Why would an American want to move to China?
Carl Johnson, I am an American who has lived and worked in Mainland China since 2011.
I came to China in 2011 with a US company. It was supposed to last 6 to 9 months. When the project ended all of us went back to the US but after a few days I was asked to return to China. In 2014 the US company went bankrupt while doing a project with Apple. So I was looking for a job. A Chinese company offered me a position and I wanted to stay so I accepted the offer. Why?
First, I really liked the people. I had traveled all over Asia and I found the Chinese to be very warm and caring people. The people have an energy and a drive to succeed that I was hoping to adopt :-).
Second, I have always felt an attraction to Asian culture. So it was easy for me to adapt to life here.
Third, I liked what I saw going on in China. Rapid improvements in infrastructure and improvements in living standards. I wanted to see that happen. To literally see cities grow out of open land is really impressive.
Despite the noise and the people there is a calmness here. I just feel more relaxed here. You could say it is because it is safe. That is part of it. I can walk anywhere and there are no sketchy people that put you on edge. I don’t have to keep my eye on a group of kids wondering if they may try something. I can walk around and literally lose myself in thought. No worries. When I go back to cities like Boston or San Francisco the tension returns.
Coming from New Hampshire I never liked cities. But here in China I love the city life. Everything is so convenient. Life is good and life is simple.
Although I work at a Chinese company I do some teaching on the side. And the kids that I work with are truly amazing. I have a lot of respect for them. They are respectful, hard working and a joy to work with. They value education and apply themselves to it. It is the same with many of the adults I have met here too. They seem to be lifelong learners. That is what I aspire to be, so I hope it rubs off on me.
Life in China is not all positive but the positive aspects more than outweigh the negatives for me. I can understand why many westerners can not tolerate living in China for long periods. I get it. But for me it is a good place to be.
J Adams, lives in China (2015-present)
Different people have different reasons.
I came to China because the Chinese go nment agreed to support my research and give me opportunity to build a team to pursue solutions for health problems with genomics. I tried again and again through the grant process and VC channels in the US. For grants, if you weren’t part of the group that gets most of the grant money or one of their proteges (“the club”), you weren’t getting a grant. And, if you weren’t 20 something with no experience but full of wild ideas VC funds weren’t interested, they are all looking for the next Zuckerberg or Gates. They didn’t care about sound business plans.
So, I came to China where I was first able to almost immediately raise money from VCs and then after a year the Chinese go nment agreed to support me, my team and my projects.
China is the land of opportunity for talented scientists. They are putting a lot of money into developing a broad group of technologies of which biotech is one. A key focus of the education system is STEM graduates. So, for me, China was the obvious choice.
Note: I could’ve gotten a job in the US and been paid a very good wage, although I am doing well, especially by Chinese standards, I would’ve made more in the US. But, here I am supported to pursue my passion. And, it is a very good opportunity to experience the culture and the people.