Mega, Tier 1 and Emerging Tier 1 Cities

Qingdao 青岛

Shenzhen 深圳

Dalian 大连

Jinan 济南

Tier 2 Cities

Chongqing 重庆

Make your first stop, the right stop.


China is for a lack of a better word an oxymoron, a contradiction that is hard for anyone who has not lived here, for an extended period of time, to truly understand. Simulatiounsly poor and rich, traditional and modernizing, selfish and selfless, patient and impatient and its cities reflect this contradiction greatly, some sporting the yang and others the yin. If one were to live in a tier 1 city or the mega cities, one would be excused for wondering how China can still claim the status of a developing country, however if one were to visit the likes of Anshun, a decent city in its own right, one might understand that even in major urbanized areas the balance is not there and contradictions abound.

Nanjing 南京

Now in most western countries you would be safe to assume that working in a major city would also increase your wage packet, or salary, if you prefer, but in China sadly it is not always the case. You can jump from one city to the next and find that Chinese institutions offer roughly the same amount of money for each type of job and I know the idea of offering a kindergarten teacher that much money and a University teacher so much less is ridiculous, believe me no one complains about it more than I do and yes you are safe in the assumption that this has caused a low standard for Universities and colleges and it is that standard that helped spawn F.S. Pros, because honestly I for one am sick of what I call dancing monkey syndrome. Which entails a westerner showing up, their education and skills almost irrelevant, so long as the parents know they are from the west and are entertaining their children.

Average teaching wages in China:                                Expats in China (Roughly 1,100,000):             Expat's Top Provinces/Municipalities:

Universities and colleges: 6500-10000 RMB                     Roughly 70% of expats in China are male           Guangdong 240,000
Kindergartens: 10000-17000 RMB                                    Only 10% speak basic Chinese or better.            Shanghai 210,000
Training schools: 10000-17000 RMB                                 Nearly 70% will stay less than 5 years                 Beijing 110,000
Public primary/middle schools: 10000-15000 RMB           Top 3 Expats: South Korean 20%,                        Jiangsu 70,000
International schools and institute: 13000-21000 RMB      American 11%, Japanese 10%                            Fujian 65,000

Tier 2 Cities are provincial capitals (just like in the west where New York is a mega city, while the state capital is Albany), Sub-provincial cities (cities run by the province, but large enough to be in control of their own economy and law), SEZs (Special Economic Zones are where foreign and domestic trade and investment are conducted without the authorization of the Chinese central government in Beijing, allowing for a more free-market approach.) as well as other more developed cities that have a cultural or economic signifigance within the country. These cities in recent years have seen an influx of investment due to their low labor and operating costs. In these cities expats are a little harder to come by and if one were to take a trip to the outer layer of the city one would be certain to find a few people staring at you. English becomes less useful when travelling to these areas, which does promote the traveler's need to study Mandarin more so, which is a positive. Most conveinces are available, though one will always notice what they cannot get rather than what they can.

Guangzhou 广州

Mega, Tier 1 and Emerging Tier 1 cities are enormous, densely populated metropolises that boast huge economies as well as exhibiting cultural or political influence within China. The income level of those that dwell in these cities can match and in some case exceed their western counterparts. They tend to have a much larger middle class population than those of lower tiered cities. If one wishes to experience the least amount of culture shock possible than these cities are likely where you wish to end up.​ These cities host a larger multicultural experience and the chances of being stared at is far less common.

Wuhan 武汉

Hangzhou 杭州

Beijing 北京

Shanghai 上海