China is the world’s largest economy and the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and the U.S.A. It is also the world’s most populous country, so that one in every five people in the world is Chinese, with trends for growing even more. Although there is a law that aims to control overpopulation, according to which Chinese people are not allowed to have more than one child (recent relaxation of the law allows Chinese to have two children if one of the parents is a one child), the country is still struggling with this issue.
By moving to the world’s fasted growing economy, internationals aim to take full advantage of the growing employment and self- development opportunities available.
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Moving to China
The country has a very rich history and culture as well as a focus on the future and modern development. Vast majority of foreigners moving to China come with high- level of education and/or special skills that are needed in order to ensure a job on this competitive market.
Despite the fact that the country is huge, expats usually prefer moving to specific places such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing. Upon arrival, they could be quite surprised to find out that Chinese cities are nothing like their expectations. It often means that they need to make some major behavioural adjustment to cope with the new environment. Since there are great cultural differences between the regions, expats are advised to keep in mind that the way things are done differs from city to city. Another interesting fact about China is that the country’s five timezones have been joined into a single one. Because of that sunrise in some parts of the country is as late as 10 am.
Foreigners moving from European countries may find it extremely challenging to adjust to a country where the government is constantly censoring materials it considers to be harmful to society. Along with that, the language barrier is another significant aspect that causes difficulties to new arrivals. Those moving to China might need local help with everything they have to do; from opening a bank account to renting or buying property.
As for education, it is important to note that Chinese schools are taught exclusively in Mandarin. Although expats have access to international schools but these are considered extremely expensive.
Those who are willing to make the adjustments needed, will surely conclude that the country offers endless opportunities to satisfy one´s needs in terms of employment, living standards and cultural enrichment.
Accommodation in China
Expats moving to China are usually offered a wide range of accommodation options. So that it can often be overwhelming. Internationals often realise that renting a small apartment in a large apartment building is the most reasonable option they have, because accommodation in China is quite expensive. Often, these apartments may be regarded as too tight- fitted by Westerners who are used to living in spacious places.
Speaking of apartments, expats should be warned that anything from a tiny room to a spacious flat with all facilities could be described as a “standard apartment” in China. In order to find something between these extremes that meets their requirements, foreigners are advised to carefully research and examine the options they have.
The prices of rental accommodations vary greatly depending on the size, the facilities as well as the location of the properties. Along with that, renting a furnished or unfurnished property could also affect the price. Tenants are generally recommended to rent unfurnished apartments since there is an impressive assortment of furniture and home accessory stores where they can pretty much find anything they need. Even then, however, many foreigners still prefer shipping their furniture using shipping container to China. It can be justified given the fact that furniture quality in China could sometimes be questionable. If shipping furniture or personal belongings is what you opted for, then it is advisible to hire international moving companies specialized in shipments to and from China. They can provide any unformation needed regarding international removal, costs, customs clearances as well as arrival time of the goods. International moving companies can help to arrange your removal as efficient and as affordable as possible. Do make sure to receive all inclusive prices from the international removal companies. Usually it is more convenient since foreigners can decide whether or not it is affordable to ship goods or to buy new furtniture in China. The process of shipping furniture is quite complicated, therefore it is wise to work with experienced and reliable international movers. Along with that always compare seafreight versus airfreight. The latter is more expensive but depending on your situation it could be a more suitable alternative for your move.
As a last resort for expats aiming to cut costs, there are the house-sharing options available. It is a popular form especially among young foreigners who prefer spending some time in the country before renting a separate apartment for themselves.
Foreigners who do not speak Mandarin would need to use the services of a Chinese real estate agent who speaks English, or to hire a translator. The commission paid to the real estate agent is usually approximately 35 percent of one month’s rent, slightly less than in other countries. To reserve the property you want to rent you would often be required to pay a certain amount to the landlord. Rent is paid in Chinese currency Yuan Renminbi.
Rental contracts are valid for one year and upon signing the lease tenants need to pay two-month’s rent as a deposit as well as one month’s rent up front- usually in cash. It is advisable, that contracts are signed both in English and Chinese even if both parties are comfortable with one language. It is important also to have the contract checked by a Chinese- speaker to ensure that both contracts are the same and there are not any uncertainties left.
Before your actual removal to China, it is wise to decide whether or not shipping furniture and other personal effects is applicable to you. Even if you are able to stuck your important belongings in suitcases and a few moving boxes, you might still need to contact international moving companies that can provide your with extensive information regarding your removal. When it comes to shipping the whole household goods, you might need a container. Either way, it is best to plan your removal and contact international moving companies that can make sure you receive your goods as safe and as fast as possible.
Utilities in China
Unlike in European countries where the procedure regarding utility bills is quite straightforward, this is not the case in China. The process is rather complicated and differs for electricity, water and gas consumption. Expats planning for an international removal to China are highly recommended to discuss this either with the local authorities or ask the real estate agent whose services has been used when hiring or buying the property.
As most of the expats would already know before moving, Chinese government closely controls the Internet. It’s not only in terms of censorship that would be contrary to the practices in Western countries. There are also restrictions regarding access, meaning not every property has internet access. If this is the case, tenants could apply for connection via the state-owned China Telecom or a regional telecom company. As for the wifi hotspots, there are all over the larger cities.
There are undoubtedly a lot of opportunities, expats moving to China will be provided with. The unusual culture, historical monuments and fast growing economy will certainly be among the aspects that will keep expats attracted to the country and its offerings. Although there are not many similarities with other countries, those who can make major adjustments in their lives will not regret their international removal to China.