Why the 88th issue?

Looking back – and ahead – after two years of Week in China

Why, you might ask, are we treating the 88th issue as a big deal? Normally, magazines reserve the 100th edition to produce a celebratory special issue, right?

For Week in China we decided it was more appropriate to focus on a number that the Chinese themselves find auspicious. And that number is 8; and it’s especially auspicious when it’s 88.

In China the number 8 is associated with wealth and fortune. It was no coincidence that when Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics, it scheduled the opening ceremony to begin on the 8th minute of the 8th hour of the 8th day of the 8th month. Whether or not you believe in numerology, it didn’t seem to do any harm: the city of Beijing delivered one of the most successful Olympiads ever, and dazzled the world.

It was just a few months later that Week in China was launched. Since early 2009 we’ve written almost 2,000 articles covering topics that span areas as diverse as wind power, banking, steel production and online social networking. We hope we have delivered information and insight in a readable way, and offered tidbits of information to pique your curiosity, such as:

Why it’s thanks to America that China drives on the right side of the road (US army general Albert C Wedemeyer told Chiang Kai-shek in the 1940s that if he wanted to receive any more American vehicles, he had to make the switch, as too many US soldiers were getting injured in car accidents on Chinese roads)

Why July 26, 2010 was a momentous day for the global car industry (it was the first time a Chinese consumer bought a fully electric car)

– Why last year’s most controversial purchase was a dog (a Shanxi billionaire paid $586,000 for a Tibetan Mastiff. The canine was then greeted at the airport by a convoy of 30 Mercedes limousines. China now has 189 billionaires).

During the time we’ve been publishing, China has steered a course through the global financial crisis, and emerged as the world’s second biggest economy. They have been a momentous couple of years. So in this special issue, we’ve decided to look at what we deem to have been the 8 big themes to shape China during that time. And in the second half of the issue, we give our view on the 8 things you should watch out for in 2011.

We hope you find it a thought-provoking edition, and a useful aid to understanding China and putting it in context. That, after all, has been our mission since issue 1.


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