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Showing posts with label Mobile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mobile. Show all posts

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fortunes and Accessories on a Shaoguan Stairway

Early this afternoon in Shaoguan, Guangdong, I saw a person offering fortune telling and related services.

fortune teller on a staircase landing in Shaoguan
Another notable hat in Shaoguan


This evening almost exactly seven hours later, I saw a person selling mobile phone covers and other assorted accessories for electronics.

young woman using a mobile phone while selling mobile phone covers and other accessories on a stairway landing in Shaoguan
One of many "mobile moments" I captured today


Both of them made use of the same corner on a landing of a pedestrian bridge staircase — just at different times. In addition to raising a number of intriguing issues, the variety of offerings available at this single location today captures some of the spirit of what I have observed elsewhere in Shaoguan this weekend.

So my own prediction for the future: I will just say don't be surprised if things as different as bamboo rats, xiangqi, marketing for pole dancing lessons, and Little Red Books all appear here soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Multitasking at the Zhen River in Shaoguan

man wearing a hat uses a mobile phone while fishing at the Zhen River in Shaoguan

A return to the mobile theme is not far away — more on the fishing theme someday too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Minquan Road Mobile Phone Street in Zhongshan, China

Although many mobile phone stores exist elsewhere in Zhongshan, Guangdong province, Minquan Road in the central Shiqi District may have the greatest concentration. Below are just a few scenes from there during March earlier this year. Most of the stores sell new phones of brands common in many Chinese cities. The Minquan Xinyi Shopping Center — a collection of stalls selling a variety of lesser known brands, more blatant imitations, or second hand phones — is similar to the Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai but much smaller in scale. The photos provide a sense of the brands available and how some stores are changing their look to stay "fresh". They also provide context for a particular store which will be the focus of a later post.

Store featuring Vivo, HTC, Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Meizu, Oppo, and Gionee

Store featuring Apple

Android robot promoting the iPhone 6

Store promoting Samsung, Huawei, Vivo, Apple, Xiaomi, and Oppo

A store with a strong Apple theme

Store featuring Oppo and HTC

Promotion for Oppo

Minquan Xinyi Shopping Center

Inside the Minquan Xinyi Shopping Center

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Mix of Old, New, and Inexpensive: Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng Electronics Market

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng (上海音像城) offers a shopping experience which feels like a cross of a flea market and a large electronics store. I haven't seen any official names in English, but instead of the previous transliteration the name could be translated as Shanghai Audio & Visual City. And at least one online site refers to it as the Qiujiang Lu Electronics Market, though that doesn't reflect its prominently displayed Chinese name. Whatever the case, it is easy to find the market just east of Shanghai's Baoshan Road metro station — part of the complex sits underneath the elevated metro tracks. It may not be where to go if you want something like the latest models of popular mobile phone brands, but it offers an wide array of electronics for sale not seen in many other electronics stores in Shanghai.

Below are a few photos I took there. They only provide a quick look at the market and don't capture many of the second-hand classics available. Like the Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market near the Shanghai Railway Station, a visit can be eye-opening even if you aren't interested in buying anything.

More scenes from markets elsewhere in China later. I will also have more to say about mobile phones like those which appear below.

front of Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng on Baoshan Road

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng entrance on Qiujiang Road

Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng with metro tracks above

outdoor portion of Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

karaoke televisions and other electronics for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

laptops for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

inexpensive mobile phones and flip phones with various designs for sale at the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

inexpensive mobile phones with keypads labeled as for "elderly people" for sale at Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

an aisle inside Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

stall counters inside the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

branching aisle inside the Shanghai Yinxiang Cheng

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai

About 300 meters (1000 ft) to the east of a pedestrian bridge near the Shanghai Railway Station is a market which fills the majority of a large building. The market's name is written, translated and transliterated in numerous ways. A map inside the market, the sign of a complaints office for the market, and a sign by the market's management, all indicate a name which includes the Chinese "龙晓通信市场" which I'll translate as "Long Xiao Communications Market"*. But names more closely resembling "Bu Ye Cheng Communications Market" — "Bu Ye Cheng", sometimes spelled as a single word, comes from the name of the entire building — appear to be more commonly used. Whatever you call the market, fortunately the gold-tinged building with a large digital billboard at the intersection of Tianmu West Road and Meiyuan Road is easy to spot.

Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai


If you so desire, you can collect business cards from the hundreds of stalls and marvel at the different names they give the market. But of more interest to me are the various mobile phones and related products that mostly fill its six dense levels.

Inside the Bu Ye Cheng (Long Xiao) Communications Market in Shanghai

I think it offers the closest experience in Shanghai to some of the markets in Shenzhen's immense Huaqiangbei electronics commercial area. I recommend taking a look, especially if you are interested in mobile phones and won't be in Shenzhen. I will refrain from sharing more details about what I saw there, since a closer look is in store for some similar markets in Shanghai and elsewhere in China.



*Two of the signs used the slightly longer name "上海龙晓通信产品市场".

Friday, August 14, 2015

Another Scene of the Mobile Phone Brand Vivo in Hengyang

To show that the Vivo-related photos I took last year in Hengyang didn't capture something fleeting, here is a promotion for the mobile phone brand I saw in the same area this year:

An outdoor promotion for Vivo in Hengyang, Hunan

And I saw it on the very first day I returned to Hengyang. They weren't overrun with people when I passed by on a Sunday afternoon, but in general the area seemed rather quiet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Apple on Windows Above Apple in Shanghai

Above the Nanjing East Road Apple Store in Shanghai, a mall's digital billboard displayed an advertisement for the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch advertisement on large video screen above an Apple Store in Shanghai


And like what I saw at a mall in Haikou, I discovered the digital billboard runs on Windows.

Apple Watch advertisement on large video screen with an open Windows folder visible above an Apple Store in Shanghai


This case just included an added touch of irony.



Perhaps-not-needed-but-would-rather-error-on-the-side-of-openness-disclosure: I previously worked as a user experience researcher at Microsoft China. I didn't work on any projects directly related to digital billboards, partly because they are difficult to carry around.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Scenes of the Mobile Phone Brand Vivo in Hengyang

large Vivo advertisement in Hengyang, Hunan


An advertisement I saw in Xiangtan, Hunan, is a small but relevant piece of data about Vivo's presence in China. To provide a bit more color, particularly of the blueish variety, and context about a mobile phone brand not familiar to many outside of China, this post includes some Vivo-related photos I took last year in Hengyang, Hunan. The signs, promotional events, and young people handing out printed ads all come from an area east of Lianhu Square densely packed with a large number of mobile phone stores — the same area where I saw people marching with Vivo and Oppo signs. I could have taken many more photos in the same spirit. Although Vivo is just one of many brands available there, it would be hard to miss.

young people promoting Vivo in Hengyang, Hunan

a store sign with logos for both Apple and Vivo

mobile phone store with Vivo signs in Hengyang, Hunan

boxes promoting the Vivo X3 in Hengyang, Hunan

Vivo signs at a mobile phone store in Hengyang, Hunan

tents and umbrellas for an outdoor Vivo promotion in Hengyang, Hunan

Vivo signs at an Apple authorized retail store in Hengyang, Hunan

two young women promoting Vivo in Hengyang, Hunan

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sign of Things to Come: An Advertisement for Mobile Phones in Xiangtan

billboard in Xiangtan, Hunan, for a mobile phone store

A few months ago I took the above photo of a billboard from a bridge in Xiangtan, Hunan province. The advertisement for a mobile phone store featured five brands: Apple, Vivo, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Huawei. One of those in particular, Vivo, receives relatively little attention outside of China, yet, as the sign suggests, it is rather visible in some parts of China. More on that topic, tech in general, and other themes soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Another Sculpture in Changsha Conducive to Sitting and Photography

The previous post about sculptures of string players and string instruments in Changsha mentioned that some people enjoyed having their photo taken while posing with the smaller sculptures — a common sight in numerous Chinese cities. However, the man in the post's last photo was not posing for a photographic moment but instead was taking advantage of a place to sit afforded by the sculpture. I have recently seen similar examples there and elsewhere nearby, including at the South Huangxing Road Commercial Pedestrian Street where on one occasion I saw a woman using her mobile phone while sitting on a sculpture's small stool.

woman checks here mobile phone while sitting on a sculpture's small stool


Another time at the same location, I saw photography practiced in parallel with the more mundane act of sitting.

man sitting on a sculpture's small stool while attending to two puppies; other people have their photograph taken with the scullpture


This raises an issue relevant to the design of public spaces in China: the competing interests between those who wish to use a suitable sculpture for an extended period of time as a place to sit with others who desire to use it more fleetingly for photos. Perhaps if a sufficient number of places to sit existed in the surrounding area, which research for this pedestrian street found to be a common desire, the conflict would arise less often.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Duet and Quartet at a Mobile Phone Promotion in Changsha

In the spirit of the recent themes of music and duets, last night around 8 p.m. I heard a performance with electric string instruments.

two young women in blue dresses playing electric string instruments outside a mobile phone store in Changsha

The performance was part of a promotion at a Changsha mobile phone store selling brands such as Vivo, Samsung, Apple, Gionee, HTC, and Oppo. Some of the those brands aren't familiar in many places outside of China or don't receive much international media attention. But they are common in many cities I have recently visited in Hunan and elsewhere in China. Inside the store another brand familiar in China was featured — Huawei. A quartet sans musical instruments was there to help.

four young women promoting Huawei mobile phones inside a store in Changsha

A table of hors d'oeuvres and wine was also nearby. As I was full from a recent meal of spicy fish and snails, I did not partake.

Except for the hors d'oeuvres, none of this seemed exceptional for a mobile phone promotion in Changsha. Other examples to come later . . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A One-Wheeled Phone Conversation

Recently I shared examples of people using mobile phones while in control of moving motorbikes in Hengyang. Today in Changsha, I saw an example of someone using a mobile phone while riding another type of powered vehicle.

girl with a mobile phone to her ear while riding an electric unicycle down an alley

Despite the vehicle only having one wheel, I suspect the phone use presents less of a safety issue given the vehicle's slower speed and it not requiring any hands to operate. Although they are not an everyday sight, I have noticed more and more electric unicycles in use, often rented for a fun ride. I didn't ask the girl if she owned the unicycle. She appeared preoccupied as she zoomed past.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Motorbike Phone Calls in Hengyang

The Hengxiang Bridge offers an excellent opportunity to appreciate Hengyang's "traffic culture" and the variety of vehicles used there.

motorbikes, motorized tricycle cart, bus, truck, and cars on the Hengxiang Bridge in Hengyang


It also offers an excellent opportunity to observe some real-life mobile phone usage in Hengyang. On that note, here are four photos I took as I crossed the bridge one afternoon:

man using a mobile phone while driving a motorbike

woman using a mobile phone while driving a multi-colored motorbike

woman holding a mobile phone to her right ear with her left hand while driving a motorbike

man using a mobile phone while driving a motorbike

In all four cases, a person was using their mobile phone while driving a motorbike. The above capture most, but not all, of the examples I saw.

Later as I walked back across the bridge, I saw one man park his bike in the dedicated bike lane and then have a phone conversation as he stood on the sidewalk.

man looking over the railing of a bridge while speaking on a mobile phone and his motorbike parked in a bike lane


And finally, tying it all together in what felt like a brief magical moment, I saw a man using a mobile phone while he rode by and looked at a woman who had stopped to use a mobile phone.

man using a mobile phone while riding a motorbike and looking at a woman who stopped her motorbike to use a mobile phone

It is a just a small period of time and only a single location. But if representative, it suggests a large number of people in Hengyang are willing to use their phones while driving a motorbike, at least under some conditions. And much else could be learned, better appreciated, or questioned at this single bridge in Hengyang.