MOVING TO CHINA. TO DO LIST.
China is the world’s most populous country with a population of around 1.404 Billion, the world’s earliest civilization, the world’s largest exporter, the second largest importer of goods and is recognized Nuclear Power State which happens to have the world’s largest standing army and the second-largest defense budget.
Considering all these things, if you ever decide to move to China for work or study you will be in a country of what it is called to have the highest form of pollution, seething crowds, and constant noise! But also you will be in a country full of amazing food, dreamed landscapes and rich in culture. Above all else, here’s my personal list of things you have to know before living in China.
GET THE RIGHT VISA
The most important step of the relocation process is getting your paperwork in order. One a year the PRC makes a process called “reinforcement law” where they change and update all processes to make sure no one is living illegal, everyone is registered at the police and everyone is living under the right law policies. Picking the right visa is primordial, it depends on the length of your stay, whether you plan to work, study, business or pleasure.
- Z Visa – is a working or employment Visa. This will be arranged by your Chinese Employer or Chinese Company.
- X Visa – or student Visa. If you study, you will get a visa for the duration of your course. And these can be divided into two terms.
- X1 visa: For long-term study > 180 days
- X2 visa: For short-term study ≤ 180 days
- F Visa – Business Visa. This Visa is issued for people who are in China on short business trips such as “to buy and sell”, to do a short assignment work in Chinese Companies and to explore possibilities of doing business or developing business partnerships in China.
- D Visa – Residence Visa and also called a Chinese Green Card. This is issued to people who come to reside in China for good. More info Here.
Tip: If you come to China for traveling even if your country has a free stay with no visa make sure you register in the police if you are going to stay at a friends house. Also, get a trusted visa agency or ask your friends for a visa agent, for Latin American, Middle East and some other countries it can be troublesome so better have full-time assistance while getting the paperwork done.
There are regional groups and dialects of the Chinese Language with the most common being Mandarin, Wu, Yue, Min, and Cantonese. If you know Chinese Mandarin, you’ll be able to speak to the majority of Chinese citizens.
Chinese is considered one of the biggest languages in the world. One-fifth of the entire world population speaks it as their native language. By learning this language you would be able to cover a fair bit of the whole world. Also, is now considered a top language worldwide because of its presence in the business world from Singapore to Hollywood.
China operates a single Timezone, which is Beijing Time for the purpose of national unity. Why is there only one Timezone in China? Timeanddate.com says; In a country the size of China, one would expect to find several time zones. However, the whole country observes the same local time. So, regardless of where you travel to in China, it will always be the same time.
There are several impacts on life and health dealing with one time zone but is undeniable that on lifestyle and business purposes in PRC as a whole work really good and in a good manner regardless of the station of the year or the geographical area. You will be able to have beautiful sunrises early in the morning and amazing sunsets sometimes late at night.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Google, Amazon and now Bing or any kinds of social network are being blocked due to China’s government’s political matters and security reasons. Internet censorship in China is among the most extensive censorship in the world due to a wide variety of legal and administrative regulations.
So, if you intend to visit websites that are commonly used in the west, you’ll need to get a VPN to gain access to. Personally, I would recommend Psiphon and Hotspot Shield as free APPs and ExpressVPN or Astrill as paid services. All really stable and allows you to mainstream and watch movies, also to use several devices at once.
Alternatively, this can also give you the opportunity to utilize the social networks that Chinese citizens use in order to make your transition to China more integrated, such as Sina Weibo (compared to Twitter), Renren (compared to Facebook), and Wechat (the mobile network that can’t quite be compared to anything in the West).
Tip: Remember to download your VPN outside China es you have no way to get access to any network or google once you are in Mainland.
Chinese culture is one of the world’s oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. It is extremely diverse and varying, and it has a profound effect in the philosophy, virtue, etiquette, and traditions of Asia until today. So, if you learn about their culture before relocating, you’ll enjoy your experience far more. Public holidays are a popular time for visiting Shrines, Monuments and ancient places.
Chinese people, in general, are much more part of a group or national identity that we are used in the Western world. It may have to do with Confucianism, the way the language works, along dynastic history, the current government, or the homogeneity of education and thought. They are usually nice to foreigners or if they do something rude to a foreigner it’s not ill-intentioned unless you deserve it.
Generally, Chinese people are much closer to there family. Part of this is cultural, part of it is just because of the population and economy in China. The family is usually the number one supporter of maintaining the roots of culture and normative around social behavior. Even in Taiwan and Hong Kong, there is a lot of pressure to get married and have a child at a young age, so eventually, at some point, it will start to be a little more like Taiwan or Japan in that the number of older, single people that don’t have kids will increase.
Also, meet people that have goals other than a family and a high salary is really rare, but understanding as a society why the focus on family and salary us primordial will also enrich your perspective and make you think about your own life priorities.
In general, people are people so they are generally the same everywhere. If you did your research on what you are going to see, then you will be able to appreciate 5,000 years of Culture.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR CITY
There are about 36 cities in China, they are very confusing and most of the streets have no name, which sometimes numbered according to when they were built rather than their location in an area. Taxi drivers respond to landmarks, not street numbers.
Each city has its own forms of transportation – so, you will need to learn more about your city, you have to learn the most common method and most efficient transportation, a good Map in English and Chinese and of course, you have to know the rush hours in between.
Here are a few Apps to use for transportation in China
- Metro China Subway A guide to the metro subways of China’s most popular cities. It will help guide you on the times and fares of metro systems all over China.
- China Trains This will help guide you on train schedules and how to book your tickets. Trains in China are particularly helpful for traveling longer distances.
- Beijing Taxi Guide and Offline Maps This app is great for those who haven’t quite grasped Mandarin yet. It will pull up cards to translate to taxi drivers where you would like to go, and it has an offline map feature to help you navigate without internet.
“In general, people are people
so they are the same everywhere.”
PREPARE YOUR FINANCES
The Cost of Living in China is dramatically lower than US, Aussie and western Europe say; Matador Network. But you have to come to China with a few thousand dollars in your pocket because the biggest cost you’re likely to encounter is renting your apartment.
Many Chinese apartments take rental payments in either three (3) or six (6) monthly installments, which can be pricey once you add in an agency fee in a “one month advance, one month deposit”. Then you add in other start-up costs like that first grocery shop, setting up your phone and internet, drinking with new friends etc. and it comes to be a very expensive first month.
China is a cash-based society and many places do not take cards especially foreign cards. You have to check with your bank back home and inform them of your relocation to China. Otherwise, a local Chinese Bank Account is a must. Definitely open up in some of the top banks in China to ease your worries.
On the other hand, you will be living on a place where phone management is a must, as the majority of the delivery services work 100% at a time and you can even buy 1 pencil online and receive it in the next 20 min in your door. For this is required to have your local phone number and your local bank account, both registered on your phone either is with Wechat, Alipay, Taobao, all delivery systems are connected with your phone and all payments in Mainland can work only with your phone -in case you don’t like carrying cash around-. Also, Paypal works really good in case you want to receive or send money outside of China.
Tip: Not all Chinese bank cards work outside China, I would recommend ICBC and ABC if you want to use your money directly when you travel to Europe, USA or Latin America. Make sure you keep your phone with data if you are outside China and intend to keep using your Alipay or regular services, phone numbers are taken 2 months after not data is active, and you can have problems to make use of your money or APPs linked to your phone number.
Understanding Chinese Culture is essential in China especially if you are looking for a Job. A Chinese individual will attest your good character – this is very important as you can’t do business in China without personal relationship and trust. Knowing someone at the Company you applied to is definitely an advantage! Find out the importance of saving a Face and having the right Guanxi here.
MaiMai and Linked in are the top job search engines used in China. But if your Chinese is not advance or just none, using LinkedIn is one of my top recommended allies to get a job. Your profile helps you get found on LinkedIn because it contains searchable keywords in the information you post about yourself. Job seekers can search and apply for jobs directly on LinkedIn.
In addition, you can view and contact your connections who may be able to refer you for a job. Targeted searches such as the advanced people or company finders can sharpen your scope and help you find exactly what you are looking for.
The Chinese Healthcare may not be equal to what you are used to. However, in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, there are quite a few international hospitals and medical professionals. Expatriates living in Guangzhou or Shenzhenoften take advantage of the proximity to Hong Kong, where medical facilities are excellent. In general, you should take care of your health before you move to China says; The Internations.org.
Many cities have direct access to hospitals and a range of medical services, whereas rural areas can be hours and even days away from the nearest clinic. China’s public healthcare system is generally considered to be regular. While this may not be the case with every facility, the language barrier, slow service, and long queues dissuade most Westerners from seeking treatment in public hospitals
Some public clinics have opened international wings. These exist as partnerships between the state and the private sector and aim to provide access to public healthcare with Western standards of healthcare. Many of these share doctors with public facilities, but don’t have long waiting times. They also have a greater focus on customer care and treatments cost less than at private hospitals. International wings are a relatively new phenomenon, however, and are only found in China’s largest commercial centers.
Tip: Chinese companies MUST provide you with tax pay and medical healthcare as mandatory. The government is always checking credentials for these two things when your work visa is accepted. Also, if you are getting health insurance you can ask your company to reimburse all the money back to you if you stop working with them.
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