Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

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84 CultureShock! China


Once you are legally allowed to stay in China, the next
challenge is to choose your home. Long gone are the days
when foreigners were relegated to a couple of hotels or
apartment compounds. Living options in China have never
been more exciting, from skyscrapers to renovated factories
to golf villas, you can find a home that suites your personality
and budget.

Fast and Easy: Serviced Apartments

If you have adequate budget, the option with the greatest
convenience is a serviced apartment. In the early days of
opening, a few hotel chains made an accurate assessment
of the difficulty that setting up a China presence would
involve and set up an ‘instant solution’. In every major city
are a few five-star hotels that provide serviced apartments
to live in, have authorised office towers attached, and have
enough restaurants, shops and nightlife that you seldom
need to leave.
These serviced apartments provide fully furnished homes
with housekeeping services, laundry, shoe repair, health clubs,
massage services, food delivery and a hairdresser. Many also
have delis, grocery stores and a variety of restaurants nearby
to choose from.
Some also provide butler service as needed for entertaining.
Because the hotel-owned serviced apartments are expensive,
most who reside in them are senior level executives on solid
expat packages.
On the other hand, there are a growing number of
residential compounds that offer serviced apartments
at the less-serviced end of the scale. Private companies
are buying up blocks in newer
compounds and some offer
short-term leases that include
basic furnishings, laundry and
housekeeping service. These
are usually occupied by people
working on short-term contract
in China who would prefer to

Although serviced apartments
provide an easy launch pad
for expats to transit into living
in China, in some respects it is
too easy, and many who opt for
this life live in an expat oasis,
removed from the everyday
hustle bustle, haggle and humour
of the real China.

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