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Xinwu proves good choice for UK expat

By James Skinner (China Daily)Updated: 2020-11-30


James Skinner, a media worker from the United Kingdom, is presented with an award from the local government in April 2018 for his contribution to Xinwu district. [Photo/China Daily]

Vibrant Wuxi district provides lifestyle fit for international tastes

Having lived in Xinwu district for nearly five years, I feel I can speak with some authority about my experiences of living in this fascinating part of Wuxi in East China's Jiangsu province.

Born in the United Kingdom, I came to this part of China in 2016 for a new job working in the media industry. I knew nothing of the area and had done little to no research about what my new home might be like.

To be honest, during my first few days here, I wondered if I had made a mistake. The crowds of people, the strange place names and unfamiliar foods gave me a serious dose of culture shock.

However, after a few weeks spent finding an apartment, identifying the best places for takeout and working out how to get around-I began to appreciate what the area had to offer. It was modern and vibrant, with a lively bar and restaurant scene comparable to any Western city.

Living in a comfortable apartment near Changjiang North Road, I was able to explore some of the highlights of my new home. Soon, I was regularly enjoying meals at the numerous local Korean and Japanese restaurants that can be found along the Holiday Plaza, a local entertainment zone. I quickly discovered more places of interest during lengthy walks around the area, exploring thousands of shops selling pretty much anything anyone could want, from Chinese spirits to imported food.

After a few months of living in the district, I felt fairly settled and was enjoying my new job. My company is based in a particularly impressive part of Xinwu-Wuxi (National) Software Park, where some of China's most cutting-edge tech firms are based. Walking around the park at lunchtimes, it really gives one a sense of how Xinwu is likely to be at the forefront of developing future technologies, particularly internet of things applications.

These days, I feel truly at home here-and so much has happened during my time in Xinwu. I have moved apartments no less than four times, adopted several dogs, become an expert on all the best international restaurants, and made a fantastic bunch of friends.

For expats, the district's economy offers a healthy selection of jobs, with demand for everything from English teachers to engineers. And over the past few years, I have met foreigners employed in a diverse range of industries, with many increasingly choosing to take advantage of local preferential policies to set up their own businesses, allowing them to put down roots and make a long-term commitment to the area. Since many live here with young children, the availability of good international schools is another important reason to stay put.

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