An Online Chinese Community Helps Survive America
Certainly, we all know that being in a country where you don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language is a bit tedious. But some dare to take the leap, whether it’s to look for new opportunities or escape their country’s problems.
Grace Hui experienced just this. As a newcomer in Los Angeles, she had problems getting around because of the language and cultural barriers.
She resorted to the internet as a savior as we all often do. She Googled “Los Angeles immigrant” in Chinese letters and found her heaven: ChineseinLA.com.
It turned out that ChineseinLA.com was a sort of community for Chinese immigrants, not only in LA, but also in 15 other cities in the U.S.
Being a combination between Yelp and Craigslist, this website is the ‘go to’ for connecting with a country you don’t fully understand.
“American Internet is useless to me. My English isn’t good enough to get the information I need,” said Hui, who used ChineseinLA.com even to look for a job.
Zach Song, founder of ChineseinLA.com, was inspired to create the website when he and his wife were in Grace’s situation back in 2003. He launched the website in 2006 in the hope of helping new immigrants combat the feeling of helplessness.
Slowly, the website built traction and the community started to trust it enough to eventually post things up for sale. With the growing community, the website went through a series of changes to satisfy everyone’s needs.
This isn’t the only resource for Chinese immigrants in LA.
ETAcar, a company launched in 2014 that offers services similar to Uber, is another resource for non-English speaking Chinese immigrants. As are two others – 2RedBeans.com, which helps Chinese speakers find their perfect match, and ToGo262.com, which offers their own food delivery app and is currently working with 400 restaurants.