My Life

It’s been a busy week in Guangzhou

A year ago one Finnish girl come to Guangzhou for a student exchange. She was here only for few months, but she gained a lot from those months. After going back to Finland she set up her own company and started doing her own business. Now that friend of mine is in Guangzhou for two weeks and we have been shopping from morning til dawn.

During last year I’ve helped her to buy lot of different products from Guangzhou and sent them to Finland. Doing business, even small one, in Chinese isn’t always that easy. People might lie and do all kind of tricks to get you pay a higher price or to save their face when making a mistake. Best advice is to believe no-one and to check everything your self.

Of course there also are amazing shop owners that give you the best of service and help you to fix the broken goods even you forgot to bring the invoice. But China isn’t really famous from it’s customer service. In many cases the more you pay the better service you get and when you get no service at all, then you are treated like a local and you didn’t overpay.

Me and my friend will leave to Shenzhen today and be back on Monday. Is there something interesting to see or experience in Shenzhen? I’ve heard that it’s like small Guangzhou, but some people seem to prefer Shenzhen over Guangzhou.


  • py

    shenzhen’culture background, in my opinion,is very different from the one in GZ. But since you will just go there for two days,i guess these two places do seem the same in appearance. Dong men walking street is a good place to shop while 大梅沙 is beside sea and has beautiful beach.But i don’t know if it is a good idea to go there in such cold weather!(Maybe not that cold for you though)

    Sara Reply:

    We did went to Dong men walking street, it was full of teenagers and young adults shopping, eating and hanging out. Maybe like the Shang Xia Jiu of Shenzhen.

  • Barbara

    Arr, damnit, why I’m not in SZ now?! It would be a great opportunity to meet. Hope that we’ll have another chance. My bf is there but he has to go to work :/
    Frankly, there’s nothing very interesting in Shenzhen, at least to me. If you are still interested in shopping I would also recommed Dongmen. There are a few theme parks, like Happy Valley, Window of the World (minatures of most popular foreign tourist attractions), OCT East (maybe the best one in SZ)or China Folk Culture Village. They are quite popular among the Chinese, however I usually find this kind of places too fake (about Folk Culture Village for example, it’s really much better to save some money and go to Yunnan in the future, which is truly beautiful). Actually, Shenzhen with it’s 30-years history is quite interesting itself ;) I remember when I went for a trip to Guangzhou after a few months in SZ and suddenly in a bus I realized that there’s something strange… hmmm… what is it… and then it hit me: “wow, there are old people here!” :D So, yes, SZ is a completely new city with mostly young people living there. The only person I know who was born in SZ is my boyfriend’s nephew ;) There are some 300-years old hakka villages (or remains of villages) in Guanlan, which is far form so-called center. One of the villages has been renovated and now there is the Guanlan Printmaking Base, with some small galleries, printmaking studio and residencies for artists – I lived there for a while. The Base is surrounded by factories, but there are more hakka houses in this area. To me it was interesting cause I could imagine how the region could look like before it’s transformation. Here’s the website of the Printmaking Base, so maybe you can give you a general impression on the village: (no need to read the things they write there, it’s mostly about how successful they are, harmonization and other, ekhem, fascinating stuff). But, as I said, it’s far… However, the subway in SZ is really very well organised and convenient.
    Hope that you’ll have a great weekend!

    Barbara Reply:

    gosh… my english is turning into chinglish… sorry ;)

    Sara Reply:

    We’ll meet next time!

    We didn’t go to Guanlan this time, eve though it looks interesting, but we went to Xin An Village and De Pang Fortress, the latter one was a great place to spend the afternoon! Have you been there?

  • Marcus

    I haven’t read your blog for a loooong time! Yeah you must be really careful when trading in China as they will trick everyone, Chinese or foreign alike. What kind of goods you and your friend export to Finland? Hope you enjoy your trip to Shenzhen. Maybe you can write a post on what is interesting there when you come back.

    Sara Reply:

    She mainly exports silver, but sometimes also other products like business gifts. We had a great trip to Shenzhen and it seems like a nice city.

  • T

    From what I’ve learned, Shenzhen is a small Guangzhou in the sense that it’s smaller geographically and has a smaller population, but it is very advanced in its economic development and some would say that it has a better environment for doing business than Guangzhou.

    That said, people who are in the export business, as your friend seems to be, tend to flock to Guangzhou. For example, you may have noticed the large population of Africans in Guangzhou who conduct export trade with their home countries in Africa.

  • Shu

    I have never been to Guangzhou and Shenzhen. All I know is Guangzhou people eat everything and Shenzhen is a big new business hub. So, have a good trip and look forward to your next culture adventure:)

  • ordinary malaysian

    I have not been to Shenzen myself. But friends have and they say you should go have a look at the Window to The World and maybe take in a cultural show or two. It seems Shenzen is the place to look for some bargains. Your friend may find some things she may want for her business. Have a nice time. And say hello to your friend for me.

    Sara Reply:

    We didn’t go to the Window to the World, because the entrance is quite expensive, but we had a great time at Da Peng Fortress for 20RMB.

  • Cyril

    Have you ever tried going Shenzhen, Dongguan and ZhuHai? Try Nanning in Guangxi.

    Sara Reply:

    I’ve been to Shenzhen. Is there something interesting in Dongguan? I had the impression that it’s jut factories after factories.

    Cyril Reply:

    It is true that Dongguan is nothing more than factories where you can order products that you want as long as you can pay but people go there to look for bus. opportunities. Look at the containers hub and the trucks rolling in and out daily. I was shocked. Zhu Hai is almost the same but more commercial activities. Nanning is more of HK and shopping.

    Sara Reply:

    Cyril, could you please not add that website address to your nickname, that website isn’t really anything I would like to advertise here.