Taxis in China

Henning Schwarzkopf von der CHEURAM Consulting Group Limited aus Hongkong und Shanghai hat folgenden interessanten Bericht in der China Daily gefunden:

You might hear tall tales about China’s maniac cab drivers and devious scam artists. Follow Nicholas Richards through this guide for a smooth ride


Traveling in China, taxis are one of the first things you’ll encounter. They’re cheap, easy to find, and come in many shapes and sizes.

Big cities like Beijing and Shanghai have modern fleets with strict protocol and well-trained drivers. The Olympics and Expo 2010 have bred a new cab culture in which drivers are competing to provide the best service possible – strikingly different from just a few years earlier.

One driver in Shanghai bought dozens of MP3 players and handed them out to his fellow cab owners. He thought this was a great investment. The music, he was convinced, would soothe passengers and make the ride more enjoyable.

Beijing cabbies, meanwhile, are renowned for their friendly banter. They’ll talk to you about almost anything – maybe offering their opinions on Canadian exports or describing why they love Hawaiian ukulele music so much.

But this doesn’t mean that all cabs are pleasant. Even though these drivers are encouraged to study English, don’t count on them being able to understand you.

Always make sure you have your address written in Chinese characters, and make sure your driver knows your destination. If they seem unsure, and you’re also unsure, it is always safer to wait for the next car.

Local dialects can also pose a problem. Riding a cab to a friend’s apartment the other day, I found that the only way my driver could understand me was if I spoke with a good Beijing growl.

It is rare now, in Beijing and Shanghai especially, to have a taxi driver try to “take you for a ride” and cheat you. Most always take the most direct route.

But if the ride seems too long, and if the price is getting too high, say something. Tell them what the price should be; they will usually stop the meter at that number.

If you have any grievances, or the driver doesn’t cooperate, take down the driver’s ID number and call the complaint hotline on the passenger seat dashboard.

No matter what happens, get in the habit of taking receipts. You can use these to make complaints and – this is really important – retrieve anything you left in the taxi.

You also want to look out for what are called “black taxis” or heiche (黑车 hēchē). They sometimes approach you at the airport, outside malls and at universities. You can spot drive regular cars, usually without meters, and shout “坐车吗朋友?” (Zuò chē ma, péngyǒu? “Want a ride, my friend?”)

These are not licensed cabs, they tend to drive dangerously, are more likely to rip you off, and you won’t be covered by their insurance in case of an accident. We urge you, don’t ride with them!

Language tip

For many years in China, people would say 打的 (dǎdi) to mean “taking a taxi”. This came from Hong Kong, where the 的 is pronounced “dee” – sounding something like the “ee” sound in the English word “taxi”. Later, 的 was used to refer to taxis in the rest of China.

Cab drivers were called 的哥 (dígē), or “dee brother”, and motorbike-taxis are still called 摩的 (módi).

But be warned, 咱打的吧, or “let’s take a taxi”, the phrase you might see in a text book, is starting to go out of fashion. Lately it is becoming more and more common to use the word 出租车 (chūzūchē) or “rent-out-vehicle” when speaking about cabs.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese,


Marktlücke für Kondome in China

Wir fanden den nachstehenden Bericht in der heutigen Shanghai Daily und wußten nicht, ob wir schmunzelnen sollten – In jedem Fall scheint es eine Marktlücke zu geben:

SOME expatriates from Europe and Africa complained to Shanghai Daily that they are always embarrassed about “ill-fitting” condoms in the city as almost all of them are designed to a standard Asian size, which may not fit them.

Main condom suppliers including Durex, Jissbon and Okamoto confirmed that they supply condoms only with a common size suitable for Chinese men – their target consumer group.

Sizes of condoms differ in various countries and Chinese condoms, usually 180mm long and 52mm wide, are slightly smaller in length and girth than those being sold in Western countries, some suppliers said.

An official surnamed Zhao with Jissbon said his company has received complaints from some foreigners about Chinese condoms that are sometimes a little bit tight for them. But considering those people are a very tiny part of their consumer group, they haven’t considered making bigger ones.

An official surnamed Wang with Okamoto’s Beijing retailer said they used to sell bigger condoms with XL sizes in the country, but the business didn’t last long as the company didn’t earn much profit from it.

For many condom suppliers, although it would be very easy to design condoms of different sizes, the problem lies with high delivery costs, said Zhao with Jissbon.

He said most Chinese condoms are made in other countries such as Thailand and the delivery fee has long been a headache for them. As a result, condoms are usually produced in one size so they can go through fixed production lines to save money, he said.

“To alter their sizes means the factory has to develop another production line, and the goods have to be sent back to China in different batches, which will add to the already high delivery cost,” said Zhao.

The short supply of condoms in different sizes in Shanghai has brought problems to some of the city’s expats. A European who asked not to be named told Shanghai Daily that the problem has existed for many years and that he always has to bring condoms from his homeland.

He said one of his female friends got pregnant and had to get an abortion because her boyfriend couldn’t find a “proper size” condom.

“Many foreigners find it embarrassing to talk about the problem, but it’s still there unsolved while posing a danger to us of catching venereal diseases or having unwanted babies in unprotected sex,” he said.