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Shanghai - possible move

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Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 11:32

Hi all, any 'puromers living in/have lived in Shanghai?

I have a possible move to there next year with work, just wondering what to look for?

How would I want to live up there? What can $$ buy? IS there a large amount of living in condos, or do people live in houses/fenced living areas?

What about things like driving? Travel to and from work? Taxis?

I know English isn't well spoken across there, so looks like I'll have top print all the info out to get anywhere until I get the hang of the language.

Do people know about tax arrangements? Banking? Salaries? Cost of living?

Any other useful info would also be welcome!

Cheers
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby T2K » 19th Dec, '12, 11:56

I've never lived there, but I've traveled there a lot and my company has expats there.

I can only state a few points:

1. For getting around, everyone I know there uses cabs or has a driver (there is a good train system there too). For cabs, you cannot assume drivers know even a single word of English. And, since Chinese names for places, even places with English names, are not the same as English names, it can be a problem. Most carry around a file in their phone (or, old school, business cards) of any place they want to go with the address in Chinese. And people there WILL steal a cab right out from under you (like you open the door and they jump in sort of shit), one must be aggressive about getting cabs there when it's busy!

Of course, you should try to learn Chinese a bit to help with this.

2. There are lots of apartments and condos in the city. Also, houses just outside which look like American suburbs (this would be better for those with a family). Living in the "French Concession" area seems trendy and popular with expats.

3. The dirty air makes it look like a scene from the fictional future Los Angeles from the movie Bladerunner almost every day.

4. Income taxes are definitely higher than Singapore. But general grocery shopping and such is cheaper based on the times I've shopped there. Certainly beers at the grocery store or 7-11 are a lot cheaper!

5. There are many western expats around (plus Koreans and Japanese and others). There are lots of expat-type pubs like Malones (I was there recently, so the name sticks in my head), showing Western sports games, with a pool table, etc. One thing I notice, though, is that whereas Singapore has some "quality controls" for employment pass issuance, in China you meet everyone from top-of-their-game global professionals to "China business consultants / English language teachers / DJ's" and such. Apparently, if you get a job offer you can work there (probably an over-simplification but you get the point).

I was offered a promotion there several years back and declined mainly because I like year-round outdoor sports, and that's not happening there. At the same time, I know people who moved from SG to there and said it was the best thing they ever did.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Tas » 19th Dec, '12, 12:05

I've had a stack of colleagues move through China and visited often. Not able to help so much with your specific questions. But would note that you do need to get your tax payments sorted out very clearly with place of residence for purpose of income tax, and get those calculations done right with the company, and Put In Writing with someone senior signing off, not some random accountant that always gets it wrong!!!!! For example who is paying that tax is a starting point. This has been a continuous contentious item for a number of folk I've know and always seems to get messy with HR. When it comes to sorting out working foreign worker visa, make sure your company has a good local helper/translator - you WILL spend a lot of strange hours in officals offices and banks, and without a competent helper you will be steaming.
Personally, having travelled across the region, my experience is Shanghai is the worst part of China for taxis, so like any move, plan your accomodation to be as easy as possible in relation to work and play areas (ie in the middle, on train lines).
On a separate note, the legal system as you know it, does not exist in China, your the foreigner, you will be in the wrong.
If Singapore will be your place of residence listing, make damn sure your company has a fly out SOS insurance set up (few our lot have had heart conditions that played out, those things do get used)
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby baloo » 19th Dec, '12, 13:43

How much are you asking for your car ?
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby slinky » 19th Dec, '12, 13:56

Between safety of food supply, bad air quality and concerns about basic medical treatments and procedures, not to mention language issues, I'd have to be getting a HUGE salary raise to even consider China - Shanghai or otherwise. And even then, I'm not sure, but a big part of that is because I have children to consider. One thing the British expats we visited in Beijing in Oct noted was China has passed some law that states all vaccines used in the country must be Chinese manufactured (not sure if that just means Western pharma facilities within China or Chinese pharma companies, but, seriously, we're talking about people who can't get dog food manufactured so it's safe for dogs to eat....) But, given you work in the pharma industry, maybe that has its perks in this regard.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 14:50

baloo wrote:How much are you asking for your car ?


A tidy profit, I should think!
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 14:59

Thanks to all others, and yes, keep them coming.

I've heard a few stories about the place, and found an online site which basically says "do not live here", but I know so many people living there already it can't be THAT bad, yes?
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Kooky » 19th Dec, '12, 15:14

Scootergrrl has been there a few years, want me to put you in touch via Facebook? Think she hates the place.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 15:46

In that case no!:D
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Sardonicus » 19th Dec, '12, 15:53

As I've recently considered Shanghai, do you mind sharing that site or PMing me with it?
Fat Bob wrote:I've heard a few stories about the place, and found an online site which basically says "do not live here", but I know so many people living there already it can't be THAT bad, yes?
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby baloo » 19th Dec, '12, 15:58

We have Shanghai some thought but it was ruled out seeing crackers is Japanese. She didn't fancy living in a land where there is government sanctioned rioting against Japanese embassies and corporations.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 16:39

The site I've found is the Shanghai Expat forum. Seems to be partially good advice and partially angry board.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby canuck » 19th Dec, '12, 17:11

Know quite a few people in Shanghai, a japanese couple to boot.. Can ask them
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Tas » 19th Dec, '12, 17:51

Really depends on how long you plan to stay there, a couple years would be fine, but you wouldn't want to stay much longer. You'll soon learn and about the 3M's of Expats in China, you're a Missionary, Mercenery or Misfit...
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 19th Dec, '12, 18:15

I certainly only do the first in bed, and only when I really have to!
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby baloo » 19th Dec, '12, 18:18

Fat Bob wrote:I certainly only do the first in bed, and only when I really have to!


The image of you spread eagled on your back in a bed is not one I ever really wanted. Lobotomy time I fear.
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 22nd Dec, '12, 19:09

Just realised I may not be able to move the 70 bottles of wine I have in my wine fridge. Well, 69 now..... ;)
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby skank-la » 24th Dec, '12, 07:57

I chose coming back to home office in LA over going to Bejing or Shanghai. The fact my son would start 1st grade in the USA educational system & spending time with my aging parents (who have since passed)weighed heavily in that decision

However one of the main reasons for not going was the tax situation. Reiterating someone else's post earlier in this thread you need to get a clear locked down agreement on taxes from your employer if they are a foreign entity with a presence outside China.

The Chinese have a habit of unilaterally deciding that you are making some crazy amount offshore & assessing a tax bill based on that made-up amount. You basically need an ironclad agreement from your employer that in this event they will cover this bill as you will not be allowed to leave China w/o paying it. I personally know two people who went through terrible crisis because of this scenario

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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 24th Dec, '12, 08:13

Thanks skank and Tas regarding the tax issue. Will chat with my company about it as and when the time comes.

Overall, there's nothing to say no to, just things to watch out for. Heard that all agreements must be in Chinese and the English copy is only for reference. It's worth getting professional services in order to translate English documents to Chinese and vice versa. Work out tax.

I've heard Puxi is the place to live even if working in Pudong, and travel time is ~30-45 mins in the morning. Drivers are possible, and cost of living in general is cheaper though certain, imported items are more expensive.

I look forward to the PM skank, and I also look forward to the initial visit. Hey, they could offer me a job a grade or two lower than I currently have, or not like me at all. So still not certain I am moving!
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby Fat Bob » 24th Dec, '12, 08:14

Oh, and I need to drink about 68 bottles of wine before I move....
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Re: Shanghai - possible move

Postby daffodil » 24th Dec, '12, 11:57

So an early March move then ?
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