Tag Archives: China

File Transfer

8 Aug

Wir schreiben das Jahr 2011. Unbemannte Sonden machen sich auf den Weg zum Rand unseres Sonnensystems, mein Telefon verrät mir Titel und Interpreten des laufenden Lieds, wenn ich es ans Radio halte – aber ein paar pdf-Dateien nach China zu kriegen macht Probleme am laufenden Band.

Stardate 2011. Unmanned probes are on their way to explore the outer regions of our solar system, my phone tells me the names of the song and the singer if I put it to the radio. But to transfer a couple of pdf-files to China seems an almost impossible task.

Filesharing geht leider nicht, weil alle uns zugänglichen Seiten in China geblockt sind. Und als e-mail Anhang lassen sich ohne erkennbares Sytem einige Datein öffnen, einige nicht. ABER irgendwann gehen sie alle. Am Freitagmorgen waren es noch zehn Datein, die in China nicht zu öffnen waren. Freitag gegen Mitternacht waren wir dann schon bei nur noch vier. Und gerade, um 10:25 Uhr, nachdem ich ein paar Dateien erneut gemailt habe, hat uns unsere Ansprechpartnerin bei der Druckerei gemailt, dass alle deutschen  Dateien angekommen sind und sich öffnen lassen. Damit fehlen jetzt noch zwei große englische Dateien. Das sollte doch heute zu machen sein…

Filesharing is not an option since all the site we can access are blocked in China. So e-mail attachments: but without any pattern some can be opened by the printer, some not. If sent again, they sometimes work. So by Friday morning we were down to 10 files, by Friday night down to four. And just now, Monday 10:25 a.m., after sending a couple of files for the 6th or 7th time, our contact at the printer told me ther German version was complete. So two more files for the English version and…




1 Jun

At last! All the files have been uploaded to the printer’s server. Well, “have been uploaded” seems oddly passive. In fact, Jörg has been very actively uploading the files, whenever the server would let him, over the last four days. At 19 kb a second a 190 MB file takes its time to be transferred, especially if the server kicks you out after 133 MB…

This is just a short note to tell you we have not given up or forgotten how to maintain a blog. There are a couple of things to be told and they will be told. There is the cover for example. I doubt that more work ever went into a single cover for a children’s picture book.

So now we are waiting for the dummies…and will tell you all about them, when we get them.

Details and quotations

3 May

While Jörg is working on the cover art – it deserves its own post – I finally try to get all the details nailed down with the printer. What will be glossy, what will be matte? When should we upload the artwork for the CD? Costs for mailing a dummy? And lots more. All this needs to be addressed and to be agreed upon.

So far the saleswoman of our printer was very helpful and answered all my questions promptly. Of course, after recent events proofed that laws in China only apply if the government likes them to be applied (a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry even said so in a press conference) one has to reflect doing business in China. But we are not dealing with the Chinese government. We deal with a private company in a special econimic zone. The same city actually, where a Taiwanese company exclusively produces the iphone and the ipad. And somehow I never heard anybody saying: “No, I will not use any Apple product because it is made in China.”

Anyway, the final quotation we will get is valid for two weeks and thus within the next two weeks we will finish our part of the production.

A blocked blog?

8 Jan

A happy new year to the world and all the rest. 2011 should be the year “Jibonka” will be published. Jörg is working on the final adjustments the bigger format necessitated while I master the audio version.

Now, Jibonka will be printed in China. While discussing several issues with the printer I learned that they cannot read this blog. While I knew that the net is not fully accessible in China I thought this blog was harmless enough. I will try to find out if the blog is generally blocked in China and I will try to find out why. And of course post all my findings here.

Does anyone know whether all wordpress blogs are blocked in China? Comment highly welcome!

UPDATE: Looks like all wordpress blogs are currently eing blocked in China. Sad.

And another update: a friend in Hong Kong told me, he could acces the blog. So there still is a special legislation for Hong Kong. Encouraging.

Two tickets to Nanjing for a lousy dinner

13 Dec

Once in a while when I tell people we decided to get “Jibonka” printed in China, they do a strange thing: they draw in their breath sharply and make a face as if a molar was giving them a though time. Some might ask, whether we really are thick enough to expect to hear anything from a Chinese printer after the 30% of the total balance have been paid in advance.

Yes, I do (I might also be thick as a brick, but that is a different matter all together). This all reminds me of a story that happened quiet a while ago.

The time is October 1st, 1992. Sometime around 10 a. m. The place is China, to be more precise, a little village at the foot of legendary Huang Shan, probably China’s most painted mountain range. Five German students have just arrived after a particularly unpleasant 12-hour train ride in the hart seater compartment (crammed with at least four different kinds of mammals), followed by an utterly uncomfortable 50 minute journey over pothole ridden streets on an overcrowded mini bus without any suspension. To sum it up – our five Germans were not in the best of moods.

In the four weeks they had been in China until then, they had learned already that it is always a good idea to get hold of ticket to get away as soon as you arrive some place. So they asked their way to the regional bus station and were pleasantly surprised by the non-existence of massive queues in front of the ticket windows. That is until they were told that today no more tickets were to be sold. Since our five German Sinologists had planned to climb to the top of Huang Shan, stay on top over night, enjoy the supposedly spectacular sunrise, come back down, stay somewhere in the village and catch a bus early next morning to be back at University in time for classes, they could not afford to wait until the next day to get tickets (which would not be for sale the next day anyway, an official let slip to one of them.

Considerable frustration coupled with fatigue and a couple of bad experiences let tempers rise, when an old lady approached one of the students. She led him aside and quiet simply offered him to purchase tickets for the group, two for Nanjing, three for Shanghai, for busses leaving two days later in the morning. In return she asked us to have dinner in her daughter’s restaurant the night before. The student approached was me.

Naturally we had to pay for the tickets in advance, since the total amount was way above the average monthly income in the region. Needless to say, the other four wouldn’t hear of it. They were frustrated and told me I was way too naive for this country. Maybe because there was no real alternative or maybe because I can be convincing at times – I finally talked them into it: We gave the old lady the money, she led us to her daughter’s restaurant, where we had drinks of the kind you would not really want to depend on in hot wheather and said our Good Byes.

I have no idea how often the others told me we would never see this lady again on the six hours climb up Huang Shan. So when we came back late in the afternoon the following day (there must have been a sunrise, the fog gradually got lighter) I was a bit nervous. But guess who was waiting in the restaurant, waiving with the tickets? One might say that her daughter’s only way of getting trade was her mother luring tourists via ticket services into her place – her food certainly would not attract crowds. But a deal is a deal. The old lady then also helped us to book beds in a dorm (the hotel run by a relative of her’s), which was fine because everywhere else seemed to be full at the eve of the National holiday. And later this evening we discovered that we had only paid the price that was printed on the tickets – no laowai rip off, no extra charge for getting the things.

So now it’s not tickets but books and no old lady but a modern factory – still…

184 mails

6 Dec

184 mails and counting, a couple of hours of googleing and a dozen or so phone calls over the last two weeks is all it took to find a printer. At least for us. There is no standard number of required mails for this process.

When it became clear that we had a budget for printing and marketing the search for a suitable printer began. Suitable is of course a matter of perspective. Quality was definitely the main concern when looking for a company to lay down our ideas. But since our budget, while being generous beyond belief, has to sustain printing and marketing, it soon transpired that European printers were simply to costly. The first few offers we got were above our budget all together. We intend to put an audio version of  “Jibonka” into the book. As to the costs for replication and printing of a CD, everybody assured us they could not possibly get a better price than Chinese maufacturers.

So we turned our attention eastward. Many years ago I studies Sinology, two terms of it in China. So the country is not a complete black box to me. I posted our requirements on alibaba.com, a platform for buyers & suppliers I first learned about on the Hong Kong subway television screens. Within a day mails from Chinese printers rolled in. While some of these were obviously unrealistic (1,15 US$ per copy including the CD) others were interesting. When I asked these for clients in Europe only a few were willing to disclose such information.

In an earlier post I wrote that we already had a publisher for Jibonka, which got in finacial trouble. When I contacted this publisher for advice on printers she immedately forwarded me the address of her printer. I am glad there are no bad feelings, at least there are none on our side and this gesture showed that she has not put Adewani on an internal index. Which is very nice to know, considering our next adventure is set in Asia.

But to get back to Jibonka. After speaking to clients of the printers that stayed in the race we had to address concerns on our side about China in general, reliabilty and such things. But since we use a lot of Chinese products everyday, I see no reason not to do business with a private company over there, especially in Shenzhen, were capitalism surely is the leading doctrin.

Finally, a German company warned me of costs for getting the printed books out of Hamburg, once they arrived. But another hour on the net connected me with a company, which specializes in China trade. They advised us to get a FOB offer instead of a CIF – meaning the goods will be dropped in the port of Shenzhen instead shipped to Hamburg. This way one company would handle the books from China to Luxemburg, where our agency has their offices, keeping any agent in Hamburg out of the picture and thus allowing us to calculate the cost more adequately.

And so we now know which printer to do business with. Just how we do it, we will have to find out in the coming days while finishing the audio version (some more recording needs to be done), designing a new, more classy cover, writing new liner notes, writing the credits and going over every single page in a professional way for once. Oh, and then there is Christmas coming up with all the usual mayhem. Ah, well…