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What's it like living in China for the past 6 years without going back home ? Ask me! PART 1

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posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 01:00 PM
This thread has been ALONG TIME COMING (and some Jack Daniels to write this thread, so some of this thread maybe influenced by the above)
Next month on the 26th, at 4.30PM I will have passed the 6 year mark living and working in China.
So I'm going to write this up in parts (tourist and business). Here's the first.

Now I'm sure some of you do business with China and even traveled and holidayed in China
, what you see is what most tourists and travelers see, the fake face (show face) of China, actually living here and interacting on a long term basis is an entirely different animal.
You're first impressions I guess are from the larger tier 1 cities ie Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou.
and you might say this "Gee this is great everything is sooooooooooo cheap, people are like sooooo friendly, this is AWESOME!"
My friends, it's not awesome, trust me, you're experiencing temporary travelers China syndrome, China as much of a temptress as she maybe (points mentioned above) there's actually a very dark underbelly that most travelers and tourists never see.
Lets start off.

1.1. Locals part 1: Customer service and purchasing!
Truth: Customer service does not exist in China, Period, ask any normal resident how they get treated when trying to solve a issue with their state owned bank, communications or insurance company, absolutely non existent.
You may have different experiences because maybe you're paying the "foreigner" price for things, see that smile, that added care? FAKE, reality is no one cares about you here just your money or what you can bring to them.
Always be wise when dealing with anything related to customer service here, it's far-by the worst in Asia, why ?

The salaries of course and basic human treatment in terms of how rich you are! Staff don't get paid enough to really care about you, there' NO TIPS, locals rights are to treat people serving them like CRAP, because they can't do it anywhere else! The old little boss guy pretending you're his best friend ? Rubbish!!! He just gave you the HIGHEST PRICE ! Why ? Because you're foreign so that means you must have money! He/She knows you won't bargain that much just a little and they will even praise you "Ahhh you got me, ok ok sir no problem!" Even the Chinese customer next to you who can speak a little English will be persuaded by the boss to help you buy it, (They get commission, common practice in computer markets here)

Tip: Always be VERY CAUTIOUS OF SELLERS IN MARKETS OR STALLS! Tricks are a dime a dozen, my advice if not travelling with a local IS LEARN NUMBERS IN CHINESE !!! This way you can hover around stalls and see the prices they are offering to the local customers, so you can use this as a indicator of the real price!
It's not that hard to learn numbers in Chinese.

1.2 Locals: Part 2:" Dealing with Business on a relationship scale!
Ohh yes, now this is a topic I have experience in!!!
The Chinese society is MASSIVELY COMPLEX, relationships are considered critical! Businessmen will do anything they can do "build relations" with you.
If you like it or not, they will force you to go out with them, Kariokie (KTV in China), Lunch, dinner, anywhere to prove they are your friend! That maybe ok, but there's an agenda to this, they don't waste money on nothing you know! What to talk about the finer details of your terms ? Forget it!
Now here's the thing you gotta watch out for, DRINKING! The Chinese believe drinking white wine will build the relationship make two people into best friends forever! Girls are offered anything you wish! "WOW PARADISE!!" (most businessmen have a 'second wife' so for them it's not a moral issue) With this they can then strategically push you to do business with them because of your sheer guilt.
Drink first then do business is the Chinese businessman's motto! They will all encourage and push you to drink like a whale.

Tip: If you are REALLY FORCE into one of these situations there are some things you can do.
If you're drinking beer! Usually there's a teapot nearby, get a spare glass pour some tea into it mixed with a tiny bit of beer under the table or in the washroom is another trick! When they want to have a cheers with you, you can raise you're glass in confidence and drink, so now you're making them get more drunk but you're still maintaining your soberness for the next tricks to come !
White Wine: This is nasty stuff, the smell of it alone can make you throw up! Up north they really know how to drink this stuff, I even found some in a plastic pop top bottle in the supermarket.
This will really take effect fast, there are some options available.
1. Goto the toilet with a full glass, empty it and replace with normal water, as long as you keep you're distance from the main herd they won't notice, ONLY drink a little tapwater as most people boil the water before drinking!

Dealing with KTV: Yes you will be required to sing a song! Any western song! Most popular is 'country road' This can be fun for some but awkward for others.
There are some things you can do to avoid this, Push the person who's pushing you to sing to have a toast, then offer him the mic and sing together, he will be much louder than you and you can just mime your way through without drawing the whole rooms attention to you.

In China I do some Quality Control inspections here and I constantly deal with trickery everyday to try and persuade me they are my best friends and I should not betray them! (I'm not plugging myself here)
Most of the products are bound for the EU. My clients usually opt for the CHEAPEST suppliers now most of the crap I see at factories is actually RUBBISH, dangerous infarct, flash marks, burr marks, loose cords, poor insulation ect. When I mention these issues I am confronted with "No problems my friend, we sell in local market, quality is good, ok!, You my friend! To actually get a supplier to admit a mistake is almost impossible because they hate responsibility! So for buyers they have usually been corrupted with the above and the end result usually ends in disaster.

If you're dealing with Chinese with business be VERY DIRECT!!! Write emails DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT TALK FINE THINGS FACE TO FACE!!!! They will never admit you said what you said! Always keep the relationships at a professional level. DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR CORRUPTION ! This will be you're downfall ! Act polite and well mannered, draw the line, let them know where you stand and you're tolerance.

I'm sure many people have YEARS of experience in dealing with this type of stuff, I'm just writing it from my experience here, So what I say may not agree with some.

edit on 8-10-2012 by crackerjack because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-10-2012 by crackerjack because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by crackerjack


Ideal with India and same applies

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 01:25 PM
What the government really like out their? I mean as a Westerner where you ever watched or followed? Could you see yourself settle their when you retire?

Cool thread BTW!

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 01:36 PM

Originally posted by definity
What the government really like out their? I mean as a Westerner where you ever watched or followed? Could you see yourself settle their when you retire?

Cool thread BTW!

It's different from city to city, mostly in the larger cities the governments are fairly behaved because of all the city eyes.
Out in the smaller towns and countrysides it's a different ballgame, My Chinese friend told me once an official from a town had a $15,000 watch but decided it was too cheap and traded it up for a $25,000 one, So people in this town could earn a average of $400-$500 a month. Do the maths with that. No one could really complain because he held the power.

I haven't been followed, I've had my phone convo's recorded once when talking to another western friend about a delicate topic here, we could here beeps every 20 seconds.

For retirement, no not really, because of the lack of government support and the ME,ME, ME society, you're pretty much on your own in life in China, if you're old then you move in with your children and they take care of you. No one else will bother about you.

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 01:49 PM

Originally posted by laserjeff
reply to post by crackerjack


Ideal with India and same applies

Explains why Indians slot in perfectly well here. Still after six years, I have not adjusted or assimilated to this society.

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 08:44 PM
reply to post by crackerjack

When are you coming home?

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 09:14 PM
no matter where you live...china..or here, it's a dog eat dog world.. regardless of whether it's a democratic state or socialist.

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 10:02 PM
Very interesting thread my friend, All I can really say is Im glad I dont live there, Why ever do you want to stay there ? Do you have intentions of going back to where your from?

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by crackerjack

Another ATS China member! I wonder how many of us are scattered across the Middle Kingdom? I have been here seven years, straight.

I have often pondered crafting a thread on China. However, I don't have enough skill ( or Jack ) to put this 'Mad Max meets Bladerunner meets every Philip K Dick Novel ever written' place into the appropriate words. I congratulate you on your efforts.

In related ATS news...

Have you ever noticed how the Chinese seem to go out of their way to design public light fixtures that look like UFOs?

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 10:42 PM
reply to post by crackerjack

Amazing, so are you attracted to Chinese women or do you miss the Caucasian ladies?

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 11:28 PM

Originally posted by crackerjack

and the ME,ME, ME society, you're pretty much on your own in life in China, if you're old then you move in with your children and they take care of you. No one else will bother about you.

That alone interests me. The ME ME ME Society? Are you sure you are not talking about the US instead of a supposed communist nation?

posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 11:37 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 11:49 PM
ignore the ignoble comments...outstanding display of horsepower in the important arena....friggin china.
I trade every day by which latest report about china puts risk on or risk off......great thread babe....

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 12:04 AM
reply to post by crackerjack

I used to live in Chengdu for awhile and what you posted is spot on.

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 12:21 AM
Great thread Crackerjack.And thanks for the inside scoop.Man we(ATS)have people everywhere,lol

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 12:30 AM
So how do they view Americans, generally? Is there anti-American propaganda spewed by the government? How do they view the world, in a political sense?

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by crackerjack

Great thread. A quick question. Do you ever worry about your email being compromised, like this thread for instance.


posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 12:40 AM

Originally posted by WhatAreThey
Did you forget how to form proper sentences while in China?

he most likely didn't forget, but if that is how most people talk you WILL PICK IT UP. one of the hazards of living in another country where the main language is not your native language. i was annoyed at my parent's dictation and pronunciations as they spent most of the year in the Philippines. now that i have been here not even one month and i find i am slipping into the same problem. it stems from trying to make others understand as differing languages put emphasis on different parts of words, use proper English and they will not typically understand you.

it is amazing that so much of the non "western" world is the same in a lot of respects. i kept going yup, to the op's comments.

there are tricks to deal with some of the stuff. when shopping especialy in a flea market type setting where prices aren't marked, the trick is to see what you like, THEN send a trusted friend who is a national BACK later to deal and bargain. not only will they KNOW what a fair price is, it also gets rid of the "shopping while white tax".

one thing i find annoying especially when at a mall store, is that I will be greeted by all the sales staff while they IGNORE the nationals i am with. it just really bugs the crap out of me when they do that.

the OP's point about trusting people is also valid here. you must always be careful when dealing with people since they feel that all westerners are RICH and therefore ripping them off is not a problem. this is actually the after effects of all the years that ONLY the RICH could afford to travel around the world. and truthfully in a lot of ways we ARE RICH, just not in a monitory way. heck people almost have heart attacks when i explain that yes we get payed more but that the cost of living is WAY higher as well. my favorite is telling them what we pay for cigarettes is rather effective and gets their attention, for example a pack of smokes here is under 60 peso (under $1.50), the look on their faces when i say a pack of smokes at home is over 400 peso ($10) per pack is priceless.

customer service is not too bad in the Philippines as pretty much everything you buy (including light bulbs) is tested at time of purchase to make sure it works properly. but if you do take something back they will test it to make sure there is a problem with it.

i do have a question for the OP. is there armed security at store and mall entrances there?
there is here and i feel rather secure because of it. I know the chances of someone pulling a gun in a mall is practically nil since everyone myself included are checked for weapons. they even check out cars entering parking garages, including trunks and mirroring the bottom. just think of all the shootings back home in north america at places of business, malls and movie theaters, chances of THAT happening here is practically nil. and yet with all the security it has a very friendly feel. security guards are EXTREMELY POLITE, they are trained in first aid and all carry small kits, so you know if someone has a heart attack or something there is help almost instantly. they will even take you to a seat and give you a menu at a restraunt if the hostess is busy.

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 01:10 AM
I have been importing products from Chinese manufacturers for years. YES, I try to get the products "Made in America" when I can. I always do.

I have NEVER gotten an eamil here in the States that doesn't start with "We will be good friends" or ends with "We will be good friends"

I always thought it was a nice gesture until now I know they want to get me drunk on cheap booze and make me sing "Country Road" by John Denver.
How dare they?

GREAT post OP. Thanks.

I'll send YOU to my next manufacturer. I like staying in the States and bitching. Safer.

At least you have some Jack Daniels to comfort you.

posted on Oct, 9 2012 @ 01:56 AM
reply to post by crackerjack

Except for the cheap wine and Karoke, you just perfectly described what its like to sell at my local flea market.

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