Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Welcome to China Mobile

China MobileThis could be complicated.

Like everyone else in China, I have a mobile phone, but it’s not registered in my name. When I got it, several years ago, it wasn’t so easy for a foreigner (laowai) to get a phone. The computer program they were using demanded a Chinese person’s ID card number, which I don’t have. So it is registered in a Chinese friend’s name.

Many years later, another friend, who works for a large public institution which I am not going to identify, calls me and says

“All the staff here can join a scheme where you register your number with the mobile company and then co-workers can call each other free!”

“Very interesting”, I mumble back.

“Do you want to join the scheme? Then we can call each other for free”

“But I don’t work for your organisation!”

“So? They don’t know that.”

So, I was duly registered. And for the last year or two we have called each other for free and saved around ¥20. Last week, she calls me again.

“The mobile company are making a special offer. If you deposit ¥500 in the account, they will credit you with another ¥500 for free.”

“Sounds good to me,” says the Liuzhou Laowai.

But. I can’t do this myself. I have to track down original friend and borrow her ID card, hand the ID card over to the other friend (along with the ¥500).

She goes to the Telecom office with my friends ID card, some proof that she works for the organisation in question, and does the deal for her ‘colleague’ who is ‘too busy to come herself’. Let me summarise. A young woman walks into a telephone company shop, shows an ID card of someone completely different (and considerably older) and gets a special offer for someone who doesn’t work in the institution concerned and it’s the Laowai’s phone anyway.

Situation normal. Welcome to China! So now my phone is full of money! I might call you!

. This entry was posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2006 at 2:46 pm and is filed under Liuzhou Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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