Calling the courier with the SF Express App to deliver your documents

If you want to send packages or documents in Hong Kong to Shenzhen, China one of the most effective package delivery companies is SF Express. I was looking to send some company documents from Hong Kong to my Shenzhen office.

There must be an app for that so I searched the iTunes app store and downloaded the FLEXISHIP SF Express app.

Upon downloading and launching the iPhone app I was presented with a screen to select my location:

Choose your location. (this app is not for within China)
Choose your location. (this app is not for within China)

After Choosing Hong Kong you will need to register an account this was not the smoothest for me because when I tried to send a text message to my phone number to get the verification code it took a while to come so the count down clock in the app expired twice. Luckily I finally go the message and registration was complete.

After a welcome screen you are plopped on the home screen where I selected “New Order”:

Main Screen of SF Express App
Main Screen of SF Express App

On the next screen fill out the shipper info which means creating a new address entry in the apps address book. I set this as my default address since I plan to use it frequently.

New Shipment Screen
New Shipment Screen

Some of the other fields I wasn’t so clear on what to fill out as I rarely send items these days but I put in for Shipment content “documents” and the value I chose seems to be a minimum of USD$1.00 same with the weight I could not go lower than 1 kg.

For the destination you must choose the country such as “China” the full address will have to be put on the shipping label. As this was my first time ordering I didn’t have any shipping labels so the courier gave me extra envelopes and labels.

Here is how I fille dout the fields.
Here is how I fille dout the fields.

When you have all the fields in you can schedule the pickup for today or the next day.

Notice the little tool icon int he upper right corner of the “New Order” screen? It allows you to get rates so you have an idea of how much the shipment will cost. Here is an example Shipment from Hong Kong to Shenzhen:

Shipments from HK to Shenzhen can cost around HKD$53
Shipments from HK to Shenzhen can cost around HKD$53

Once your order is placed you can check on the status in the “My SF” tab of the app where it has your open orders and a handy service number which you can call.

The app also shows you a list of nearby stores that offer SF Express pickup which include 7-11s.

This app can help when you are doing business in Shenzhen by making it easier to send documents to your Shenzhen lawyer or accountant.

Keepoo Cafe cupcake specialist in Xiamihu 1979 mall

Cupcakes in Shenzhen

Starting in Guangzhou Keepo 1979 opened in the new Xiamihu mall called 1979.

Now you can order cupcakes in Shenzhen for birthday parties, company parties and special occasions.

They offered me some coffee made of coffee beans from Kenya with a slight tomato taste.

coffee at keepoo cafe
Kenyan coffee beans at keepoo cafe

I opted for the Strawberry cupcake which said it used Japanese milk.

Shenzhen Cupcakes
One of many flavors of cupcakes

Normally 25RMB they gave me a 20% discount which was generous and appropriate when I am eating cupcakes I am comparing them to the gold standard Sift in Hong Kong. Those are really the best cupcakes in Hong Kong and I regularly smuggle them over the border for friends and staff. This strawberry cupcake was filled with a a strawberry flavored filling and so gave me the feeling I was eating strawberry shortcake. Overall the taste was good but I am still partial to the Hong Kong cupcakes and the list price in HK is 25HKD and the list price in Shenzhen is 25RMB. Something doesn’t seem right here.

Filling in Cupcake
Cream Filling in Strawberry Cupcake

Keepoo is a good destination if you have a car or want to take a taxi you can sit outside looking over the Honey lake and abandoned Scooby Doo like haunted amusement park.

I saw a familiar face on their wall former long time Shenzhen resident Jesse Warren was sporting a cupcake filled grin.

Photagraphy in Shenzhen by Jesse Warren
Shenzhen Photographer Jesse Warren
Inside of Keepo Cupcake Shop
Inside of Keepo Cupcake Shop
Keepoo Address Details in Xiamihu Shenzhen
Keepoo Address Details in Xiamihu Shenzhen
20RMB cupcake discount
20RMB cupcake discount

Shenzhen is the Best Place to Learn Mandarin in China

Introduction to Mandarin in Shenzhen

Normally when you think of South China you think that everyone speaks Cantonese but Shenzhen is the exception that makes it a tropical heaven for learning Chinese.

Shenzhen Mandarin Speakers are Abundant

When an place starts as a fishing village and explodes to a population of over 12 million these people have to come from somewhere and they have come from all over China. Many Shenzhen immigrants are from the neighboring provinces but they also arrive from as far flung cities as harbin. Since Chinese are taught Putonghua in school they all end up using Mandarin as the lingua franca to communicate with each other when they arrive in Shenzhen.

Tropical Mandarin Immersion Paradise

Shenzhen is also a very comfortable place to live. It is on the cleaner side as far as Chinese cities go and has a very well thought out metro system. The Shenzhen weather is generally nice all year round unless you can’t get used to the hot and sticky rainy summers. Still the city offers tropical beaches with Hong Kong right next door so you can escape the city and grab any kind of thing you miss from home.

The combination of a great climate and a huge Mandarin speaking population makes Shenzhen the perfect destination for those that want to come to China and study the Chinese language. Immerse yourself with Chinese speaking friends and colleagues while finding private tutors, language schools or full time Mandarin programs.

Types of Mandarin Courses in Shenzhen

Take a class as a group or hire a private tutor Some Mandarin language schools offer nighttime and weekend Chinese language courses. After basic Mandarin out of the way you can consider a full immersion half day Mandarin course for multiple semesters to become fluent in Chinese. There are programs from many providers that will meet your needs so you don’t have an excuse to keep up on your Mandarin language skills.

Suggested Mandarin Language Schools

Shenzhen University is the best option for intense Mandarin language study where you basically go back to becoming a full time student attending class in the morning and using your afternoons to study.

Mandarin language centres such as Jiahua Mandarin Language School and New Concept Mandarin offer the night and evening classes mentioned above. You can even probably find weekend classes if you want to study Mandarin and stay away from Coco Park

ShenzhenParty.com has a full list of Shenzhen based Mandarin language schools in the education section of the site.

HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) Test Centers in Shenzhen

Shenzhen University offers a HSK examination center when you reach an advanced Chinese level. After obtaining a high proficiency in Mandarin Chinese you can take the HSK to prove to future employers your Chinese speaking ability.

Learn Mandarin Online from Home

Finally if you are time starved because your boss is keeping you late at work, most of the language schools offer online Mandarin tutoring over skype or other apps. Skilled Mandarin language tutors will practice with you over video or audio conferencing.

Conclusion

Though Beijing is the capital and many good Mandarin language universities exist there you are going to want to come study Chinese where it is warm all year round and you can pick up a neutral accent as opposed to the heavy thick accent of most Beijinger’s. Choose Shenzhen as your first destination to start your Mandarin studies and you won’t regret it.

Qianhai Free Trade Zone being used to export for ecommerce and to store moon cakes

The Shenzhen government continues to iterate on the Shenzhen Qianhai Free Trade Zone.

Exports in the Qianhai area from online sales quadrupled during the first half of this year to over 2 million packages, bureau officials said at a press conference yesterday.

Source: 【Hot双语】New govt. policies look to stimulate FTZ 政府新政推动自贸区建设发展

Shenzhen Airport has three new international flight routes

Now China Southern Airlines will fly you from Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport to Osaka Japan, Ibaraki Japan, and Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

In the coming week, two other international routes, one to Ibaraki, Japan, and the other to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, will be put into operation, the airline’s Shenzhen company said at the launch ceremony of the flight to Osaka at Shenzhen International Airport.

Source: 【Travel】Airline opens three new intl. routes 深圳机场新增三条国际航线

Shenzhen Realestate Apartments sold and prices up

Barron’s has an article about Shenzhen’s Property Market increasing the volume of apartments sold by 122% year on year with prices rising 20% year on year.

China’s stock correction could foil its property rebound, but Shenzhen Investment is on solid ground.

Source: Shenzhen Developer Towers Amid Slowdown

Live Music is Spread throughout Shenzhen

In each pocket of expat life in Shenzhen there are areas of live music.

Shenzhen Live Music the Three Main areas

There are three main areas to watch live music in Shenzhen are Futian Coco Park, the OCT Loft, and Shekou Seaworld.

Shekou Seaworld

Many Shekou Bars are aimed at expats featuring live music as it is of interest among the expat community. Some expats event moonlight as musicians. In Shekou Seaworld square there are multiple bars within walking distance where you can watch live perforances. Destinations are The Terrace as well as X-TA-SEA on the Minghua Boat.

Most of the bands are cover bands singing current pop hits. Shekou is known for quality live music but not so much for original live music.

OCT Loft (Overseas Chinese Town)

If you are more interested in original music Overseas Chinese Town’s OCT Loft has become the destination. Close to the Huaqiaocheng subway stop with convenient transportation. The spot in downtown Shenzhen for artists sprinkled with cafes, art galleries and restaurants. The main attraction for live music lovers are jazz bar Penny Black Cafe which features outdoor seating and live jazz music bringing in artists locally, from Hong Kong, and beyond. For touring bands B10 Live is the most active venue running jazz festivals and having something on most nights of the week. Idutang is also of note for its italian food and live performances.

Coco Park (Futian)

Coco Park & Gouwugongyuan is the magnet of the shenzhen nightlife scene heavily focused more on the clubbing scene you can also enjoy open mic nights and live bands. McCawley’s Futain on the second floor is a consistent place to find a cover band while La Casa will have amature musicians once a week.

Live Music in Shenzhen the Conclusion

The best live music in Shenzhen depends on your tastes but you can find varieties in the above sections of Shenzhen. The most original music in OCT Loft with more of the commercial and pop music in Coco Park and Shekou areas. Other live rock bars dot the area and you can find a complete list of venues in the ShenzhenParty.com live music directory.