Chinese Temple at dusk

China Country Guide


China is a vast and diverse country with a rich history, unique culture and fascinating geography. China has undergone many changes in the last 40 years, which have transformed it into one of the world’s largest economies.

The government has invested heavily in infrastructure development and technology to create opportunities for both international businesses and Chinese citizens alike. However, when considering moving to China on a long-term or permanent basis, several important factors must be taken into consideration before making any final decisions.


China is the most populous country in the world. With a population of over 1.4 billion people, it has more inhabitants than any other nation on Earth.

China is also one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and its second-largest economy after the US. It has seen rapid growth for decades, but ever since 1980 it has increased by an average of 9% per year—a rate that far outpaces most other countries around the globe!

Why live there?

China is a country with a rich culture and history, excellent exposure to the world, and great potential for development. It offers many opportunities for expats in business, education, culture and leisure.The unique culture of China means that expats can learn about new traditions and customs from people who have lived there all their lives.

Expats will also have access to some of the best experts in any given field – whether it be in business or teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). Foreign companies also try to entice their best talents to move to China, with generous packages, as they see the enormous growth opportunities the Chines market offer.

Health Risks to be Aware of in China
  • Food safety

Food safety standards are generally lower than in the West. Many restaurants do not display health certificates or licenses properly, particularly in rural areas, so it’s impossible to tell whether they’re using proper cooking methods or serving food that hasn’t been contaminated. Be sure to eat only from places with an “A” rating on TripAdvisor and check out reviews before you visit them!  Be careful with purchasing foreign food products at smaller local supermarketsas these are often out-of-date or imitation products.  It’s a well-known fact that most foreign alcoholic drinks served in China are local imitations wrapped in foreign branded packaging.

  • Air Pollution

Air pollution is another major health risk for foreign visitors to China; air quality is notoriously poor in many areas throughout the country due largely to industrialization and car traffic (many Chinese people still rely on coal for heating). If you’re planning on spending time outdoors during your trip, bring along some N95 masks so you can breathe easier while walking around smoggy cities like Beijing or Shanghai! Blue sky days a far and few between but when you do have them you appreciate the city so much more

  • Petty Theft and Fraud against foreigners:

Foreigners are targeted by petty thieves who target you because they perceive you as being wealthy or vulnerable (or both). This can occur on buses, subways, trains and even while walking down a busy street. To minimize your risk of becoming victim to these kinds of crimes: travel with a companion if possible; don’t carry large amounts of cash; stash it in a money belt under your clothes so it’s harder for pickpockets to take; don’t wear expensive jewellery or watches.

Pickpocketing, credit card fraud, and other forms of theft are common in China but nowhere near as bad as in other countries. Locals will sometimes take advantage of the fact that you look like a foreigner and try to trick or cheat you to make a quick buck. Learn from the locals how best to avoid this type of situation.

  • Violent Crimes:

Chinese citizens commit violent crimes against foreigners as well as each other and these sometimes go unreported. China’s major Tier 1 Cities are however very safe for foreigners to visit and live in.  Women can feel extremely safe when put with friends late at night compared to other major cities around the world like London, New York, Paris or even Sydney or Melbourne.

Health System Overview in China

China’s health system is a single-payer public health system. It is divided into urban and rural areas and follows a dual-track model of service delivery. The Public Health System provides free basic medical care, while the Private Health System allows you to purchase private care services if desired.

The Chinese health care system is divided into urban and rural areas; public hospitals provide services to residents of both types of localities. The system is divided into 3 different tiers with a Tier 3 hospital being the most basic and typically found in rural areas. These hospitals will not accept any form of private health insurance and normally only cater to locals. If you need to use a local hospital you can always pay up-front and claims later with your insurance provider

It is also common practice for wealthy individuals who live in urban areas to purchase private medical insurance plans that supplement their coverage provided by public providers; wealthier families usually have access to these benefits because they can afford more expensive treatment options outside China’s socialized healthcare regime (for example cosmetic surgery)

Seeking Assistance as a Foreigner in China

The Chinese government has made huge strides in improving healthcare; however, many hospitals and clinics still require patients to pay upfront for treatment, with additional charges for some types of medicine. Private hospitals are more likely to offer VIP services than public ones. But, If you don’t have medical insurance, the out-of-pocket costs of visiting an English-speaking doctor can be extremely expensive particularly if specific tests are required to help diagnose your condition. Here’s a fantastic resource for locating English-speakingdoctors abroad. The International Society of Travel Medicine

Another issue you will need to contend with is the language barrier which will make the Chinese public system even more challenging. Read our post on seeking reliable care abroad on Communication Barriers.

Also, the cost of treatment varies greatly depending on what kind of doctor or hospital you see; expect charges up to several hundred dollars per hour when visiting a private facility.

Private medical facilities are often cleaner, more contemporary, and more organised. Additionally, hospitals and other health care institutions have increased access to diagnostic equipment and specialised treatment. For treating minor illnesses, these distinctions entail significantly less time and hassle. For more serious conditions and particularly those that require a transfer back home or repatriation to another country it would prudent to be admitted to a private facility that has the expertise to manage such cases. Private international health insurance offers you access to the finest hospitals and physicians with minimal waiting periods.

While your trip to China is sure to go smoothly, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. If you should experience a medical emergency, having a doctor or hospital on hand who can help you is essential. The best way to do this is by doing some research ahead of time and researching quality local hospitals, doctors and clinics. The Be prepared like a boy scout section of our blog on seeking medical care abroad has some great suggestions

Health Insurance Coverage for Expatriates in China

Expatriates who are working in China can enjoy the public health insurance coverage provided by the Chinese government. However, public hospitals are overcrowded with long wait times and the nurse-to-patient ratio is extremely low. Moreover, bed manner of Chinese doctors in the public system is very different from Western hospitals as they are over-worked and the doctors simply don’t have sufficient time to spend with every patient

Therefore, international private medical insurance is highly recommended for expatriates so they can access private medical facilities and have freedom of choice when seeking the best possible medical care.

Local private medical insurance versus international private medical insurance

If you are looking for a local private medical insurance policy, there are several things to be aware of. The first is that the market has changed significantly over the last 10 years and is no longer dominated by international players like MSH, Cigna, AXA, Allianz, Generali, and Bupa. The market share is split between five different local providers and now stands at over 60% of the high-end PMI space.

So why do we say, “be careful”? Well, local providers tend not to have as much experience in handling overseas medical emergencies as international providers do; they also don’t have as many overseas facilities on their network list.

Finally, with local providers, there is no guarantee of renewal which means they may not offer you renewal terms especially when you are seeking treatment and your policy is about to expire. They may alternatively increase yourpremium,costingyou a lot more money than you originally paid. Remember that there is no guarantee that your plan will continue for subsequent.

We advise extreme caution when purchasing a local policy and although you can save money upfrontit could cost you dearly in the future.


We hope this guide was helpful and informative. If you would like to read more about international private medical advice, please read this blog post or visit our website

Alternatively, if you would like to speak to us about your move and which insurance plan might be suitable for your needs, please send us an email at: – [email protected]