Twenty years ago when I started living in China there was no internet in the world. 5 digits was enough for a phone number as no one had phones much less cell phones. In some ways it was a wonderful simple world even if it was very hard to get a can of Coke.
Now, China has almost everything if you know where to look. I can buy frozen mixed vegetables in grocery stores in third tier cities.
I can get seemingly anything on line and have it delivered to my house. For example, I thought, perhaps I should get some original Cheerios for my kids. I went to Taobao.com and found Cheerios at my finger tips. 1000g or two big bags for 105 yuan about ($16) is a little pricey.
Instant Quaker Oats is cheaper. 750g for 12.8 yuan or about USD2 as it is produced here.
Third tier cities have Western mother’s groups. Fourth tier cities have private violin lessons and Taekwondo that are cheap cheap and quite good. First tier cities do not have cheap cheap but have the a range for such services at good prices.
I am working on starting a Boy Scout Troop now and know of many in other cities and neighborhoods.
China is still a good place to bicycle, and electrical bikes are great if you are a little brave. Cars are hard to park in first tier cities, and the subway system is so good that I never had a car in a first tier city. In the suburbs they are more useful.
Chinese children are a little busy, so my kids find friends with International kids and some Chinese kids.
I write this as men and fathers usually like working in China while wives sometimes struggle as they have little connection and have more sensitivity to cultural differences. They also have trouble caring for children in the start. Women who learn Chinese generally do well as they then have the tools to defend their children and connect.