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

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86 CultureShock! China

stay in an apartment rather than a hotel, either because of
personal preference or financial restraint.
Prices for serviced apartments range from US$ 1,400 per
month for a short-term lease in a reasonably new apartment
building, to upwards of US$ 10,000 per month in a five-star
hotel-run compound.

DIY: Non-serviced Apartments

The real estate boom in China has made standard apartment
options far more attractive than they once were. Newer
compounds are nicely renovated with elegant foyers and lift
lobbies, they have new elevators that whiz up and down the
building, the plumbing and electricity are modern so you
can flush tissue down the toilet and can run more than four
appliances at a time, water pressure is reasonable, and they
have regulations that restrict your neighbours from hanging
their laundry on poles out the window. The rubbish bins are
cleared twice daily by building maintenance, the gardens are
manicured and they have health clubs and community rooms.
They also have excellent security facilities, and professional
companies manage these.
Older locally developed apartment compounds are built
in the Soviet style. They are entirely cement blocks which
have limited insulation. If they are eight stories or less, they
do not have an elevator; if they have more than eight stories,
most have an elevator and may have a dedicated elevator
attendant who sits in the elevator pushing the buttons.
Typically these buildings are inhabited by people who have
been assigned there by the government, or have purchased
their first home there. Quite often their lives spill over into
the common area—bikes are parked in the hallway, children
and grandparents are the VIPs, maintenance pops in and out
of your apartment as they wish and old ladies will carefully
watch how you are managing your life, often stopping you
to make comment on your electricity usage and when you
should close your curtains. Living in these compounds is full
immersion into life as most Chinese live it.
A majority of people coming to China will live in a non-
serviced apartment. Rent in the older local compounds
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