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Apartment rentals in China: living & doing business abroad

As many small and large business owners alike prepare to head overseas, here are three key insights to take to heart as you search apartment rentals in China.

apartment rentals in china

apartment rentals in china

Apartment rentals in China are quite different

So, you’ve decided to move, temporarily or permanently to China, congrats! Your travel is booked, your contacts are expecting you, and you’ve started your packing list. All that’s left is deciding where, and how to rent an apartment. With the advent of so many businesses going overseas, finding an apartment to rent in China isn’t as dreadful as many assume – there are many resources available to aid this transition.

Just like in America, there are apartment locators and reputable websites. A few that I recommend for temporary or long term rentals as a starting point are:

Once you’ve narrowed apartment rentals in China

Once you’ve located a place to stay, here are the top three things to keep in mind.

  1. Furnished Apartments are the norm – Unlike in America, most apartments come fully furnished in China. This not only includes living room, dining room and bedroom furniture, but also in most cases dishes, pots/pans and other cookware, and even sheets.
  2. All bills paid – Another cool offering of most apartments is the inclusion of bills (utilities and internet/wi-fi) in the rental price. Most apartments are individually owned. As such, the competition is increasing as apartment owners seek to entice Westerners to rent with them.
  3. Mailboxes, etc. – Find out about postal options and mail service. Some apartments have a centralized mailbox center on the premises, and others don’t. Get clarification around were your mail will be delivered and if your mailing address will be the same as your physical address.

Other, less common things you may want to get clarification on include the allowance of pets and the rules on having gatherings in the apartment. Over the last 5 years, I’ve seen an increase in Americans renting in China. With the growth of that new market segment, I’ve also seen an increase in apartment offerings.

With the exception of the aforementioned, renting in China is similar to renting anywhere else: prime locations warrant a prime price and the good ones go quickly!

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Written By

Monica Moffitt, founder and Principal Cultural Consultant at Tianfen Consulting, Inc., has traveled the world and enjoys linguistics and all things culture. Having split her career between project management and business analytics, Monica merges logic, fluency in Chinese and creativity in her new role as cultural consultant. She received a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies/Chinese from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration (International Management and Marketing) from University of Texas at Dallas.



  1. Nicole

    November 11, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Hi Monica! Thank you for this reminders. Its actually true. I’ve been renting an apartment and my first month was very crucial, I paid high bills because the first occupant has previous bills and did not pay it.The owner did not even inform us until we knew it from the sister of the apartment owner.

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