Author Topic: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA  (Read 4062 times)

PeanutUtd

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Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« on: November 20, 2014, 10:26:06 PM »
Hi Mustachians who know (or are in) China.

My employer has recently asked whether I would be willing to move from Singapore to Shanghai. I am from Australia and my wife is from the USA and we transfer money for investments etc to both countries every couple of months, this is very easy from Singapore but seems a little more difficult from China. Our ability to continue regularly saving and investing is a very important part of the decision making process.

My research, so far, suggests that it is necessary to have a certificate that proves you have paid tax on the income and that this document is issued annually - does this essentially mean I would need to wait until the end of the tax year before being able to transfer the income I have earned for that year? We would prefer to continue our regular transfers from when we first arrive.

Perhaps I should ask to be paid partly in Australia and partly in China? Make sure the regular saving amount does not end up stuck in China. I think my company has done this for others so there is no harm in asking.

Many thanks!

Merlion

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 04:01:15 AM »
Hi PeanutUtd,

I moved to Singapore from Shanghai back at the beginning of 2012. My salary in Shanghai wasn't huge, but I still transferred money to the US on a fairly regular basis to pay off student loans.

Quite a bit of documentation is needed to send money, and the process takes awhile (I would estimate about an hour each time based on verification of documents at the bank branch). Tax is deducted directly from each paycheck, unlike Singapore. What I did was ask the finance/HR department to give me updated tax records for each month's pay, which they could do after a few day wait. Perhaps you can check with the finance/HR departments in the Shanghai office (if it exists) if they can provide you this?

Getting paid abroad is an option - but I would make sure that you do an analysis of the tax implications (whether paid in HK or Australia) and also push for the company to provide tax accountant services for you.

Good luck with the decision - Shanghai's a fun city. Smoggy, but I like the food and vibrancy better than in Singapore. Make sure you try to find a well-insulated apartment. Difficult, but the winters w/ poor insulation, single paned windows, and ineffective heating with the damp, freezing temperatures can be brutal.

PeanutUtd

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Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2014, 07:07:43 AM »
Edit - replying with quote. Selected wrong option earlier.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:30:55 AM by PeanutUtd »

PeanutUtd

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 08:29:43 AM »

Hi PeanutUtd,

I moved to Singapore from Shanghai back at the beginning of 2012. My salary in Shanghai wasn't huge, but I still transferred money to the US on a fairly regular basis to pay off student loans.

Quite a bit of documentation is needed to send money, and the process takes awhile (I would estimate about an hour each time based on verification of documents at the bank branch). Tax is deducted directly from each paycheck, unlike Singapore. What I did was ask the finance/HR department to give me updated tax records for each month's pay, which they could do after a few day wait. Perhaps you can check with the finance/HR departments in the Shanghai office (if it exists) if they can provide you this?

Getting paid abroad is an option - but I would make sure that you do an analysis of the tax implications (whether paid in HK or Australia) and also push for the company to provide tax accountant services for you.

Good luck with the decision - Shanghai's a fun city. Smoggy, but I like the food and vibrancy better than in Singapore. Make sure you try to find a well-insulated apartment. Difficult, but the winters w/ poor insulation, single paned windows, and ineffective heating with the damp, freezing temperatures can be brutal.

Thanks Merlion

That's very helpful. The tax suggestion is a good idea.

Do you have any suggestions as to how to find an apartment? Also any areas you think are particularly good? My office would be on Line 2 of the metro. We currently live on the East Coast near Kembangan MRT. We both love being able to go for a walk/run on the PCN and get away from the bustle of the city (whilst watching for wobbly bike riders). Would hope to be near a park or something similar in Shanghai.

Our love of running coupled with the smog is actually one of our big concerns. The air is a fact of life though so we will just have to weigh our decision carefully.

Thanks for the insulation tip, that would not have occurred to me.

Oh and are you still in Shanghai?

Merlion

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2014, 09:02:37 AM »
Hello neighbor! We live just off of East Coast Road not far from Katong i12. We looked at some places a bit closer to the Kembangan MRT but were turned off by the lack of grocery stores and other shops nearby. (I moved to Singapore from Shanghai...so no longer in Shanghai)

Do you speak Chinese? If so, one of the best ways to apartment hunt I found was to walk into some random real estate offices in the neighborhood(s) you're interested in and ask to see some apartments. Typically all of the agents have access to the same lists of apartments and can take you to view. My second year, after a cold winter my first, I insisted on double-paned windows, which raised the price but also the quality of the places I was taken to. There's a Shanghai Expats web site which has a fair amount of info and forum posts on it, including some helpful on (at least it did a few years ago)

Your office would be on line 2, but do you know whether in Puxi or Pudong? (I'm guessing either somewhere in Lujiazui, along Nanjing Road, or maybe out by Zhongshan Park) Both the French Concession and Jing'an are decent to live in, for a runner the French Concession is nicer. Not a lot of parks but a lot of smaller, tree-lined roads to run and bike along, especially earlier in the morning. (One thing I really miss about Shanghai is biking from my apartment to work through the French Concession) If you're working in Lujiazui, you might look at places near Century Park, but that area and most of Pudong in general were too suburban and not-happening for me.

I also find the weather, apart from the smog, to be better than in Singapore for outdoor activities most of the year, but maybe that's because I like cold more than heat and would rather have to work up to a sweat than start sweating immediately after stepping outside...





lhamo

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 07:37:44 PM »
Here's a link to one of the major property websites filtered for rental apartments (not shares) along Line 2:

http://sh.zu.anjuke.com/ditie/dt5-l2/

If you don't read Chinese, let me know which subway stop you would most like to be near and I can filter it further for that info -- can also add # of bedrooms, square footage, price range, etc. 

I applied for a job in Shanghai last spring, and used this site to get a feel for the property market.  Didn't end up getting the job or moving, but it was nice to be able to get a sense of where we might want to focus our search based on location, price, etc.

STRONGLY recommend you look for housing within walking or biking distance of your office.  Commutes in Chinese cities are insane.  I went from having a 1 hour + cross town commute to being able to bike to my office in 30 minutes (about 7km), and it is great.  Would prefer the distance was more in the 4-5km/15-20 min range, but the 1 hour on the bike every day at least ensures I'm getting my exercise in.

PeanutUtd

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 11:00:52 PM »

Hello neighbor! We live just off of East Coast Road not far from Katong i12. We looked at some places a bit closer to the Kembangan MRT but were turned off by the lack of grocery stores and other shops nearby. (I moved to Singapore from Shanghai...so no longer in Shanghai)

Do you speak Chinese? If so, one of the best ways to apartment hunt I found was to walk into some random real estate offices in the neighborhood(s) you're interested in and ask to see some apartments. Typically all of the agents have access to the same lists of apartments and can take you to view. My second year, after a cold winter my first, I insisted on double-paned windows, which raised the price but also the quality of the places I was taken to. There's a Shanghai Expats web site which has a fair amount of info and forum posts on it, including some helpful on (at least it did a few years ago)

Your office would be on line 2, but do you know whether in Puxi or Pudong? (I'm guessing either somewhere in Lujiazui, along Nanjing Road, or maybe out by Zhongshan Park) Both the French Concession and Jing'an are decent to live in, for a runner the French Concession is nicer. Not a lot of parks but a lot of smaller, tree-lined roads to run and bike along, especially earlier in the morning. (One thing I really miss about Shanghai is biking from my apartment to work through the French Concession) If you're working in Lujiazui, you might look at places near Century Park, but that area and most of Pudong in general were too suburban and not-happening for me.

I also find the weather, apart from the smog, to be better than in Singapore for outdoor activities most of the year, but maybe that's because I like cold more than heat and would rather have to work up to a sweat than start sweating immediately after stepping outside...

We are very close to each other! Yeah the supermarket situation took some time for us to sort out. When we first got here it would sometimes take half a day to get everything. There is a good one near our gym so that has helped a lot.

Office is in Plaza 66 on Nanjing West Rd. I don't read or speak Chinese and neither does my wife. Would the best approach be to talk to a few agents and see if any happen to speak English?

French concession sounds like a nice place to run though my research so far suggests it may not be the best place to live. Quite expensive by the sounds of it. Let me know if that is wrong. Perhaps we should look at Jing'an in the first instance? The park in that area looks quite nice and seems to give access to the French concession as well.

If you were heading back soon, what would your housing budget be (roughly)? We are happy with a 1 bedroom but always hunt for a decent kitchen as we mostly cook at home.

Thanks for all your help! We need to give an answer in the next few weeks so are gathering as much info as possible. Got to take into account relative housing, food, etc prices as well as different tax rate. Make sure we are not worse off if we decide to move.


PeanutUtd

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 11:20:26 PM »

Here's a link to one of the major property websites filtered for rental apartments (not shares) along Line 2:

http://sh.zu.anjuke.com/ditie/dt5-l2/

If you don't read Chinese, let me know which subway stop you would most like to be near and I can filter it further for that info -- can also add # of bedrooms, square footage, price range, etc. 

I applied for a job in Shanghai last spring, and used this site to get a feel for the property market.  Didn't end up getting the job or moving, but it was nice to be able to get a sense of where we might want to focus our search based on location, price, etc.

STRONGLY recommend you look for housing within walking or biking distance of your office.  Commutes in Chinese cities are insane.  I went from having a 1 hour + cross town commute to being able to bike to my office in 30 minutes (about 7km), and it is great.  Would prefer the distance was more in the 4-5km/15-20 min range, but the 1 hour on the bike every day at least ensures I'm getting my exercise in.

Thanks!!

Office is in Plaza 66 on Nanjing West Rd.

Which area would you recommend given that location? What was the general pricing sense you got from your search?

Strong recommendation noted.

We don't speak or read Chinese. We're pretty happy with our 1 bedroom apartment (which has a good sized kitchen) in Singapore so would probably hunt for something similar if we were to move to Shanghai. I think it is around 660 square feet and I don't think we would want to go any smaller. Thanks for sending the website link, any and all help very much appreciated!

lhamo

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2014, 12:43:58 AM »
Plaza 66 is Henglong Guangchang in Chinese (恒隆广场), address is 南京西路1266 -- but you get the most hits if you cut and paste the name of the building into the search. 

If you click on the link below it should take you to a map with the location of the building marked with an orange arrow.  The green arrows around it point to different apartment complexes.  It says how many rentals are available in each complex -- but be forewarned that one rental is typically listed by several agents.  But poking around a bit on the map should give you an idea of prices, layouts, etc.  If you see a complex that looks good, I would post a message on the Shanghai Expat board asking if anyone lives/knows people who live there and if they can suggest a local agent.  Will there be someone in your company who can help you with a search? Here in Beijing the English-speaking agents charge a premium, and assume it is similar in Shanghai.

http://shanghai.zu.anjuke.com/ditu/W0QQtZ2#l1=31.233667553132&l2=121.46014458045&l3=16&f1=0&f2=0&f3=0&f4=0&f5=0&f6=0&f7=0&f8=0&f9=9325&f10=0

Apartment sizes here are listed in sq m, not sure how much 660 sq feet is.  A 1/1 layout is a one bedroom with 1 living area.  Typically there will be a small dining area as well, but in a small apartment it will be joined with a living room. 

I've only ever spent one night in Shanghai so can't really speak to the issue of best developments/areas.  Looking through the listings does really help to narrow your search, though.  There are a few funky French Concession apartments in the area -- tend to be very small and often have REALLY quirky layouts, but might work for two people who are flexible.  Pricey for what you get, though.  And be aware that the issues of cold/damp are serious in those old buildings -- my US grantees who come to Beijing for research and decide in August/September that they want that cool, funky hutong living experience are usually kicking themselves by November when they are trying desperately to stay warm and all their expensive electric-heated air is flying out through the poorly insulated doors and windows (and sometimes cracks in the walls and ceilings...)

PeanutUtd

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2014, 01:35:58 AM »

Plaza 66 is Henglong Guangchang in Chinese (恒隆广场), address is 南京西路1266 -- but you get the most hits if you cut and paste the name of the building into the search. 

If you click on the link below it should take you to a map with the location of the building marked with an orange arrow.  The green arrows around it point to different apartment complexes.  It says how many rentals are available in each complex -- but be forewarned that one rental is typically listed by several agents.  But poking around a bit on the map should give you an idea of prices, layouts, etc.  If you see a complex that looks good, I would post a message on the Shanghai Expat board asking if anyone lives/knows people who live there and if they can suggest a local agent.  Will there be someone in your company who can help you with a search? Here in Beijing the English-speaking agents charge a premium, and assume it is similar in Shanghai.

http://shanghai.zu.anjuke.com/ditu/W0QQtZ2#l1=31.233667553132&l2=121.46014458045&l3=16&f1=0&f2=0&f3=0&f4=0&f5=0&f6=0&f7=0&f8=0&f9=9325&f10=0

Apartment sizes here are listed in sq m, not sure how much 660 sq feet is.  A 1/1 layout is a one bedroom with 1 living area.  Typically there will be a small dining area as well, but in a small apartment it will be joined with a living room. 

I've only ever spent one night in Shanghai so can't really speak to the issue of best developments/areas.  Looking through the listings does really help to narrow your search, though.  There are a few funky French Concession apartments in the area -- tend to be very small and often have REALLY quirky layouts, but might work for two people who are flexible.  Pricey for what you get, though.  And be aware that the issues of cold/damp are serious in those old buildings -- my US grantees who come to Beijing for research and decide in August/September that they want that cool, funky hutong living experience are usually kicking themselves by November when they are trying desperately to stay warm and all their expensive electric-heated air is flying out through the poorly insulated doors and windows (and sometimes cracks in the walls and ceilings...)

Thanks!

660 sq ft is around 61 sq m.

Appreciate the advice regarding French Concession. Will certainly be looking for a well insulated place, can always admire the quirky buildings from the street.

Thanks for the link as well, will have a play around on the site.

expatartist

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2014, 04:57:50 AM »
Re. sending your Yuan home, it can depend on what kind of account you open, and with whom. If you use HSBC, an HSBC Premier acct requires (I think) a minimum balance of 100,000RMB to open, but if you have an acct with them elsewhere it's straightforward to keep your 'relationship balance' in one of your accounts outside China. The xfer fee is around US$7 to another HSBC account overseas.

My employer set up a Standard Chartered Premier account for me in Beijing, and I'm able to convert currency to USD, Euro, etc pretty easily. It can take time, and the business hours can be inconvenient if you have a 9-5 job. I need to bring my contract which includes salary amt, tax documents, foreign experts certificate, passport etc. But they've recently offered me solutions for future transfers:

* Once I have my Chinese tax documents sorted for this year (you'd want several months tax documents by the time you do this) next year I'll exchange a couple hundred thousand RMB at once into USD, sign a few forms, and will in future be able to transfer that amount online.

* If I use my US$50K max RMB to USD exchange allowance for this year, I can have a Chinese friend come in and do the exchange under their name. There's also an option to have them be a kind of proxy for transfers (but I wouldn't do this)

* Transfer and conversion fees add up fast, so I tend to bundle transfers and do them all at once.

Doubtless there are other ways to do what you need to get done as well. Chat to new colleagues and they'll have some ideas for you. I get the impression Shanghai has more options than Beijing on this front.

shanghaiMMM

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2014, 04:59:53 AM »
Hi!

You might gather from my name that I'm currently in Shanghai.

My company pays my rent for me - we have a budget of 7500rmb a month. I live out in Hongqiao and it covers all of my rent here. In the French Concession (an admittedly much cooler/more central place to live), I have some friends paying 10,000rmb or more a month. It really depends on your location and / or the size of the place you want to rent.

That said, my friend just rented a place for around 8000rmb a month on the 31st floor of an apartment block - great views of JingAn Temple and a central location near line 2. So they can be found. But he had help from a local Chinese friend, avoid expat websites (www.smartshanghai.com is a good website in itself) as the prices are generally higher and aimed at expats.

With regard to money transfer, my employer sets us all up with Bank of China. I'm not convinced this is the best option though as international transfers costs around 200rmb a go, which seems high to me.

Not sure if that is any help, but thought I'd try help!


PeanutUtd

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Re: Regular savings - transfer from China to Australia/USA
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 10:40:28 PM »
Thanks to @lhamo, @merlion, @shanghaiMM and @expatartist!

Appreciate the advice. Thinking things through now. Later this week I need to give an indication as to whether we are open to the move. Not a final decision just an indication that it worth exploring things in more detail.