Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 5 years 11 months ago

Before I start research I thought of some key searches to put into the internet. My key searches are: Small Business, Chinese/Bai Cultural Work, Chinese Work traditions, Taxation on stores In China. On the internet sometimes information is invalid and/or incorrect. The way I determine if information is found on a website is valid is if other websites have same or similar information on them I can be assured that the information is valid unless, of course both sites can be incorrect. Another way of determining if a source is trustworthy is of when, where, and how it is presented, this means if I find information on a forum it may not be really accurate, but if it is information found on a government site I believe I can trust it more. I need to remember to state who is responsible for that information and who has ownership over it. In some cases on some websites the author put his or her name on the piece of work. In books it is really easy to give respect to the author due to having their name on the book. In Xizhou I can ask specific people and mention their name when putting the information on my Inquiry Project.

For additional research I went to look out for some experts in the field of the economy of small-business. I have contacted four experts which are: Dr. Carney, Dr. Argheyd, Dr. Dyer and Professor Abraia. I have explained to them the purpose of Microcampus and what I specifically want from this experience. These four experts have graduated and studied the specifics of the small-businesses in China and small ownership business. Dr. Carney graduated from John Molson School of Business, with a degree in South-East Asian Economies and Family run business in China. Dr. Argheyd graduated with a degree in Management Strategy, Ethics, China/Hong Kong Buisness. Dr. Dyer is a Professor of Economic Managment and has a degree in Small Business Ownership. Last, but not least Professor Abraia graduated from John Molson School of Business and his expertise is Aboriginal Economic Community, Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship. This four experts I found have met a certain level of expertise that I believe they can help me with some of my research.

Dear Dr. Carney,

My name is Jorge Rada and I am doing a project here in Xizhou, Yunnan, China for a month. I am doing this due to my school (Shanghai American School) has chosen a group of students to visit Xizhou and work on a project of their own for a month. My topic is The Economics of a Small Family-run Business. For more information on the whole system visit: .  I was wondering if you could help on figuring out some good questions to answer and maybe you could help me answer some of the ones I already have. Here are some of my questions:


Xizhou Baba questions:

1. How did this Business start?

As I stated in question seven I think so people will not be able to answer this question due to being in use for various generations. Of course there is a choice is some occasions, but sometimes people become farmers because of specific reasons and stories I want to look into.

2. Who in the family is involved in this Business?

I think the Xizhou Baba restaurant has the father, mother and grandmother working in the household, but I want to know if other places do the same.

3. I wonder how many Xizhou Baba are made per day in the little store per day?

If I can figure out how many are made a day and/or how many are made every 10 minutes I can create some specific long term calculations.

4. What percent of the money in the business goes to the materials and power that hold up the business?

Due to China having a communist party for a government I suppose a large quantity of the income goes to the government, but I don't know if Xizhou is an exception or the I have a different idea of China's government. 

5. How long has the business been around for?

Here in Xizhou it seems that lots of people know each other. I suppose that some businesses have been going on for generations, but some of them are new like the one which opened a few days ago with an explosion with fireworks. 

6. What they want for the future generations?

Everyone wants the best for their children, but in Xizhou I think want people want is their decedents to grow into their foot-steps. I for example want to be like my father is, a hard working engineer.

7. How long are the work hours? 

Out on the fields the work starts early to the sun-rise and I guess it ends when the sun comes down. For shopkeepers and restaurant owners don't have many costumers due to lots of them going home at sun-down, so I believe they can't close much later.

8. I want to know how long the store is open for?

I am guessing an average of 5 hours of working time per day.

9 . When do the "employees" take breaks? How long?

I don't know of any regulations on work house in Xizhou, but I guess a 1 hour break in the middle of the day sounds reasonable. 

10. How much income is gained on a good day/month of sales? Even with the usage on income for materials and other essential needs.

I have no idea how to answer this question. This question can only be answered by the person I am asking it to. It also depends of the success of the month/day.

11. How do they keep track of the money coming in?

I believe that they keep their money from selling Baba's in a specific place in the store, but I truly need to find more information.

Thank You for your time,

Jorge ________

Soon after I arrived in Xizhou, I told myself that I should have some adults to help me with my research and ask a few questions of my own. In the Linden centre and her YZR I talked to Xi zao (a lady with an antic shop next to the laundry place) and Xiao Tang. Later in the village I met some great friendly restaurant owners. I met Mr. Yang the Golden Flower Restaurant owner. He told me to talk to him ask some of my question to him whenever I like. I think I should go visit him to get some trustworthy information of long term business. Then I asked myself three questions after talking to some adults.

  • Who might help? 
  • What expertise might they offer?
  • Why I chose these 3 to 5 people?

After talking to my teachers and Xiao Tang I decided that going to the local Xizhou BaBa (type of pancake/pizza) restaurant next to the Old Time Snack (restaurant) in Si Fang Jie would be a good idea. What is good about this BaBa place is that it is run by a single family containing the father, mother and the grandmother. I know that they can answer lots of my questions even though they may re-direct me to a different shop near by. 

To get the best of the information I got I wrote down of specific resources and ideas I got from some of my 3-5 minute conversations. I know that the BaBa place has lots of what I am looking for such as the idea of a family running the restaurant. Mr. Yang offered his restaurant as well even though it is not specialized in the Xizhou Baba, but the menu contains many other foods. Mr. Tafel (our chaperone) and I thought that getting some ideas from some farmers can be interesting to know the way food is sold an who owns the land.

For some additional research I went to the library here in the Linden Centre to see if I could find some books to help me in my research. I chose two books which were: The Chinese Economy written by Barry Naughton and A Social and Economic Atlas of Western China compiled by Jin Fengjun and Qian Jinkai, Translated by Wang Pingxing.

Hello my name is Jorge. I am a student in the 9th grade at SAS Pudong. I am Mexican and have lived in five different countries which are: Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Brazil and China. I am 14 years old and I am super excited to help anyone going to Xizhou by participating in this great opportunity called Microcampus. I went to Xizhou in April-May 2013 and if anyone has questions be sure to ask me. I have five different people in my family, my father, mother, older sister, younger brother and myself.