I've been using logmein for many years now. It's free and it just works. I'm living in China now, and my pc's at home are behind a DD-WRT router running OpenVPN with a dynamic (not-fixed) US IP address. Even when the VPN drops out, and everything ends up on a Chinese IP address, it still works. There is even an android client that works from my single core 7" lenovo tablet with China Unicom 3G service. Amazingly, it j u s t w o r k s.
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You aren't looking in the right place. Alibaba is merely the parent company. They own taobao.com who owns tmall.com The latter two are the two main places to go for cheap EVERYTHING and a lot of consumers in China know this too.
I'm not Chinese, but I'm temporarily living here, and you sir, are correct, as far as I'm concerned. Taobao, Youku, Baidu and Sina are the Ebay, Youtube, Google and Twitter. What's wrong with spreading the wealth to the local peeps? Rich, American billionaires don't NEED to be that much richer. How much is enough?
Yes, the rate of change (I hesitate to automatically label things reforms because it's different from what was done in the past. Reform to me implies improvement.) may be too slow for social democrats, but it's a 5,000 year old civilization with now history of democracy. Let them change a their own pace -- they are patient and that's what they will do anyway.
Actually, Amazon is in China: www.amazon.com.cn Never use it though.
I moved to Beijing from Los Angeles, a little over a year ago. I thought that my online ordering days were over -- loved that I could order things from Yugster, or Newegg, or TigerDirect and receive within a couple of days, but I was so wrong. Yes, Taobao is great, and they have an authentication system (with security tokens) for both buyers and sellers that is pretty serious. Way more complicated than US online transactions. Many foreigners haven't figured it out, but my non-Chinese speaking wife has. She could start a business ordering for "laowei". Never mind taobao, there's also 360buy.com. I order before 10am and it arrives same day at my office if they have it in stock. Their website tells you accurately whether they do have the item in stock.
Prices are sometimes seriously good. Retail margins are very high in the B&M world compared to the West. What has impressed me is that so many people have jumped on the online train. There are chinese people that order EVERYTHING online, groceries, toilet paper, EVERYTHING. Shipping is normally $1-2USD. Ridiculously low. There may be many parts of China that look like they are developing, but with respect to online, they are ahead of us. I'm still shocked sometimes.
That's fantastic! So it sounds like it is working. Competition. What a concept. $5/MB is highway robbery! Why do people put up with it?!?! When I do come back to Canada, I'll be with WIND. No way I'm giving my money to the robber barons. Canadians are like sheep and just put up with it like they have no choice. Or they just do without and get left behind and are proud of it. I've met so many Canadians that proudly tell you that they don't have a cell phone, like it is a badge of honour. Like the luddites that tell you that they don't own a computer or don't know how to use one and make you feel like a freak or a geek because you are proficient.
There is a downside to progress for progress' sake, but having lived in the US for 4 years, I know that technological advance has in many ways increased my family's quality of life.
As their primary shareholder said, they are in it to make money, not just to be the hero, but Canada was being held back and anything to lower prices will increase market uptake. Competent regulators could have achieved the same effect without putting hundreds of millions of the Orascom guy's money on the line but hey, whatever it takes.
I was living in the US for a while and now I'm overseas, so I don't know all of the new players. Like I said, survey after survey has shown that Canadians pay much more for equivalent service than most other (developed and developing) countries. In the US, you essentially had local dialling anywhere in the US, whereas with Canadian plans, you drive a few minutes out of town and you are outside the local calling area and are hit with long distance charges. Those free minutes or so-called unlimited plans don't cover "long distance" calls.
I had been following the Wind issue closely and it looks to me that Cabinet went out on a limb to find a way to grant them their license. Good for them. The result of Wind's entry into the market (with lower prices of course) was an instant drop in the pricing of the incumbents. Why had the prices been so (artificially) high and how were they able to just lower them in an instant? That my friend, is evidence of an imperfect market with inadequate competition. A competent regulator would not have allowed things to get to where they were. The goal of any regulator charged with looking after a market with these characteristics is to set the rules in such a way that the interests of society at large and the interests of the investors is balanced. Why shouldn't business be entitled to REASONABLE profits? Not unlike electric and water utilities, and even taxi cabs. The other end of the spectrum is when corporations operate as if they have a license to print money.
Is Mobilicity a MVNO or have they actually invested in building their own networks? Are they national?
If there are good plans in Canada, people should all move away from the incumbents. There's got to be a catch in there. There is number portability in Canada so people should be able to take their phone numbers to competitive carriers right?
This CDMA vs GSM debate is totally off topic. WRT the merger question, the FCC is totally right. Like AT&T want to do, Rogers did acquire FIDO because this pesky little competitor in the GSM space (Bell and Telus have CDMA networks) dared come out with a very competitive "unlimited" plan (CityFido for those that remember). Friends of mine that were lawyers in this field were shocked that the CRTC allowed this merger to happen. At very least, they thought the CRTC would have used their regulatory authority to impose some undertakings, for example, you must grandfather not only CityFido subscribers, but continue to offer this plan for X number of years. They didn't and the first thing that Rogers did was essentially eliminate the CityFido plans as they had existed.
Now Canada has among the lowest rates of smartphone/cellphone usage and subcriber base in the world and surprise, among the highest smartphone/cellphone pricing in the world. Just google it and you will see. A survey I saw not long ago put Canada around Peru for cellphone subscription rates. What an embarassment.
It was a huge battle to bring in a competitor (Wind Mobile) because of the narrow interpretation of the legislation the CRTC used to the benefit of the incumbents. The Canadian market desperately needed new competitors to shake up the market because the incumbents were clearly operating as oligopolists and the regulator was letting it happen unabashed. It took an act of Cabinet to overrule the regulator and though rates have dropped 30% overnight, Wind is not having an easy go at it. The Egyptian financial backer actually regrets jumping into the market. Just google Wind Mobile in the news and you can see for yourself.
In this case, Canada is not living up to that mythical socialist ideal that so many Americans think we are. In the wireless space we are where the US incumbents want to be if they could buy off the politicians and the regulators. Less competition, more profits!!!! The Canadian wireless market is a textbook example of how certain industries NEED regulators to keep anticompetitive behaviour under control in order to encourage growth and advancement.
As a Canadian, I used to look longingly at the rapid pace of innovation and the menu of options you have in the US. Mega-mergers like this will take you along the path to where we are in Canada.
Good luck to you!