Expat Exchange

Tianjin, China

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Tianjin, China: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

What do I need to know about living in Tianjin?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tianjin, they said:

"Lousy weather - cold, windy winters and very polluted. Hot sticky summers. Little to do aside from eating out and shopping malls. However, there is an airport close by and a train station - and Beijing is 2 hours away," said another expat in Tianjin.

What do I need to know before moving to Tianjin?

Live in Tianjin? Answer this Question

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Tianjin, they said:

"Come for what I call a looky-see trip first before committing to come live in this area to make sure you can find a decent home for you and your family. Get a good relocation company to help you look and negotiate for you. Everything in china is up for negotiation! Make sure your company is allowing you enough housing money per month to get you a good place to live and make sure you detail and negotiate EVERYTHING you want the place to have BEFORE you seal the deal and move into the place. *** When your contract for the house is up for renewal that is the time the owner will make other changes you need or forgot to ask for intitally to keep you in the place for another go round," added another person living in Tianjin.

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How do I find a place to live in Tianjin?

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We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"There were not that many choices in Tianjin of what we call, "western style" housing. Still are not that many choices. We ended up in the place we have(23rd floor of a centrally located Singaporian run apt building) because one became available when we needed it and we grabbed the bird in hand not knowing if there were any left out there in the bushes, so to speak," added another person living in Tianjin.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Tianjin?

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"I live on the 23rd floor of what is known as a fully-serviced apt building. Fully serviced means that they provide housekeeping six days a week. My apt is a modest sized three bedroom/2 bath place.No dishwasher or garbage disposal but does have access to western TV programming which is banned to the Chinese locals. It is centrally located so I can walk to many places I want to go to or easily flag down one of the little red suicide taxis that play road chicken games all over town. Like most Chinese made buildings, this place while only five years old is already showing signs of falling apart," said another person in Tianjin.

What is the average cost of housing in Tianjin?

Live in Tianjin? Answer this Question

If you are thinking about moving to Tianjin, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The intial cost per month for this apt was $5,000 USD!(They have since dropped the rent down to $4,000 per month) The same apt back in Seattle would run around $1,000 per month and would include a dishwasher and garbage disposal. There are apts in Tianjin to be had for less, of course, but not as nice or offer perks like good western TV programming like our building can get for its tennants," remarked another in Tianjin.

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What should I bring when moving to Tianjin?

Live in Tianjin? Answer this Question

People living in Tianjin were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Three things I wish I had brought 1. My own bed or a new American made King Size bed!!! My poor back may never forgive me for not doing so. Along with not knowing the meaning of safety and sanitation, the Chinese do not have a clue when it comes to making comfortable furniture.PS. Also the complete bedding for that bed. 2. Also, like the bed two very comfortable chairs(like a laz-y-boy) for the living room. Again, your body will appreciate you for doing so. 3. A mixer that has been wired for 220 volt. Can be done by companies in America that wire appliances for overseas living.The chinese do not use(yet) many of the appliances Americans are use to using in their kitchens. Three things I wish I had left at home. 1. At least 3/4's of my clothing (with the exception of underwear, jeans, and shoes) China is a nation of a zillion clothing shops and, also, excellent tailors and seamstresses that do not charge all that much to make good clothing. 2. My breadmaker. China now has lots of bakeries and while their pastries still leave something to be desired their many choices of breads will do just fine for your dinner table. 3. My fear of the Chinese people. I can honestly say that I have NOT had one single intimadating, fearful enounter or situation with any Chinese since moving here over two years ago. Frustrating and confusing at times,yes, but I have never felt threatened. In fact,sadly ironically, I have felt much safer here in China than I ever felt back in my good, ole USA," said another person in Tianjin.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Tianjin accepting of differences?

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"People are accepting of diversity, but it's difficult to meet locals because of language barriers (few people speak English outside of typical expat locations)," explained one expat.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

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Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

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Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

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China Index Tianjin Index
An index of all of our site's Tianjin information.

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Talk with other digital nomads and expats in China on our China forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to China Network Contribute
Help others in China by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in China.

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