User profile: michael2015

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Money transfer

Thanks for the reply.

1. Which bank are you using?

2. Can you receive SWIFT funds in CNY?

CCB has been a great bank for me with this single exception, as they seem to enjoy having me come in person EVERY time to complete the transfer into my FOREX account. It's super annoying and is the reason I keep looking for legal alternative ways to import offshore USD funds without this really troublesome process.

I live part time in a rural county outside Yunnan - and the CCB bank here specifically told me non-Yunnan CCB cards and Yunnan CCB cards are not the same, so I'll have to return to Yunnan to process any SWIFT transfers. They also told me I need open a new CCB account in this province, in a larger city and then travel there any and every time I need to clear the SWIFT funds, personally.

Wester Union requires a personal trip to a western union branch with your passport. I'm really lazy and want to do everything electronically, if possible.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Money transfer

For years I've tried to transfer funds from abroad directly into CNY and each time it's failed. Finally gave up and just used SWIFT to transfer USD directly, which requires a trip to the main branch EVERY time to clear the funds for transfer into my account (USD savings), then convert to CNY. The process is much smoother these days, now that they're used to me and is down to about 20 minutes, not including commute time and waiting in line at the bank for the special window that handles international wire transfers. Previously I had to clear the wire, then go get a ticket and wait for the regular transactions window to convert - but seems they've streamlined the process (for now) and I can do everything with the same staff that clears the international wire xfer.

I've successfully used Xoom to transfer CNY to friends, but it's a PayPal company and comes with a slew of nominal fees which add up over time, so not an ideal situation for regular transfers. It's also kind of a pain for your friends. Xoom to myself was rejected for an unknown reason and I included the message that it's a transfer to myself - but I'll try again using JanJal's message instead. SWIFT transfers are a major problem if you're traveling as you'll need to go to a main branch in whatever city you're in AND you'll need to be in a major city, assuming it's even possible (probably only with significant difficulty if at all).

If you're married to or have excellent financial trust relationships with a Chinese citizen - there's an alipay mechanism to transfer USD to CNY from abroad, but I've never been able to get it registered - they say it's "not available" for foreigners...unless you have a green card with a somewhat normal ID card number.

Swapsy works pretty well but it'll cost USD 10-20 to buy "swapsy credits" which permit swapsy trades and as noted in my previous message, many P2P traders won't accept transactions from PayPal China users as it incurs Paypal fees. So you'll need an offshore PayPal account also - so you can add swapsy/paypal traders to family & friends which doesn't incur PayPal to PayPal fees.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Chinese Yuan into Foreign Currency

1. Chinese friends can convert CNY into USD with restrictions. There used to be a way for Chinese nationals to convert CNY<->USD on alipay using an associated app. For CNY 10k - it's nominal so lower probability of fraud but your mileage may vary (YMMV). You can also ask other expats with USD who may want to buy your CNY. Use or some other agreed upon FOREX platform to determine the exchange rate at the time. Any nominal spare change can be made up with a cup of Salvadors et al coffee, as a courtesy. See item 7...seems I was repetitive.
2. Your bank can convert your account into an international currency account and you can convert CNY into USD and store it in your chinese bank account.
3. SWIFT (international wire transfer) it to your US bank. SWIFT fees are typically USD 30-35 (≥ CNY 180-200)+ whatever usurious hidden charges your US bank will charge you. There's also the transportation costs to & from your bank and the 20 minutes to 4 hours you'll need to cool your heels in the bank (wear a mask) while they do this for you the first time - which is always a pain - however SWIFT is the safest and gov approved mechanism for moving funds internationally. SWIFT is usually a 24-48 hour process from the time the wire is posted on SWIFT.
4. Paypal China to Paypal USA - this is a bit tricky and you may incur taxes from both China and the USA for the transfer, even if it's to yourself. You'll also incur several nickel and dime PayPal service fees, currency exchange fees, etc etc etc. My PayPal account was registered in china with PayPal Singapore (don't ask why), so I can directly withdraw CNY from my chinese bank and it's converted into USD in PayPal for a nominal fee. Paypal does NOT pay interest on funds sitting in PayPal. You can NOT link a PayPal China account with a PayPal (any other country) account - so you'll need a VPN to register another PayPal (eg Usa) account and you can then send money to yourself (make sure to annotate it as a transfer of funds to yourself to try to avoid exit taxes).

5. International currency trading platforms such as xoom (a PayPal company).
6. P2P (peer to peer aka private party to private party) such as Venmo.

7. Friends with USD wanting to buy CNY. Use or similar apps to see the current exchange rate. Last time I checked it's around CNY 6.4 ~ USD 1.

Safest path is to SWIFT the funds from your bank to your US bank account. Many of the online institutional forex (foreign exchange) sites charge a nominal transfer fee PLUS a nominal surcharge on the FOREX (eg trading CNY 6.3 per USD 1). At about CNY 10k - the SWIFT fees and the hassles and micro charges are roughly a wash - so SWIFT is safer, State approved (SAFE aka State Administration for Foreign Exchange) and as long as you transfer it to yourself - should incur no taxes - go to your local bank for SWIFT and FOREX details.

I use CCB as their FOREX reflects the current FOREX posted on

Others have historically reported no speed bumps using ICBC.


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I was thinking that gokm could maybe get the Kunming Tourism Dept and the KM Metro et al to pay for a professionally illustrated bilingual PDF map and maybe start a series of web articles and videos on things to do and see (and eat) at each station - aside from the major tourism venues.

NHK (Japan) did this about 20 years ago - very popular and interesting series - inspires people to get out, socialize (when it's safe) and support local businesses...or not.

The referenced map was an ANCIENT planning map...hence the hint hint hint hint to the gokm staff - when they have budget and absolutely nothing better to do with their time...

Yereth's map is great as a geographic index - but most high density subway maps (Beijing, Tokyo) go for the symbolic stations shown in the ancient picture I referenced. These things are great as either screensavers, desktop wallpapers, or mobile phone pictures (screensavers, wallpapers) for those who commute within the bellies of these steel dragons.

I used to carry around subway maps on small plastic cards (doubled as my prepaid card) when exploring these cities. Each station had uniquely popular venues for both tourists and long-term locals alike (popular eateries, shopping boutiques, etc).



Standard, clean, well-furnished and appointed mall with the usual fare:
Bread stores, Drink stores, a mid-end Radisson business hotel
The usual mall stores, movie theaters, and a host of after school training schools (robotics, language, dance, art etc).

Evenings are the usual mini-carnival activities for small children - carnival rides, the ubiquitous electric cars, an illuminated water fountain, a host of kiddie games etc etc etc.

Across the street - a scaled down Aegean Mall (also named Aegean Mall).


I occasionally visit the Kai Wah Plaza International Hotel to attend Kunming Rotary Club events. Although I've never stayed in the hotel or viewed its rooms (now on my bucket list) - the food has always been excellent both in presentation, aroma, taste, flavor, etc from appetizers to desserts - with a well-stocked and diverse wine selection - typical of international 5-star hotels. Kudos.


Met a friend after dinner for drinks and chat up on the rooftop patio/bar. Music was a little loud for us - but was surprised at this jewel of a bar. What a nice comfortable place.

I was told the hostel only charges cny40 a night for a shared room bunk bed - can't beat that.

Truly a gem for travelers on a budget and the rooftop bar has a beautiful and memorable sunset view (see the pictures).


Stopped by last night for dinner on the small patio and to pick up a couple of their apple pies. Always attentive and courteous staff and good solid food. Don't forget to check out their freezers for frozen foods like chicken and beef pot pies, pizzas, quiches, cakes etc.


This cafe is actually in the Yunda Green Lake campus and connected to the French Language school operated by Alliance Francais or the French Alliance.

It's mentioned elsewhere that pastries are provided by A Table down the street on Beimen Jie.

Aside from the no-smoking ban (since it's on-campus in Yunda) - it's a nice, quiet, smoke free and pleasant environment to rest, read, and relax for bit - if you happen to be on-campus and can't find a place to sit.