China Pocket Guide 2023 is a one-stop shop and starting point for anyone organising or considering a visit to China.
The world’s second-largest economy was one of the few countries to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19. The strict controls included regular and lengthy lockdowns and the requirement to produce a green health code to enter most establishments. This became too much to bear for many foreigners, driving many to leave the country. However, towards the end of 2022, a country at its wit’s end, China saw widespread civil unrest. This, together with the dominant COVID variant proving less fatal than the common flu, resulted in an about-turn by Chinese authorities. Suddenly, China was open for business. Flights resumed, quarantine and health codes were dropped, and the opportunities to work, study and travel in China resumed.
Now that travel, work and study in China are all a reality once more, it’s time to consider exactly how the country works. It goes without saying that almost everything in China functions differently from what you’re accustomed to at home. Transport and travel, healthcare, shopping and the Internet: they’re all undertaken and managed differently. As an example: China is virtually cashless, and its apps are advanced, enabling you to manage most aspects of life in China, including shopping, healthcare and travel. All Google services, from search to Google Drive and GSuite, are unavailable in China. Most western social media and an increasing number of websites fall on the other side of “The Great Firewall”, the unofficial title given to aspects of The Golden Shield project, i.e., China’s strict control over the internet.
Perhaps you plan to visit a manufacturer in Guangdong or a client in Shanghai. Maybe you’re applying for some of the vast arrays of media or teaching jobs available to native English speakers. This concise guide has been written to serve as a starting point to help you adapt to living in China.