The Elevator Life focuses on moving abroad to pursue opportunities outside your domestic market. Seeing how we currently reside in China, we thought we’d highlight our “home” country’s major cities (well…top three, because dozens of cities in China one can consider “major”), name their US counterpart (strictly based on overall significance/reputation) and share our opinions and insight into overall life in each of these cities. Not to be biased, we’ll go down the list alphabetically.
Don’t worry Shenzhen, you guys get your own post!!
I don’t think Beijing needs much of an introduction. The capital city of China, the Great Wall, the 2008 Olympic Games…Beijing is a city name people recognize around the globe. Beijing is the political capital of China and can most appropriately be matched up to Washington, D.C.
That being said, the career opportunities here revolve around government positions and NGO postings. Another highlight of Beijing is the fine arts culture (art, music, dance, ect.). A strong presence of artists of all expertise and experience levels offers foreigners opportunities difficult to find in other parts of China.
Besides work, there are three major factors we’d like to highlight we believe greatly weigh in on a person’s decision to relocate.
- Weather. A major factor for us is the climate. You’d be surprised how much this can affect a person’s decision/life and most likely he or she won’t notice it until they have experienced different for an extended amount of time. You will experience all four seasons in Beijing. But, the city the majority of the time is dry. Unfortunately, the two most pleasant are the shortest (spring and autumn). Winter temperatures hover around/below freezing and summer is hot and wet.
- Travel. Although it isn’t easy to travel to too many destinations from Beijing, the attractions in the city never get old. If you’re a fan of history I couldn’t think of a much better place to be in China than Beijing. Moreover, if you’re in need of some motivation, I can tell you hiking the Great Wall will provide all you need…and then some.
- Nightlife. The club scene is great in Beijing but due to the strong independent art culture here you can find a ton of different types of venues, e.g. live music, techno, hip hop. If you appreciate variety, Beijing is a great place to experience it all.
Formerly known as Canton (I know you’ve heard of/eaten Cantonese food), Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and the original “gate to the West” because of trade. Not to mention, the capital of the fastest growing, richest province in China. Nevertheless, when we tell people we live in Guangzhou we often get a puzzled face followed by “Where?” No, we’re not bitter (promise)…as a matter of fact the longer Guangzhou is relatively unknown, the better for us! After we explain Guangzhou is located a mere 174 kilometers (109 miles) from Hong Kong, people tend to know the general area.
Guangzhou is the manufacturing center of China and can be compared to Detroit (back when it was Motor City). Although hard to contrast its growth to, well, any other city in the world, Guangzhou is simply BOOMING.
Entrepreneurs can get involved in nearly any sector here, but trade-related work is the main focus…import, export, sourcing; you name it. Therefore, most of the careers in Guangzhou circle around the trading sector. Indeed, Canton Fair (the world’s largest trade fair) is hosted in our wonderful city.
China, specifically Guangzhou, is strongly considered the Wild West where anyone at anytime (assuming they are entrepreneurial minded) can discover a product or create and make a good and turn it into a full-blown international brand in literally weeks. Indeed, whatever you want to manufacture, most likely is/can be fabricated in Guangzhou.