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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. 

 

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Features by Rob Schmitz

"A communist party casino" - Despite the lift of IPO ban in China, investors remain unhappy

China has announced it will lift a one-year ban on new stock listings in the new year. The market for initial public offerings was frozen by China’s government in late 2012 in attempts to reform a trading system deemed too risky. Traders in Shanghai aren't encouraged.
Posted In: China, IPO

China in 2013: A last resort for justice

Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz looks at China's struggles in 2013.
Posted In: China

A year in China: bad air, bad debt

This was the year of "forced transparency" in China, exposing bad debt and bad pollution.
Posted In: China, bad debt, air pollution

China Mobile: Merry Christmas, Apple

Ever since Apple released the iPhone six years ago, it’s been trying to gain access to largest pool of telephone subscribers on the planet. -That would belong to China Mobile, which has 760 million customers. Christmas has arrived early for Apple. The two companies finally reached a deal to sell iPhones to this untapped market.

Apple's Chinese Christmas gift

Last night, Apple and China Mobile signed a long-awaited deal to sell iPhones to this pool of nearly a billion new customers.
Posted In: apple, iPhone, China

Amid a turbulent week, a peek inside the world's busiest Bitcoin exchange

The global price of the digital currency Bitcoin went on a roller coaster ride this week when the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchange was forced by China’s government to stop accepting deposits. Up to now, the exchange, BTC China, was the trading epicenter for the Bitcoin economy.
Posted In: bitcoin, China's Economy

A village, poisoned: the toxic trail of China's coal industry

U.S. coal producers hope to export coal from the Pacific Northwest to China. The world’s second biggest economy burns more coal than the rest of the world combined. That’s generated record levels of air pollution in China, and polluted waterways, too.
Posted In: China's Environment, China, coal

Will China buy American coal?

U.S. coal companies have hit hard times. Domestic demand is drying up, and global prices for coal are hitting record lows. What to do? The industry is looking across the Pacific to China for help, and is planning to build coal terminals in Washington to export coal from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the world’s second-biggest economy. But is China interested in American coal?
Posted In: coal, China

Foxconn improves worker conditions, but workers still aren't happy

For the past two years, Apple has allowed independent inspectors to examine factory conditions for the Chinese workers who make iPads, iPhones, and the company's other iconic products. Today, the Fair Labor Association released its final report on three factories run by the Apple supplier Foxconn.
Posted In: apple, Foxconn, low-wage workers

Shanghai shut down by toxic cloud

As some American kids get a snow day, some Chinese students are getting a pollution day today.
Posted In: China, China's Environment, Shanghai, air pollution

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