According to the “2012 Amazing China” survey taken by expats living in China, the most appealing Chinese cities in terms of job availability are Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Kunming, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Xiamen and Qingdao (in that order) (eChinacities, 2013). Shenyang and Hefei were seen by expats as having the best “political environments”. I had the opportunity to travel to China in November 2013 as part of a study tour through the University of Illinois at Springfield. We visited the cities Shanghai, Beijing, and Hefei for 10 days and I could witness the enormous infrastructure development that is instrumental in China’s economic growth. In the years between 2001 and 2006, more investment was done on roads, tracks, airports, and other fixed assets than had been invested in the previous fifty years put together. In the high-speed G Train, we traveled 1000 kilometers from Hefei to Beijing under four hours.
Beijing is a very crowded city and travelling by road can be a nightmare at most times. Shanghai appears to be more cosmopolitan with a better metro system. Comparing to Hefei, we could feel that both Beijing and Shanghai are more polluted environmentally. With green hills nestling into each other, Hefei is one of the first three national garden cities in China. Beijing and Shanghai are the 5th and 6th most expensive Asian cities according to the latest research conducted by ECA International, a leading company in the development and provision of solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world (2012). Beijing is now the world’s 20th most expensive city. Compared to Beijing and Shanghai, the cost of living in Hefei is much less. It is considered to be one of the Chinese cities most suitable for living. It has won various honors such as Advanced City for Afforestation, Garden City, Clean City, Excellent Tourist City, and Excellent City for Comprehensive Environment Management. The percentage of greenery coverage is 43.93%, while per capita public green area adds up to 11.44 square meters.
Many Fortune 500 companies and other internationally known big names such as Metro, Johnson, Hitachi, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Unilever, Coca Cola, Bouygues, Carrefour, Grand Tour, Chaitai, the President, Continental, Sumitomo Chemical, Air Liquide, as well as some most famous Chinese companies including Haier, Media, Changhong, Gree, Yili, Meiling, and BOE have made investments in Hefei. The presence of nationally acclaimed universities in Hefei is another winning factor in positioning the city for the 21st century. Anhui University is one of the 100 key universities selected for the national “211 Project” on which the Chinese Government is focusing financial assistance and encouragement for academic development and expansion during the 21st Century. In addition to Anhui University (AHU), the other higher education institutes such as University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei University of Technology (HFUT), Anhui Medical University (AHMU), Anhui College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (AHTCM), Anhui Radio & Television University (AHTVU), Hefei University (HFU), and the Anhui Institute of Architecture & Industry (AIAI) provide world-class education to the next generations of Chinese citizens and contribute to the continued economic growth.
Our delegation was hosted by Anhui University and Hefei Meiling Company at Hefei and those visits provided a unique insight in to the talent and the manufacturing potential of China. Today, Hefei is striving to make dreams come true and advancing towards its vision of building itself into a modern, emerging central city. It is turning itself into a nationally influential and regionally super-large city based on the development of the modern lakeside mega-city and in accordance with the requirements of “making new strides in scientific development and elbowing into the Top 10 in terms of major economic indicators” (Xinhuanet, 2011). At the end of my trip, Hefei turned out to be my favorite Chinese city to have a business relationship in the future.
Please refer to the following chart for a comparison of the three Chinese cities.
ECA International. (2012). Retrieved December 18, 2013, from http://www.eca-international.com/news/press_releases/7677/#.UrLD7CLnaM8
eChinacities. (2013). Retrieved December 17, 2013, from http://www.echinacities.com/news/Shanghai-Beijing-and-Shenzhen-Best-Chinese-Cities-According-to-Expats
Hefei China Gov. (2013). Retrieved December 16, 2013, from http://126.96.36.199/english/zjhf.jsp?Rnd=0.7778821693156863
School of International Education Anhui University. (2013). Retrieved December 15, 2013, from http://www1.ahu.edu.cn/gjjy/main/abouthfen.asp
Xinhuanet. (2011). Retrieved December 17, 2013, from http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/special/2012-10/11/c_131899930.htm