What’s fast in China: Courier services. Sometimes, one can send a small package to another city, say, Shenzhen to Guangzhou, and receive it on the same day.
What’s slow: Banking. They can never figure out the Central Government policy what to do when. For some time there is retaliation with the US currency, so the banks are not allowed to freely make currency conversions. For example, I wire some US dollars to my own account in China. I can not exchange it in to RMB online, I have to come into the branch, present my ID, and then convert. That means I have to fly to the China branch each time. Ridiculous. Or rather, ‘China Specialty’.
What else is slow in China: Banking. I go to a branch to convert some USD into RMB. Form after form, copy after copy of my passport, and extensive reading and keying in of information later, and rejecting most of my bills later, and filling out a foreigner’s foreign exchange form later, and manager’s approval later, and some other mysterious behind the scenes manuvering later, I was made to sign a few more forms, and got my currency exchanged. 45 minutes flat, if lucky, but who’s counting?
The same scenario in Hong Kong? 3 minutes at the most, and that includes me counting my money very slowly just so I don’t get whiplash from the speed of the exchange.
What more is slow in China: Long haul buses. To make some extra unethical bucks, bus drivers would sometimes stop in the middle of the highway, pick up a few more passengers without tickets, and pocket the money. A direct drive from station to station can involve a dozen or more inappropriate pick up stops.
What is fast in China: High speed trains from most major cities now. Impressive reduction of travel time for me to go from farm to farm. If only not a quarter of the other passengers either did not have tickets or pretended to have tickets or had tickets going elsewhere and end up arguing with the ticket attendants when they walk around to check, disturbing my naps.