Zhangjiagang  :  

Spirit of Zhangjiagang

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-04-22

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Like nearby Shanghai to the east and Beijing to the north, Zhangjiagang is very much a transient city. Many of the foreigners that work here visit regularly throughout the year for a few weeks at a time.

As part of kastner's role at Guotai, he oversees operations at the Guomao hotel, the city's premier hotel destination for domestic and foreign business people alike. "Sometimes it feels like I'm the only foreigner in the hotel," he said. "But other times, the place is full of expats. I think as the city develops, foreign workers will become more of a permanent fixture," he added.

The lack of foreign-owned restaurants and entertainment venues might not give the city the same allure as nearby Nanjing, Zhangjiagang or Wuxi, but Kastner expects this to balance out as the city continues to develop economically.

The age-old saying, 'if you build it, people will come', certainly rings true in the case of Zhangjiagang, according to Kastner.

"The city has to promote itself on its natural characteristics. The climate here is very comfortable, especially for young couples," he said.

To compete with nearby cities in attracting talent, Kastner believes that the implementation of temporary preferential policies - such as the "buddy system" he established in Venezuela and Russia, which helped pair new additions to the city with locals - would be beneficial.

"People are more private in China, whereas in the West, people have more of an open-house mindset. Having programs such as a buddy system and financial incentives to move here would help," said Kastner.

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