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Beijing Taxi Cards

DLB declares: Beijing Taxi Cards are a great little product.

Taxi Key to the City makes these nice Taxi Cards, cards you give to a taxi driver in a foreign country (here, China) to explain to him or her where you want to go, as almost certainly you don’t speak Chinese, and on my experience, Beijing taxi drivers in particular speak just enough English to make it very dangerous to try to communicate.

The 'How they work' diagram from
DLB loves this diagram, from the Beijing Taxi Cards website.

When I was in China, I stayed with a family of American ex-patriots, and they lived in an ex-patriot community. They give out packages of these kind of taxi cards when you move in. The ones they give you are specific to your neighborhood, whereas the ones sold here are more general (they are mainly targeted at tourists for the 2008 Olympics).

When I didn’t have access to the handy pack of taxi cards, I had to resort to asking a Chinese person to making some for me. I did this quite a lot, and it was always an exercise in anxiety. In fact, you really just transpose your communication anxiety onto another person; now, the question became whether or not you could successfully communicate the information to the person whom you asked to make the card, as opposed to the taxi driver.

This is a card I had a nice Chinese woman make for me.
This is a card I had a nice Chinese woman make for me.

Seeing these reminded me of Seth’s post earlier this month, it’s the perfect “low hanging fruit,” business plan. A nice little design firm idea.

I would have paid ten bucks for this, in a heartbeat.
This is the card I wish I had when I was there.

So, I can tell you two things about these cards:

  1. Learn from my experience. If you’re going to China for the Olympics, this is a product that will save you a lot of strife.
  2. There’s still only one Amazon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make money selling taxi cards.
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PaulJul 28, 2008

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