Marc van der Chijs

A tougher business climate, poor internet connections and other problems did not deter serial entrepreneur Marc van der Chijs from working in Shanghai. But when his son started coughing, he left for Vancouver, Canada. The pollution the tipping point, he tells The Vancouver Sun.

The Vancouver Sun:

“My son was getting asthma. He was coughing a lot,” said van der Chijs, who moved his family to West Vancouver and set up with venture capital company Cross Pacific Capital. “We went to see the doctor and he said it was probably pollution-related. As parents, we felt pretty bad about it.”

Van der Chijs isn’t the first, nor likely the last, expatriate to flee China because of the country’s notorious smog…

Air pollution has also been worsening in Shanghai over the years, van der Chijs said. A trail runner, he never ran outside while he was there, preferring to run on a treadmill, while his children rarely played outside.

“It was off the scales sometimes. If it was really bad there I just stayed inside,” he said. “When you live here you realize it’s not the norm.”

Exposure to high levels of air pollution can lead to cardiovascular and lung disease, and increase the risk of cancer…

Van der Chijs admits he likely wouldn’t have felt the urgency to leave China if his son hadn’t become sick.

“I like China a lot. It’s just very hard for families who live there,” he said. “I’m very happy to be here. It’s night and day compared with what you have over there.”

More in the Vancouver Sun.

Marc van der Chijs is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in  our speakers’ request form.

China Weekly Hangout

Pollution featured already more than once in our China Weekly Hangout. Our most-watched session, with now over 2,000 viewers, is the discussion with Richard Brubaker of AllRoadsLeadtoChina and CEIBS on the rampant pollution in China. Is it getting worse, and what can be done? Moderator: Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.

The China Weekly Hangout is holding on May 9 an open office, where you can discuss current affairs in China or suggest subjects for hangouts later this year. You can read our announcement here, or register for the hangout here.


A few potential subjects have already emerged ahead of the upcoming hangout:

1. What can you earn in China, focused on business executive

2. The Chinese influence on the Australian/New Zealand dairy industry

3. Chinese tourism in New Zealand and Australia.

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