Ten years ago the Lonely Planet guide described Wuxi as a “Typical Chinese Urban Wasteland”. Today this urban wasteland has been transformed from a sleepy backwater to one of the economic engines that has powered China’s rapid growth.

Located 47 minutes by bullet train outside of Shanghai, and less than 15 minutes from Suzhou, Wuxi is a modern city with all the facilities and services previously only found in Shanghai or Beijing. If you have never lived in China before, Wuxi is not a hardship posting.

Shopping malls, Starbucks coffee, western restaurants and super markets have all found their way to Wuxi. These cater to a expanding expiate population, but also a wealthy and growing Chinese middle class.

Unlike Shanghai and Beijing, Wuxi still retains however deep Chinese roots. Sometimes call “Shanghai’s Little Sister” it is if having seen the bright lights and painted face of it’s older sister, Wuxi decided to play coy and hide her charms.