The Chinese used to have much cheaper goods compared to those in the United States. Americans were accustomed to buying cheap clothing and goods while visiting China. It has become the opposite nowadays. The Chinese pay in excess of 20 percent more for brand name clothing. The cost of housing is higher, but with poorer quality. Gas is costlier, but with low enough quality to cause adverse effects to the cars. Cars are cheaper in the United States. The quality of food is less than what it is in the United States. China still has cheaper service costs due to lower wages. That drives the cost of services, such as haircuts and massages, lower.
Due to bad traffic, people in Beijing sometimes can only complete one job in a day. Traffic violations are the norm, including drunk driving and intentionally driving in the wrong direction.
Basic education in China costs too much, and children usually do not enjoy the experience. Higher education lacks quality. The U.S. does a better job in continuing higher education. Basic education in the U.S. is free, and the quality of medical care is good.
The U.S. can satisfy the needs of the middle class and the rich Chinese families with brand name products, better cars, safer traffic and education. The advantages of lower cost and better quality in all these areas have influenced a large number of Chinese middle class and rich families to migrate overseas.
In general, the Chinese need to improve the quality of service. It needs to be more professional. That includes improvements in areas like management science, individual skills and morality. The speed limit in Hong Kong is higher; therefore, better driving skills are required.
Despite all the shortcomings mentioned, the main business activities of those migrating are still within China. It is easier to form business partnerships within China. There arises a need to focus on multiple locations. Some have homes in the U.S., in Beijing and in their hometowns. Beijing is the capital and the center of the world of entertainment and the arts. Therefore, people involved in such come from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Many artists have homes around the country, including one in Beijing. Having citizenship in the U.S. or Hong Kong makes it easier to travel around the world.
The economic and social development in China has been swift. The opportunity is vast. The upper-middle class enjoys the benefit of globalization and has become wealthier. Lower-middle class folks face stiff increases in high-price but low-quality housing. The cost of living, including goods, expensive preschool and tuition fees, is soaring. What are the root causes of these issues?
Brand name products are cheaper in Internet sales — including at several large e-commerce sites, with more than 50 percent off — compared to the big shopping malls. The latest clothing-brand website, “vancl.com," has been exceptionally popular. The Internet can sell cheaper because they do not go through a lot of middlemen. It also shows that Chinese commercial middlemen are very expensive. Some spend hundreds of thousands to rent a place to sell meat. Many large shopping malls have high entry fees due to expensive rents. An average, middle-class family could have a painting that is worth 10-40,000 yuan; the portion that the artist received is very low. Chinese theatres are scarce, and tickets are pricey. The financial profits of middlemen become a burden to the middle class consumers.
Traffic congestion has been worsening, due to the 5 million cars in Beijing. Second-tier cities such as Shenyang and Wuhan each possess 1 million cars. Both cities currently have a little more than half of Beijing's population but are predicted to be narrowing the gap in a few years. Among the first-tier cities, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have less severe traffic issues. The car-ownership rate is much lower. Car registration in Shanghai costs more than 30,000 yuan, which leads to many unregistered cars. There are several core areas in Shanghai. Guangzhou, unlike Beijing, does not have a clear downtown area; commercial and industrial areas of Shenzhen are fairly distributed, and each industrial area can sustain itself without having to travel afar. Therefore, even though public transportation is not very developed, the traffic is not as bad. Singapore also has a very high personal automobile maintenance fee. In Hong Kong, the public transportation is very convenient and has helped in alleviating traffic issues. New Yorkers drive to the bus station located in the city’s outskirts and then take public transportation to work.
The number of Chinese doctors began to decline after the 1990s, and medical resources are too concentrated in one area.
It’s a challenge to buy good housing at a reasonable price. Many houses were bought with sales profits in mind. They did not take into account the needs of the residents.
Education is a big system that cannot easily be changed. Many talented people who eventually return to China face the same dilemma. They continue to retain their overseas status where their children still reside for a better education. The rapid development of Taiwan's high-tech industry is partly attributed to attracting Chinese people who have previously been to the United States. They set up special American-style schools tailored to the needs of their children.