Sushu's Travel Journal

July 29, 2009

Beijing vs. Shanghai

Filed under: Asia — Tags: — admin @ 11:11 pm

- Beijing people are more friendly
- Shanghai people are more effective at getting things done.
- Beijing people care a lot about social relationships, even with random strangers
- Beijing people like dogs. A lot.
- Beijing people like squat toilets
- Beijing people care about appearances and privacy of their homes. On the other hand, they also spend evenings out socializing on the streets
- Shanghai has a more robust night life

I met a guy at the Embassy who said when he visited Shanghai 10 years ago, he loved it, but now after being in Beijing for a few years, he hated Shanghai when he visited it again.

I think the reason is that there’s a friendliness <-------> effectiveness spectrum. When you are new to China and have no connections with anyone, Shanghai is better because on the surface it’s more professional/better at dealing with Westerners. However, as you get used to China’s way of dealing with things and start building relationships, you like Beijing more because relationships matter more here.

Part of it, too, is where the US is on that spectrum. Perhaps 10 years ago Shanghai was a closer approximation to US levels of friendliness, but now Beijing is closer because Shanghai has gotten less friendly to the non-residents… ?

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