Buying a SIM card for your phone in China

If you are traveling or moving to China and are considering purchasing a SIM card for your phone once you get here, here are a few steps to make the process easier.

At Shanghai Properties we know the concerns of expatriates because we are expatriates! We specialize in relocation within Shanghai and help expatriates find their dream home in this amazing, modern metropolis. Besides real estate, we also offer many other free services for expats. Visit our website at www.shanghaiprops.com for more information or you can contact our real estate specialist, Adrienne Farrelly, at manager@shanghaiprops.com

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1) Check to see if your phone can work with other countries SIM cards
Before leaving home, you want to make sure your phone is unlocked. If not, your phone will not work with any other SIM cards other than the mobile network the phone is already locked to. An easy way to test this is to try to make a call using a friend’s SIM card that uses a different carrier. If you can make calls, your phone is already unlocked. If you’re buying a phone just before traveling abroad, you can also easily ask your seller if the phone is already unlocked.

2) Buying a China SIM card
Once you’ve arrived in China, you can now purchase your SIM card. If you own an iPhone you will have to purchase a microSIM, which is basically a SIM card that is cut down to size to fit your iPhone’s SIM card slot. It should be the same price as a normal SIM card. If you are unsure if you want to buy a SIM card, be aware that international roaming charges can be very high, so if you are planning on staying in China for a long duration, it is strongly advised to use a local SIM card.

There are three major mobile service carriers in China from whom you can buy your SIM card: China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. All have different plans but all offer 3G service. Depending on your usage and preferences, certain mobile carrier plans may be better than others, but China Unicom is generally the recommended choice for foreigners living in large cities. You should confirm with your provider if your SIM card supports international calls before making international calls, which may be quite expensive.

If you happen to exceed your monthly data allowance, you will need to recharge or “top up” your account. In order to do this, you just need to return to your carrier’s retail outlet or a nearby convenience store and purchase a recharge card. If you choose to visit a nearby convenience store just tell them “Jia Qian DianHua” or show them this: 加钱电话. They will know what you mean, then just follow the given instructions.

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3) Buying a phone in China
Buying a phone in China has its advantages and disadvantages. If you would rather buy a Chinese phone with or without a binding contract and more data allowance, you are welcome to do so. If you are buying a contract-free phone, you usually have to purchase a SIM card separately and install it yourself. Make sure to thoroughly research the product you are looking to buy, especially if you are purchasing your phone online. Pay special attention to the product reviews because online Chinese stores are not known for their attention to detail or accuracy when describing a product. It is not uncommon to come across products with impossible specifications, which means they are fake! When you have found the phone you want from a trusted company, make sure you pay through Paypal. Paying directly to a bank account means you have no safety net if something goes wrong. With Paypal, you can always make a complaint to the intermediary and hopefully get a refund.

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 Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Luxurious Loft Lanehouse

Conveniently located downtown on Nanjing West Rd in the Jing’an district this beautifully renovated and decorated, high quality loft style apartment is perfect for a couple or small family. Two living rooms, three bedrooms and two bathrooms all with floor heating and wall radiator systems throughout. Spacious 215sq meters. Rental at 50,000RMB/month. Available from Nov.16th. Contact Adrienne Farrelly at manager@shanghaiprops.com or call her on +86 13122 810 421.

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This is one of the many fantastic properties we can show you when you contact us at Shanghai Properties. Shanghai’s most experienced expatriated agent Adrienne Farrelly has 15 years experience and will give you peace of mind.

Adrienne black top - small

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Shanghai’s Maglev Train

In cooperation with the Shanghai Municipality and the Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co., German Transrapid constructed the first commercial Maglev railway in the world in 2002, which extends from Shanghai’s Longyang Road subway station in Pudong to the Pudong International Airport. Commercial operation then started shortly after in 2003. The 30 kilometer trip takes 7 minutes and 21 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 431 km/h (267.8 mph). When just flying into Shanghai from a long flight, the Maglev can save you a couple hundred RMB that you would have to pay for a 90 minute taxi ride to the inner city. It also saves you a significant amount of time if you are in a rush. Last but not least, the Shanghai Maglev is new, clean, and one of the most preferred methods of transportation for foreigners.

Did you know? Maglev is the abbreviated term for magnetic levitation!

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Here is some basic information about the Shanghai Maglev’s operating times, but you can find a website for further reading below.

Longyang Road Station: First train: 6:45, Last train: 21:30
Pudong Airport Station: First train: 7:02, Last train: 21:32

Interval
6:45-17:00 (15 minutes)
17:00-21:00 (20 minutes)
21:00-21:30 (30 minutes)

Fare
Single trip ticket: 50RMB, Round trip ticket: 80RMB
VIP single trip ticket: 100RMB, VIP round trip ticket: 160RMB

Main Office
Tel: +86 21 28907777
Fax: +86 21 28907646

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Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Gorgeous Interior Designed Apartment – GaoYou Lu, XuHui District

Lovely bright and breezy apartment in low rise block tucked down a charming lane in the French Concession. Owned by Australian Expatriate couple. Two bedrooms and one bathroom. Renovated throughout with updated appliances in kitchen and bathroom. Available now for 22,500rmb per month. Mail Adrienne Farrelly at manager@shanghaiprops.com or call +86 13122 810 421.

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livingroom

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This is one of the many fantastic properties we can show you when you contact us at Shanghai Properties. Shanghai’s most experienced expatriated agent Adrienne Farrelly has 15 years experience and will give you peace of mind. Mail her at manager@shanghaiprops.com or call her on +86 13122 810 421.

Adrienne black top - small

Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Driving in Shanghai

Interested in driving in Shanghai? Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of the metro or waiting for taxis? Then you will need to obtain a Chinese drivers license. Here are a few hints to help you with the process. Unfortunately, International Driving Licenses’ are not authorized in China, so if you are interested in driving on your own in Shanghai, you will need to convert your home country’s license to a local one. First things first, you will need to be a long term resident of China, which means you have a residence permit that is valid for at least one year. Receiving a Chinese license is cheap but can be a time consuming process if you are unaware of all the protocols. driving_shanghai
To apply for a Chinese drivers license you will have to visit the Shanghai Vehicle Administration (上海车管所). There are several branches located throughout the city, however, the Minhang Branch has been acknowledged particularly for their foreign friendly staff. You can find the address of the Minhang Branch below. Before you visit the Shanghai Vehicle Administration, here are a few preliminary steps: 1) Get your foreign driver’s license translated into Chinese by an authorized translation service (about 50RMB) 2) Make sure you have all necessary documents (passport, foreign driver’s license, license translation, temporary residence permit, work permit, etc). Chances are if you think you might need it, bring it. Also, make sure you have copies of every document. It is very cheap to create document copies and there are many Chinese side street shops that offer this service. To save you time and money, it is always best to be OVER prepared. Once you have prepared your documents and are ready to visit the desired branch, here are the next few steps you will have to complete: 1) Upon arrival, you will have to have photographs taken (building #12 at Minhang branch). You won’t be able to use your own photographs because these special photos come printed with your name and ID number. (40RMB) 2) Next, a health check will be required (same building at Minhang branch). During the exam, your hearing and vision will be tested and you will have to complete a health form. (60RMB) 3) Your documents will then need to be rechecked to confirm completion and authenticity (building #8 at Minhang branch). 4) Following this, you will then need to schedule your computer based test date (building #9 at Minhang branch). You will be given a slip of paper with your name, 5) Make sure you return to take your test at the scheduled date and time (building #9 at Minhang branch). If you pass, you will need to fill out a few more documents and pay some money (55RMB), and in a few minutes you will receive your license. If you fail, you can reschedule your test.

Tip: The computerized test resembles a Chinglish test, so be sure to spend some time reviewing all the test bank questions on their official site.

Best of luck on your exam and happy driving in Shanghai!

Adrienne black top - small
Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Additional Information:
Shanghai Vehicle Administration – Minhang Branch 179 Qinchuan Road, Minhang District (Near Metro Line 5 – Chunshen Road Station) 闵行区沁春路 179 号
View this website to download the computer based test learning material: http://www.shjtaq.com 
Check out this website for more information about obtaining a Chinese driving license

Using the Buses and Metro in Shanghai

Luckily, being the most populous city in China, Shanghai has many methods of public transportation. Shanghai’s public bus system, metro, and maglev train are some of the most common transportation methods and are fortunately very inexpensive to use. Regardless of distance, if you need a way to get from Point A to Point B, Shanghai’s public transportation can surely get you there.

Public Transportation Card
First things first, if you will be staying in Shanghai for an extended period of time, you should really consider getting a public transportation card. These are very convenient and you can use them for taxis, buses, tourist buses, long-distance buses, subway lines, maglev trains, ferries and trucks. You may also be able to use the card at some parking lots, parking meters, gas stations, toll highways and auto repairing stores. To receive one, I think the easiest way is to just approach any service desk inside the metro and ask for a “GongGongJiaoTongKa” or show them this: “我要一个公共交通卡“。 You then just need to give them the RMB amount that you would like to have reserved on your card. When you need to refill your card, just approach any service desk and say “ChongQianKa” or you can show them: “我要充钱卡”. Just be sure to keep the card safe, because if you lose it, then you will also lose the amount you still have on the card.


Shanghai’s Public Bus System
Public buses in Shanghai are a very convenient means of transport, with around 1,100 lines crossing the city. Shanghai Railway Station, People’s Square, Xujiahui, Zhongshan Park, Wujiaochang, Shanghai Indoor Stadium, and Dongchang Road serve as the major bus transfer stations in downtown. Xinzhuang, Longyang Road and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park stations provide many routes to the surrounding suburbs.

Shanghai public buses are identified by numbers or Chinese characters. No matter where you are living, there is bound to be a bus stop nearby. There you can see the different bus numbers that will stop at your location as well as the following bus stops, so you can decide which bus you will need to take to get to your destination. The bus stops are usually listed in Chinese so it may be a good idea to bring a phone or a translator to decipher the common bus stops you will need to take. Once that is figured out, using public buses in Shanghai is a breeze and only costs a few RMB per trip.

Using the Metro in Shanghai
Currently, the city has 14 subway lines in operation. Together they total 525.2 kilometers (326 miles), excluding the Maglev Line and the sections shared by Line 3 and Line 4. Shanghai’s Metro is relatively new and it is also much cleaner compared to subways in the States and the UK. It is very reliable, easy, inexpensive to use, and it will get you from one side of the city to the other in around 45-60 minutes all for less than 10 RMB. If you need to make a transfer, just keep an eye out for the station where you will need to make the transfer, depart the train, and then you will see signs directing you in the direction of the other lines. Just make sure you don’t exit the metro gates, otherwise you will have to pay an additional trip fee!

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TIP: Shanghai is a huge metropolis so you’ll want a home close to work. Contact Shanghai’s most experienced agent Adrienne Farrelly for logistics advice before choosing your housing. Call her on +86 13122 810 421 or mail manager@shanghaiprops.com for obligation free advice.

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Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties

Kindergartens and Preschools in Minhang

Are you relocating to Shanghai and worried about finding a suitable school for your little one? We can imagine the stress you are feeling, but don’t fret, Shanghai has many kindergarten and preschool options. Whether you prefer a Western or Eastern education curriculum, you will be able to find the ideal situation. Just read below for some viable options for schools in the Minhang District of Shanghai.

TIP: Your little ones won’t want long commutes to school so make sure you choose a home nearby. If you prefer a home in a school friendly zone, contact Shanghai’s most experienced expat agent Adrienne Farrelly at manager@shanghaiprops.com and she can introduce you to the best available options.

Here are the kindergartens and preschools in the Minhang area. We hope you can find the best for your little one!

Fortune Kindergarten
Follows the American and British curriculums
English/Chinese bilingual environment
Multicultural environment with over 30 nationalities represented
Promotes the children’s international mindedness
Encourage to care for the others, to value life and the shared living environment
OCT Campus
Half day – 49,000RMB
Full day – 64,000RMB
Address: 浦申路1899号. 1899 Pushen Road, Minhang
Sentosa Campus
Half day – 52,000 RMB/school year
Full day – 78,000 RMB/school year
Address: 顾戴路2199号. 2199 Gudai Road, No. 450, Minhang

Etonkids
Follows the Montessori curriculum
English/Chinese bilingual environment
Full day – 25,000RMB
Address: 龙茗路2055号,靠近漕宝路. 2055 Longming Road, near Caobao Road, Minhang,

Harvest Baby Kindergarten (Minhang)
Follows the American curriculum
English as the main language of instruction
Full day – 30,000RMB/school year
Address: 华林路208号. 208 Hualin Road, Minhang

Shanghai American School
Pre-k to secondary school that follows the American Curriculum and IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme)
Main language of instruction is English
Also provides additional language classes that include: Chinese, Spanish and French
One of the oldest international schools in the world and the biggest international school in China
Preschool – 134,000RMB
Kindergarten – 197,000RMB
Address: 金丰路258号. 258 Jinfeng Road, Huacao Town, Puxi (Minhang)

Shanghai Korean School
Teaches the Korean curriculum in Korean
Available Chinese and English language courses to students ages 1-18
Address: 金丰路258号. 355 Lianyou Road, Huacao Town, Minhang

Shanghai Singapore International School (Minhang)
Certified IGCSE and IB World School
Follows the Singaporean and IGCSE curriculums
English language environment
There have been staff members at SSIS who have been intimidated and abused
Teachers are lied to during interviews
Preschool – 116,000 RMB/school year
Kindergarten – 116,000RMB/school year
Address: 朱建路301号. 301 Zhujian Road, Minhang

Shanghai United International School (Shang Yin Canadian BC Primary)
Certified IB World School
Follows the British and Canadian curriculums
English/Chinese bilingual school
Japanese and French language courses available
Parents and students genuinely happy with the school
Kindergarten – 62,000 RMB/school year
Address: 龙茗路185号. 185 Longming Road, Minhang

Shanghai Victoria Kindergarten
Follows the Hong Kong curriculum and the IB education primary years program (PYP)
English/Chinese bilingual school
Uses a co-teaching approach with both a full-time English teacher and a full-time Chinese teacher in the classroom at all times
Minhang campus
Preschool – 75,000 RMB/school year
Kindergarten – 75,000 RMB/school year
Address: 宝城路155号. 155 Baocheng Road, No. 15, Minhang
Gumei campus
Preschool – 75,000 RMB/school year
Kindergarten – 75,000 RMB/school year
Address: 古美路300号. 300 Gumei Road, Minhang

Soong Ching Ling Kindergarten (Hongqiao)
Offers the British and Montessori curriculums
Classrooms are outfitted with 1 native English speaker and 1 native Chinese speaker allowing the students to grow and learn in a bilingual environment
Recommended by parents and teachers
Overall good reputation
Preschool – 110,000RMB/school year
Kindergarten – 130,000RMB/school year
Address: 虹梅路3908号. 3908 Hongmei Road, Minhang

The British International School Shanghai
Follows the English National curriculum and IB Diploma Program
English as the main language of instruction
Kids like it there
Preschool – 192,000 RMB/school year
Kindergarten – 192,000 RMB/school year
Address: 虹梅路3908号. 111 Jinguang Road, Huacao Town, Puxi (Minhang)

The Happy Kids Land
Follows the American curriculum
English language environment
Kindergarten – 65,000 RMB/school year
Address: 宝乐路368号. 368 Baole Road, Minhang

Tiny Tots Pre School & Kindergarten
Follows the American curriculum
English/Chinese bilingual environment
The school is pretty small, but has everything and anything a little kid could want or need
Class sizes are small and each child gets a lot of individual attention
Staff is great here and they do lots of neat activities
Preschool – 120,000 RMB
Kindergarten – 120,000 RMB
Address: 古美路50号. 50 Gumei Road, Minhang

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Adrienne Farrelly is one of Shanghai’s most experienced expatriate Property Agents helping expats find new homes since 1994. You can reach her at  +86 13122 810 421 or  manager@shanghaiprops.com. Connect with her on Skype at shanghaiproperties8. Shanghai Properties