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Siming expats' long-standing preferred choice for relocation

By Li You (China Daily) Updated:2017-03-27

At first glance, Siming district, in the city of Xiamen in East China's Fujian province, has all the hallmarks of a busy commercial center: busy traffic, tall office buildings and the general hustle and bustle. But what sets it apart from other hub cities is its livable environment, attracting many foreigners.

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Tourists take in a panoramic view of the Gulangyu area in Siming district, Xiamen, from Riguangyan, a popular scenic spot.Yan Daming / For China Daily

The Guanren residential community can be found on Yundang street in Siming district and, over the years, the community has become a second home for thousands of foreigners.

Nicknamed "the tiny United States" by local people, more than 1,300 foreigners from 42 countries and regions live there.

Angela Lehmann, a resident of the community, works as an assistant professor at Xiamen University. But in her spare time, she also acts as the community's assistant director. Lehmann definitely views Guanren community as her home away from home.

"My job is to help bridge cultural gaps and find new ways to help residents from different cultural backgrounds to live a better life and understand each other," Lehmann said.

Besides the colorful activities, Guanren community has developed a new and progressive approach to multicultural community governance over the past few years.

This is reflected in the grounds around the community, where signs written in both English and Chinese can be easily seen. In addition, the street signs, road markings and public service facilities are supplemented with English translations.

The surrounding infrastructure, including roads, street lamps, gardens, gyms and free Wi-Fi hot spots, were upgraded to fit the community's international atmosphere.

Last year, the Xiamen government launched new requirements for foreigners' permanent residence status in Xiamen.

Foreign nationals who have been continuously working for enterprises registered in the Fujian Pilot Free Trade Zone for four years and who spend no less than six months in the territory of China every year can apply for permanent residence.

Permanent residents should also earn an annual wage of at least 400,000 yuan ($57,989) and pay annual personal income tax of at least 77,000 yuan over four years.

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