Living in Guangdong, China

My husband is being sent to Guandong, or some place near there, for business. He’ll live there. I don’t fancy living here in Kaohsiung by myself with our two year old so we’re thinking that we should all move together. Everyone we speak to about this, however, says it’s too dangerous and my son and I should stay here.

Now, it’s my impression that Taiwanese are, on a whole, more affraid of anything outside their known environment than most people. I get this impression because I’ve heard them say the same things about the U.S., or Canada, or Australia, or just about anyplace. So I don’t know how to feel about all the comments that Guandong is a pirate’s paradice, or that there’s noting to do there that’s safe. And if it were just my husband and myself, I wouldn’t give it a second thought, but someone mentioned that there could be a chance that my son, who’s a trully very cute mixed baby, could be kidnapped. That is horrifying.

I’ve never been there, but will go take a look before we move. My husband’s only been there once. We’re planning to go after CNY. So, anyone know Guandong very well? Can you give me your advice? What should I expect?


I don’t know much about Guangdong, having stayed there only a couple of days. What I can say is that Guangdong has THE best food in the world. End of sentence. No arguments. If I lived in Guangdong, I’d be prominently featured in documentaries made by ABCs with chips on their shoulders.

Guangdong’s a big place. Where are you going? It’s a big difference between Guangzhou, Dongguan and some of the rural areas which are as destitute as any 3rd world country. Guangzhou is like Hong Kong, and Dongguan is just a big manufacturing city, so the difficulties in each place are pretty different.

If you’re going to Guangzhou, I’ve lived there on and off for the last 2 years and I love it. It’s a big, fast, fun city, very safe, great food, really cheap. How much you want to be part of that is up to you, you can live in a hutong (safe and fun), or live in a foreigner compound on er sha dao (safe and boring). There’s not as many overseas people as Taipei, so it isn’t as international, but Hong Kong is an hour away on the fast train.

Your son being kidnapped? I know it happens but usually in really poor rural areas. You’re more likely to adopt another one at the White Swan Hotel, which is where the adoption agencies work from and is full of American couples pushing around their new child in a pram.

There’s plenty of kids of international workers in the city, and a few international schools too, mostly on Er Sha Island, Shamian Island, and around Huanshi East Road. There are kids everywhere and around 5pm the whole city turns into a kindergarten.

As for it being a pirates’ paradise, nah that’s Shenzhen. And yeah the food is the best in the world. It’s worth living there just for that (the pollution sucks though)

email me if you want.

Do you know if you will be living in the any of the major cities in Guangdong, or will you be living in a corporate dorm over-looking the factory?

On the plus side your kid can learn Cantonese growing up in Guangdong, which is a very useful Chinese dialect when traveling oversea.

If you’re concerned about kidnappings, I believe Taiwan and China have about the same rate for the affluent. Same pre-cautions you are taking now against kidnapping will work in China.

Best take the trip and evaluate the living condition in Guangdong that you are planning to settle down in without your child first. Establish your security protocols and verify your contacts in area. That’s really the best way.

Unless you are worried about meeting you husband’s “other woman” in China. :smiling_imp: j/k

i spend a lot more time in GuangDong than I’d like to… our company has 2 main production facilities there, so I’m there at least 10 times a year checking R&D, designs and meeting with customers etc…

the bad news is that generally speaking GuangDong is the low tech industrial slum of China, there are more filth belching factories per square km than anywhere else in the world I’d wager… a large proportion of taiwanese manufacturing businesses have moved to GuangDong in the last 15 years or so, and the hub of this expansion DongGuan is the most hellishly filthy, ugly and polluted hell hole I’ve ever had the displeasure to set foot it, but it makes the Taiwanese feel more at home… the air quality I have no doubt is the worst in the world, and the water table is so polluted the locals who use it are usually dead from cancer by their mid 40’s… basically scenic wonderland, it isn

Off-topic a bit.

Supernaut or plasmatron have you ever seen where the mandarin oranges are grown in Guangdong province? I ask as it’s that time of year and I’m back in canada where most of our mandarins come from Guangdong. Personally I avoid any agricultural product from Mainland China (which is one of the reasons I would never live there). Taiwan was bad enough years ago (and still has a ways to go) I can only imagine what’s going into the food there.

Anyway, any idea about the oranges?

I lived in the relatively small city of Kaiping for about half a year over a decade ago. Beautiful scenery, nice people, and awful food (I prefer northern Chinese cuisine). I frequented Guangzhou quite a bit and didn’t think much of it, but Hong Kong is just a train or boat away. I’d try it out if I were you.

Housecat…considering what you’ve been thru, i would look at as a fresh start for both of you. In a way both of you will be strangers in a strange land, and will depend on each other for certain levels of comfort and support…This also could give him a chance to see himself in a new light, strengthing his esteem and way of relating to others around him.

Best of luck girl, everything will work out for the best and you and your family deserve it!!!

Just be careful.

This is the cheeze police. Slowly step away from the self-help books, ma’am!
:loco: :smiley:

Thanks for the advice. I guess it depends on who I’m asking. I’ve had a lot of students in the past who commute between Guandong and Taiwan. They all seem to hate it there, but they’re all Taiwanese.

I will be going to check it out, as I said, but I wanted to know what to be looking for. I think I’ll ask that we live some place near by and let my husband commute a bit. And now I know to check out the housing situation, if maybe it would be better to live amoungst locals or foreigners, and to eat a lot.

I did ask if we could just live in Shanghai, but no. Much too far to commute. I guess I was dreaming. :frowning:

Oh, and Namahottie’s post reffered to another thread dealing with my husbands depression. Seems a little cheezy, but it made sence to me. :smiley:

Living in Shang Hai would be an insane commute you’re right, about a 3000km roundtrip :astonished: … Living in HongKong wouldn’t, at all… especially if you got a place near to the New Territories somewhere on the KCR East rail line… You can get from the North HK suburbs to the China border at LoHu/ShenZhen in about 30mins on the KCR East rail…

That sounds like an ideal compromise as long as your husband’s company doesn’t want him working way out in the middle of nowhere…

I hope you can work it all out!..


kinda off-topic, but i’m surprised since there’s so much more variety and delicacies in southern cuisine, especially soups, desserts, seafood. Not that northern food is bad, but there isn’t that much of it. funny thing is, I find Chinese food outside China to be better (although they are improving). They really need to just lay off the cooking oil! I ordered xiao long bao in shanghai, and I got more oil than I did bao or rou.

If your husband’s already there you don’t have much choice. I know expats living in Guangzhou - it’s alright. Will you be on an expat package? That makes a difference.

Do you have any figures or reports to back this? It seems a little outlandish, to say the least.

Last time I was in Guangzhou I was shocked at how the front of the train station had become more or less an open-air hostel for the floating jobless of China. Shanghai was much more impressive


Area Yearly Average Population Kidnapping
Taipei County 3,485,271 6
Taiwan Area 22,010,489 55
Percentage 15.84% 10.91% … 772727.stm
According to recent statistics, 7,600 women and 1,814 children were kidnapped and sold in China last year alone. [/quote]

So even if you round up to 10,000

10,000/1.3 billion = 0.0007%

Your right, my mistake. One is much much safer in China when it comes to kidnapping. So both our perceptions are incorrect.

Unless you can make a connection between unemployment and kidnappings, I don’t see the point. Kidnapping is a sophisticated and organized way of making money. If your dirt poor I doubt one has the resources to enter the kidnapping racket.

Kidnapping? Are you joking? Come on, you know full well that if you ask the Taiwanese what the “mainlanders” are like you’ll get told they’re all rapists murderers cheats etc, but I’ve never heard of “kidnappers”. I’ll add that one to the list. (How much do you bet it’s Taiwanese triads doing the kidnapping?)

Have you noticed the way they all live in cages here? Bars on the windows, huge steel doors. In the safest city I have ever been in. That should tell you something about their level of paranoia and fear. I am not joking in the least when I say that people on the roughest parts of Belfast live with less home security than people in Taipei. (Isn’t it odd how Taiwanese live in mini Fort Knoxes because they’re afraid of intruders but will happily take their three kids out on a motorbike at night with no lights on the wrong way up a busy street with no fear of a traffic accident. 12 years and I still haven’t worked that one out.)

No, I’d definitely not be paying any attention to Taiwanese living abroad when making a decision like this. Don’t forget whereas the Taiwanese just arrived yesterday, Europeans have been living in Guangzhou for hundreds of years. They’re not sending you to Gansu!

I considered a job in Guangzhou last year and safety was not an issue. My wife’s been there loads of times on her own to visit relatives, and she survived. Pretty unattractive to look at, but then if you’ve lived in Taipei you’ve seen what an ugly Chinese city looks like. I’ve been there twice, and once to Shenzhen. Shenzhen’s a bit like San Chong, but not as nice.

Yes, the criminal element in that part of China is quite developed.

[quote]Subway opening delayed, escalator stolen

The South China Morning Post reported last week that the opening of a subway station in the city of Shenzhen has been delayed, after an armed gang stormed the construction site and stole the escalator.

Gouwugongyuan station was raided last Thursday by more than 20 armed men, who spent the afternoon removing building materials, including the entire escalator.

According to workers, theft at subway sites in the city has become increasingly commonplace, with a recent incident involving robbers who “sent in a crane to lift their loot on to trucks.”

“It’s completely lawless,” one worker said.


Not bad! Entire streets get stolen in the UK for the cobble stones, and where I come from anyone with Bangor tiles on the roof has to hire an armed guard… :laughing:

When the price of steel went up people started lifting bridges in Bosnia, Ukraine, Maine, and Darwin. Someone stole a train in England. :astonished:

Audacious stuff like this happens everywhere, it wouldn’t put me off Guangzhou. But you’d have to expect a lot more crime than here. Or to see a lot more perhaps. Probably more petty theft I would imagine.

It’s a dangerous world