The quality of accomodation can be better than everything what you can get in Taiwan - it just depends how much you are willing to pay…
It really depends on which part of China you’re in and what you’re looking for specifically. Many foreigners find Shanghai very exciting, and perhaps it is the most accomodating of all cities in China to foreigners. However, for some, it may be too overwhelming.
Ningbo is a nice city and quite prosperous. It probably does not quite have the living standards of Taiwan, but it’s fast getting there.
Xiamen, Fujian province is a very prosperous city and very orderly. It is not overwhelming like Shanghai, but is very clean and orderly. This may be a city that might want to consider.
Personally, if I was living in China, I’d prefer to live in Beijing. It has a great deal of culture, and though it is a huge city, it’s vast open spaces are quite livable.
I lived in Beijing, China for 2 years, quite a while back. The city has quite a lot of historical sites to visit and it’s beautiful. Beijing was quite clean. They have a lot of people sweeping the streets for garbage. Like anywhere in China, it’s crowded, but Taiwan is too. Whatever you do, don’t take the subway/bus. Really crowded and smelly.
My dad lives there currently, having lived in Canada for 20 years. He prefers it as the living expenses is so darn cheap, if you are willing to live as the locals do. Having said that, he bought a new 3 bedroom apartment in Guang Chow, totally renovated it (installed a sunken tub and jacuzzi), has a maid/cook that comes in everyday. All of this can be done relatively cheaply.
If you choose to live in a local area, not one of those compounds especially catered to foreigners (it’s exactly the same, but more expensive), then you will find it’s quite a bargain. Back in the days, foreigners had no choice but to live in those compounds (clusters of apartments), but now you may buy or rent and live anywhere you choose.
About the spying by the government: Yes, it’s true. They watch but don’t usually do anything about it. I may have noticed it more as most of my friends had parents that worked in different embassys.
Besides, all the local chinese people will be curious (gossipy) about you anyways, especially if you look foreign. I find mainland chinese people even more busybody than Taiwanese. A lot more. I think it’s leftover from the days of Mao when everyone was encouraged to do so and report bourgeois ways.
About Business: With 1/4 the world’s population, you have more than enough to fill your client base. Problem is: Most of them do not have money. Good news is, they are starting to make it…fast. Chinese people in China have so much drive to make money, definately surpassing Taiwanese people. Taiwan has some people now who are comfortable and looking for more out of life than just money. Mainlanders don’t have money yet, or just made it, so are desperately seeking more. That’s good for business.
Warning: Chinese people, of all countries are very shrewd. So even if you have a ironclad contract, you better have a hefty deposit as well. The courts will favour the Chinese, almost all of the time. And it’s a complicated, no-sense type of legal system.
If you have a genuine product not available in china. Don’t be too quick to trust your employees with the process of producing it, especially if it is profitable. They will learn from you and then steal from you. It has happened with car manufacturers and other companies. I do not speak from personal experience though. Just from reading about it and I agree it fits perfectly with the Chinese mentality - All is fair in love and anything-that-has-to-do-with-money. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of nice people in China. Money is just another totally different issue. Get it? hahaha It’s the people you’ll have to get used to too, not just the environment.
Personal experience: Broken suitcase. Went to get it fixed. The man said: $100 yuan. Fine.
Next day, went back to pick it up. The man said: $300 yuan. Suitcase new: $300 yuan. Told him to keep it. Actually, I brought this problem to the market “security/administrator”? and settled for $150.
Lesson: Get used to it. And get it in writing or record the conversation. Problem: Hassle to bargain for everything. And these cases are the rule rather than the exception.
Pro: You’ll get very good at negotiating.
China definately has potential. and hiring educated employees is soooo cheap. You’ll just have to figure out how it’s going to work for you.
I guess it all depends on how much more you’ll be making there. The living standards are livable, expecially in the bigger cities, but is it worthwhile. Really, only you will know. Good luck!
And travel a lot. The landscape itself is beautiful. Xi An has the terracotta warriors, 3 Gorges has the sweeping water and hills, Tai Mountain has a 3 hour stair climb straight up the mountain but the view from the top is worth it (stop in the middle to play a game of pool) and the forbidden city is a wonder. Take the time to travel, that’ll be worth the trip.
I may have said too much. I hope some of it’s helpful. This is all just my view, no offense to any of you critical forumosa posters out there, we can all agree to disagree.
How the Chinese authorities are going to know how much you get paid offshore is a mystery to me. In China you have two salaries: one is paid locally and is taxed. and the other is paid offshore and not taxed. Obviously only applies if you’re getting paid a lot in the first place.
I go to Ningbo/Ninghai/Yuyao about once a month. Ningbo reminds me of a smaller Shanghai. I like the city but the people are tough negotiators and emotionally hard. It’s a constant struggle to keep from being cheated there.
I wouldn’t expect much of a personal life in the Ningbo area but business opportunties are plentiful. The airport is nice and very convenient.
I like Nanjing and Wuhan better for investment/business opportunities and personal lifestyle.
None of them compare to Taipei for lifestyle and the human touch though.