‘Never boring’ Expats explain what life is like in ‘challenging’ but ‘rewarding’ China

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Just under 40,000 British people live in China according to recent estimates. Many expats live in the capital city, Beijing, or one of China’s other major cities such as Shanghai or Guangzhou.

Expats can expect to experience some culture shock after moving to China from the UK.

It’s important that expats try to learn at least some Mandarin before travelling to avoid facing a major language barrier.

One expat said: “Understanding Chinese business practices like exchanging business cards with two hands and basic words like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ will go a long way in mainland China.”

Chinese business people will also normally present their business cards to people in order of importance.

It’s a good idea for expats to follow business traditions in China if they want to show respect to their colleagues.

Excessive hand gestures are also commonly considered impolite in China so it’s a good idea to avoid unnecessary movements.

One expat told HSBC: “Challenging, fast paced, rewarding, sometimes stressful, mainland China has opened up my horizons, increased opportunities available to me, and has helped me to advance personally and professionally.”

China is generally seen as a great destination for career advancement and was ranked as the third best country to work in the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey.

Another expat said: “Even with some difficulties, enjoy the experience, open your mind and see the world from a different perspective.”

Expats in China will have the chance to experience a different way of life, especially if they make friends with Chinese residents.

Local people can often help expats settle in quickly and give fantastic tips and advice to newcomers.

One expat said: “Try local food across different parts of the country, you’ll never be bored with the range of different flavours. Every province is different!”

Although Chinese food is very popular in the UK, it has often been adapted to British tastes.

Cantonese cuisine, which is the most common in the UK, includes dim sum and delicious fresh seafood.

Schezuan food is often very spicy and dishes are usually heavily flavoured with pepper, chilli and garlic.

Anhui cuisine originated in the Huangshan Mountains in China and is famous for its use of locally grown herbs and vegetables.

As a major tourist destination, China also has many amazing sights for expats to visit at the weekend.

While the capital city has the incredible Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, the Yellow Mountains of Huangshan are breathtaking.

Expats can expect the weather in southern China to be hot and humid in summer with frequent rainfall.

Northern China has harsh winters which can be very cold and warm summers.

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