I’ve now lived in China for 2 years and although still a noob in many aspects, I feel that I’ve been here long enough to have a valid opinion on what it’s like to live here.
Even though there are many things that still frustrate me to death, there are lots of things that I think are awesome!
In this post I want to tell you about 5 Things I love about living in China and why I still get that itch to come back.
1. The Wild Wild East
One of the things I love the most about living in China is actually not something it has but something it doesn’t have—rules. Now it’s not that they don’t have any rules but a LOT less than our Western counterparts.
I enjoy the freedom of walking down the street with a beer in hand and not a worry in sight. The Chinese don’t pay attention or worry about petty things like this.
You wanna run across a busy street? Go ahead. You’re not getting a jaywalking ticket anytime soon.
Besides the lifestyle freedoms that can make this liberating, it pools over into business which leads me to my next point.
2. Everything Moves Fast
This might be one of my favorite things about living in China.
With the lack of rules comes speed.
People don’t have to stop and check a rule book or call their lawyer before making decisions.
A decision is made and shit gets done.
I’ve watched new restaurants and cafes go up in 48 hours, which is absolutely mind-blowing. The rate at which people build and work here is honestly scary. There is a reason they are a world superpower with an economy that is consistently growing, and it’s because they work fast!
This has been a game changer for me in my business. When I reach out to a factory or agent, I will get an answer almost immediately. It doesn’t matter the time of day!
I can get product samples in days rather than weeks which allows me to move quicker to market than competitors who might be elsewhere.
Although it’s probably not the healthiest way to live, I sure do appreciate it in the business that I’m in now.
3. Cheaper Cost of Living
Number 3 is the CHEAP cost of living!
When I lived in New York City I was making about $80k right out of college. Some might think that’s a lot of money but it’s really not when you live in a place like New York.
The cost of living is so high there that your dollar gets you less than it would in other less expensive cities.
Rent, food, and transportation were huge fixed expenses that ate up more than half of my monthly income.
But not in CHINA!
The beauty of living in a somewhat developing country is that it’s cheap!
Guangzhou is considered a first-tier city, the third largest in China, but still incredibly affordable by western standards.
As an example, I had a room in a high rise apartment with a balcony in the center of the most expensive part of Guangzhou and I paid, 2,500 RMB per month (~$390 USD).
The equivalent apartment in NYC would be easily $2,000 per month.
Besides rent, food and transportation are also incredibly cheap. Most meals will run you $3-4 while a one way on the subway will cost as low as $0.30. Compare that with NYC’s $2.75!
This has not only allowed me to save more but it has also allowed me to take more risks with my money. This is the number one benefit for living out here. I can put $5k into a product and know that I’ll be able to cover my other expenses without issue.
So, as long as I’m still building up my various e-commerce ventures, I’ll be sticking around Asia.
The fourth reason I love living in China is the ease of travel.
One of the major reasons I came out to China was to travel more and explore some of the many cultures that exist on this side of the world.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries all over Southeast Asia—something I would have never been able to do if I still had my office job.
And ticket prices are generally very cheap. You can grab a round trip flight to any of the above locations for less than $300, depending on the time of the year.
But, it’s not only other countries that are great to see. China has an excellent transportation infrastructure with a high speed railway that runs throughout the entire country.
I have taken the high speed train several times and plan to see even more of China in the near future.
5. Barriers to Entry
And last but not least, the fifth thing I love about living in China is the barrier to entry.
What does that mean?
Well, it’s not easy to live here. There are a lot of things that make it difficult for a foreigner—the language, culture, and odd customs—to name a few.
What I’ve learned is that not everyone can live here but those who stick it out can benefit from a lot of great connections and opportunities.
Furthermore, when you’ve roughed in mainland China for several years, going anywhere else feels like a piece of cake.
If you can handle ordering food, taking taxis, train tickets, working with suppliers, and all of the other aspects of doing business in China, then I truly believe you can hack it anywhere.
Whenever I go back to visit home in the US, I often find myself thinking, “this is a bit dull.”
The chaotic herds of people and death-defying motorcycle taxis are not for everyone, but they definitely add a spice to life here in China that I can’t get back home.
Whenever I do decide to leave here, I’ll be proud to say that I lived in China and figured out a way to make it work for myself.
But, it’s not all love here.
Of course there are things that I absolutely despise… but we’ll save that for next week’s post 😉
If you want to stay up to date, subscribe now and get the goods when I post!
Until next time, thanks for reading!