Let me start by clearing a few things up:
At this time of year, news outlets revel in their readerships’ gullibility. But the art of media foolery is so rampant that an increasingly skeptical public is starting to doubt the veracity of stories long before April 1.
Take Rebecca Black for example. We almost needed to believe that ‘Friday’ was a hoax, despite its mid-March emergence. So indescribably offensive was this autotuned iniquity, the conspiracy theorists flooded online forums within hours. Sadly, we’ll have to chalk that down to wishful thinking.
Oh, if only we could predict the future, then we might be millionaires today.
This week News Stream, CNN International’s news and tech show, is focusing on some of China’s hottest tech stocks. The business segment I suggested for them: how much money would you have made if you were smart – or lucky – enough to have invested early on and cashed out today. The answers might make you shake your head and wish you had put up some money. Or they might make you smile a bit broader as you head out for your steak and lobster dinner.
Five years ago, share prices for Baidu, Tencent and Sina were affordable to many more investors, ranging between $5 and $30. Today that range has rocketed to the $100 to $200 level – and out of reach to the casual buyer.
There was a time, maybe four or five years ago, where I thought to myself, "If I read another article about the Google cafeteria, I may have to throw my laptop across the room." I admit we have an odd obsession with work life at the elite tech companies. Perhaps it is the fantasy that some day my office's mediocre vending machine that is filled with instant noodles and potato chips will metamorphosize into free, fresh salads and quesadillas for all.
When planning New Stream's week-long focus on the internet in China, I realized that I had no idea what working at a Chinese internet company was like. Did young college graduates in China dream of a job at Baidu or Tencent? Did the creativity that permeates places like Facebook apply to China's tech giants as well?
Well, CNN's Eunice Yoon went inside Baidu to find out. Check out her refreshing look at life as a worker-bee at a Chinese internet giant. By the way, she told me the canteen there was excellent.Try the hot pot.
For any China nerd, this is a blog to bookmark
For example, this is one of the top ten search results today: "qiang xing qu shen" (强行取肾) refers to a young man in Hunan who had his kidney forcibly removed by criminals. The classic, and sordid, urban legend is retold in today's China.
And early last week, a "list of uncivilized civilians" or "bu wenming shimin" (不文明市民) made it to the top of Baidu's real-time search results. Officials in Wuhan turned to naming and shaming bad drivers, jaywalkers and litterbugs to crackdown on bad behavior. Unsurprisingly, the move generated much online debate.
Baidu Beat also keeps an eye on new phrases coined by China's Netizens. For example, "ni dong de" (你懂的). It translates as "you know it" and is used to indicate something better left unsaid be it something between friends or a sensitive political issue. Net meme hipsters take note - "ni dong de" scored as Baidu's top new Internet phrase of last year.