China Vs. Thailand For Expats part 1 – Pros and Cons of Living in China

China Vs Thailand For Expats part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

Before introducing this article, if you are interested in our core services which are expat financial, insurance and mortgages, you can contact me here

The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.


If you’re new to Asia, chances are you’ve heard of both China and Thailand. But which one should you choose? China is the world’s most populous country and growing fast. It’s home to many of the world’s top companies, such as Alibaba and Tencent, and it is also the number one manufacturer in the world.

The main language (Mandarin) and currency (Yuan or Renminbi) is Chinese. That being said, Thailand is a smaller country in South-East Asia and the world’s top tourist destination, with about 32 million international visitors each year.

China Vs Thailand For Expats

However, these countries also have their downsides. For example, China is quite polluted, and Bangkok can be extremely hot and humid. It’s also important to remember that Thailand has its language (Thai), so many locals may not speak English.

The food in China is also very different – rice is more popular than noodles which are more popular than dumplings, for example. On the other hand, the food in Thailand is extremely delicious, although it’s worth keeping an eye on street food to make sure you don’t get any stomach issues.

All things considered, both countries are good choices for new expats! Wherever your adventures take you, be sure to check the pros and cons. Today, we will walk you through everything needed to choose the right one suitable for expat. Not only is that, but we have compiled interesting facts and many other things to back up our explanations.

Cities Comparison

The capital cities of Beijing and Bangkok are both attractive destinations for expats. While there are many similarities, there are a few key differences. Beijing is far larger than Bangkok, with almost 20 million more people.

This means that exporters’ business opportunities in China are greater and more diverse. Another important difference, though, is that due to its recent growth, Beijing has been experiencing some air pollution problems. In addition, language barriers can make it difficult for expats to make friends and learn about their new surroundings.

The capital and largest city in Thailand, Bangkok, is a modern and attractive place with many impressive buildings and skyscrapers. The language barrier can be challenging, as English is not widely spoken here. Expats will want to master some Thai phrases if they are looking to make local friends.

China Vs Thailand For Expats

China has an impressive transportation infrastructure, which is why Beijing has the fifth largest number of Fortune 500 companies in the world. The cost of living in China is much higher, however. Housing values are roughly half that of Bangkok’s.

Overview of the Pros and Cons of Living in China

Living in China can be a wonderful experience for foreigners, but it does have its drawbacks. If you’re looking to set up a home here in China, then read on to discover what they are. We’ll also look at some of the pluses that make life here worthwhile.

China Vs Thailand For Expats



One of the main reasons many foreigners choose to live in China is education opportunities. The education system meets or exceeds all international standards and is inexpensive compared to other countries such as the United States, Great Britain, France, and Canada.

PISA scores (a standardized test comparing 15-year-olds from different countries) place China’s students at number one in the world, with students from other countries such as the United States falling behind. International students are also given visas to study in China for three years.

Low Living Costs

China has an extremely low cost of living compared to most other first-world countries because, even though it is growing rapidly, China is still considered an ’emerging economy’ and the country’s currency is not as strong as currencies for first world countries like Australia, United States, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, etc.

A meal at a restaurant costs around 50-100 Yuan (roughly $8-15), which equals around 40-80 Yuan per person. Rent per month is also inexpensive, at around 500 Yuan per month. For those who like entertainment, movies cost around 30 Yuan to see in theaters, and concerts are usually less than 100 Yuan.

The People

The people of China are friendly and kind towards foreigners, especially when you can speak their language. They will go out of their way to help you if they can, especially when needed.

Even if you cannot speak Chinese or Mandarin, they will still treat foreigners better than other countries in Asia would because China is generally considered a peaceful country – unlike many other Asian countries, which are known for their ‘loud’ people! Also, learning the language is straightforward, with many different online resources available for free.

The Food

Not many foreigners like Chinese food, but if you can get past the fact that it has different flavors than what you’re used to (many people are surprised by this), there are so many delicious foods to try!

Of course, if you have an allergy or are vegetarian, special arrangements can be made for you. Popular dishes include dumplings, noodles of all kinds (Sichuan is also popular), hotpot, eggplant/tofu dishes, and more!

The History

China has one of the most interesting histories in the world that spans thousands of years. Many foreigners are amazed by attractions such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Summer Palace, etc. Also, as a bonus, there are many scenic places to visit.

China Vs Thailand For Expats

The Shopping

China has the world’s busiest shopping street – Nanjing Road in Shanghai! There are also other famous spots such as Huaihai Road and The Place. China is known for its range of products, from cheap plastic knick-knacks to expensive jewelry and brand-name clothing and fake products.

The Nightlife

As cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou become more developed, their nightlife industries thrive! There is an abundance of bars, restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops that stay open late into the night. Clubs are also very popular with young people who can dance all night long.

Work Culture

China’s work culture is much more relaxed than many other first-world countries, where employees work long hours for little pay. In China, you can expect a salary and an annual leave system based on Chinese standards, which usually consists of 376 days and 30-42 days (varies per year) off (if you are lucky enough to get the 30-42 days off like some lucky foreigners).



There’s no way to sugarcoat it: pollution is a big problem in China. There are days when the smog is so thick that you can’t see past your nose and other days when the sun has taken on a shade of yellow as if it were suffering from jaundice.

Public campaigns have been launched, and laws have been passed to combat pollution, but it continues to be a problem the country is struggling with. This resulted in over 20 percent of China’s citizens relocating from cities to more rural areas.


Another natural disaster that China has to deal with is monsoons, which usually occur twice a year and last a few weeks. These immense storms can cause major flooding and mudslides, as well as transportation disruptions. Floods have killed hundreds of people throughout the years.

Expensive Prices for Basic Necessities

If you’re one of those people who tries to make ends meet each month, then China might not be the place for you (at least in the beginning). Even though China’s economy is growing, inflation has dramatically increased the price of food, transportation, clothing, and medicine. Unless you have a lot of money saved up, it won’t be easy to get by here on your own.

Badly Developed Infrastructure

Although China prides itself on having one of the largest economies in the world, the country’s infrastructure is poorly developed. Roads are crumbling, trains are overcrowded and delayed, the internet is slow, and everything from booking a hotel reservation to purchasing train tickets can be very frustrating. The concept of customer service here is also nonexistent.

Cultural Challenges

It’s not uncommon for people who move here to feel alienated since they cannot connect with locals on a meaningful level. Chinese society is characterized by a “you don’t bother me, and I won’t bother you” attitude, making it difficult to open up.

There’s also the strict hierarchy ingrained in Chinese culture that makes foreigners feel as if they’re lagging. This can be not very encouraging for those looking forward to making friends and networking outside of the workplace.

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