better than a paper map or a customer service who you can never find?

Black Tech No. 4 – 1000 people and 1000 faces

This is probably the most powerful technology for all marketers. This tool can make a judgement on what products to recommend by detecting characteristics of different consumer groups through its video system. It also records the user’s spending habits for more accurate targeted marketing. Consumers can stand in front of the screen and the corresponding advertisement pages are displayed in front of them, hopefully, it would be exactly the things they want to buy. This allows more precise marketing to different demographic groups and could be the ultimate secret weapon for any business.

The various businesses which settled in QingChengLi can benefit with all these black technologies plus Alibaba’s big data, to achieve cloud shelving (zero physical stock), data transfer from online to offline, to provide a dreamlike ‘new retail’ shopping experience for consumers.

You get into the mall, let your AR guide take you to the shop you want, pick up a product and the price and information are displayed on the screen, then you use your face to pay for it, and an hour later, the product is delivered to your door. This is NOT your DREAM, this is REALITY!

Jack Ma has impressed us again and Alibaba’s force to revolutionise the retail industry in China (or even the world) is unstoppable.

We are Ying Advisers – Your Intercultural Network Guru!

We want to share our knowledge about Chinese culture and China with you. Whether it’s interesting or weird, we hope you can learn something about China and Chinese people so that you can benefit from doing business with China or being a tourist in China by understanding our culture and customs and win Chinese people’s heart!

We welcome any comment or suggestions about our videos and articles ?

Places you must visit in China

The Great Wall

In the eyes of most travellers, if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall you haven’t been to China.
The Great Wall is the longest wall in the world, an impressive feat of ancient defensive architecture. It deserves its place among “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. The wall spans from China’s western frontier to the east coast, totalling around 5,000 km (3,100 miles), but the most integrated and best preserved sections are close to Beijing.

The Terracotta Army in Xi’an

The Terracotta Army has laid underground for more than 2,000 years. In 1974, farmers discovered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. In 1987 it became World Cultural Heritage. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies in the Warring States Period (475–221 BC), and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China.

The Forbidden City in Beijing

It was once a “palace city” where ordinary people were forbidden entry. An extravagant demonstration of ancient Chinese architecture, over 8,000 rooms with golden roofs are elegantly designed and painted in red and yellow. The Forbidden City was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties for 560 years till 1911. 24 emperors lived there. World Cultural Heritage, and now known as ‘the Palace Museum’ among Chinese, it is a treasure house of Chinese cultural and historical relics.

The Li River in Guilin

The landscape along the Li River has captured the heart of artists. Generations of Chinese painters and poets have been inspired by the beauty of nature there. Nowadays it’s a popular photography destination. When Chinese travellers seek a place for natural beauty, they first think of Li River and Yangshuo. The Li River was listed as one of the “World’s Top Ten Watery Wonders” by America’s National Geographic Magazine.

The Yellow Mountains in Huangshan

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In east China, close to Shanghai and Hangzhou, the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area spoil travelers with its five wonders: sun rises, seas of clouds, oddly-shaped rocks, twisted pine trees, and hot springs.
The Yellow Mountains are the most famous peaks in China, and one of China’s three best national parks. Jiuzhaigou in west China’s Sichuan Province is famous for its multicolored lakes and fall foliage; Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is well-known for its grotesque rock pillars. If you are looking for world-class scenery, consider going to all of them.

Giant Pandas in Chengdu

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Although there are many zoos in China and elsewhere, where you can see a giant panda, the best place to see them is Chengdu — the giant panda’s “hometown”. There are three places you can see pandas close up: Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center, Dujiangyan Panda Valley, and Bifengxia Panda Base. Chengdu Panda Center is in the north of the city, and is more established. Bifengxia Panda Base is 2 hours from Chengdu, has more pandas, and you can see pandas more in their natural habitat.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa

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The Potala Palace is a symbol of Tibet. In 1994 it was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It is a huge treasure house of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. The palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddhist statues, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry housed within.

The Bund in Shanghai

The Bund is one of the most recognisable architectural symbols of Shanghai. It showcases the world with its colonial European buildings and skyscrapers the other side of the Huangpu, housing one of the world’s foremost business districts.
The Bund was Shanghai’s most prosperous area in late 18th century and early 19th century. When the first British company opened an office at the Bund in 1846, it became the epitome of elegance.

Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong

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The view over Victoria Harbour from Victoria Peak offers the iconic outlook over Hong Kong’s “high rise” to success and prosperity. Victoria Peak is the best spot to have a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong. Viewed from the peak, both day and night scenes are worth taking in. See high-rise buildings around Victoria Harbour stretching out towards Mainland China. At night the scenery is gorgeous, when the Symphony of Lights of various buildings dances in unison.

West Lake in Hangzhou

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Hangzhou is renowned as China’s “paradise on earth” owing to its beautiful landscape. West Lake was created after the Chinese love for garden-style parks for recreation. West Lake is a place of tranquility where urbanity becomes a silhouette on the northeast horizon and mountains near and far surround it on the other three sides. The occasional pagoda and Chinese-style arched bridge add atmosphere to the tree-lined walkways, verdant islands, and hills. To admire the beauty of West Lake, visitors can leisurely bike around the lake, walk around the lake, or take a short cruise on it.

Business Tips

Importance of Body Language

When doing business in China, your movements are things you have to be constantly conscious of.
Body posture should always be formal and attentive as it demonstrates self-control and respectfulness.
As well, be careful about what you do with your hands – practices like putting your hands into your mouth, removing food from your teeth or biting your nails are considered rude.

Greetings

Even if handshakes are common, it is better to wait for your Chinese correspondent to initiate the action.
About titles of courtesy, most people should be addressed with a title followed by their last name.

Time

In western countries, time is really important for meetings, you don’t have to be late (obviously) but also not too early because it would be badly seen, particularly if it’s in someone’s home. On the other hand, in China, they are used to not agreeing on a specific time and will way “Call me when you arrive”.
Now, Chinese are using more time to take business decisions because their prior is to build up relationships. Don’t be surprised if even after the deal is signed they continue to negotiate/change some terms.

Conversation 

It will be appreciated by Chinese people if you use a some Chinese words, but be careful you know the meaning and the appropriate occasions.
In China, the questions “Have you eaten?” or “Where have you been?” are witticism equivalent to “How are you?” in English-culture. Thus, don’t take it literally and start getting into details when you answer! You just have to answer “yes” – or simply smile and say “thank you!”.

Famous welcome topics are themes about China, for example: art, scenery, landmarks, climate, and geography.
You can talk about your travelling experiences to other countries including your positive impressions as a tourist in China!
It is better to avoid political-related topics, such as the Cultural Revolution or Chairman Mao, the “Tibet” and “Taiwan” questions, human rights, animal treatment.

Chinese people don’t like strong negative statements. Equally, negative answers are seen as impolite, so you must find alternatives like : “I’ll think about it”/”maybe”/”we’ll see” instead of a dull “no”.
Similarly, if your Chinese correspondent says “Not a big issue” or “The problem is not serious”, it means that there are still problems or that there are serious.

This is really important to know that Chinese can communicate indirectly and tend to be shy.
Chinese people have a polite education so you have to insist to offer them some drinks or food because they will start saying no. Then, after multiple propositions they will accept the offer.

Gifts

In China, gifts are part of everyday life. The Chinese exchange gifts on various occasions and rarely arrive at others houses empty-handed. The red packets (money in a red envelope) are regularly distributed on various occasions: birthdays, graduation, funerals, weddings, in the new year.
This contrasts a lot with western culture, in which offering money as a gift is generally considered an insult.

Want to impress your Chinese business contacts?
Bring them something from your country, something small like chocolates or local products that are unique and unavailable in China.
It is no longer a surprise that China is one of the biggest trading markets in the world, so these tips are definitely useful for when dealing with Chinese customers or suppliers.

Reputation: Mian Zi (face)

This is a really important thing in China, it invokes social reputation and prestige.
Being embarrassed is nothing compared to lose face. Here’s an example: If you compliment a Chinese CEO and/or its company in a meeting, it will “earn face”. Then, if you accept his invitation to a fancy banquet, the CEO and you will gain face. If you refuse his invitation, he will lose it.
Another example: A Chinese could buy an iPhone at an exorbitant price even if the price exceeds his monthly salary, simply to take face.

 

Signification of numbers

It is important to pay attention to them.
8 is the luckiest number of Chinese culture. Be sure that it is a gesture of good will if someone offer you 8 of something. 6 is considered a blessing for sweetness and progress. 4 is taboo because it is alsmot the same as the word “dead”. 73 is for funeral and 84 is for have accident.

How to Fengshui your home?

Fix your squeaks!

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Does your entry door squeak or whine when you open or close it? The entry door is the first and last thing you encounter when coming or going from your home. The sound is as if the door is crying and this can affect your mood and well-being. Many people have become so accustomed to the sound that they don’t even notice it. Oil that door hinge and create more positive energy when you enter and leave your house. It’s also helpful to oil any other door hinges throughout the home, but the entry door is the most important.

Use your front door

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Many people live in homes where they drive up into the garage and use the back door to get in. While this is very convenient, from a Feng Shui perspective this may limit good energy and opportunities in your life because again, the entry door represents how chi enters your home and life. The easy Feng Shui fix? Start using the front door at least once week. The more often the better! Just open and close it when you go get the mail, or maybe to take walk. Write it into your regular routine.

Place a Feng Shui fountain

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Water represents wealth in Feng Shui. A lot of people ask me where the best place to locate a fountain for Feng Shui is. According to Feng Shui principles it’s advantageous to place a water element such as a fountain near the entry of your home. It can be just inside or just outside, but the most important part is that the water should be flowing towards the center of your home. That means that the wealth has the opportunity to pour into your life!

Place plants above the kitchen cabinets

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Take a look at your kitchen cabinets and check to see if they are built up the ceiling or a soffit. It is good Feng Shui if there is no space above the kitchen upper cabinets. This space above the kitchen cabinets attracts dust and stagnant energy. The chi gets stuck there and encourages dead energy which may hold you back in your life. If there is a space, there’s a Feng Shui adjustment for you! Place some lighting, green plants (live or very realistic looking) or beautiful and loved objects in this location. These objects bring life to this area and transforms the energy.

Keep that bathroom door closed

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Many people get concerned about the bathroom when it comes to Feng Shui. The idea is that the water goes out of the home here. Since water is related to wealth, we don’t want our money being flushed away. We have also been taught that water comes back in as it’s being drained, but to be safe, we recommend that you keep the toilet seat cover down and the bathroom door closed to reduce this effect.

See where your bed is located

In Feng Shui, we use the “commanding position” to locate important furniture such as your bed. The bed is arguably the most important piece of furniture to put in the commanding position because you spend so many passive hours sleeping! To place your bed in the commanding position, you want to be facing the door while not in line with the door while lying in bed. Ideally you can be diagonally across the room from your bedroom door. However, this is not always possible. In that case, find a mirror and place it so that you can see the door while lying in bed. I suggest freestanding mirrors, as they’re easier to move around and get just right.

Cover up the TV in your bedroom

Most of us have televisions in our bedroom. It happens. If you have trouble sleeping it or even if you don’t, it is a good idea to cover the television when not in use. The active energy of the television as well as the electronic aspect of it may be disruptive to the type of calming quiet energy more conducive to sleep and bedrooms. My suggestion, find a beautiful scarf or fabric and just toss it over the television!

Clean all windows

It’s time for cleaning, and a good place to start is the windows. The windows symbolize your eyes to the world. We want to be able to see and experience everything that the universe has to offer us. Find some old newspaper, grab a bottle of vinegar and water and clean away the grime. Open your eyes and brighten your space.

Do a space clearing

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Our homes and environments retain the energetic imprint of those that inhabit the spaces. It is always good to just take a little time and burn off the old energy to welcome fresh and new chi. 
Here are few methods of space clearing : burn palo santo, smudge with white sage or spraying natural orange essential oil with water. Palo santo is light and great for everyday use. White sage is heavier for the heavy duty space clearing. And the orange oil is great if you also need something to uplift your mood. Whatever you use, make sure to imagine the space being filled with positive energy and your dreams for the future.

FENG SHUI 风水

The ancient Chinese strongly believed in the need to seek the assistance of gods and spirits to bring good fortune in the form of wealth and sons, and to provide protection from demons.

They desired for their houses, temples and other buildings to be sited and oriented in a way that would put them in harmony with the yin yang and qi forces of the heavens and the earth. To meet this end, they developed a system known as feng shui (fengshui 风水).

“Feng” (风) means wind and “shui” (水) means water. Together they express the power of the flowing elements of nature. Through the proper understanding and application of feng shui principles, one can enjoy peace, good fortune, fertility and longevity.

Chinese Dress Code Basics

Silk (丝绸), is made from cocoon fiber, synthetic fiber or artificial fiber.
Silk is the specialty of China as well as the essential component of Chinese culture. Silk is light, soft and highly malleable.
Han people invented and produced largely silk articles and made the first East-West trade exchange of silk, called “silk road” in history. Since Han Dynasty, Chinese silk was constantly shipped abroad in large numbers.
It is well-known as one part of Chinese culture.

How to dress during Chinese New Year?

For women, cheongsam and qipao, traditional Chinese dresses, were the proper and most popular outfit for the day. Nowadays, we can find in the form of very sporty clothes, mandarin blouses as well as jackets and pants.

For men, Mao collar shirts are by far the most popular. The symbol of the dragon is also a much appreciated element during the festivities. Many men do not hesitate to wear traditional kung-fu costumes to stay within the traditions.

Whether it is for men, women or children, the color red is a must. It is indeed the color of the Chinese New Year, symbol of happiness.

If you are visiting during the Chinese New Year celebrations, there is one tradition that could change your wardrobe choices. Typically, during the celebrations people in China will buy new clothes to symbolize the new year. If you are attending a party for this festival, a new outfit would be the right choice.

What to wear during a Chinese Wedding

If you’re lucky enough to attend a traditional Chinese wedding, it is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget. Weddings in China are extravagant affairs that usually take place in hotel ballrooms and other rented spaces. As with all weddings, your clothing choices should respect the bride and groom above all else.

It’s a bad idea to wear anything too flashy, revealing, or untidy. If the wedding is a traditional, Western, or combination of the two; you can be sure it will be a classy event. Ladies, tasteful dresses in colors other than white are appropriate. Brides in China will often have two dresses, a traditional red and a modern white for different parts of the ceremony. You don’t want to be matching the bride so avoid these colors. For men, slacks and a dress shirt and tie at the minimum is encouraged.

What to wear in Religious Sites

When frequenting temples and other holy sites, it is customary to wear more modest clothing. Making sure your shoulders and knees are covered is the most important rule. Wearing this type of respectful clothing is encouraged when touring religious sites such as Buddhist temples and shrines. Occasionally, you may be expected to remove your shoes when entering a religious site.

Pay attention to your surroundings and try to follow along with what the people around you are doing. The people around you can be your best teachers. Hats and other nonreligious head coverings are generally discouraged.

What to wear visiting Chinese family

Being invited to share a meal or visit the home of a Chinese family can be an honor. The typical Chinese home varies whether you find yourself in a rural or urban setting, but one rule is UNIVERSAL.

The Chinese do not wear their shoes inside the home and instead opt to wear slippers at all times. When you enter a home in China, you should take your shoes off immediately at the door. Most families will keep a stockpile of slippers near the door in various sizes for guests. If you are wearing socks, it is appropriate to keep them on inside the slippers.

What to wear in Minority Areas

China’s many minority areas are home to ethnic groups that vary greatly compared to the urban populations of Beijing and Shanghai. Many historically Muslim ethnic groups can be found throughout China and typically adhere to common Islamic dress codes.

When you are traveling in these areas, it is best to be respectful of the local culture and dress modestly. Ladies may feel more comfortable bringing a headscarf along when visiting such areas. While it may not be expected for you to cover as an outsider, bring one along incase entering a certain area requires a covering.


China is a very traditional oriental nation, it attaches a lot of importance on etiquettes.

For example, when it came to wearing dress, they wear decent dress to respect others and esteem themselves. That’s why you will rarely find a Chinese girl in a very low dress in public.

Around the coastal cities of China, it will be difficult to find a girl on a bikini. In many ways, the easterners are more conservative than the westerners. Consequently, western ladies are suggested to wear sort of conservative swimming suit.

 

Color Symbolism in Chinese Culture

RED (红)

Red, corresponding with fire, symbolizes good fortune, happiness and joy. It is the color worn by brides, since it is believed to be an auspicious color for warding off evil. Red also represents vitality, celebration and fertility in traditional Chinese color symbolism.
Red is found everywhere during Chinese New Year and other holidays and family gatherings. A red envelope is a monetary gift which is given in Chinese society during holiday or special occasions as birthdays.
Red is strictly forbidden at funerals as it is a traditionally symbolic color of happiness.
In modern China, red remains a very popular color and is affiliated with and used by the Government.
If you are doing business in China, make use of bit of red in marketing, but not too much.

WHITE 白

White stands for the metal element and also symbolizes purity, brightness and fulfilment.
White is also the color of mourning. It is associated with death and is used predominantly in funerals in Chinese culture. Ancient Chinese people wore white clothes and hats only when they mourned for the dead.
Be judicious in using white in marketing and avoid wrapping presents in White paper when gifting them to someone.

GREEN 绿色

Generally green is associated with health, prosperity, and harmony.
There is not much difference in between Western Symbolism associated with Green and that of it in Chinese traditions. Green is used to describe organic things.
Separately, green hats are associated with infidelity and used as an idiom for a cuckold. A “man said to wear a green hat” means he has an unfaithful wife.
Thus, green should be used carefully as it could symbolize something totally different.

GOLD 金色

Like in Western culture, Gold also symbolizes wealth and riches in China but it also represents completeness, metal, and God consciousness.
You can see this color everywhere during celebrations as Chinese New Year.
One can easily use it and related colors in their marketing materials (though too much of it could make things a bit gaudy and even cheap-looking).

BLACK 黑色

Black, corresponding to water, is a neutral color.
The Taiji symbol uses black and white to represent the unity of Yin and Yang. Ancient Chinese regarded black as the king of colors and honored black more consistently than any other color.
But, Black color in Chinese culture is also associated with destruction, evil, profundity, disasters, cruelty, sadness and suffering. It is bad fortune and must not be worn to auspicious occasions like weddings. The Chinese word for black is ‘hei’ which itself stands for bad luck, irregularity, illegality etc. Avoid using black in your brand marketing.

YELLOW 黄色

Yellow, corresponding with earth, is an imperial color representing power, royalty and prosperity. It mainly represents late summer and central direction.
It is considered the most beautiful and prestigious color. The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything.
Yellow also represents freedom from worldly cares and is thus esteemed in Buddhism. Monks’ garments are yellow, as are elements of Buddhist temples. Yellow is also used as a mourning color for Chinese Buddhists.
Yellow is also symbolic of heroism, as opposed to the Western association of the color with cowardice.
Today, yellow is also symbolic of pornography in publications in China. So, do be careful when using yellow, particularly for brand marketing.

 

Qipao (旗袍) – Traditional Chinese Dress

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Qipao are one-piece Chinese dresses that have its origins in Manchu ruled China back in the 17th century.

It was worn nearly every day. During the 20s in Shanghai and 50s in Hong Kong, the qipao was also casually worn quite often. The style of the qipao has evolved over the decades and is still worn today.

Nowadays, the qipao is not worn in an everyday manner. It is now worn only during formal occasions like weddings or parties. The qipao is also used as a uniform at restaurants and hotels in Asia. But, elements of traditional qipaos, like intense colors and embroidery, are now incorporated into everyday wear by design houses.