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Old 12-06-2018, 07:53 PM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,667,688 times
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Out of the cities I've visited to in China, will rank them as follows based on my personal preference:

1. Xiamen
2. Hangzhou
3. Shanghai
4. Beijing
5. Suzhou
6. Guangzhou
7. Shenzhen
8. Xi'an
9. Qingdao
10. Yantai
11. Dalian
12. Guilin
13. Chengde, Hubei

14. Zhanjiang, Guangdong


Guangzhou and Shenzhen are ranked higher due to their proximity to Hong Kong. If not for that, would drop them lower. Shenzhen also is the last city that I am willing to "try" living in for a longer term.



Starting with Qingdao on my list, it's not "cosmopolitan" enough for me. Went to Qingdao last month, wanted to buy something at the Suning store, but their machine rejected all of my VISA/Mastercard/American Express because they're all "international" credit cards (not issued in mainland China) and no one knew what to do.


Dalian felt very cold even if I visited in November. Wanted to buy a nicer jacket that I can wear in other countries as well. Stores and brands available are very different from Hong Kong and Shanghai, and didn't recognize most of the available brands at all.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:47 PM
 
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In all honestly, all of the cities on the list (except Yantai & maybe Guilin) are cosmopolitan, but if you want a truely "international" city, only Shanghai I would say is international. There is a huge expat scene in Shanghai, a great variety of bars and restaurants that are non-China/Non-Asia, and the architecture near the bund is very European.


All of the other cities mentioned, like Hangzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Xian and such are nice, big urban Chinese cities, but I'm not sure how international they really are. Everyone for the most part is Chinese, the Western food that is there either sucks or its fast food, so I'm not sure I would call any of them international. Beautiful cities to live in, but maybe not international.


Hong Kong is truely international, with Shanghai coming in second but significantly behind Hong Kong.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,802 posts, read 804,562 times
Reputation: 1839
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeinChina View Post
In all honestly, all of the cities on the list (except Yantai & maybe Guilin) are cosmopolitan, but if you want a truely "international" city, only Shanghai I would say is international. There is a huge expat scene in Shanghai, a great variety of bars and restaurants that are non-China/Non-Asia, and the architecture near the bund is very European.


All of the other cities mentioned, like Hangzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Xian and such are nice, big urban Chinese cities, but I'm not sure how international they really are. Everyone for the most part is Chinese, the Western food that is there either sucks or its fast food, so I'm not sure I would call any of them international. Beautiful cities to live in, but maybe not international.


Hong Kong is truely international, with Shanghai coming in second but significantly behind Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong is even much pricier.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:34 PM
 
501 posts, read 461,461 times
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You have to put words like "cosmopolitan" in context and realize that China is not a very "international" place. There are more people of Chinese heritage in Seattle, WA than there are people of American heritage in the entire country of China, for example. Shanghai is 98% ethnic Han Chinese, even Hong Kong is nearly 92% ethnic Chinese. The most ethnically diverse places are in the west of China, although you'll still get more product/food diversity in the tier 1 cities.
Not that this is a bad thing, you just need to temper your expectations in comparison to many western cities.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,819 posts, read 9,470,378 times
Reputation: 2963
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
A lot of second tier cities around Shanghai that are nice. Suzhou, Hangzhou,
I'm quite familiar with these. They are just as expensive as Shanghai in terms of daily costs, hotels, meals, etc. (Property values are cheaper, but I don't think the OP was talking about that.)
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,509 posts, read 3,092,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Out of the cities I've visited to in China, will rank them as follows based on my personal preference:

1. Xiamen
2. Hangzhou
3. Shanghai
4. Beijing
5. Suzhou
6. Guangzhou
7. Shenzhen
8. Xi'an
9. Qingdao
10. Yantai
11. Dalian
12. Guilin
13. Chengde, Hubei

14. Zhanjiang, Guangdong


Guangzhou and Shenzhen are ranked higher due to their proximity to Hong Kong. If not for that, would drop them lower. Shenzhen also is the last city that I am willing to "try" living in for a longer term.



Starting with Qingdao on my list, it's not "cosmopolitan" enough for me. Went to Qingdao last month, wanted to buy something at the Suning store, but their machine rejected all of my VISA/Mastercard/American Express because they're all "international" credit cards (not issued in mainland China) and no one knew what to do.


Dalian felt very cold even if I visited in November. Wanted to buy a nicer jacket that I can wear in other countries as well. Stores and brands available are very different from Hong Kong and Shanghai, and didn't recognize most of the available brands at all.



why isn't trump pressuring XI on credit cards?
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,802 posts, read 804,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
I'm quite familiar with these. They are just as expensive as Shanghai in terms of daily costs, hotels, meals, etc. (Property values are cheaper, but I don't think the OP was talking about that.)
OP should consider Phuket, not China, but it has everything OP is looking for.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:04 PM
 
653 posts, read 581,409 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
OP should consider Phuket, not China, but it has everything OP is looking for.
Yeah, I would agree that Phuket and some of the larger cities in Thailand are more diverse and "international" than the large Chinese cities.


Even Shanghai, the people in the city, I'm not so sure they are international minded. China in general is very Chinese, in its people, culture and way of thinking.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:24 PM
 
6,725 posts, read 6,599,126 times
Reputation: 2386
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeinChina View Post
Yeah, I would agree that Phuket and some of the larger cities in Thailand are more diverse and "international" than the large Chinese cities.


Even Shanghai, the people in the city, I'm not so sure they are international minded. China in general is very Chinese, in its people, culture and way of thinking.
Southeast Asians are special too. Many of them genuinely think western styles (of thinking, living etc.) are the best, but just cannot be achieved by them so far.

However, people of East Asia, Middle East, and South Asia do not think western styles are necessarily the best. Such a mentality makes them less "international".
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,312 posts, read 6,962,789 times
Reputation: 3502
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Talking about inland cities, Chengdu is the most international (with consulates of the US, France, Germany, Australia, India, Israel etc). Wuhan, Xi'an and Chongqing are not far behind. All of them have sizeable international communities, but most are students and temporary workers.

Along the coast, Dalian, Qingdao, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xiamen are all nice tier 2 cities with international influences.
Thanks. Again, so many possibilities it seems too crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
Definition of cosmopolitan before people start arguing about it. I don't think that really describes any Chinese city or town to be honest.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cosmopolitan
Perhaps. It's obviously a sliding scale and we may all have varying benchmarks for how cosmopolitan is enough to then be labelled "cosmopolitan." fwiw, I would be fine if there are a few areas/neighborhoods that are quite international/cosmopolitan even if much of the region does not have that vibe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Out of the cities I've visited to in China, will rank them as follows based on my personal preference:

1. Xiamen
2. Hangzhou
3. Shanghai
4. Beijing
5. Suzhou
6. Guangzhou
7. Shenzhen
8. Xi'an

Guangzhou and Shenzhen are ranked higher due to their proximity to Hong Kong. If not for that, would drop them lower. Shenzhen also is the last city that I am willing to "try" living in for a longer term.

Starting with Qingdao on my list, it's not "cosmopolitan" enough for me.
So I guess the list should cut off where I have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeinChina View Post
In all honestly, all of the cities on the list (except Yantai & maybe Guilin) are cosmopolitan, but if you want a truely "international" city, only Shanghai I would say is international. There is a huge expat scene in Shanghai, a great variety of bars and restaurants that are non-China/Non-Asia, and the architecture near the bund is very European.


All of the other cities mentioned, like Hangzhou, Dalian, Xiamen, Xian and such are nice, big urban Chinese cities, but I'm not sure how international they really are. Everyone for the most part is Chinese, the Western food that is there either sucks or its fast food, so I'm not sure I would call any of them international. Beautiful cities to live in, but maybe not international.
Thanks, this is really the heart of the matter. I guess I can't really know how I will interpret each of these places until I experience them in depth for myself. But good to know how some of you all feel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strad View Post
You have to put words like "cosmopolitan" in context and realize that China is not a very "international" place. There are more people of Chinese heritage in Seattle, WA than there are people of American heritage in the entire country of China, for example. Shanghai is 98% ethnic Han Chinese, even Hong Kong is nearly 92% ethnic Chinese. The most ethnically diverse places are in the west of China, although you'll still get more product/food diversity in the tier 1 cities.
Not that this is a bad thing, you just need to temper your expectations in comparison to many western cities.
Totally true. A significant factor in my preference of Western cities is their Asian/Chinese influence and amenities. So it's kinda funny to do the opposite exercise, where I'm trying to imagine cities with more Asian/Chinese influence than I need, and finding enough western/global/other amenities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
OP should consider Phuket, not China, but it has everything OP is looking for.
Well, to be clear this thread was really out of curiosity and for basic research as I am not super familiar with China's various cities. I have been to China five times now, but haven't seen all that many places or experienced too much beyond the inside of homes and restaurants. It is not very likely that we will seriously consider moving to PRC, much less actually do it. But I will admit that I used to have a hardline stance against ever living in the Mainland and that stance has softened quite a bit.

With that said, now I'm curious why you suggest Phuket. I do love Bangkok, but I feel like it is probably the only place in Thailand that I would enjoy longer term. However I've never been to Phuket, CM, etc...only been to Bangkok and HatYai/Songkhla.
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