Author Archives: Jason Li

Book Review: China Airborne by James Fallows

In China Airborne, Fallows skillfully uses the rise and uncertain future of the aviation industry in China as a parable for the development in China. An avid political-economic analyst and storyteller, Fallows’ account is surprisingly easy to read, given the complexity of his argument that China is “contradictory” yet exciting. Fallows is a charismatic writer […]

Fact checking the hype around mesh networks and FireChat

Being based in Hong Kong, my tech friends and I still occasionally get asked, “So what’s the deal with FireChat?” In case you missed it, FireChat, a smartphone chat app with basic mesh support, made headlines during the recent Occupy Hong Kong protests. Protesters on the ground here turned to it in late September when […]

Chinese video meme hit used for PLA recruitment ad

Excerpted from Quartz’s excellent What China’s 2014 internet memes said about the country’s hopes and fears: Little Apple. A retro-sounding dance hit by two former Youku stars, the Chopstick Brothers, is China’s version of “Gangnam Style.” The song xiao pingguo, or “Little Apple,” is irreverent, annoyingly catchy, and bizarre, with a politically incorrect music video featuring the two male singers, seemingly […]

Localized WeChat ad sells its animated stickers, nails it

Created by Hong Kong-based artist-designer Ping Wong for the Hong Kong market.

Book Review: Understanding China through Comics, Volume 4: The Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 – 1912)

The fourth volume of “Understanding China Through Comics” takes us through the final six centuries of imperial rule in China. In it, we find the final emperors of China attempting various reforms in the face of foreign invasion, occupation and, ultimately, humiliation. Liu continues his formidable task of tackling the entirety of Chinese history, with […]

霓虹的製作 The Making of Neon Signs

Who knew that neon lights (powered by neon gas, not LEDs) were such an artisan’s craft? More details about this preservation and exhibition project here.

A Figurine Maker’s Journey Through China

Boing Boing recently published a great feature from Jared Zichek, an avid entrepreneur who manufactures and sells classic-comics action figures. In the feature, Jared talks about his prototyping, manufacturing and sales process – part of it happen in the US, part of it in Hong Kong and part of it in China. Here’s a juicy […]

How the Umbrella ‘Revolution’ meme hurt the movement in Hong Kong

  The ongoing protests for democracy in Hong Kong have been dubbed by many as the “Umbrella Revolution.” But days before the term was created, the dominant internet meme supporting the protests was built around student selfies accompanied by hashtags #HKClassBoycott and #HKStudentStrike. This was in line with what was then a students-only protest. Supporters […]

Kendra Schaefer’s Field Guide to Implementing Chinese Fonts in CSS

Beijing-based designer Kendra Schaefer has created an incredibly valuable resource in writing up: Chinese Standard Web Fonts: A Guide to CSS Font Family Declarations for Web Design in Simplified Chinese. While you’d best head to Kendra’s site for the full details, we’ve included some highlights below: Good Rules for Using Chinese fonts in CSS Use […]

Xiaomi’s vaguely familiar design and a Chinese bitcoin mine

In case you’re not following consultant-turned-VC Benedict Evans‘ newsletter on mobile technology (which is excellent and highly recommended), here are the China-related gems from this week: Xiaomi unveiled the latest version of its custom flavor of Android. Lot of interesting and innovative features in there. The design language, though, looks… vaguely familiar. Link Apple is […]