March 27, 2013


Why I'm leaving China (Marc van der Chijs, March 26, 2013, CNN Money)

Over the years, doing business had become more and more difficult for a non-Chinese. Although many areas have opened up for foreign investment, outsiders are not always able to do business on equal terms with Chinese entrepreneurs.

For example, foreigners need more capital to set up a business. Once you have a business up and running, it will be more closely scrutinized than Chinese firms. There are still tons of business opportunities available in China, but I generally felt less welcome in recent years as a foreign entrepreneur.

Much more important than this, however, was the fact that air pollution and food quality were getting worse in my adopted home.

I have a family with two young kids, and found myself wondering about the health effects of long-term exposure to hazardous air. Without children, the pollution may not have been as important a factor to me, but I want my kids to grow up in a healthy environment. I also missed being able to exercise outside, having been forced to run indoors on a treadmill for several years -- even while training for marathons.

I also won't miss China's slow and restricted access to the Internet. Because I traveled internationally at least twice a month, I was able to see how fast connection speeds were in other countries, and it frustrated me every time I came back to China and the Great Firewall. The fact that more and more sites were censored and only accessible with a Virtual Private Network didn't make life easier either. When the government also started to block VPNs, I realized that the situation was not likely to improve anytime soon.

After looking at many places, my family eventually decided that Vancouver would be our preferred place to live.

Posted by at March 27, 2013 7:03 PM

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