Midnight taxi in Shanghai

An Expert's View about Business Culture in China

Posted on: 11 Apr 2013

Midnight Taxi in Shanghai

As the buyer and merchandise manager at Monaco, I was always on the search for merchandise and product lines that were different from our competitors', sometimes not even available in the US, my international buyer background was perfect for that.
I discovered that a Chinese company manufactured crystal with the same pate-de-verre technique as Daum, and decided to visit them in Shanghai.
My flight to San Francisco was delayed and I missed my connection, thus arriving five hours late past midnight to a winter cold, dark Shanghai airport. The driver my partner sent left already, all I found was a Chinese girl holding a sign with my name telling me that my luggage will come the next day. Great.
As I walked out  to the taxi station to get at the end of a quarter-mile long line waiting for the official yellow taxi, it struck me right away how the atmosphere in Communist Shanghai was exactly the one I grew up with in Hungary, only the signs were different.
It was this revelation that made me look on the side - and there they were:  all the "black" taxi drivers. Exhausted and ready to call it a day I jumped in the car of a man who did not speak English, not knowing whether he indeed will bring me to my hotel or I forever disappear at the slums of Shanghai.
I ended up designing a whole US crystal collection for this company, starting with pieces I found in the rat infested warehouse that they considered " failures" not being marketable locally, but were some of the most magnificent crystal pieces I have ever seen. 

Posted: 11 April 2013

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