Last Saturday when I was reading the Shanghai Business Review magazine in a Starbucks (Hongqiao Parkson), I was a little surprised to learn there are 570,000 foreign expatraites living or working in Shanghai. Hangzhou, the scenic city near Shanghai, has 8,000.
I remember in year 2003 or so, the ShanghaiExpat web site just got started by a guy. The site was very simple. Four years later, the site has grown up and last weekend there was an “Expat Exhibit” in the Shanghai Exhibit Center (I didn’t go there). Similarly, I was fascinated to read how Craig started NingboGuide.com:
Ningbo Guide is the creation of Craig, a foreign resident of Ningbo. He first came to Ningbo in June 2003, and has been living in the city full-time since April 2004. At the time, there was very little information available, and and even less on the internet – only the Ningbo government website. The only way to get around town (for people unfamiliar with the city) was to collect a library of business cards, and present them to taxi drivers. However, it was difficult to discover new places, or know the prices, or know which places were good and which places were boring. Every city in China seemed to have its own city guide, except Ningbo. Craig collected information and took pictures for months, finally making Ningbo Guide website available to the public in May 2005.
Of course nowadays the expatriates are almost everywhere, from Dalian to Chongqing, from Baotao to Kunming. Just like nowadays we can see Chinese all over the world. It’s very interesting to see the effect of globalization.
We are living in an interesting time indeed.