April 19, 2007

An electronics mall and internet messaging in China

Last week I was in Akihabara,  the gadget Mecca of Tokyo. This week I am in the gadget Mecca of southern China, in Shenzhen. There are blocks full of electronics stores.

Electronics Mall

Inside there are rows and rows of gadget shops.

These shops sell you the latest gadget that factories in the region have come up with. You can order these according to your specifications and they even provide you with the option of language on the menu.

Most of the stores are like cubicles with one or two young people manning them. Almost everyone has a screen in front of them. From time to time they look up their screens.

Electronics Mall

Almost all the screens have some internet messaging software on. In this picture it is QQ, the popular internet messaging platform in China.

Electronics Mall

Salespeople here think that I am one of the foreign buyer coming here to order some electronics. They pass me their business cards and show me what they have on offer.

Electronics Mall

Most cards have the person’s MSN or QQ id.

Electronics Mall

This girl was packing some things and again she has her chat window open.

A boy is playing a QQ game. These games can be played along with your QQ contacts. If they do not have a product that you request for, they message their online contacts to look for it.

Electronics Mall Staff at an airport chatting while working

Often in my talks I recommend that companies and schools not block internet messaging. They often say that IM is very distracting. I argue that IM is better than a phone call as on most IM clients you can specify if you are busy or free. Often my friends in China and Vietnam message me to ask for suggestions and ideas on something they are working on. I am used to getting a random phrase on my IM window and a question below if the grammar in the phrase is correct or not. I bet the bosses of these companies are glad that their staff have access to IM.


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