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Tips for visiting China for the purposes of exporting for Amazon

Written by Oliver Brushfield-Smith

Hey guys, Adam here. I’m coming to you this morning from beautiful Hong Kong. I’m actually here at one of the nicer hotels in Cal Loon, in the southern part of China in Hong Kong (for those of you who haven’t been).

It’s been years since I’ve been to Hong Kong. Last time I was here was in 1997, when it was under British rule. It’s now part of China, but it still has that same Hong Kong energy. I arrived here last night around sunset, and I’ve got to say, of all the countries here, Hong Kong is really special. As I was coming from the airport, I took a cab. You get all the waterways there and you get to see the South China Sea, and the extraordinary infrastructure that they have for their port there, which is one of the busiest ports in the world. Over half a million ships go in and out of that port every year, processing about twenty-four million containers every single year. It’s something that you really have to see to actually believe. It’s just an extraordinary thing. I’ve just gotten here, as you know, after being up north in Beijing, and I’m here for just the weekend, then I’m going out to Shenzhen, which is about an hour north of here by car transport. I’m just going to relax here this weekend.

I wanted to talk to you all today, and give you five basic tips about coming to China that I think everybody needs to know, if you’re thinking of doing a trip out here.

The first thing is visas. You do need a visa to come to China. Hong Kong is an exception. You can get into Hong Kong without a visa, but if you’re going to go to mainland China, which is where most of the manufacturers are, you’re going to need a visa. It’s very, very easy to do. Make sure you give yourself a week or two—at least a week, but probably two or three would be my advice. You can go to the local Chinese consulate to get your visa. Just show them where you’re going.

There are two types of visa. You can get a single entry or multi entry. When it’s the first time you’re getting a visa, I’d recommend that you get a multi entry, so that you can come back more than once a year. It’ll be an extra fifty dollars, but that’s totally up to you. So, you need to get a visa to come to China.

Secondly, if you come to China, and you’ve got your laptop, or your phone, or anything with you, you’re going to need a VPN. A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. What’s that? In China, Google is banned, and Facebook is banned, so if you have Gmail on your phone or your device, any kind of device, or if you have Facebook, you use that for messenger and so on. You aren’t going to be able to access them without a VPN. A VPN masks your IP address; it makes the network think you’re logging in to Google from America, so you can access everything. The one I use, I think it’s called the Easy VPN, but just look up, “VPNs for China”. It’s a piece of software you have to download.

There are all kinds of VPNs. I pay $12.95 a month for one of them, but I just put it up for one month when I’m in China, then unsubscribe from the service. You basically put the service in your iPhone, or your other type of smartphone, or your computer.

Now, the next thing I want talk about is phones. In China, you can’t buy a prepaid SIM anymore, because you have to buy a subscription; you have to give them your passport, the whole process. So, what I would highly, highly, highly recommend you do is, before you get there, go to your phone provider and have them give you a plan that covers you while you’re in China, so your phone works as if you were back home. That way, you’ll be able to make calls and check the internet.

The third thing is transport. Inside of China, nothing is really like it is in other major countries. For example, yesterday, I went to the airport. I was buying business class. There’s no business class check-in. You have to line up like everyone else. There aren’t any organized grids you can go to.

My advice would be, if you’re doing any kind of air travel, or train travel—until you get the hang of it—make sure you have plenty of time to spare. Beijing airport, which is where I was yesterday, is an extraordinary airport. It’s enormous, and most of the airports here in the big cities in China are very first world. You’re going to have no problem getting around, but just give yourself that time.

And the last thing, the fifth thing that I want to cover for you, is food and water. My advice to you is: No matter where you are in China, don’t buy street food, and try to stay in the best hotels possible. I’m staying here in one of the fancier hotels. It’s five stars, and it’s absolutely beautiful. I think it’s about $250 US a night, but you can get a room for much cheaper than that. Keep in mind, this is Hong Kong. I’m right in the middle of the best part of Hong Kong, surrounded by all the designer stores. You can get really good five-star hotels here for about $150 a night. Smaller parts of China should be much, much cheaper than that.

To sum up, stay in the best hotels as much as you can, stay away from street food, and I recommend you always drink bottled water. No matter where I am in China, I always drink bottled water. Avoid tap water to keep your stomach steady.

I can’t recommend coming to China enough. When you’re ready, get out here. Get out of your ten-mile radius. Come and see the epicenter of manufacturing. It’ll really change your perception of the world, and our place in it. It’ll really get your brain ticking about the size and scale of the business opportunities out there. It’s so easy to have your thinking diminished and shrunk if you don’t expose your mind to the gift of travel.

Hopefully these five points have been helpful for you guys. I’ll be heading off to Shenzhen on Monday, and I’ll be continuing some videos and hoping that you’re finding them helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Reliable Education support team. If you’re coming to China, we’ll be happy to help you wherever we can. Have a great day. Bye for now.

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