Give me all the money you have ;-).

If possible, convert your money into traveller's checks before you leave for the US. This has many advantages: can bring as much money as you want (compared to about USD 5,000 in cash, i believe), you don't need to worry about losing it (traveller's checks can be replaced, as long as you know their serial numbers) etc.
There is a small fee to obtain the checks in the first place, but it is probably worth it.

It's safer to bring only the amount you need for the first month. Open a bank account here in the U.S.. Then wire transfer the rest of the money from China to your U.S. account.

Once you get here, you can open a bank account, and deposit your traveller's checks in it.

Also, checking/credit cards from some known banks in China (such as China Merchants) usually work in here, converting the currency at the market value for that day. However, you may find exceptions or have "surprises" (card not recognized by the machine, or even not accepted by the cashier), specially at some smaller stores here.

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