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

Rob has won several awards for his reporting on China, including two national Edward R. Murrow awards and an Education Writers Association award. His work was also 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, Rob 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, Rob 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, Rob 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 Rob 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 Rob shot in Tibet.

Rob 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., Rob 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

Trying to keep up in China's grasslands

Just because Inner Mongolia is booming from all the coal and oil in the region doesn't mean that everyone's winning. Some of the former herders in the area are adapting to new jobs, but others just aren't sure what to do.

Urban Desert: Empty homes in Ordos

China has begun conducting it census, and economists are interested in how many properties sit empty. It's a problem in the northwest city of Ordos, in Inner Mongolia province, where parts of the city are completely vacant. Why all the empty houses? Rob Schmitz reports.

Boomtime on China's grasslands

Inner Mongolia was once one of the poorest areas of China. Not anymore. The Inner Mongolian city of Ordos now has the highest per capita GDP of any city in China. This rags-to-riches story has come to symbolize the rapid development of a nation as a whole. But it's come with some growing pains. Rob Schmitz reports.

Trademarks prevent Chinese contract bids

Europe wants to convince Beijing to allow more foreign companies to bid on Chinese government contracts -- a tough task for Europe, and the U.S. Rob Schmitz reports.

Geithner encourages trade balances at G-20

At the G-20 meeting this weekend, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner encouraged global finance ministers to agree on a proposal to curb trade imbalances. Rob Schmitz reports.

Toyota to produce Prius in Thailand

Toyota has announced it'll start producing the Prius in Thailand next month. This is the first time the hybrid will be produced outside of Japan.
Posted In: Auto

Why China raised its interest rates

China's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in nearly three years. The official explanation was combating inflation and to "soak up excessive market liquidity." That's just another way to say, "We need to slow this economy down." Rob Schmitz reports.

China may reduce rare earth exports

China's state-run newspaper quoted a government official saying China will reduce its exports of rare earth metals by a third. But hours after the article was published, another Chinese government official issued a correction, saying exports will remain the same. Rob Schmitz reports.

An opportunity in China's 5-year plan

Communist Party leaders in Beijing wrapped up closed-door meetings where they laid out the country's 12th five-year plan that will start next year. You heard right, that old Communist chestnut, the five-year plan. China's unbridled capitalism has the tendency to make people forget it has a planned, socialist economy. Rob Schmitz reports.

Attracting the Chinese consumer

It used to be that Western companies can go to China and be successful just by being themselves. But Chinese consumers are becoming choosier -- and how a company caters to Chinese tastes (or not at all) determines who successful they'll be in the coveted Chinese market.


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