Which city is the best for you? If you are coming to China the first time, you probably want to see as much as possible. However, your resources (time and money) might be limited as a student. Nevertheless, we think you can get the most out of your stay if you choose the right place for you. As you might have never been to China before, we want to give you an idea of what different locations are alike. We are going to have a new blog series for you comparing different aspects of our office locations Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai. Today’s blog is on “People”. More blogs will be coming on Climate, Nightlife, Food and Trips. Enjoy reading and contact our team in case of any questions!
China has a population of about 1.3 billion people of which the majority is Han Chinese (more than 90% of the population). However, China is still a multi-ethnic country and home to numerous minorities such as Manchu, Hui, Zhuang and Miao, just to name a few. In the west of China (Tibet and Xinjiang) minorities are still outnumbering Han people, even though the overall number of ethnic minorities is diminishing in China.
China is a huge country with a big population, therefore of course you will always find stereotypical Chinese. But you will find more and more ways to identify if a Chinese is from the North, South, West or East by their body size and shape, accent, food preferences, sense of humour and general temper.
Like in any country also Chinese have their stereotypes about each other. People in the North (e.g. Qingdao) are said to be tall and slim, love meat and sea-food, salty dishes and like drinking beer or baijiu a lot. Their language is the closest to the Chinese which is spoken in the capital, however each city still has its own accent. People in the North are a little bit rough (maybe because they need to resist cold winters?) and when you talk to factory owners they will tell you that people in the North prefer to enjoy their personal lives and work less than southerners. Northerners can get very loud and expressive as well. Most of the people living in the North are Han Chinese, however in Qingdao you also can find a lot of South Koreans and Chinese people belonging to the Korean minority. As South Korea is not far, a lot of Koreans built up their business in and around Qingdao (mainly jewelry and textile/fashion). Unless you speak some Korean however, you would not recognize the difference between Koreans and Chinese as a foreigner.
Southern Chinese (e.g. Zhuhai) are somehow the opposite of Northerners, they are pretty small (even the taxis are smaller!) and calmer than Northerners. Their food is much sweater and contains a lot more cold dishes (probably due to the big heat in summer) than Northern Chinese dishes. Southern Chinese really enjoy celebrating traditional Chinese festivals like the Dragon Boat Festival as well. Southerners are said to be very warm-hearted people. Their drinking culture is less aggressive than the Northern one – however if you go out to a business dinner with Chinese it does not make a difference whether you are in the North or in the South, you should bring a Chinese colleague along who is able to handle the hard liquor.
Chengdu is located in the West of China and said to be the gate to Tibet. Generally spoken, the further you go to the West of China, the more ethnic minorities will live there. In Chengdu you can find a population of roughly 40.000 Tibetans for example which settled down in Chengdu. Chengdu is home of the National University for Ethnic Minorities, where students from all over China learn about their own cultural traditions and roots (dances, instruments, literature etc.). This turns the city of Chengdu into a vivid and colourful place, where a variety of cultures is living peacefully side by side. People from Sichuan, the province which Chengdu is the capital of, are said to be extremely laid-back and relaxed, they enjoy their lives playing MaJiang and visiting tea-houses. Chengdu is also called a hot-pot city not only due to its traditionally spicy food, but also because it is said to be home of the most beautiful women in China. Men in Chengdu would describe their women as dominant and determining, they are strong leaders and know exactly what they want – in private and business life. People in Chengdu are very polite and friendly and open to strangers and foreigners.
In General, I always experienced Chinese people as open and friendly as long as you treat them with respect. So, for whatever city you decide to go – as long as you treat people with an open mind and a positive attitude, Chinese people will always return to you much more than you would expect.
We hope, that our little introduction about the Chinese people was an enjoyable read! If you want to know more about the Chinese cities we are having our offices in, you can contact our team directly!
By the way, are you following us on Twitter already? It is a very easy way to stay in touch with us and get informed about the latest internship positions.
If you’ve still not decided about where to go, you can do our Intern China City Test!