Throughout the trip, I had learnt many interesting aspect of the city, such as the following:
1. Spitting on the ground is common.
2. Seem hard to get any taxi and train stations are quite a long walk away (Or maybe Singaporeans are just too pampered?). End up becoming the "cabbage head" for other transport services.
3. You need to walk a lot, especially in the landmarks. Do need to look out for any trams.
4. Taobao has killed cheap clothing in the city. Shopping became quite boring. Only international/big brands that are not located within Taobao seem to have shops around.
5. High living standards. The food seem to cost as much as those in Singapore.
6. But it is still the ancient city with many landmarks not to be missed.
7. Security is a top priority in the city. Even train stations have checks. There are also a lot of police around. I felt very safe.
8. The pollution is very bad. The sky is clear but the dust in the air look like "snow". I am serious!
9. The power of Wechat and Alipay. If you happen to use cash there, you are not a local. Cash is a thing of the past.
But this trip made me realised why some interesting business can only work in Beijing and not in Singapore?
1. Last Mile Courier.
There is a reason why courier services are "great businesses" in China. You will see a lot of such vehicles in China. This is because Beijing is an ancient city and there are a lot of old houses ("Hutongs") without clear address. Thus, last mile courier services are required to locate each and every customer within the city.
2. Bike Services
Due to the traveling distance between destinations and the location of some of the residential area, these services are definitely required by the public.
Unlike Singapore, everywhere is very convenient and within walking distance from bus stops or train station. But this is different in Beijing.
However, due to the number of operators, this industry seems to be very competitive right now (Yes, both Singapore and Beijing currently have a lot of operators!). Bike services operators have to differentiate themselves to be relevant in future and not to continue "burn cash".
3. Small Transport Taxi
This is really something interesting I found in Beijing. There are quite a lot of these small taxi around in Beijing. However, it seem to be cater to pick up a single passenger only. Thus, I did not take this transport when I was there.
This trip made me realised 2 important factors - (1) As investors in overseas markets, I felt we should actually go to these countries to take a look and understand how businesses operate there. With extra knowledge, then you will be able to select better businesses that could possibly survive the competitive aspect in each industry. (2) Localisation is required for businesses that are expanding into China or overseas. Without understanding the country and just expand directly into the country will just be a waste of time.
Oh... I also took a picture that is linked to one of my Big Ideas.
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