A little known fact is that Xi'an is a pioneer in the software industry for China. The second-tier city is also the top place in the country for outsourcing and it's not hard to see why -- an average university graduate with English skills in Beijing has an average monthly salary of 3,000 RMB ($439). But a graduate from Xi'an with similar qualifications is paid 1,000 RMB ($146).
While the standard of living is cheaper in Xi'an, it doesn't necessarily mean these employees are worth one-third less, despite doing the same amount of work as their counterparts in the Chinese capital.
My Xi'an colleagues, although not as open-minded or as exposed to worldly things as their Beijing cohorts, they are just as bright, hardworking and determined -- if not more.
When I said good-bye to them before going back, some hinted to me they were eager to work in the capital one day and hoped to see me in Beijing.
Many of these ambitious ones are young women in their early 20s, anxious to get out of what they think is a backward city and go to where the action is, but more importantly the money.
While their parents are trying to push them to get married by the time they turn 26, these young women feel there's more to life than husbands and babies. They are eager to discover the world out there and expand on their careers if possible.
While I know they can probably find a job with their skills, getting hukou or a residency permit will be their biggest challenge, along with adjusting to life in a really big city.