Living in China, a country known as a centre of the global economy and a treasure trove of culture, is a dream for a lot of people.
If you’ve ever wondered what is it like living in China, then this article is for you. Discover the ultimate reasons why moving to China brings you abundant job opportunities, world-class tourist destinations, and a place at the forefront of technological advancement.
But, before you book that flight and pack your bags, you’ll need important information like the cost of living in China, insight into the job market, and the best citiesto live in. So, here are 11 tips to help you with your move and ensure that you are ready for anything.
1. The Cities Are An Amazing Mix Of Culture And Modernisation
China has several big cities that attract most expats due to the great mix of modern development and culture. The country’s capital Beijing, the financial centre Shanghai, and the mega-cities Guangzhou and Shenzen are always on top of the list for foreigners moving here.
Still, many other places have made themselves the ideal touchdown for many expats who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the major cities. Xi’an, the home of the Terracotta Army, is the go-to if you want a relaxing and peaceful life. If you prefer the countryside, Kunming might be more your style. Kunming is modern enough to offer all necessary amenities but has the charm of rural life.
If you want to live in a booming city, not as urbanised as the larger cities yet, but is quickly gaining momentum in development, head on to Chengdu. Or, if you enjoy beautiful white sand beaches and want to settle down in a certified tourist spot, Sanya is the way to go.
2. China’s Rapid Economic Growth Brings Tons Of Opportunities And Improved Quality of Life
Over the past few decades, China’s economy has grown steadily and is currently the third-largest and fastest-rising major economy in the world. China continues to build more skyscrapers and high-rise buildings every year, and according to a report by retail analysts, 400 malls have been built over the last six years. China’s metro subway ranks at the top when it comes to the number of operational systems. China also holds the top four longest metro systems in the world.
China also has a great focus on technological development and research. All these add up to a better quality of life through better utilities and services, modern transportation, abundant job opportunities, access to better health care, education, and so much more.
It’s also worth noting that the Chinese have fully embraced technology with their love for apps. There’s always an app for something, be it banking, transportation, ride-sharing, food and grocery delivery, package delivery, or shopping!
The payment systems have also been fully digitised, making everything even smoother. What’s more, with the development of 5G technology and the availability of super high-speed and affordable internet, things are only set to improve.
3. It’s So Easy And Cheap To Get Around
China has a very advanced and comprehensive transportation system. Major cities are serviced by subway metros that are very affordable and are the most common form of transportation that most people use day-to-day. There are currently 25 cities in China that have subway metro systems, with Shanghai having the longest.
China also has a number of high-speed train systems, including maglev trains that reach top speeds of 370+ miles per hour. Whether for business or pleasure, taking the train is its own type of adventure and sightseeing that you will most definitely enjoy. Other forms of transportation that you will find in the busy streets are public buses, taxis, the delightful bike-sharing applications, and if you’re lucky, rickshaws!
Suppose you’re looking for a more leisurely journey. In that case, China also has a few river cruises, most notably the Yangtze River Cruise.
4. Chinese Cuisine Is Some Of The Best In The World
Almost everywhere in the world, you will find Chinese restaurants. And it’s no wonder why! Bursting with flavours, masterful techniques, and choice ingredients that make for dishes that will keep you wanting more, Chinese food is some of the best in the world.
Food is a huge aspect of culture, and once you are living in China, you’ll have the chance to try it straight from the source. If you’re lucky, you might even find unique recipes and local flavours that don’t find their way overseas.
Here are a few must-try Chinese dishes:
- Peking Duck
- Hot Pot
- Various Dim Sums and Dumplings
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Ma Po Tofu
- Bird’s Nest Soup
- Fried Rice
- Chinese Sticky Rice
- Fortune cookies
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for bizarre options, there’s the thousand-year-old eggs, snake soup, and sheep penis on a stick!
But remember, the best food isn’t just found in expensive restaurants. The street food in China is excellent, and you will be able to find equally tasty food at more affordable prices. If you are looking for western food, there are a lot of international restaurants to be found all over. Don’t be shy; explore and introduce your taste buds to as much food as you can get your hands on.
5. The Cost Of Living Is Going To Surprise You
Living in China doesn’t mean you’ll need to pay sky-high prices. A single person can survive on 3,784.83 ¥ (564.74 USD) a month, that is, without rent, while a family of four would need about 13,897.41 ¥ (2073.59 USD). The cost of living largely depends on where you choose to live, as rent will be the biggest chunk of your expenses, especially if you want a lot of personal space. Still, even if you are looking for a new apartment in the more expensive cities such as Shanghai, what part of the city you choose to rent will have a considerable variance.
Basic utilities such as electricity, water, heating/cooling, and internet can start at 260 ¥ (38.79 USD) and go as high as 860 ¥ (128.32 USD). Food, however, can be relatively cheap and public transport is very affordable as well. If you know how to budget, prioritise your expenses, and learn to save money, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t have a comfortable time living in China.
6. There’s An Abundance Of Job Opportunities
Teaching English is one of the more popular job opportunities for expats in China. Language is always essential, and there are many schools and universities that offer teaching positions for those who are qualified.
The tech industry is another gold mine of opportunities for people who have expertise in IT, engineering, and software development. If you are looking for a job in a Chinese company, places like Zhongguancun, a technology hub in Haidian District, Beijing, house dozens of leading tech companies.
Giant international companies have also set up headquarters, remote offices and research facilities here. Shenzen has become a prime example of a tech hub and a choice destination for unicorn companies to develop their business that also has hundreds of foreign employees.
China’s finance and commerce sector also has high demands for accountants, analysts, managers, and marketing personnel.
7. You Can Attend World-Class Universities And Research Facilities
With such a market full of job opportunities, it’s almost always an excellent idea to upskill and continue your education. China is home to world-class universities and research facilities such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science & Technology of China, The University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Zhejiang University.
China is also home to Sino-foreign cooperative universities such as New York University Shanghai, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Duke Kunshan University, or Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute if you are looking for instructors who speak English with a more western touch.
Depending on which city you live in, you are sure to find a school that will be able to give you a quality education. On the whole, the Chinese educational system is quite excellent.
Going to school and learning the language is also a great idea. It will improve your overall stay and your communication with the locals will give you a better appreciation for the country.
8. Breathtaking Historical Must-See Destinations Are Aplenty
It’s no secret that China has thousands of years of history and culture. And due to the excellent way the government has taken care of these cultural landmarks, you can enjoy these hundreds and even thousand-year-old relics to this day. At the top of the list of destinations that you should visit are:
- The Great Wall of China
- The Forbidden City & the Imperial Palace
- The Terracotta Army
- Leshan Giant Buddha
Not only does China have unique man-made tourist spots, but the natural wonders, such as the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges, Zhangjiajie’s Floating Peaks, and the Rainbow-Colored Jiuzhaigou, are also equally breathtaking.
9. Be Part Of The Culture And Enjoy The Festivals
Aside from the buildings, monuments, and natural wonders, the Chinese have festivals that explode in colour and joy that you should take part in as a way to make Chinese friends. We’d recommend actively participating in any of the following as they happen throughout the year:
- Chinese New Year Celebrations and Lantern Festival
- Dragon Boat Festival
- Mid-Autumn festival
- Ghost Festival
- Dongzhi Festival
Taking part in local festivities allows you to better connect with your communities and can be a great way to build relationships with the Chinese people and honour the country’s traditions.
10. Discover Thriving Expat Communities
As a destination country for so many expats, you will soon find that there are communities within communities. It will be an excellent way to connect with other foreigners, who may not be from your home country but will still be able to relate to your situation as someone adjusting to a new country.
Try to use social media to network and socialise, find events near you, and maybe even join groups that organise these events. These are sure-fire ways to meet nice people and make new friends. Putting yourself out there and sharing experiences with fellow expats, is such a great way to adjust and alleviate the effects of culture shock.
Pandas are the symbol of China and are a source of great pride. They actually have a huge role when it comes to foreign diplomacy as they are leased to other countries as a sign of a great relationship.
At Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding or simply Chengdu Panda Base, for just a fee of 58 ¥ (8.65 USD), you can have up-close encounters with these adorably magnificent creatures and learn about them. This could be a great trip for you to relax, learn, and enjoy the company of these international ambassadors!
Conclusion On Moving To China
China is a great country that almost has it all. Whether you’re looking for the quiet life of the countryside or the chase of the big city, there’s a perfect place waiting for you. All the while, great food, lively celebrations, and welcoming communities are there to add flavor to your life.
Plus, with Sanelo, you don’t need to worry about your relocation to China. Just contact our representative through call or email, and our team will handle the international shipment of your belongings. It’s smooth, safe, and stress-free.
What are you waiting for? Make that to-do list, pick a destination that speaks to you, and pack your bags.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To China
Is China Expensive To Live In?
The cost of living in China is relatively low compared to western countries. In contrast to the United States, average prices in China are 30% cheaper. However, there are some cities in China, including Shanghai, Shenzen, Beijing, and Hong Kong, that are expensive to live in.
How Much Does Public Transportation Cost In China?
Chinese public transport is relatively affordable, with metro and public bus fares going between 3 to 8 ¥ (0.45 to 1.19 USD) and 1 to 5 ¥ (0.15 to 0.75 USD), respectively. A Monthly Pass for public transportation can average around 150 ¥ (22.38 USD). Taxis start at about 13 ¥ (1.94 USD), going up to 2.4 ¥ (0.36 USD) per kilometre. If you like riding bikes, sharing applications are available for 1.5 ¥ (0.22 USD) per 15 minutes, with subscription plans offering lower prices.
How To Stay In China Permanently?
To live in China permanently, a D Visa or Permanent Residence Visa needs to be acquired. You will need to submit documents such as a valid passport, application form, and the original approval document from the local public security organ in the city where the visa applicant plans to reside. Consult your local embassy to learn more.
Is China A Safe Place To Live In?
China is considered to be a very safe place for expats. Violent crime rates are very low. There are a lot of CCTVs in the streets, and the presence of local authorities in well-lit streets adds to a very comfortable environment.