Where to live in China

China being so huge with diverse cultures, each cities have their own personality and flavour. If you ever consider living in China, below is an interesting read.

Excerpt from Matt Schiavena’s post:

Clearly, different people come to China for different reasons. Here I present a guide attempting to match the aspiring laowai to the most suitable Chinese city:

  1. You’re a businessman looking to cash in on China’s rapidly growing economy. You’ve got quite a lot of cash to spare, so setting up won’t be difficult. Otherwise, you’re not particularly interested in Chinese culture or Chinese language, and you’d like to live somewhere with a large foreign community. Best bet: Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong
  2. You’re an adventurous sort who wants to experience China: the real China. You’re keen to learn Mandarin, to make Chinese friends, and to dive into Chinese culture headlong. You’d be more than happy never to see a McDonalds once during your stay in the Middle Kingdom. Best bet: Any small or medium-sized city outside of Tibet or Xinjiang.
  3. You’re a fledgling businessman who wants to experience the cutting-edge of Chinese society. While you do want to make a bit of money, you’re also interested in Chinese culture and to see how the world’s largest country is rapidly changing. Best bet: Shanghai, Beijing
  4. You’re an aspiring journalist fascinated with the murky underworld of Chinese politics. You want to experience Chinese media head-on, as well as delve into the country’s past. Modernity suits you fine but you’d rather be somewhere that reminds you that you are in China. Best bet: Beijing.
  5. You find China interesting and exciting but can do without the hustle and bustle of the big coastal cities. Pollution, hot and humid summers, and cold winters also put you off. You’d like to go somewhere that combines a relaxing environment with enough things to do to not get bored. Best bet: Kunming
  6. You’ve come to China to learn Mandarin- properly. You don’t want to study for a year only to realize you’ve picked up some incomprehensible local dialect. Money is no object. Best bet: Beijing or the Northeast.
  7. You don’t have much interest in China per se but would like to settle somewhere with beautiful scenery and a small but vibrant expat community. Your ideal China experience would be to sip coffee at an internet cafe before embarking on a bike ride through gorgeous countryside. Best bet: Dali, Yangshuo, Gulangyu (Xiamen)
  8. You have an academic or personal interest in exploring China’s minority ethnic groups. Best bet: Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Provinces/Autonomous Regions
  9. You love spicy food and hot summers and want to be centrally located. Best bet: Sichuan and Hunan Provinces
  10. You love China’s culture, but not the mainland’s quality of life. You’d like to live in a more sophisticated, international environment with plenty of business opportunities. You have no intention to learn another language, just to work, live, and have fun. Best bet: Hong Kong

Obviously, these are bald stereotypes. I know plenty of people who are happily defying my examples, and can think of several other cities for which a case could be made. These are merely the ones I thought of off the top of my head.

Are any of these plainly wrong? Let me know in the comments or by e-mail, or if you have any other suggestions for a laowai/Chinese city match.






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