Convenience in China

Convenience in China is not always easy to come by and going abroad can be fairly stressful when thinking about things you are used to and how you are going to live without them once you move.

Walking girl in a crowdMaybe you are ready for an adventure and you don’t care about the comforts of home but sometimes you might really want something and might not know how to find it abroad.

Or, maybe the new technology and cultural conveniences may elude you. There are many ways to utilize these conveniences in China—here are some I’ve learned about so far!

1. Amazon.cn

You might have heard of Amazon before in your home country; guess what! You can get the same goods from Amazon in China! So far, I have only ordered things straight from Amazon because the delivery company needs to contact me in order to deliver my packages and they only speak Chinese—I know what to say to the delivery people from Amazon!

But, of course, if you want something you can’t find in your area, you can always find it on Amazon!

2. VPN

China blocks certain internet sites we frequent in the west. Things like Facebook, Google, Netflix, Hulu, and others you might be somewhat surprised to find. In order to access these sites, you might try a VPN to obtain an IP address from another country and trick these location specific sites.

Many websites will tell you about Astrille or Express, both of these work in China very well. I have been using Panda Pow and it has been incredible. The VPN is reliable and they also sell a router so you don’t need to connect every time you log on the computer.

Their customer service is excellent as well if you have any questions or problems. Once more, this VPN site, (where you order the service), is not blocked in China so, rest assured, you can always access the help.

3. Baopals/Taobao

When you are living in China for any length of time, you will hear about the miracle that is Taobao. Taobao is a website much like Ebay where locals go to buy cheap goods. There are a couple of different websites like Taobao, but this is the big one!

The only thing is, it’s all in Chinese, which is great if you are trying to learn, but if you want something quick, there is an alternative! Baopals is a site that has been working to translate items on Taobao for a small fee usually serviced with the shipping cost.

Search, read, browse, and order in English from the comfort of your couch! This can be quite a dangerous site for your bank balance!

4. WeChat Pay/AliPay/Union Card

When you order your items online from Amazon.cn, Taobao, or even your VPN, you might come across WeChat Pay, AliPay, or Union card access. I have been using WeChat pay and it’s incredible.

WeChat is a messaging app on your phone and can be used as a source of payment for food in food courts, items online, top up your cell phone’s sim card, or if you want to give your friend some money you might have borrowed.

All you have to do is connect your bank card to your account and you can do all this by scanning QR codes. Connecting your bank account might be a tad difficult as they write your name a bit funny at the bank and you have to figure out exactly how they wrote it.

Most likely, it is your last name first, then first and middle, all in capital letters. It’s definitely worth the convenience to find out!

Hopefully, these tips will get you started out in China—it’s a very convenient and amazing place to be! Let us know in the comments section if you know of any other convenient ways to be a foreigner in China. 

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