Sunday, March 02, 2008


I’m in Shanghai now. First impressions were of a city jammed full of unmoving motor vehicles- the taxi ride from Pudong International Airport to the company office took 2 hours to cover 50 km, averaging a fantastic glacieresque speed of 25 km/hr.

After registering myself at a police station (part of the procedures to obtaining a work permit), a colleague brought me to Chenghuan Temple, a famous and crowded shopping district. Apparently, a shop there sells very good xiaolongbao.

The queue at the take away window was approximately 100-long. The more expensive options would be to dine in. This shop has a remarkable method to milk the demand curve for xiaolongbao- one section of the dining hall sells one basket of xiaolongbao for 20 RMB. Another section of the dining hall sells them for 30+ RMB per basket.

This ensured that the business will be able to trade at large volumes (take away and cheaper dine-in) and also get additional profit from people willing to pay more to wait less. However, this trading strategy is only applicable if the demand is sufficiently large to fill up all spaces. Then a portion of the dining hall can be dedicated to people willing to pay more. Also, there must not be any substitute product which may take away business allocated to the high-paying customers.

This afternoon, I took the MRT to the centre of Shanghai’s commercial district (where that fugly tower stands), with the intention of taking some photographs. Wisely, I forgot to bring the camera’s CF card. I was pissed off.

The MRT was a rather eye opening experience. There were people EVERYWHERE. At first it’s intimidating, but after 2 minutes one adapts to the situations and learns to squeeze and push through the throng.

For some reason, I cannot access blogspot websites from the connection at my temporary flat. I can read the posts via Google Reader, but I cannot see the comments. Bloody annoying. And the connection here is for 30 hours per month, so I am very careful with my time online. Go online, open yahoo mail, open all unread email, open google reader, download all attachments, and disconnect. Read, reply and write blog entry while offline. Go online, paste email replies, post blog entry and disconnect.

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