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Jennifer Pak

Correspondent, China

SHORT BIO

I tell stories about the world's second-largest economy and how America is connected to it.

What was your first job?

First unpaid job: mascot for the Canadian Red Cross as Bloody the Blood Drop at a football game. First paid job: at a mall making and selling cinnamon rolls for Cinnzeo, the Canadian equivalent of Cinnabon.

What do you think is the hardest part of your job that no one knows?

The hardest thing is persuading potential interviewees in China to speak to us. We have to explain that we are not out to get them in trouble with the Chinese government, that we don't pay for interviews nor do we accept payments for positive coverage.

What advice do you wish someone had given you before you started this career?

Be somewhat physically fit. You never know when you'd have to run from a mob situation, run from a flood scare while carrying heavy equipment or avoid government minders.

Fill in the blank: Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you ______.

A pair of comfy walking shoes, a hot shower and a good mattress.

Latest Stories (153)

What U.S. businesses should know about China’s anti-foreign sanctions law

Jul 27, 2021
U.S. businesses in China are advised to audit supply chains and revisit contracts.
When the U.S. blacklists Chinese companies, it's relatively straightforward for American businesses: just cut ties. But China’s new anti-foreign sanctions law complicates things a bit more.
Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Where have all of Shanghai's newsstands gone?

Jul 21, 2021
The kiosks have dwindled in Shanghai, and since the U.S.-China trade war began, it's hard to get people to answer even simple questions.
Gao Dongde, left, has been buying newspapers from Qu Yali's family for decades. He no longer lives in the neighborhood, but he still comes to pick up his newspapers from Qu because there are no newsstands near his current home.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

As the CCP celebrates its centennial, how communist is China's economy?

Jul 6, 2021
Starting in 1978, China’s ruling Communist Party has steadily embraced market reforms and transformed the country into the world’s second largest economy. What remains of the Chinese socialist system?
Young Chinese listening to punk music at the MIDI rock music festival in June.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

China's competitive coffee shop scene keeps owners on their toes

Jun 21, 2021
Nearly 19% of small and micro-sized businesses in China shut down during the pandemic. What does it take for a coffee shop to stay standing?
Keiichi Nakayama said his coffee shop, Rumors, was the first in Shanghai to specialize in hand-poured coffee more than a decade ago.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Chinese citizens greet new 3-child policy with humor

Jun 21, 2021
Women in China have taken to social media to push back against having one more child.
A father with his son on a low-cost train heading into the Chinese countryside. People in rural China cite the cost of raising a child as a main reason they don't want to have more children.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Chinese students, parents stressed by demands of extracurricular classes

Jun 9, 2021
Academic competition pressures families to enroll children in tutoring courses. But some parents are resisting.
Fifth-grader Ziyou cracks under pressure in "A Love for Dilemma," a Chinese TV series about the education rat race.
"A Love for Dilemma"

China's 3-child policy met with tepid public reception

There's skepticism about whether the policy change will actually address China's shrinking workforce and older population.
One reason? "The work of raising a child, like in many countries, falls disproportionately on women, and women in China have complained of being penalized at workplaces for being a mother," says Marketplace China correspondent Jennifer Pak.
Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

China's movie post-production companies feel the pinch

May 19, 2021
How one visual effects and animation firm that services Hollywood and China productions is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dachang Movie Town near Beijing is where reality shows and feature films are shot.
Jennifer Pak/Marketplace

In China, it’s heads for a real estate win, or "rotten tails" — you lose

May 10, 2021
Owning property (or not) can determine your future in China. But it’s a gamble that doesn’t always pay off for those who have invested their life savings.
Singer Chen Peng looks on at an abandoned condo development where he has bought his first home. He is not sure if he will ever have a chance to live in it.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

The human labor behind artificial intelligence

May 4, 2021
Behind every artificial intelligence project is lot of intensive human labor. Marketplace speaks to data labelers in central China.
Data labeling firms like this one in Henan province are the new factory floor of the digital age.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace