A third year of total scrap; party at the Russian pavilion.

Last year, on the occasion of Shanghai Scrap’s second anniversary, I swore that I wouldn’t do a post marking Shanghai Scrap’s third anniversary. However, recent events – namely, Expo 2010 (World’s Fair) – have convinced me that an anniversary post is definitely in order. Long-time readers may recall that I used last year’s anniversary post to list the top 5 most popular posts from the last twelve months. However, due to the fact that the most popular posts from the most recent 12 months were all Expo-related, I’m going to take this (self-imposed) opportunity to list the five most popular non-Expo related posts from the last months. The purpose of this exercise – and it’s quite sincere – is to remind myself and regular readers that Expo is not forever, and I fully intend to resume blogging about other subjects, and soon (a few more Expo posts in the works, though). Until then, allow me to exhibit to you just what happens in the Russian restaurant beside the Russian Expo pavilion after the Expo closes at midnight.

There’s a whole lot more of this Expo after-hours business available for those looking for it. And, if I were a certain local city blog, I’d try to find somebody who could get in and write about the phenomenon. Here at Shanghai Scrap, we’re interested in more staid Expo-related subjects.

Anyway, for the record, the most popular Shanghai Scrap post of the last 12 months – and, as of this weekend, the all-time most popular Shanghai Scrap post – is the recent Reporter’s Guide to the USA Pavilion Debacle at Expo 2010. But, as noted above, this blog has long been about more than the Expo. So, without further ado, the top five most popular non-Expo related Shanghai Scrap posts of the last 12 months.

  1. Giant UFO Over Shanghai. [Sigh. Two years after I posted it mostly as a lark, it remains the #2 search result if you google ‘UFO Shanghai’. Who knew people were still looking?]
  2. Buddhist protests and Muslim riots. [Some thoughts on the initial media coverage of the riots in Urumqi  last July. It also touches on the untenable online correction policy at the New York Times – a subject to which I returned a couple of months ago.].
  3. Why are 40,000 containers of scrap metal idling in Hong Kong and Guangzhou? [To my everlasting surprise, this was widely linked by blogs with no interest in Scrap, but considerable interest in how China operates.]
  4. Interview: Monday Night Football’s play-by-play man in China airs it out. [Tied with the criminally under-appreciated 141 Shanghai Christmas trees post as my favorite post of the year. Considerable thanks to NFL China for agreeing to it.]
  5. “I’m a big supporter of non-censorship” [My extremely unpopular but heavily trafficked criticism of Obama’s performance at his November 2009 town hall in Shanghai. My critics suggested that it hailed a grand new moment in US-Chinese relations; seven months later, I’d say they over-sold it.]

A couple of quick observations. First, despite the fact that I consider this blog – primarily – a reported blog, the most popular posts – with a few exceptions (most of my Expo posts) – remain opinion pieces. Second, the foreign audience for serious China blogging (say, my 2008 posts about the iron ore trade) remains a niche; that is to say, if you’re an English-language China blogger in need of traffic, you’d best connect your China material with something that isn’t China-related (ie, the Expo, Obama, sex). Bluntly put, around here at least, the serious China blogging does less than 10% of the traffic that a one-off post about a disgusting new snack available at Shanghai-area Starbucks outlets does. And, to be honest, I’m probably with my readers on that one.


  1. No. Not sick of blogging, but rather seriously considering whether or not it continues to be worth the trouble to blog niche subjects for a niche audience. This blog’s readership has expanded considerably over the last six months, and – with apologies to my serious China readers – that expansion has been built on lighter China-related subjects that connect to other interests. For some time now I’ve been keen to reach an audience broader than just the sinophiles (of whom, it must be said, supported this blog during its earliest days) and scrap dealers (of whom, it must be said, prefer that I continue to provide them with free and timely scrap market and regulatory-oriented info). So I’m thinking a bit.

  2. Certainly your Guibei stories are interesting, but as you noticed with the traffic the container post got, they appeal to a wider audience when they aren’t quite so jargony and specific, instead illustrating more how china works or how the story was written (image of you on a high lift unforgettable). It will be interesting to see what direction you want to go. If it doesn’t suck, people will still read 🙂

    I’ve been sending that Expo guide to everyone I know. You may want to bookmark it on the sidebar.

  3. Russian party is very good, Angola up the street also has a good party scene, and the Cuban pavilion is a bar.

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