Chinese residents are parking themselves in subways and public spaces in an effort to keep cool


RocketNews 24 (by Aleisha Riboldi):

With the mercury reaching 39 degrees celsius in the city of Hangzhou in southern China, residents are trying to keep cool in the most unusual of places. Citizens without residential air conditioning have turned to parking themselves in subways, libraries and other public spaces to escape the summer heat wave.

Calling themselves the “Summer Solace Group,” hordes of Hangzhou residents have been taking over public spaces as they attempt to seek refuge in air-conditioned venues and enjoy the comfort of being cool. Apparently, one of the most popular places to seek a respite from the heat is Hangzhou subway station. For the last few years, it has been a popular place to flock to in the heat of summer, as those living in housing without air conditioning seek somewhere to just chill out.

Some people are making themselves right at home there, too, bringing along mats and cardboard to lie on and food, drinks, games and books to pass the time and get a reprieve from the heat.

subway cool

It’s essentially a home away from home for those without the luxury of private air conditioning. It’s not welcome by everyone, though, as there are public health concerns in relation to the rubbish being left behind such as cigarette butts, food waste such as watermelon rinds and corn cobs, and human excrement as young children freely do their business out in the open rather than in toilets.

The station management has been forced to turn off the air conditioning at times to deter people from hanging out in the subway, in addition to setting up designated areas to confine the public space they occupy.

designated subway coolzone

Some Hangzhou residents have had the smarts to find more comfortable places to keep cool such as public libraries and at the IKEA furniture store which opened earlier this year. Invading the sofa and bedding department, a much more luxurious escape from the heat wave than a subway station, people are literally parking themselves on sofas within the spacious air-conditioned complex. This no doubt has the side effect of making things difficult for those who’re legitimately trying to shop for home furnishings, though, as they have to navigate through an IKEA with throngs of people loitering around the showrooms.

ikea sofa

Unbelievably, parents are even putting kids to sleep within the model display bedrooms, much to the annoyance of IKEA staff.

ikea bed

Everyone here is looking pretty relaxed and settled. It would seem they have been lounging around for a considerable amount of time, passing time on their phones, catching up on sleep and listening to music. They certainly don’t look like they have any intent on making purchases within the store, nor to be in a hurry to leave anytime soon.

ikea chilling

ikea living

Air conditioning is a luxury many of us take for granted. When it’s nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in a place as densely populated as China, one can hardly blame people for seeking out an air-conditioned haven, but where do you draw the line at what’s acceptable? What lengths would you go to in order to escape the summer heat?

Look inside Apple’s massive new store in China

RocketNews 24/Business Insider:

Apple Stores are always painstakingly designed, but the Cupertino company’s latest efforts in China take it to a whole new level. Cult Of Mac has published photos of Apple’s latest store, located in Hangzhou. Its defined by its huge glass facade, and minimalist staircases.

Here’s how it looks from the outside. Blinds are drawn during the day to avoid overwhelming customers.


Here it is at night:


It was designed by architects Foster + Partners. The firm previously built Apple a store in Istanbul, Turkey.


The store is part of an aggressive international expansion by Apple. They hope to have 40 stores in the country by the end of 2016.


According to Multi Housing News, it’s currently the largest Apple Store in Asia.


Foster + Partners says the store’s design “combines an understanding of the local context with the philosophy of simplicity, beauty and technical innovation that characterises Apple’s products, Cult Of Mac reports.


Apple is doing extremely well in China: Its products are now the top luxury gifts in the country.


Apple’s head of retail Angela Ahrendts is also encouraging US employees to relocate to China to work in the company’s stores.



Why billionaire Jack Ma hired a Tai Chi master as his personal bodyguard

li 7Next Shark: 

Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently became the richest man in Asia with a net worth of $28.6 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Naturally, someone that important should hire some muscle, only Jack Ma hired a master of Tai Chi 4
Tai Chi, made famous by slow-moving elderly people in parks, isn’t traditionally known as a fighting technique. It focuses on soft, internal power rather than hard power, which we would attribute to fighting styles in kung fu or karate. As a master of the flow, Li Tianjin can use Tai Chi as an incredible form of self-defense At 35-years-old, Li stands at just over 5-foot-6-inches weighing 188 pounds. Before accepting the quest of guarding the eccentric but frail billionaire Jack Ma, Li was a coach at the Tai Chi Temple in Hangzhou.

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Li was born in the birthplace of Tai Chi in Chenjiagou, Wen County, in Henan Province.

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He began his practice of Tai Chi at the age of 8.
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By the time he was 14, Li became the apprentice of Wang Xi’an, a grandmaster of Chen-style Tai Chi, which can definitely be used as physical self defense. At 19, he won his first Tai Chi competition and went on to win several titles on the national level.

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A Jack Ma biography in Chinese, titled “Ma Yun in Cloth Shoes,” tells 27 stories that shaped Ma’s life, one of which took place in Mongolia when Li allegedly destroyed a wrestler “in the blink of an eye.”

Once, Jack Ma and some members of the Nature Conservancy went to Hulun Buir Grassland in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for a study. There, a tenacious Mongolian wrestler approached them with a challenge: ”Three of you can pick one of us to have a fight.” Li came forward and replied, “Which one is the best wrestler among you all? Come fight with me.” Unsurprisingly, the low-profile Tai Chi master defeated the best Mongolian wrestler among them.

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Tai Chi has also heavily influenced Jack Ma’s life philosophy, and he sticks to three principles — calm, follow and abandon. Always remain calm no matter what, follow the flow after knowing one’s strength, and abandon your burden in life. Nobody better mess with Jack Ma.

13 Fascinating facts about Jack Ma, the Man behind the largest IPO in history


Next Shark:


Jack Ma, the 5-foot-tall Chinese man with a friendly looking face, is the chairman of Alibaba’s record-shattering $25 billion IPO, which now sits as one of the largest companies on the market. But how much does anyone really know about his amazing story of starting a small business in his one-room apartment to becoming one of the richest men in China?


Here are 13 fascinating facts from the legendary life of Jack Ma:


Jack Ma’s life is full of failures.



When he applied for admission to the Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (now Hangzhou Normal University), Ma failed the college entrance exam twice. He eventually graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

By 1995, he decided teaching wasn’t for him, so he decided to try his hand at business. Around this time, he even applied to a job at KFC in Hangzhou, only to be rejected. Ma also started a translation company, and on a trip to Seattle, he discovered the internet, inspiring him to start his first legit business, China Yellow Pages. While it is regarded as China’s first internet-based company, China Yellow Pages was also a failure.

As we all know, however, Ma’s second company, Alibaba, is doing much better.


How Jack Ma learned English.


Ma wanted to learn English so badly that when he was 13, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and would ride his bike 45 minutes from where he lived in Hangzhou to the then Hangzhou Hotel just to talk to foreigners and take tourists sightseeing for free. Through this practice, he not only polished his English but also learned “Western people’s system, ways, methods and techniques.”



The time Jack Ma was threatened with a gun, kidnapped and taken to Las Vegas.


From the “Alibaba Saga” in Forbes comes a story of Jack Ma’s crazy West Coast adventure.

In 1995, Ma traveled for the first time to the U.S. on interpretation business. Part of his business included trying to collect a debt for a friend from an American businessman in Malibu, California. It turns out that this American didn’t want to pay back the debt and instead locked Ma in his house, trying to force him to cut a deal. This guy was clearly crazy. Jack Ma explained:

“At one point he started playing with his handgun. It was obviously meant as a threat.”


Scared of what he assumed was a trigger-happy American “cowboy,” Ma complied with his demands while trying to find any way to escape. We aren’t sure if Jack was forced to stay with the American, but a few days later, the American decided to take Jack to Las Vegas as a “routine showcase trip” for Chinese businessmen. It was clear that Jack was still his captive.

To make matters worse, Jack Ma had almost no money on him. Seeing as how matters couldn’t get worse, he decided to try his luck at the slot machines. Miraculously, Ma won $600; he managed to escape the businessman, left everything he had behind with him,  went to the airport, and used his winnings to buy a plane ticket to Seattle where his friend was waiting.

“It was a terrible experience … Every time I think of L.A., I have a nightmare,” says Ma.

True story.


When Jack Ma first discovered the internet.



In 1995, while in Seattle visiting his friend, Jack first laid his eyes on a mysterious box-like device that he later learned was called a “computer.” His friend told him to try it out, and that’s when he discovered the world wide web. This inspired him to create his first business, China Yellow Pages, which he started with 7000 yuan ($1140) of his personal savings and a loan from a family member. Ma entered the world of dial-up internet.

“The day we got connected to the web, I invited friends and TV people over to my house … we waited three and a half hours and got half a page …. We drank, watched TV and played cards, waiting. But I was so proud. I proved (to my house guests that) the internet existed.”


How Jack Ma picked the name Alibaba.


Originally posted on Alibaba’s company forum, but no longer available, someone asked why Ma chose the name Alibaba. This is what Jack said:


“One day I was in San Francisco in a coffee shop, and I was thinking Alibaba is a good name. And then a waitress came, and I said do you know about Alibaba? And she said yes. I said what do you know about Alibaba, and she said ‘Open Sesame.’ And I said yes, this is the name! Then I went onto the street and found 30 people and asked them, ‘Do you know Alibaba?’ People from India, people from Germany, people from Tokyo and China… They all knew about Alibaba. Alibaba — open sesame. Alibaba — 40 thieves. Alibaba is not a thief. Alibaba is a kind, smart business person, and he helped the village. So…easy to spell, and global know. Alibaba opens sesame for small- to medium-sized companies. We also registered the name AliMama, in case someone wants to marry us!”


On the day Alibaba went public, Ma didn’t even ring the bell at the NYSE. Because Alibaba is supposed to be focused on customers, Ma had eight Alibaba customers ring the opening bell instead.


Jack Ma loves dogs and owns an Alsatian named Apollo.


Zhang Ying (Jack Ma’s wife) was there with him from the very beginning.


“Ma Yun [Jack Ma]  is not a handsome man, but I fell for him because he can do a lot of things handsome men cannot do.”


Zhang Ying and Jack Ma met in school when they were studying to be teachers. They married shortly after they graduated in the late 80s. She remained a teacher while Ma was building China Yellow Pages and she eventually quit being a teacher to jump on Alibaba’s team from the very beginning as the company’s “political commissar.”

As the Commissar, she spent the early days cooking meals for clients and associates and apparently running odd errands. She eventually became Alibaba China’s GM. She now focuses on caring for the couple’s two children.


How Jack Ma told his wife how much money his company made.



A couple years after Ma started Alibaba, his wife asked him how much money the company had made. Jack responded by raising a single finger.

Ten million yuan ($1.6 million)?” she asked.

No.” Jack responded.

A hundred million yuan ($16 million)?” she asked.

No.” said Jack again. “One million yuan ($160,000) …” he said to his wife’s disappointment.

… a day.” he added.


Jack Ma’s lifelong hero isn’t even a real person.

In his quirky, broken English, Jack Ma explains his love for Forrest Gump:


I watched the movie again, telling me that no matter whatever changed, you are you. I’m still the guy 15 years ago, you know, I only earned like $20 a month. Today I can do that much.


In all seriousness, Jack Ma has a beautiful soul.



How running Alibaba caused family trouble for the Mas.


Unfortunately, focusing on growing a multi-billion dollar company takes its toll when it comes time for family.

Zhang admitted in earlier interviews that they had effectively “sacrificed” their son, who was born in 1992, for the company. They put him in daycare five days a week, only seeing him on weekends, and their parental absence eventually led to his addiction to online gaming at internet cafes, where he spent most of his time rather than returning to an empty home.

Jack later asked his wife to step down from her role as Alibaba China’s general manager to become a stay-at-home mom for their then two children, a move she was very reluctant to make, but in the end she chose family over the money.

“She helps me a lot with my career and family,” Ma tells of his wife when it comes to balancing the success of Alibaba and his family.


Why Jack Ma leads his company by “not leading at all.”

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma gestures in front of the New York Stock Exchange before his company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA" in New York

In an interview with Xiao-Ping Chen, a professor at Washington University, Ma explained his very unique and humble management philosophy that mixes Tai Chi, Taoism and Buddhism.


“In Taoism, the best leadership is not leading at all … No teachers want their students to fail. So I never steal the spotlight from newly hired young people. If someone warns me about an employee who is trying to overstep me, I reply that I’m a teacher and that’s the way it should be.”


When Jack Ma was called crazy (a lot) for starting Alibaba.

Annual Meeting of the New Champions Tianjin 2008



In 1999, Jack Ma founded Alibaba after raising $60,000 with 18 friends in his one-bedroom apartment. He started his humble e-commerce company in an attempt to connect small Chinese businesses with global markets. As the underdog going up against an already established and expanding eBay in China, many people called him crazy. Ma told Xiao-Ping Chen:


“I gave a speech at Harvard in 2002. After my talk, a CEO from a foreign company said that I was a mad man. He said he had been in China for many years, and didn’t believe that my way of managing a company would work. I invited him to visit Alibaba. After a three-day stay, he said, ‘Now I understand. Here you have 100 mad men just like you.’ ”


15 years later, Alibaba now holds the record for the largest IPO ever in U.S. history at $25 billion with a market cap of $231.44 billion, more than Amazon’s $153.08 billion and eBay’s $65.04 billion combined. Alibaba trades on the NYSE under (BABA).

Underdogs do win after all.


Design: Ruan Hao’s CATable is a shared table that lets cats play while humans work


Bored Panda:


As cute and cuddly as cats are, they can be disruptive when they want to hang out and you need to work. With the help of Chinese architect and designer Ruan Hao and his new CATable, which he designed for Hangzhou and Hong Kong-based architecture firm LYCS, busy humans and bored cats may finally be able to coexist peacefully.

On its surface, the table is fairly normal. Below its plain wooden surface, however, is what the creators describe as a “paradise for cats.”

The thick table has a network of smooth wooden tunnels that are just the right size for your feline friend to creep and crawl through.

Perhaps most annoying is their propensity to sit on your keyboard (or lap) when you’re trying to work, which LYCS and Hao totally get “Putting away the cat from your lap top was like a sentimental ritual of temporary farewell.” They also understand that cats love tight crawl spaces, which WE totally get – “A proper sized hole could be so irresistible to cats. Their curiosity would be greatly satisfied through repetitively exploring the unknown path behind the hole.”

There’s a ton of designers out there who are in the business of creating brilliant products and pieces of pet furniture that help us live more comfortably together with our pet companions.

Source: (via: mymodernmet)

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Design: CATable is a shared table that lets cats play while humans work