The pace that China is expanding and growing is still staggering, even after eight years of living here. Sometimes it sneaks up on you, over lunch we realised that the business park, well really a business district, we have our office in has really taken off in the last 6 months. We have been here for just over a year and when we moved in we were one of the first, when you looked up and down the street there was no one about, most of the buildings you see today were there but no one was working in them, one of those ghost towns you hear about, everything was ready and waiting to take off.
Fast forward a year and there are now signs of life but its taken a lot to kick start, for example people don’t get here by themselves they are all bused in and out of this side of town, so at 5.30 the whole street is lined up and down with buses, there is only one convenience store in a 1km radius and we have to go into Alibaba’s corporate office to have a coffee. Now that the larger offices have staff we are seeing the street vendors turn up with their electric trikes serving dirt cheap Chinese food, 6RMB gets you any noodles or fried rice dish and 1.5RMB gets you a north west China style flat bread not unlike a plain naan with a few sesame seeds thrown in for good measure.
The only downside of moving in early is that we got stung with higher than now the average rent, we have 2,000 m2 office / warehouse on the ground floor which we rent for 1.6RMB per m2 per day which as far as rents go is not bad but we learn now the average for the area is 1RMB / m2 / day which would also explain why businesses are moving in now, rather than 18 months ago when these buildings were finished and how they can afford to bus everyone over from down town, have a look at the map to see the commute, it should take 30 mins but in rush hour its more like an hour each way.
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Which is more or less like it works back in the UK, I remember people catching the staff bus from the Leeds city center to the business parks outside the city each day for work.