Today’s global culture has made it possible to find a career in almost any part of the world. Individuals also get transferred out of the country on many occasions. While some may actively seek the adventure of international employment, others find themselves in the position of expat rather suddenly. There are many popular career choices with various openings in other countries. China has many different job possibilities to offer its international employees. There are also preparation techniques to make the transition easier on new arrivals.
Companies in China may bring over specialists in different areas to enhance projects or help with ongoing business endeavors. The practice of sharing expertise with other countries brings global perspectives to the positions. The traditional China is becoming the China of all trades. The various experience levels and cultural perspectives can make the undertakings of many businesses more likely to succeed. There are many types of experts who may be useful in the Chinese business world. It is believed that over 800,000 foreign individuals are employed in China. Some of the specialists include engineers, sales representatives, and marketers. Internet marketing can be especially useful since China’s internet regulations inhibit global activity on many levels. Companies that are now expanding throughout the world need IT specialists to bring their business sites up to international expectations and to be discoverable by consumers.
Popular Types of Companies
Some industries need foreign professionals more than others. The idea of a Chinese job market like a box of crayons explains the mix of global employees. There are many types of engineering specialties, some of whom are more prominent overseas. When engineers with expertise in emissions and technicalities form a team with Chinese engineers, the results can be spectacular.
Teaching is another area where English speakers are in high demand. Languages are much easier to learn when taught by native speakers. When someone grows up speaking a language the natural conversation flow is completely different. Some of these types of jobs are long-term while others target college students and other short-term parties.
Sales can be competitive but lucrative if you can get to know a large Chinese customer base. Interaction with other expats in your business ventures should not be your only interest when filling a sales position in China.
Starting a Business in China
The lofty aspiration of starting your own business as an expat may seem like it needs a superhero guide to get started. There are many things to take into consideration before undertaking this endeavor. The laws are going to be different for expats when acquiring licenses and other permits. Land ownership is often unavailable or limited when expats are concerned. This means you should plan on the expenses of a lease if you need a building for your business. Cultural differences may not allow for a business that would be lucrative in other countries. You need to check the cultural norms first to see how your business is received by the locals. Monetary conversion rates should also be considered when thinking about you profit margin. You must make allowances for your supplies and other employees. Every step of the way you need to stand back and attempt to find the multicultural perspective.
Startup in China- Friend or Foe
Working with a startup can mean taking a chance in any environment. Overseas away from the comforts of home can bring other challenges, such as startup difficulties. Depending on how far away from home you are, you may be giving up more than you bargained for. If the startup fails you will need to find a way to survive in China or return home. It is important to have a backup plan or some money in savings if you plan to join a startup in China, or anywhere. Make sure the startup you join is based on something that you are knowledgeable about. Stepping too far out of your comfort zone can leave you floundering to keep afloat.
You also need to make more connections in China so you can establish some solid roots in the country. If you can find a partner to work with in the area, you may be able to reach more locals with your ideas. The local customs and language can be a barrier and can keep you from making needed connections. You must decide if the monetary benefits of placing your startup in China are worth the extra effort.
Long Term Employment
If you are looking for a more long-term job in China you may need to look beyond some of the most trendy possibilities. A career in China can be lucrative, but it will require proper research to find the right opportunity. If you realize your goals while still completing your education, you can tailor your degree to fit the demand in the Chinese business world. Engineering is a universal necessity. All forms of engineering are used worldwide, however you should research where the need is most prevalent.
Think outside the box to some extent. Western applicants have something to offer that is valuable to many businesses just by being themselves. Cultural knowledge from different areas is very helpful to the many different types of companies. Many positions need advice on how to handle the intricacies of cross-cultural relationships and advertising. You may be able to get your foot in the door based on your language skills and home country. Apply for jobs even out of your comfort zone. You may learn some valuable skills leading to a long term career.
What You May not Know
There are two sides to every story. You may find that the situation is completely different than you expected once you get to China. You must look ahead to understand the laws geared towards working in China. This will prepare you for the many requirements of staying legal in a foreign land. You will do well to talk to others who have made the change so you can better understand the concepts of working in China.
It is important to understand what your company is offering before making the commitment. Relocation costs can far exceed your expectations. Make sure you have a relocation allowance before you make the decision. Be sure to make a list of all costs you expect payment for before signing anything. Many jobs also hire on a probationary basis. If you are let go after this short period, you will need to make arrangements to get back home. If you find yourself with no funds for airfare and moving, this can be quite a problem.
Work visas must also be acquired and maintained on a regular basis. This can often require a little travel, depending on where you are located in China. These are also expenses that need to be prepared. It is best to prepare financially for more than you originally think you many need. The local labor laws are a lengthy read, but will offer pertinent information on employee rights. Past laws did not protect employees and allowed for a myriad of abuses in the workplace. You may also be subject to different laws depending on the home country of the company you will be working for.
The money machine may be what makes the corporate realm go around, but you need to understand what you are getting into before you hop aboard. Your living expenses will most likely be on a different scale than in your home country. Take the time to understand how you will be paid. Each employer will be different. Take the time to understand how the local currency translates from your home monetary reality.
The cost of living in China is quite a bit lower than in most western countries. However, this also means local salaries will be lower. The exception may be companies that are based in other countries. There are many resources with pay scale expectations for various job positions. Whether you are the employee or employer, these guidelines can be very helpful.
Welcome to China – What to Expect
When you first land in China you need to have the essentials prepared ahead of time. While it may be your preference to see apartments or homes in person, this may not be realistic unless your new company will offset the costs of staying in a hotel for a few weeks. Decide how you want to handle your living situation before you go. You can have someone from your company recommend reputable living areas and housing agencies.
Plan to have enough essentials until your things arrive. There are often delays when things have to be shipped overseas. It may be best to plan to purchase large items for your new home once you arrive, rather than pay to ship them. Focus on your memorable items to take with you. If you are on a probationary term at your new job, you may want to arrange to store some things in your home country until the move is more permanent.
Once you get settled in your job and home, take some time to become a part of your new community. Find a club, class or volunteer opportunity to take part in. Make an effort to make some friends that are locals. Your experience in China will much more rewarding if you make some emotional connections to the people.
Work scams are very prominent in today’s global community. The anonymity of the internet makes it easy for people to pretend to be anyone they please. It is not enough to check into the company you are interviewing. Professional scammers will use the name of a reputable company to draw you in. Any job that requires you to put in money up front is probably a scam. They may tell you it is for living expenses. When you arrive in China, you may find there is no job and no place to stay, however. Money is laundered in many different ways around the world. Thieves seek out individuals in job seeking situations to take part in their wrongdoing. Do not accept offers for jobs that you did not apply to. Check all references, verify bank accounts, and double check every contact you communicate with.
Dos and Don’ts in Chinese Offices
This is going to deal mostly with cultural differences. If you are working in an office filled with mainly western employees, you may have an easier time. Remember, you will still have to deal with local inhabitants during some business transactions. There is a reason why the company is located in China, after all.
Take care to stay relatively formal when addressing those in authoritative positions. If you have people over you there must be a level of respect that is maintained. You may see short naps and exercise sessions during the day. Do not interrupt people who are partaking in these activities. You may want to participate so you can start to acclimate better.
You may be asked many personal questions. This attempt to gain information is a normal part of bonding and should not be taken as rude behavior. You may find that people are a bit more forward than you are used to. As long as you make a sincere effort to be a part of the environment and show respect, you should be met with the same in return.
While you are still in your home country, you can properly prepare for many events that will take place during the first few months abroad. You will be forced to face the dragon once you step off the plane into your new environment. Research as much as you can before you leave home. There will be many cultural differences in the office environment. While the English language is becoming more widespread, it is always a good idea to prepare with some language instruction before your departure. This effort will not only allow you to understand your coworkers but will also show respect and interest.
The crowds will take some getting used to. China has a large population that results in many crowded areas where close contact can be unavoidable. You can become more comfortable with the busy areas of town by reminding yourself not to take offense when people collide with you on the streets or transit. Other times, however, courtesy is a must. Pay attention to how the people around you react to each other and interact. In any new environment, it is important to take the time to learn from social cues.
You may feel more comfortable in the touristy areas, but these are excellent places for monetary scams to take place. You will do much better getting to know some new friends and learning about the culture in your area. Once you get into a daily routine, the shock will be less apparent. Remember to stay calm and think about any interactions before you have any rash reactions.
Employment in China is a big step in your career, as well as your personal life. You will learn more than you ever imagined as you embark on this journey. Preparation is key for early integration into your new environment. Global businesses are making international offices a regular part of their regime in the recent years. These opportunities can be great starting points for your career goals.
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Does China have tax reductions for foreign companies moving to China? Seems like that would be a good incentive.
Good read! Thanks, just a quick question, I’ve read a lot of articles for business in china, and most of them point, towards having a diplomat attitude than being a straight forward business person. what’s ur view on that?
This is a really helpful article for non-Chinese citizens wanting to work in China. I like how you went into detail about working for already established businesses as well as being self-employed as a foreigner in China, and the fact that you acknowledged how culture shock can affect anyone. Nice post.
Working is China could be a great opportunity for many people, and I like how informative this article is on the subject. The writer did a great jobs of explaining the pros and cons of different aspects of working in China. This article could be super helpful for anyone considering entering the job market in China.
Great to hear, Stephanie!