Posts Tagged ‘expat’

Beijing 9th Most Expensive City

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

For RMB2.00 (USD0.30) you can travel to any location on its extensive (and growing) subway network. Lasagna at a good Italian eatery in Beijing’s CBD costs only RMB 70 (USD10). How can BeijingĀ  be more expensive than London? That’s what Mercer LLC’s 2009 Expatriate Cost of Living Survey says.

Beijing rentals droped 15-20% over the last year, but this year’s summer surge in relocations has caused minor rent increases at the more popular housing developments. Waiting lists at WAB & ISB, the city’s two main international schools, have all but disappeared. Yet fees remain static. The survey uses a standard expatriate basket of goods to measure price levels across the globe.

Mercer says the strengthened US dollar (to which the RMB is closely linked) has had a significant effect on rankings. The survey is intended as a guide for assessing expatriate remuneration levels.

Beijing expatriates who buy local products (groceries & petrol) and services (restaurants, drivers & maids) must be smiling.

Read more about Beijing’s expatriate cost of living here:

Birth in Beijing

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

A friend called the other day. We’d met at a farewell dinner. She’s 3 months pregnant and wanted to know a bit more about the maternity hospitals and clinics in Beijing. From the US, she’d recently taken up a job in the city with a well know media firm. A bit too recent. Her insurance did not pay for births during the first year of coverage. I believe most insurers have this clause. Alas, bundles of joys aren’t always scheduled. Z’s arrival cost in the region of USD30,000 including pre & post natal care for a non-caesarian birth at Beijing United Family Hospital. An astronomical amount for those used to free health care, but a reasonable sum for others. At the other end of the spectrum, O’s birth at a maternity hospital cost RMB6,000 (a RMB10,000 deposit was required). Pre & post natal cost was negligible. His parents were very satisfied with the treatment given.

So, what did we get for our money? More attention from nurses and mid-wives. 5 days in a private room during which we received a hands-on course in basic infant care. A comfortable environment. As a working mother-to-be, I also appreciated that I could schedule appointments with my doctor. In contrast, for my amniocentesis I was referred to Xie He (Peking Union). This entailed 2x 4 hours of queues that ended in a public announcement that Z was OK, and a girl. We’d considered surprising ourselves. As for how good the doctors are? I’m not qualified to judge. Z’s arrival was thankfully complication-free. I had appointments with 4 doctors before settling on one. They encourage this to increase the probability of the mother being acquainted with the doctor on duty during the birth. There are other private options in the city. A landlady I know just gave birth at the new private maternity hospital round the corner from Beijing United. She was pleased and it was half the price. Would I go there for a second birth? Yes, as I’m acquainted and comfortable with it (and thankfully insured). The unknown is a major issue in any birth - and also part of the wonder.