Every year, ATC goes and flies every FTE (full time employee) to an offsite meeting somewhere in China. This year we went to Hainan Island which is a province very close to Vietnam. Think of Hainan as similar to Thailand (both the good and bad aspects) but filled with Chinese people.

No vacation or offsite is complete without a link to the pictures from the event. I compared my pictures with that of my colleagues and I have tried my best to go beyond the standard Chinese tourist pictures of people standing in front of something. Yes, my pictures are both blurry and out of focus but I blame the camera :).

One local woman whose picture I tookl asked if I can send her her pictures.

"Sure" I said, "what's your e-mail?"

"I don't have an e-mail," she replies.

"How can you not have e-mail? Everyone has an e-mail. Its free on Hotmail or Gmail."

"Well, I have an account on QQ chat, can you send me my picture there?"

(QQ is the number 1 chat platform in China and beats MSN Messenger hands down for users in China.)

"errr, I don't have an account there, do you have an MSN Messenger account?" I asked.

"no, why do I need e-mail  if I have QQ?" she replied.

I fear opening a QQ account and the flood of spyware that will surely follow. So here we have another strange China trend of people having chat accounts but no e-mail. For the most part, I think she feels that chat really is e-mail since you can send messages and files via QQ anyway. Why bother getting real e-mail when most or all of her friends and contacts are probably on QQ anyway.

-frank yu