China Business News

CBN has its U.S. News Center opening ceremony at Le Parker Meridien.

China Business News (CBN) is one of the top financial publications in China. With headquarters in Shanghai and news bureaus around the country, CBN enjoys a circulation of about half a million currently in and outside China. CBN focuses on the economic policy and financial issues of China in the context of its fast evolving relationship with the United States and the rest of the world.

Mr. Wang Changchun is the managing editor in charge of the paper’s daily operations including front page, editorial, investigative reports who helped launch the CBN in 2004. He was on hand to give opening speech and moderated the second set of panelists who focused on financial discussions.

CIMG3735AFS asked me to help out on the setting/printing of the booklet (8 pages, 6 are bios of the panelists) so they could get free ride as a sponsor of the event. Andy’s Lin Co Printing beats out the Kinko’s photocopying by a large margin, not just print quality but also paper, 100lb matte (as vs Kinko’s 40-50 lb copier paper). Andy gave us additional 25 copies at no extra charge. I’m curious to see how fast the bill will be paid. The last two times dealing with the similar crowds didn’t leave sweet taste.

The event is successful with impressive panelists in a sleek venue. The newspaper is young so it’s staff, and it shows.

Couples of glitches are minor. I arrived at 1pm. The event scheduled at 2pm and registration began at 1:30. The hotel is pretty nice with good layout. Either oversight or poorly planned, when people started to pour in, we were just about to assemble the name tags: tearing them off the sheets, stamped those who paid for the cocktail and insert them into the lap pin. All those trivial stuff should really have done last night, or came early get it done. Hope they learned some lesson. It was pretty ugly when the attendees arrived in doves and found their name tags were still being prepared.

The opening remark by Mr. Wang scheduled for 15 minutes but he went on for 40 minutes. He read from Chinese, rarely looked up at the audience. It was being translated by one of his reporter in broken and incoherent English.  Accent I understood, but disjointed reading sounded to me as if she didn’t do her homework. I was surprised at the quality because they were able to invite few distigushed panlists, like David Rubenstein, the Co-founder of The Carlyle Group. Li Shanquan and I sat at the last row and began chatting. Don Riegle, the former Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Banking committee sat next to us. From his bio, it seems he’s looking for a job.

It wasn’t nice but we both felt bored by the rambling that went on and on. The first set of the panelists’ discussion was on the dry side, so our little conversation continued. I felt sorry to have dragged Shanquan uptown. Looking at the speakers, I was really expected some substantial and livelier discussion. Soon a young analyst whom I dabbed as Xi Shi 西施 joined us with a smiling face and is very pleasant. Shanquan left with her to a Starbuck continue their discussion before the coffee break.

The Coffee Break had neither coffee nor tea. Some attendees began to get coffees from another meeting next door. The hotel soon sent portly men to guard the area zealously.

It’s interesting to see how the panelists trying hard to stay away from badmouthing his former employer the Fed (Neal Soss, Chief economist of Credit Suisse First Boston and Former Vice President of Federal Reserve Bank of New York) and at the same time dealing with the junior moderator, trying to have a sensible conversation without appearing condescending. The panelists probably knew they weren’t going to be dealing with WSJ or NYT type of reporters anyway.

The ..

The cocktail was held at the top floor’s Estrela Penthouse. The view’s great; the opposite side of the top floor was the pool :).

The second set of the panelists focused on the financial discussion, which was more relatable. I enjoyed David Rubenstein’s short and to the point take on China. Among few things, he said that USA and China can and should solve their differences self, without involving the third party, like EU. He seems to get his briefing or intelligence right.

Shanquan felt that Chinese understand America far better than the Americans understand Chinese. I agree. For one, Mr. Tung CHee Hwa said that there are 300m Chinese learning English vs 50,000 Americans learning Chinese. Secondly, China is opaque, very few knew exactly what’s going on behind the closed doors where in USA, every single debate is under the sun.

But I’m wondering, with such language deficit, does Chinese have upper hand in dealing with the Americans?

They had about 100+ people, some are brought in – like a quota 🙂 and some paid. I thought with the speakers they had there shouldn’t be any problem in attracting quality audience.

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