Is Beijing China’s Best City for Western Women Married to Chinese Men?

Over 20 years ago, the TV series “Foreign Babes in Beijing” (洋妞在北京) became a sensation across China. Say what you want about the show – which Rachel DeWoskin, one of the show’s stars, described as “an apt, if tacky, example of China’s very conflicted feelings about the West“ – I couldn’t help thinking about it recently after moving to China’s great capital city. That’s because there’s one thing I’ve noticed about this city: there are a LOT of AMWF (Asian male, Western female) couples who call Beijing home.

Among the online groups of Western women with Chinese husbands I belong to, the Beijing group stands out for a very simple reason – sheer numbers. It has over 100 ladies! This blows my mind. Back in Hangzhou, I felt lucky to find one or two in the city (even though Hangzhou is pretty large, expats tend to come and go pretty quickly, making it difficult to connect to new folks). But here, there are so many women it could take me months, if not nearly a year, to meet all of them.

In my opinion, this is a good problem to have. A very good problem.

So I’ve been thinking about Beijing and its status as the unofficial epicenter of the AMWF community in China. What makes Beijing the number one city for couples of Western women and Chinese men? It’s even more intriguing to me because Shanghai appears to have a slight advantage over Beijing among foreigners as a whole (see this BBC report and this story from the China Daily).

So why Beijing over, say, Shanghai?

Is it a matter of job opportunities? (One foreign woman with a Chinese husband, who happens to live in Shanghai, once privately shared her frustrations over the city’s job market, which she considered stagnant compared to Beijing). Do more of us come as university students, landing in the one city that attracts the most foreigners to study abroad? Is it the wealth of resources in town, from great schools and hospitals to an airport connected to every major city across the globe? Or are we simply more enamored with Beijing’s rich cultural and historical traditions reflected in the many superlative sightseeing attractions here, from the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven to the Great Wall?

Whatever the reason, I’m loving this city just for the opportunity to have some good company with fellow yangxifu (the foreign wives of Chinese men) on a regular basis.

And if China’s entertainment industry ever finds out about Beijing’s pre-eminence among AMWF couples, maybe they’ll decide it’s high time for a proper “Foreign Babes in Beijing” sequel. But this time, it’ll be “Foreign Wives in Beijing.” 😉

Do you think Beijing is China’s best city to live in? Why or why not?

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13 thoughts on “Is Beijing China’s Best City for Western Women Married to Chinese Men?

  • November 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm
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    It is a crying shame that the outstanding social and career opportunity is counterbalanced by the dreadful environmental problems plaguing this great city. The daily US Embassy weather report as well as feedback from tourist friends and relatives testified to the choking smog and annoying particulates, especially during the summer months.

    Reply
    • November 7, 2017 at 9:28 pm
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      Thanks for the comment Dan. Yes, the environmental situation is not ideal here, though it does seem to be improving from what I’ve heard from some longtime residents.

      Reply
  • November 7, 2017 at 2:59 pm
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    We were actually discussing living in Beijing, and visiting Beijing this past weekend. I have heard from countless people that Beijing does have more opportunity. And like my boyfriend said “at least people in Beijing are a little Westernized so they will stare at you slightly less.” I am sure the same applies in Shanghai, but I could be wrong. But like Dan Yeh said, the pollution is terrible and even if the salaries and job opportunities are better, I truly do not think we could live there. We are fortunate enough to have a house there but once again, considering how much the property is worth, it isn’t worth it.

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    • May 12, 2018 at 2:44 am
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      blessed day from here nice to meet have coming across your profile mean you are single I’m single here too I will like us to know each other well…i am really looking for honest woman whom I can share my life time with

      Reply
  • November 7, 2017 at 7:45 pm
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    Is it possible that men from Beijing travel abroad more? That’s how my (now ex-) husband and I met. We were both exchange students in Japan. Or are they more likely to want to live in their home city? When we were dating he knew that he wanted to return to Beijing one day to live, so he and Beijing were a package deal.

    I’m so glad you’re in Beijing. It was a good place for me to call home for many years.

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    • November 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm
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      Thanks for the comment Melanie! That is possible about guys from Beijing — didn’t think about that.

      I’m glad to be in Beijing, and hope we’ll meet up in this city down the road!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2017 at 2:02 am
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    Is Beijing the Best City? Probably better than many cities in the US in this regard at least during the Trump era…probably Hawaii and California are the exceptions. I was going to include Puerto Rico, but it virtually does not exist anymore.

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  • November 9, 2017 at 10:43 am
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    I’m not sure about the work opportunities, at least in my field most of the action seems to be in Shenzhen. But there is an aspect in which Beijing is clearly superior to Shanghai… it has heating!!! hahaha.

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  • May 17, 2018 at 11:53 am
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    As a 26-year-old young man. Many western women only know. Beijing and Shanghai So they go to Beijing and Shanghai. Because you see many foreign women in Beijing. If many foreign women are in jinan. You will see many jinan men and foreign women. … I think hangzhou men are shy.

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    • May 27, 2018 at 9:10 am
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      Thanks for the comment, Jack. It is true a lot of foreigners know these cities and are more likely to go there.

      Reply

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