The 70 year land use rule for apartments is the same for both Chinese or foreigners. The apartment is yours but the joint user rights of the land it sits on is for an initial 70 years and is shared among all the complex owners, it doesn’t reset when the apartment is sold.
The apartment owned by the OP was in such an excellent position that I am sure it would be very expensive to buy a similar apartment so close to the lake. I am not sure how big the apartment was but I have heard that many of those older apartments were very small, some only had 20 to 30 SQM so even if the government compensated at several times over the market rate it would be impossible for people to buy in the same area as apartments built in the last 10 to 20 years in the valuable Green Lake area are much bigger.
I got a new SIM with my passport last month, I went to the small China Mobile place near the railway station, they managed in the end but I don't think they see many laowai in there. Go to the larger China Mobile service hall on Renming Zhong lu for hopefully faster service. The SIM card I got was a full size card with the pre cut middle part for iPhone use.
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you can take the Metro to RiXin Road station and exit at door D
when we renovated we took our workmen to B&Q to select materials from their excellent range if samples. Then with that list in hand we went to the construction market near Mingbo bridge and got the same materials at either half or one third of the B&Q price.
It's a good place for window shopping.