Using Western Union in China

I usually never complain about the things I experience in the daily life here in China, even though very often the most simple daily chores becomes frustrating complicated because I do not speak the language. But I want to share what happened yesterday when I went to one Shanghai Pudong Development Bank branch to receive some money my father sent to me using Western Union.

First I explained to the the lady who greet everybody who enter the bank branch what type of service I am looking for. I told her receive money using Western Union. She went to ask one of the cashiers if it is possible to do in this branch, then below is the communication that followed:

“I want the money to be paid out to me in CNY”

“What currency did the sender use to pay?”

“Well he is in Sweden so it was Swedish SEK”

“Oh, sorry, we can only do it if the sender used USD or Euro”

“But really? Does it matter since I want the money in CNY?”

“Yes it matters! But we can try if it works”

I think a little bit more education of their agents from Western Union’s side wouldn’t hurt. After one hour I got the money so they could do it even though the sender didn’t use USD or Euro. 🙂

I admit yesterday I felt frustrated and annoyed while going through this at the bank but I don’t blame them at all. I think it would have been a smoother experience if I knew how to speak Chinese or they better English, and since I am in China it is primarily up to me first to learn their language.

All categories,China

Breakfast from Family Mart

The ones of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram know that I am a Starbucks fan. My breakfast habit the past two years is a venti cappuccino and a skinny blueberry muffin. Today however I went to FamilyMart and bought my breakfast, for just 41 RMB I got a large cappuccino, blackberry yogurt, ham and cheese sandwich and a 445ml lemon juice. Quite good compared to Starbucks where just the muffin and cappuccino cost 50 RMB.

I admit the Starbucks coffee is millions times better than FamilyMart’s but still it is good to change sometimes and save some money.

All categories,China

Granted and allocated land use rights

Owning land is, as everything else, a bit unclear in China. It doesn’t matter if domestic or foreign owned company, neither one may own land outright; instead they own land use rights. Allocated land use rights or granted land use rights. The easiest way to explain the two types are to compare them with western common law concepts, allocated land use rights are in some way similar to leaseholds, and granted land use rights are in some ways similar to life estates.

Allocated land use rights can be reclaimed by the government at any time. They are usually provided by the government for an indefinite period (usually to state-owned entities) and cannot be pledged, mortgaged, leased, or transferred by the user.

Granted land use rights are provided by the government in exchange for a grant fee, and carry the rights to pledge, mortgage, lease, and transfer within the term of the grant. Land is granted for a fixed term – generally 70 years for residential use, 50 years for industrial use, and 40 years for commercial and other use. The term is renewable in theory, although no foreign investor has been in China long enough to find out how this works in practice. Unlike the usual case in Western nations, Granted land must be used for the specific purpose for which it was granted.

As with everything else related to China there are much more to say about land rights for foreign entities in China, but lets start with this, now we know there are allocated land use rights and granted land use rights. A good start and the next chapter will follow soon when I feel inspired to write more about this not so exciting topic.

All categories,China