Chinese apartment complex

5 Differences Between Western and Chinese Apartments

When you first come to China and look for an apartment, there are a few things you have to take into consideration. Because there are quite a few aspects that you wouldn’t immediately think of.  Here’s a list of 5 differences between Western and Chinese apartments.

1.    Living communities (小区 Xiǎoqū)

Chinese apartment complex
Chinese apartment complex

Most apartments in China are located in living communities. The communities vary from These living communities require a tag or card to enter. The living community takes care of things such as waste disposal, security,  garden maintenance, elevator maintenance. For this, there ‘s a regular “management fee” that residents pay monthly.

2.   Bathroom (厕所 Cèsuǒ)

Chinese Bathroom

For all the things there are to love about life in China, there are unfortunately also things that aren’t as pleasant. For me, this was the toilet experience. To people who have been to China before this doesn’t come as a surprise but this is what a typical Chinese toilet looks like. The toilet requires you to squat down to do your business. Squatting long periods of time can be challenging, this comes on top of the fact that the food in China often makes you spend more time in the toilet than you’d like. Furthermore, the drainage system in China also isn’t built to endure toilet paper, so every toilet comes with a small trashcan next to the toilet that is there for your used toilet paper. Brace yourself, because most Chinese apartments are equipped with a toilet like this.

3.    Beds (床 Chuáng)

Chinese Bed

When you first come to China you will notice that the beds are on the hard side. This bothered me when I initially came to China but as I didn’t bother to buy a new mattress I grew used to it and now I sometimes feel like some mattresses are too soft. However, if you really don’t like hard beds you can always buy a new mattress or a cheap mattress topper on Taobao(Chinese amazon). Or if you really want a western style soft mattress I recommend to go to IKEA.

4.   Home Decoration

Chinese Apartment
Chinese Living Room

This is what an average Chinese rental looks like, The room will have white walls neutral furniture fluorescent light and no decoration at all. Usually, it is up to the tenant to make the place look like a home. Next article I will talk about 5 things you can to transform your Chinese apartment to your Chinese home.

5.   Rent (房租 Fángzu)

In western countries, the rent is often one month deposit and monthly payment after. However, in China, this is arranged slightly different. When you’re looking to rent an apartment in China, you have to take into consideration that most Chinese apartments unlike western apartments, not only ask for one month deposit. But also 3 to 6 months of the rent. this was quite the shocker when I got my first apartment and I suddenly had to gather 8 months rent (including agency fee). so keep that in mind when you’re looking for an apartment.

2 thoughts on “5 Differences Between Western and Chinese Apartments”

  1. Good article and I would just add that I love living in the community apartment as I felt part of a community and made lots of friends. Personally a hard mattress and squat toilet has been good for my health and quite the workout.
    My apartment’s decoration was fine, I negotiated with landlord and put my personal touches to it and paying rent upfront in big sums was a hassle however over time my landlord became friendly with me and we were able to work something out because it really does take a big chunk out of your budget.

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