Parked outside the local police station earlier this week we found this shiny new van labelled with the words "食品快速检测"; which translates as "Food Products High-Speed Examination".
With food safety being one of the main causes of public anxiety recently (as we commented on in this
blog) it is no surprise to see the authorities are taking measures to address the situation.
Whether buying a brand new van to quickly transport samples to a laboratory is the most effective method of achieving this, we're not so sure!
As we shared with you in our last blog
, Shanghai's Chinese New Year celebrations last week were very spectacular; however the feeling in Shanghai is that they actually seemed quite restrained in comparison with previous years.
backs up those assertions and cite concerns over air pollution as being one of the key factors.
Such reports demonstrate a growing awareness of environmental issues in Shanghai, where air pollution has recently been a very topical issue.
Due to the heavy smog that plagued Shanghai and many cities in China's eastern and northern regions, local citizens have cut down on fireworks during this year's Spring Festival - about half of the usual amount.
All of this rather begs the question, how much do fireworks contribute to air pollution?
By analysing data from the U.S. Consulate Shanghai Air Quality Monitor
we have been able to answer this question.
The graph below shows how PM2.5 readings varied in the hours either side of the new year's midnight extravaganza.
The columns on the graph have been colour coded to correspond with the Air Quality Index (AQI) chart displayed to the right.
From this we can see that readings from the Air Quality monitor peaked at 1am with an AQI of over 500 - which is quite literally off the scale!
Air pollution continued to be "hazardous" for a further two hours before returning to more "normal" levels.
The data demonstrates a clear correlation between the launching of fireworks and air pollution, though it is hard to say how quickly the effects dissipate.
Fireworks have been an important part of Chinese culture since they were invented in the 7th century and witnessing the Chinese New Year celebrations is a sight not to be missed.
However, people with respiratory conditions, the elderly and children might want to consider taking precautions such as staying insider or wearing a respirator.
Last night people across China were celebrating Chinese New Year and the arrival of the year of the snake.
Although Chinese New Year is a week long celebration the majority of fireworks are launched around midnight on News Year's Eve and it is quite a spectacle.
This short time-lapse video was captured from a residential tower near the Senlinx office in Zhongshan Park, Shanghai.
The team at Senlinx wishes all our family, friends, clients and future clients the very best for 2013. Gong Xi Fa Cai!
If you are visiting China to look for new suppliers chances are that your time will be very limited, you will arrive feeling tired and more than a little bit lost!
You want to maximise your time by checking out a wide range of suppliers to get as clear a picture as possible of what the factory is really like.
One option is to engage the services of a specialist inspection or consulting company such as Senlinx Consulting, who can help you to review potential suppliers without having to make the long trek to China.
However, there are also many reasons why it is a good idea to see the factories with your own eyes, and for those wishing to embark on a sourcing trip we have created a simple checklist of what you should look for:
9 Key Objectives for Initial Factory Reviews
1. Check the cleanliness and orderliness of both the factory and the office
2. Check how they identify, maintain and keep track of materials
3. Observe the production equipment, their condition and output capacity (calculate: can they really produce as much as they claim?)
4. Take a look at product samples and compare with the quality you see on the production line
5. Observe what in-process checks are being carried out during production
6. Figure out what testing or final inspection processes are occurring. Are they meaningful or just for show?
7. Take a look in the warehouse and identify where else they are selling products to (local or overseas? to developed or developing economies?)
8. Get copies of the company's business licence, ISO certification and relevant product reports etc.
9. Take photos!
Poor air quality and energy efficiency have been hot topics of discussion in the Senlinx office in Shanghai recently.
Shanghai's bitter winter and poor building standards have combined to see our electricity bill go through the roof.
Meanwhile, air quality has been particularly poor recently, with the U.S. Consulate Shanghai Air Quality Monitor
regularly recording readings described as "very unhealthy" or even "hazardous", which is accompanied by the following health advisory:
Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.
Beijing's recent difficulties with air pollution have been well documented, but in fact a recent article in the Guardian
newspaper highlighted that air quality is an issue across the entire continent.This got us wondering about the link between energy consumption and air quality and we have, with the use of wikipedia's statistics, produced the interactive map below.
It shows the electricity consumption per capita per year in the interesting unit of "Watts per person".
Interestingly, South Korea is beaten into first place by Taiwan as having the highest electricity usage per person in the region.
Why it shares the same colour as Mainland China we are not sure, but this must be part of Google's efforts to maintain political neutrality.
Having said that, the small dark speck of colour representing Hong Kong undermines their efforts somewhat!
Earlier this month, Senlinx visited the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to attend the CLSE Show - more formally known as the 5th China (Guangzhou) International Labor Protective Equipment And Security Emergency Rescue Exhibition (Chinese name: 第五届中国(广州)国际劳保防护用品展览会).
With the aim of assisting our international client’s source high-grade protective gloves and safety helmets, the show proved to be a little bit of a disappointment as it was mainly focused on the domestic market.
However, the exhibition provided Senlinx with ample opportunities to communicate with a variety of old and new contacts in the PPE manufacturing, testing and distribution fields.
Compared with the internationally-known COS+H show (China International Occupational Safety & Health Exhibition 第六届中国国际安全生产及职业健康展览会) which Senlinx attended this autumn in Beijing
, this domestic exhibition attracted more SMEs from Guangzhou Province as well as nearby provinces and municipal cities such as Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai etc.
At the exhibition, Senlinx was also delighted to attend informative seminars on the CE certification mark and European safety footwear testing, which was presented by SATRA
Although the fair proved to be quite positive for Senlinx as we further added to our knowledge and understanding of the market, it was felt on the whole by many exhibitors that the event was a little underwhelming and didn't live up to their expectations.
The trip to Guangzhou, historically known as Canton, proved very popular with the Senlinx representative as it offered a respite from the short and cold winter days currently being experienced in Shanghai.
Senlinx is planning further visits to many PPE shows, including a visit to the 86th China Occupational Safety& Health Goods Expo in Shanghai, China on 17-19 April 2013. Please get in touch if anyone requires support for this event or others.
Being an Australian-owned and managed business based in Shanghai, China, Senlinx is an active member of AustCham Shanghai
and has recently taken part in a range of informative Servcorp SEC
(Shanghai Enterprise Collective) events.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank TXM Lean Solutions
for hosting the event on Lean Manufacturing in China and Bureau Veritas
for their presentation on Business Certification to name just a few.
Informative events like these help to further broaden our team’s manufacturing and business knowledge, make great new contacts and learn about China’s business trends.
Since introducing market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, China’s manufacturing industry has developed a dominant position in the global market; however over recent years the outlook has darkened somewhat.
"create a culture of sustainability, continuous improvement and innovation"
China is currently experiencing a transformative period featuring fierce competition and a turbulent global economy environment, with many issues and challenges which shouldn’t be overlooked, such as:
- Inexperience in internal management systems
- Spiraling costs, particularly the cost of labour
- Poor development of intellectual property and branding
It is becoming essential for Chinese manufacturers to create a culture of sustainability, continuous improvement and innovation not just for their success, but for their very survival.
As a westerner living in Shanghai, one of the questions friends and family most like to ask is "What do you eat everyday?".
Although it takes a while to adapt, Chinese food is truly delicious, highly varied and pretty healthy too.
In addition, Shanghai is a very cosmopolitan city and as well as China's many cuisines, there are many international choices available.
Senlinx is lucky to be located in close proximity to a huge number of restaurants serving excellent food at good prices.
We thought we would quickly share some food photos to help address this most popular of questions.
With modern, purpose-built airports and comfortable airplanes, catching flights between East Asia’s metropolises is usually a fairly painless experience.
However, despite their comfort, many of these new airports have one main drawback – they tend to be a long distance from downtown.
Fortunately, for those considering trips between Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo a great alternative already exists.
Each of these places has a “city” airport located much closer to downtown then their more renowned competitors.
Furthermore, flights from these airports typically fly to other “city” airports in the region.
The names of these airports are summarised below:
City / Country
Hongqiao (Terminal 1)
Courtesy of a China Airlines display at Taipei’s Songshan Airport, here is a map showing the relative locations of these airports:
Xinjiang, located in the far northwest of China, is an intriguing place renowned for its spectacular scenery, cultural diversity and delicious cuisine.
With the spread of migration across Mainland China, Xinjiang restaurants have become very popular and are found in cities throughout the country.
A new restaurant offering Xinjiang cuisine has recently opened in Shanghai's Caojiadu area. Nicely decorated and centrally located, this restaurant is aimed at Shanghai's middle classes and this is reflected in their pricing.
Each table is adorned with the richly colourful pattern of an Uygur tablecloth and, under a layer of glass, the notice to the left.
One would usually expect in these confines to encounter something like a menu, a restaurant introduction or maybe even some literature introducing the culture and beauty of the region.
However, the notice in fact carries the following rather depressing message:
This shops uses oil from Metro, please consume rest assured!!
Below it is a photocopy of an invoice from the German wholesale retailer Metro with the purchase of 50 drums of 20-litre cooking oil - underlined twice, in bold!
That a restaurant such as this feels it necessary to display such information so prominently is symptomatic of a general trend in society. After numerous food scandals
affecting foodstuffs as diverse as milk, rice, pork, dumplings and bean sprouts the public has lost their faith in the ability of the authorities to regulate the food industry.
This notice has been prompted by another infamous practice, the use of "gutter oil
", where recycled waste oil is illegally resold to consumers.
It is significant that this invoice is from a foreign retailer, who are seen as more trustworthy, and highlights China's crisis of confidence in the industry.