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Portable Electric Hob - This one is by Midea

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Bea Making Chinese Tea - Shunde Long Jiang
Useful Advice for Tourists Visiting China
Electricity, Adapters, Appliances, DVD's

This page contains general information for Tourists, and should be read in conjunction with larger topics that have separate and dedicated pages of their own

Topics on this page include:

Electrical Appliances
DVD's, CD's, Games etc


1. Electricity is 220 Volts.
2. China has around 18 different types of plug socket, but these are being normalised to about four.
3. British and European appliances will work fine in China. No problem. USA uses 110 volts, so these will not work unless they have dual compatibility?
4. In China all major cities will have retail stores selling a full range of electrical items so you can easily buy here at cheap prices. This comment is intended for those who are restricted for bulk or weight during flights; so know there are a full range of hairdryers and similar items readily available for a few US Dollars. Also see our Appliances section below for more information

Traveller's Checklist:
Remember to bring these items with you:

* Mobile phone charger
* Power leads for camera's, laptops, games machines, and all personal electronic items
* Connection leads for Camera's, laptops, etc to a computer (USB)
* Additional memory cards, memory sticks and chips etc, for camera's, computers, etc (Can be purchased cheaply here also)
* Any specific Drivers and Utility packs for rare camera's and similar items (Stored on USB memory stick is best). This is specifically if you intend to upload photos onto a web space, thus freeing your camera memory. Some internet cafe's may be using Windows 98 machines which do not have modern style 'Plug and Play' capabilities (Rare, but more likely than "possible"). Most of China used XP Service Pack 1 by the way


China has a very good range of adapters and extension leads that are easily available on local streets for around $2. Please buy the ones marked 15Amp, as lower rated cables tend to melt! These have multiple multi-interfaces, meaning they handle just about any type of plug including: British round and square pins, European standard plugs

Electrical Appliances

Most Chinese cities will have many retailers offering a very full range of electrical appliances, and perhaps some which are appealing to you for use at home? We would advise you to buy products made by one of the better Chinese brand names. The following are regarded as being of good quality and reliable: Midea and Galanz are generally considered to be the best manufacturers, but also seriously consider: Konse, Gree, Haiar, Rongsheng and Eternal. This list is by no means exclusive, and price is often a good indicator of quality. Lets look at a few examples:

1. Rice Cookers:
A Rice Cooker is a very good example of what may be very useful in the West. These have 2 settings: Rice or Soup. Once heated, the temperature is maintained at 'simmer' until it is switched off. More expensive models will do extra tricks

2. Chinese Tea Kettle
Normally these are metal, but there are ceramic and clear glass versions for little extra. They are designed to heat a pint or perhaps a litre of water to around 80 degrees, and then maintain the temperature. Some have adjustable temperature settings which are better suited to Western home use. Of course, these can be used with any liquid, not just water. Most will have a heat-sensor type cut-off for no liquid protection. They are an unusual addition to your home, especially when entertaining, and quite useful also

3. Translators
These may be of specific interest to world travellers and people who often visit different areas of China. Cost for a reasonable one is around Y3, 000. These normally support a minimum of 18 World Languages, and also different character sets such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian and Arabic. Consider these if you need to translate sentences or communicate with people who use characters instead of ABC. For this price they will also have a spoken output in the selected language, and input via hand writing also. By comparison, most mobile phones with translators only translate one word at a time, and have other shortcomings

4. Hobs
Most electrical retailers stock a selection of portable electric hobs, which come with large, lidded steamers. These are designed for cooking at table. The metal pan is about 1 foot wide and 4 inches deep. It is normally filled with water, herbs and spices. Diners then dip thinly sliced raw meat, vegetables, and other foods into the pan and cook as required. It is a most relaxing and enjoyable way of eating. Some pans have two or more internal partitions, and these are used for different spices. Often one is for hot chillie, and the other for cooling coconut milk. You can do what you like actually

The hobs themselves are very reliable and come in many designs, including modern glass and more traditional ceramic hob versions. Controls vary, and often these are labeled in both Chinese and English. Simple ones have heat settings plus on and off switch. Others have additional timers and can do tricks regarding presets for different types of food. What is generally universal is that they have cut-out sensors to prevent damage from a dry pan. This is great in general, but means you cannot use these to warm small items such as Spanish coffee making pots, or heat a cup of water

5. DVD Players:
These are very common and play anything! I seriously mean any format from any world region. Chinese players do not have a specified World Region (USA 1, UK and Europe 2, etc), so they will play all world regions, and also non region discs

Formats played are virtually anything you can imagine. DVD, CD, VCD, HVCD, MP3, HDVD-9 and many more

Languages could be more important, as often Western players are engineered deliberately not to read disc headers that are not in English, or specific World Languages. Chinese made players play anything.

Types of Players: Nearly all are single disc machines that come with full remote control, and a dozen rear outputs for sound and vision. They often have two KTV microphone sockets on the front, but do not have headphone sockets

Quality: Players can be banded into 3 Classes:
A. Premium. Virtually all the well known International Brands such as Sony, Hitachi, National Panasonic, Toshiba, Samsung, Sanyo etc. These will cost around Y1, 000 and give excellent service for many years
B. Good Chinese Brands such as Skyworth, TCL, Jinli, Congli will also give excellent service and are basically just as good as the premium brands. These cost around Y650
C. Cheap Chinese brands are best avoided, as whilst these tend to work fine for a while, after a few months you may need to replace the heads or other components. They may also be a bit finicky about which discs they will play = poor quality heads. Price range around Y400

If you buy any Chinese appliance then it will come with a Chinese plug. Instead of changing many plugs at home, you may prefer to take home a Chinese extension lead with multiple outlets, and only change the one power plug on this.

DVD's, CD's, Games etc

DVD's, CD's and Games are all easily available on virtually any Chinese street. Quality does vary, and any good retailer will play the disc for you, and offer you a full refund or exchange (your choice) if your player has problems with it. Difficult if you are in another country by then.

If you buy to play in your home country, then you are restricted to what your home player or computer will support re formats, regions etc = all the global marketing con tricks. You can expect around 30% of discs not to play on your machine at home - simply because the format or file header is not supported by your equipment. Only 1% of these discs may actually be faulty, so try a different machine or buy a Chinese player

Prices vary according to presentation and quality. Cheap ones are about 2 for $1USD, and come in thin plastic wrappers with box insert inside. Standard boxed versions are about $1 each. Retailers often inflate prices for foreigners, sometimes by whole decimal points! Offer Y7 for any standard DVD, CD, or game; and do not pay more than Y12 ever

Gamers will find all the major current platforms supported, plus some cross-platform options also. Certainly Sony Playstation, X-Box, Nintendo, PC, and other latest machines have full sets of games available everywhere, plus also some versions for older players and formats

Notes about Copyright issues:
China is regarded as being one of the copy centres of the world, and in the past this was entirely justified. Central Government in Beijing has been aggressively addressing these issues over the last couple of years, and now licence agreements are becoming standard practice and illegal copies outlawed and destroyed. Therefore most of what you can buy in China today is legal, complies with International Copyrights, and is sold under a licencing agreement.

Please note that China Expats does respect and support Artists copyright. We do not respect global monopolies who become extremely rich at the expense of the buying public and the artists themselves. Neither do we respect Industry protectionist policies, such as world regions and other devices solely designed to make even more money for already rich people and their companies. We do believe that media should be affordable by ordinary people regardless of where they live in the world
This information is as supplied by the Chinese Embassy in UK, as dated 20th June 2008, and/or other reliable sources. Please check this information yourself as it may alter without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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