Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

China Travel Tips

It’s A Whole Different World

China Travel Tips are for those westerners who think foreign travel is heading to Florida or Niagara Falls.  You are in for a culture Shock traveling to China to start your import business.   Let’s try to make it more tolerable for you through these top China Travel tips.  

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Top 10 China Travel Tips

  1. The Weather:
    The Yantze River cuts through approximately half of the country. As a rough guide, regions north of the river will be exposed to subfreezing temperatures during the coldest six months of the year. Houses south of the river are typically not heated.  So be prepared.
  2. The Flight:
    Flying time to China from the west coast of North America is going to be about 15 hours.  If you are flying a China based airline, you may not get the same level of service as the Chinese passengers. Not that the flight attendants don’t like westerners, they are shy about using their English.  You may also find your first exposure to Chinese hygiene a little strange as the Chinese passengers may opening cough or sneeze without covering up their mouths.
  3. Electrical Power:
    The standard is 220 volts.  If you come from western countries that use 120 volts, then adapters and converters are a must.  Hotels in larger metropolitan cities in China are supposed to have adapters but why take the risk of not being able to use your laptop half way around the world?  
  4. Medicine:
    Take all your common medical supplies with you.  Your common western headache pills and cough syrups might be hard to find in local pharmacies.   On the upside, some of your prescription based medicines may be obtained without a prescription.
  5. Getting Around:
    The most common ways to get around in China is by walking, biking, bus, train or taxi.  You get forget about renting a car and taking a scenic drive along the coast. Driving in a China city is going to be a shock even for those Westerners coming from New York or Los Angeles. It’s just chaos. Beware of dishonest taxi drivers who see Westerners as an open bank account.  If you are staying at a hotel ask for recommendations on taxis.
  6. News & Media:
    The Chinese government controls the public media in China.  So listen and watch accordingly.  You may be able to find foreign newspapers but they are likely to be days if not weeks old.
  7. Telecommunications:
    Believe it or not, cell phones are the way to go.  Buy a cell phone and a calling card to keep cost down.  It is also cheaper to call from the U.S. to China then from China to the U.S.  You may want to ask your family to call you instead of the other way around.
  8. Money Matters
    The currency in mainland China is the Chinese Yuan and in Hong Kong, it is the Hong Kong Dollar.  One Chinese Yuan equals to about fifteen cents in the U.S.   One Hong Kong Dollar is equal to about thirteen cents in the U.S.  Don’t wait until you get to China to convert your money.  Do it at home to get better exchange rates. Don’t  try to buy things in China using your American money.  Not only will you get the worst rates, but it like stamping a “rob me” sign on your forehead.
  9. Unit of Measure
    Things are measured using the metric system.  For Canadian travelers, you are used to it.  But for the Americans, you’ll need to get up to speed on meters, kilometers, grams and kilograms.
  10. Time Zone
    One simple thing about China is that there is only one time zone. There is no daylight savings time that we try to balance in the western world.  There are 13 hours difference between the time in China and Eastern Standard Time (12 during daylight savings time).

Pagoda Photo Credit: Daniel Cubillas