Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai.

Schmitz has won several awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards, an Education Writers Association award, and his work was a finalist for the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award. His reporting in Japan from the hardest-hit areas near the failing Fukushima nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami was included in the publication 100 Great Stories, celebrating the centennial of Columbia University’s Journalism School. In 2012, Schmitz exposed the fabrications in Mike Daisey’s account of Apple’s supply chain on This American Life. His report was featured in the show’s “Retraction” episode, the most downloaded episode in the program's 16-year history.

Prior to joining Marketplace, Schmitz was the Los Angeles bureau chief for KQED’s The California Report. He’s also worked as the Orange County reporter for KPCC, and as a reporter for MPR, covering rural Minnesota. Prior to his radio career, Schmitz lived and worked in China; first as a teacher in the Peace Corps, then as a freelance print and video journalist. His television documentaries about China have appeared on The Learning Channel and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Among the honors Schmitz has received for his work: the Overseas Press Club Scholarship (2001); The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalist award (2001); the Scripps Howard Religion Writing Fellowship (2001); the International Reporting Project Fellowship (2002); the National Federation of Community Broadcasters award (2002); Golden Mic awards from the Radio and TV News Association of Southern California (2005 and 2006); the Peninsula Press Club award (2006); the ASU Media Fellowship, (2007); the Abe Fellowship for Journalists, (2009); the Education Writers Association (2011); finalist, Investigative Reporters and Editors award (2013); two national Edward R. Murrow awards (2012 and 2014). In 2011, the Rubin Museum of Art screened a short documentary Schmitz shot in Tibet.

Schmitz has a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. He’s lived in Spain, Australia, and China.

A native of Elk River, Minn., Schmitz currently resides in Shanghai, a city that’s far enough away from his hometown to avoid having to watch his favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings. Sometimes, he says, that’s a good thing. 



Features by Rob Schmitz

Growing coffee in China's tea country

Tea has been an intrinsic part of Chinese culture for thousands of years, but with more urban Chinese demanding coffee, more tea farmers in China's tea-growing regions are also growing coffee.
Posted In: Agriculture, China

Leaves of Wrath

It doesn't take an economist to figure out why farmers whose families have grown tea for generations in China's Pu'er region are now dropping eve...

Chinese officials propose a property tax to fight potential bubble

Until recently, Chinese homeowners didn't have to pay annual property taxes. But the government fears there's a property bubble, and to fight it, residents of Chongqing will begin paying property taxes.

China's death toll from smoking could triple over the next two decades, says report

According to a new report, China's annual death toll from smoking could triple over the next two decades. Rob Schmitz reports.

A black market for mooncakes in China

China's Mid-Autumn Festival and its tradition of eating mooncakes has lent itself to an underground economy worth billions.
Posted In: Food

China: A look back and a look ahead

Kai Ryssdal talks to China bureau chief Rob Schmitz about China's rapid growth, the problems it is causing, and what the government plans to do about it.

Frequent Flyers of China, Unite!

China's got a lot of laws. Enforcing them is another story. Last week while waiting for my flight at Shanghai's Hongqiao airport, I witnessed an ...
Posted In: Airlines

What happens if the tension between North and South Korea gets worse?

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith speaks to Asia Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz about North and South Korea, and how escalating tension between the two countries could affect the global economy.

A land grab in the Chinese countryside

Cities across China are racing to modernize with urban features like high-rise apartments and performing arts centers. Residents on the outskirts are angry that they're driven from their homes and given little reimbursement to aid their move into the city.
Posted In: Housing

They Took My House, Then My Husband

There's a dark side to China's amazing economic growth. 43 year-old Ding Hongfen is one of millions who remind us of it. Ding lives in Wuxi, a ci...


With Generous Support From...