Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color blue color green color
Home Housing & Finance Beijing Housing Solutions
Beijing Housing Solutions
Housing & Finance

The population of Beijing is estimated as being about 14 Million people (that’s larger than numerous countries) and occupies a total area of 16,807.8 square kilometres. Beijing is bordered by the city of Tianjin on one side and by Hebei Province on the other three sides. Like most major cities in the world Beijing’s administrative area is subdivided into more
sections. London and New York have “”Boroughs”; Beijing has “Districts” and “Counties” to
be precise Beijing has 16 Districts and two Counties.

Despite the fact that most foreigners cannot read Chinese it is relatively simple to
understand the location of a specific place if one remembers that Beijing is encompassed
by a number of Ring Roads that are divided into quadrants. There is no physical 1st Ring
Road but it can be considered to be the circumference of the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square. The Ring Road number increases with distance from the centre. There are
currently six Ring Roads and a seventh is planned. It is common practice to explain the
location of a specific place by using Ring Roads and geographic quadrants for reference purposes.

Most of the expatriates, expatriate housing and international schools tend to be concentrated in two Districts (Chaoyang and Shunyi), and most of the Universities (and overseas students) tend to be concentrated in the Haidian District (particularly the Wudaokou area).

Chaoyang District hosts most of Beijing's diplomatic quarters and embassies. The Central Business District (CBD), the Lido Area, Sanlitun Bar Street, Chaoyang
Park, the Bookworm library and a highly recommended Export Extras Discount Wooden Furniture Warehouse
are (amongst other expatriate haunts) in this district. It
is the largest urban district in Beijing. It contains a
number of excellent hotels and a number of top international schools. In addition to an abundance of Chinese Department Stores and Supermarkets there
are branches of well-established foreign companies such as IKEA, Tesco, and Carrefour(although the
selection of items on sale is often very different than in     the home country. There are even Cinemas that screen films in English.

Many expatriates live and work in this District in mid-range to luxurious apartment blocks. There are a few villa compounds/gated communities in Chaoyang District but the quality is not as good as those in Shunyi.

The main advantages to living in the Chaoyang District are the ease of access to a full
range of facilities and amenities, and a reduced commute time from home to work.
Shunyi District is a Beijing suburb. A large number of expatriate families with children of
school age and a generous housing budget live in Shunyi in mid-range to luxurious Villa Compounds / Gated Communities. Four of the top international schools are located here
and are within a few minutes drive of each other. The Shunyi Villa area is becoming more
and more foreigner friendly. In addition to a large Chinese standard supermarket (from the Jingkelong chain), there are a number of Jenny Luo Supermarkets and Minimarkets that specialise in selling items for foreign consumers in addition to the standard items.

Pinnacle Plaza has already become a haven of for foreigners living in the vicinity. In addition
to having the largest Jenny Luo in Shunyi, it has a couple of restaurants, United
 Family Hospital Out-Patient Clinic, a Starbucks, Subway Sandwich, and even a Domino
Pizza to mention just some of the foreigner familiar comforts. Additionally, not too far from
Pinnacle Plaza there are another six smaller strips of foreigner friendly shops. One of
which (Xi Baixinzhuang), around the corner from the International School of Beijing
includes a foreign language (mainly English) lending library called the Bookmark. The main
disadvantages to living in Shunyi are limited access to a full range of facilities and amenities and
a longer commute time from home to work.

Note for Trivia lovers:
Beijing's International Airport (Beijing Capital International Airport) despite ist geographic location is not in Shunyi. It is an extension of Chaoyang District.

Haidian District is the second-largest district in urban Beijing. Most universities are
located in Haidian and therefore many of its inhabitants are college students. This fact also affects the actual number of permanent residents in the district. Foreigners often call it the “University District”. There are numerous cheap restaurants and bars that cater specifically to students.

Housing Solutions:
It is relatively easy to find a housing solution in Beijing, especially if you have a generous housing budget. There are lots of Estate Agents (Realtors) that will be delighted to help one (for free, if the budget is over about 5,000RMB/month) to find a suitable new home.
They are normally paid a commission (by the Landlord) equivalent to one month’s rent per rental contract. Consequently, although there are some excellent and reputable Estate Agents / Realtors there are many who are not so reputable. In many instances all the old “used car salesman” jokes can be applied to the not so objective Estate Agents.




China Yellow Pages