Category Archives: Beijing

How to get your money outta China!

[Disclaimer: speaking as an American citizen legally employed in Mainland China. Amounts of money allowed to convert/send overseas may vary by citizenship.]

5 + 1 ways of getting your money out of Mainland China. I’ve tried them all except #5, but many associates of mine have used that method.

OVERSEAS WIRE BANK TRANSFER – IN BANK

Costs: 150 RMB – 230 RMB total [varies by bank, I use ICBC]

  1. Add’l costs: Wire Receipt Fee from home bank. [Bank of America charges $15 USD]

Materials: Wire Transfer Form, Passport, Local Bank Card

Info needed:

  1. Full name, local address (I just put my district & Beijing city), passport info
  2. Amount in USD that you want to send,
  • Overseas receiving bank name & SWIFT code (some banks, such as local credit unions do not have SWIFT codes)
  1. Overseas receiving bank’s address (choose any address in your home state)
  2. Your account number at overseas bank

Steps

  1. Go to bank, and tell them you want to send a transfer outside the country.
  2. Fill out form (they have an example form at the counter)
    1. You are the Sender & the Recipient
  3. Wait in line. 30 minutes to 3 hours. Chinese banks are EXTREMELY, GLACIALLY slow. They fill out, and you sign, A LOT of papers.
  4. Wait 24 hours.

Additional, but important notes:

  1. Although you can send up to $10,000 USD at one time… you can only CONVERT $500 USD per day. Which means you can…
    1. Go to the bank many times – something I do often bc I’m lazy.
    2. Go to the local tax office to ascertain a certificate proving you pay taxes through your company/place of employment. Also have some proof of current employment. At this point, you can convert as much as you want at one time

 

OVERSEAS WIRE TRANSFER – ONLINE BANKING

Costs: Less than 100 RMB [Varies by bank]

Add’l costs: Wire Receipt Fee from home bank

Info needed: Same as step 1

Steps:

  1. First have already converted money inside your bank account’s Forex. Because you are a foreigner, you must physically go to the brick-and-mortar bank building to convert money. Ridiculous, I know.
  2. Plug online banking USB into your computer (needs a one-time setup process).
  3. Log into online banking.
  1. Go to “transfers”. Then “transfers to overseas bank”.
  2. Fill out the information as prompted. Your “reason” for conversion can be any of the options – doesn’t matter.
  3. Confirm, then double-confirm on your USB. Wait 24 working hours.

Additional, but important notes:

  1. Saves money. ICBC online transfers only cost 40 RMB plus the receiving fee your overseas bank charges.

 

PAYPAL TO PAYPAL

Costs: varies by amount

Materials: Same as steps 1-2, except SWIFT code

Info Needed: Same as all info before

Steps:

  1. Create a Chinese PayPal account on Paypal.cn.
    1. As far as I know it’s mostly in Chinese, but perhaps I just failed to find the English option.
  2. Link your Chinese bank account to it.
  • Using a VPN set to a server in your home country, create an overseas PayPal (for me, an USA PayPal account).
  1. Log off VPN, so you’re back on Chinese server, log into Chinese PayPal, withdraw from your bank at a service fee of about 4-6%. If you choose USD, it will convert for you.
  2. Send to your home PayPal address just as a person sending to another person.

Additional, but important notes:

  1. Total costs are nearly equivalent to an at-the-counter bank wire but a little more convenient.
  2. Not sure on limits; I’ve only tried $500 – 1000 at a time.
  • Might need to be able to read Chinese characters.

 

WESTERN UNION

 

  1. Costs: can vary, but usually about 100 – 230 RMB
    1. Add’l costs: Your time finding a bank that definitely offers WU [the signs sometimes lie]. And time is money.
    2. Also need to pay $15 USD in cash to send.
  2. Materials: Passport, Cash, Info (especially ID info for extra safety) of receiver
  3. Steps:
    1. Fill out form.
    2. Wait in line. This is a Chinese bank.
  • Make sure to double-check your info.
  1. Add’l info:
    1. Also be sure to have them circle, highlight, etc. the number your recipient needs in order to pick up your money
    2. Common places: China Post Office or China Agricultural Bank

 

SAME ACCOUNT, TWO DEBIT CARDS. [ONE IN CHINA, ONE OVERSEAS]

 

Costs: 5-15 RMB for a duplicate Chinese bank debit card. Postage to mail your debit card. Or ticket for a flight home to give it to a trusted friend/family member.

Materials: Passport and original Chinese bank debit card.

Steps:

  1. Go to the bank.
  2. Request a duplicate. Tell them just because you want one (they’re so nosy).
  • Give it to your friend/family member back home.
  1. They can withdraw the money in your home currency for a small fee.

Additional, but important info:

  1. Your country must take Union Pay at their ATMs. I know that America, Australia, S. Korea and Malaysia do.
  2. Fee varies by ATM, but it seems to be significantly cheaper than bank wires.
  • Mailing your card has a high risk of it being stolen. This is China.

 

HUIPIAO 汇票 [TEMPORARILY/INDEFINITELY SUSPENDED

 

  1. I’ll post more details if this comes back, but essentially they would write a physical check. You could then use your banking app, such as the Bank of America app to take a photo & thereby deposit the check. It was only 15 RMB. So mad it’s gone!!!! cries a river
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Black Life Beijing – Game Night (Group)

**This post is updated regularly with upcoming events**

Two years ago when I accepted my job offer in China, I remember Googling “black people in China”, “chinese black people”, “african americans china”, “africans in china”, and the search results were sadly sparse.

Since then, Tony Reyes, an American Fullbright scholar created the “Black Life China” wechat group as part of his study, which later birthed the “black life beijing” group, “black life shanghai”, “black life guangzhou”, and so forth. Since then, Black Life Beijing remains the most active group, and we’ve got an related “game night” group. Here’s a recap of some of our latest events! The last photo contains the QR code to scan in order to join the group Black Life Beijing.

Disclaimer: Real person identity is personally verified for membership, and then we’ll invite you into the game night group. No trolls/bots allowed. Non-blacks friends are welcome to join our events. 😛

 

Check the wechat group for updates! Add me, @shandianxia28, to be added into the group!

Update: Another bowling night at East Gate Plaza (北京市 东城区 东环广场 A座 (东直门)) – March 11th 2017

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Paintball #KillThenChill Sunday, April 10th, 2016. 3-6pm. BBQ dinner 6-7pm.

  1. Cost: 128 RMB + (700 RMB transportation cost to be split between attendees)
  2. Location: Contact us personally. My WeChat: Shandianxia2

 

 

Bowling Night 宝林秋- East Gate Plaza, Tower A (Dongzhimen) 北京市 东城区 东环广场 A座 (东直门)- Saturday, March 5th 周六 5号3月

Tacos, drinks & funnel cakes to end the night!

Find me on wechat微信: shandianxia28

Black (or super curly) Hair care in mainland China

Last updated 2/19/2019

Since I’ve left China, I’ve done my (kinda) best to keep abreast of personal care brands for the African diaspora in the area.

**March 2016 update: Sonaki water filters have been recommended by an African American expat for washing hair & bathing in China. She says it helped with her hair shedding & dandruff caused by the water here. 🙂

Original Post:

What’s wrong with China? Nothing at all, but if you have fine or dry hair (like mine, esp being of African-American descent), it can be quite a challenge to maintain even in tier-1 cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.  These cities have dramatically transformed over the last few years in terms of their international offerings. Still, curly hair care needs haven’t yet quite received all their solutions, so I’d like to share what’s available, what you need to bring, and the hair changes to expect. Just want to know where to get your hair done/cut? Looking for hair & beauty supply retailers? [See: Salons/Barbershops portion at the end of post]

I’m moving to China… should I be relaxed or natural?

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As with everything, it’s totally up to you. Here’s the rundown:

Relaxed: There are a few salons here that offer relaxing services for about 200 – 1200 rmb ($35 – 200 USD), and of course you can find black girls around town willing to do an at-home relaxer for a lower price (and possibly a better range of product options bc they brought the products from home themselves). Have I seen any girls around here with healthy-looking relaxed hair? At least not in Beijing (the climate is EXTREMELY dry and there’s a lesser amount of hair care options), but if you’re living in Southern China, it may be more feasible to maintain.

Natural: Over 90% of the women I meet in Beijing and around China are natural, or wear extensions as a means of style in China. Quality and range of hair products varies in salons in China since its a little expensive to import items from USA & Africa for such a small population. All of the salons offer services for natural hair, as aforementioned, black expats are also willing to do each others hair. Depending on your city, you might not be able to find a stylist that you like and is located in or nearby your city, so for feasibility it may be easier to go natural in China, as many do.

What hair products & tools do I need to bring from my home country?

Everything you can. As much as will last you until your next flight home.

My personal list: 1. Organix Coconut Milk Anti-breakage serum, 2. Suave Professionals Sleek Conditioner (for dry / frizzy hair), 3. Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo ( frizzy / unmanageable hair),  4. Eco Styler Gel, 5. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, 5. Almond Oil, 6. Tea Tree Essential Oil.

But… if you’re limited on weight (or are having a friend bring some on their next flight here), here are the absolutes:

Conditioners (especially deep conditioners). Heat protectant. Higher temp, ionic flat irons. Speciality hair care brands such as Shea Moisture, Mizani, Giovanni (it’s available here but much more expensive), Dark & Lovely natural hair products, Cantu, etc. Coconut & Argan oil.

Other basic oils can be found on Chinese websites such as Amazon.cn, Tmall, and grocery stores. As your social network expands, you’ll find WeChat groups where some individuals sell these items themselves. MadameShea (on WeChat) makes & sells her own shea butter products, including an anti-breakage & edge repair product.

[MadameShea Edge Repair: Natural, feels good in hair, but the scent is a little old-fashioned lavender so that may be a turnoff. Only 48 RMB ( 8 USD), including shipping, for a 30 ML canister]

My bathroom hair cabinet (I have two other boxes of products in another):

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Are hair products for ethnic hair textures available in China?

Yes, in limited supply.

Online:

WeChat ID: MadameShea; this company, based out of Nanjing, has recently extended their line and now offer a variety of hair care & styling products for a reasonable price.

WeChat ID: Sistasista; Sells hair, beauty & jewelry supplies for men and women. Also hosts beauty events.

Beijing (Tianjin) & Shanghai (Jiangsu Province):

Paulma Salon has (limited) items available for sale. Mostly Dark & Lovely and Pink Hair products.

Fidele’s Salon: Although in limited quantity, she has a variety of different hair products for sale in her salon. Call: 137-1877-4103. Located in Dongzhimen area.

Guangzhou: The little Africa area of the city has small shops run by Africans that have some imported products. I’ll update this post if I can ascertain exact addresses. [Mostly word of mouth]

Individuals that bring extra and small businesses that have them available for sale. Contact me at WeChat ID: shandianxia28, and I can share the name cards of people with products.

Shenzhen/HongKong: Allie has products available & hosts hair events. Contact via WeChat: soulangelbeauty

What alternative items can I use for my ethnic hair that are already available in China?

My personal list: Syoss deep conditioners & masks. Grapeseed & Olive Oil. Madame Shea edge repair.

Asian hair tends to be more oily, so their standard moisturizing conditioners aren’t enough for African, African-American, mixed hair types.The deep conditioners are okay, and of course, natural oils can be found in stores & online shops.

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Are there salons/barbershops where I can get my hair texture taken care of?

Disclosure: This is informational, not promotional. Do your research. Make sure you ask plenty of questions, re-confirm the procedure, and make sure they handle your hair gently. Most of the salons cater to men for haircuts & styling.

Beijing & Tianjin:

Paulma Salon: Sanlitun Soho Building No. 5, 5th floor 532 北京市朝阳区三里屯SOHO 5号楼532, Contact: DJClaude via WeChat:  OJEY11. Speaks English, Chinese & French.

Beauty Blendz: Taiyue Suites, 16 Sanlitun Nan Lu (by Chaoyang Hospital East Gate), Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京市朝阳区泰悦豪庭酒店 南三里屯路16号楼3层307

**The address is a little difficult to find. Better to search “TaiYue Suites (泰悦豪庭酒店)”

Fidele: Dongzhimen DRC, building 10. Call Fidele at 137-1877-4103 for better instructions. Speaks English & French.

Natho Beauty Salon: Contact WeChat ID: Nathobeautysalon

Catherine de France 法式美容美发沙龙: (Not a black salon, but some of her stylists can do certain curly textures — be sure to have a consultation first)

East Avenue Building Ground Floor
10 Xin Dong Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
北京市朝阳区新东路10号逸盛阁首层

Leader’s Salon: Ask for Ahmed, the barber. He also does eyebrow threading for women.  Sanlitun SOHO Building No. 3, 1st Floor, 138 北京市朝阳区三里屯SOHO 3号楼138

Mama Money Beauty Shop: Tianjin. Contact: 138.2090.1970 or 151.2210.8387

Shanghai:

Paulma Salon: Hectometer Champs Elysee 2nd floor 228, 上海市广西北路228弄

[SN: Beware of a group that offers a tea ceremony in this mall. it’s a scam]

Studio Ebony: Bldg 14, 133 Maoming Lu,
near Changle Lu 茂名路133号14号楼, 近长乐路 [Closest to metro stop Shanxi Rd S]

PavoPelo by India: Contact India Mejia at WeChat ID: ShearxxxGenius

Guangzhou:

(word-of-mouth) If you call the Mali or Senegal consul offices in Guangzhou they’ll happily direct you to a stylist in the African section of the Guangzhou International Beauty Market.

Shenzhen:

Feb 2019: tchungsmith7 (does locs)

David (barber): WeChat ID: kingblu55

 

Other places: You can: (a) travel to a tier-1 city, (b) look for a local black person who can style you in their home, (c) try your luck at a Chinese salon and teach them how to care for your hair type.

 

I heard the air pollution & water quality is terrible for hair – what can I do?

Do not wash with the water, if you can help it. Personally, I’m lazy, so I do wash with the tap, but my final hair rinse is with a gallon of bottled water from a pure source. The air pollution may not directly affect your hair, but internally it lowers the quality of your overall health, thereby indirectly lowering the quality of the new hair that’s growing.

Most expats complain of extremely dry & hardened hair, primarily due to the water, which is why I recommend bringing deep conditioners from back home.

If you have highlighted hair, it’s even worse. I spent my first year in China sans highlights, my second year, with highlights. When I was au naturale, I noticed my hair texture was not as smooth, had more tangles and was a disaster upon rising from bed (I never picked up the scarf wearing habit). After highlights, my curl pattern loosened so that helped with the bed head, but when I wash & comb, I have huge clumps of hair that come out. Only after switching to bottled water washing, daily spritzing of an oil-moisturizing cream-water mixture, deep conditioning each week, and stretching (vs blow drying) my hair has begun to thrive. Luckily, it’s still at bra strap length, so not too much damage. Hope this helps!

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Social networking groups for hair care in China?

Yes, add my WeChat ID: shandianxia28, and I can send the name cards. 

Travel, flourish & finesse.