China tour and travel

chinese culture

With China becoming a economic powerhouse by the day, many people are now seeking work opportunities in China. Meanwhile, others are also being posted as expatriates to China on either short or long term basis. We present some advice and tips to make your work in China enjoyable and poductive!

Working in China

Working in China or being assigned to work in China is very common now. Either you are sent to China by your company or you apply for a job to be stationed in China. Applying for a job in China is very common today as China gradually becomes a world economic powerhouse. In fact, many Hong Kongers and Taiwanese feel that it is important to have good job experience in China in order to enhance their resume back in their own home country.

It is also very common to be posted for short working trips to China as a technical expert or international co-ordinator as China is a big consumer of modern technology. Many companies sent their professional and technical staff on short assignments to familiarize their Chinese counterparts on new technology, production methodology, distribution channels or management technique.

In addition to being a low cost production centre for some of the biggest Japanese, Koreans and American brands in the world, China is also seen as an attractive consumer market as China has a large population that is increasingly rich and demanding for more and better products.

Job Hunt
Many people are fascinated with China and desire to work in China. You can apply from your home country, or like many, purchase a ticket, land in China and start looking!

The best source of jobs is on the internet. There are many job sites that specialises in China jobs. Alternately, pick up an English expatriate magazine that you can find in most 4 or 5 star hotels and there are likely to be job opportunities in there. Many of these magazines also run expatriate internet forums where you can place your resume.

At this moment, the biggest job opportunities for foreigners are as English teachers in schools as China raced to get itself ready for the Olympics in Year 2008. Similarly, jobs in Food and Beverage and the Hospitality trade is also in high demand especially for English speaking or bilingual staff.

Of course, the best way to be working and living in China is to be sent by your company as an expatriate to China. In this way, you can live in relative luxury while the company picks up all your expenses including condominium or service apartment accomodation, first class travel expenses, food and entertainment allowances etc.

You may even be given an allowance to bring your spouse or children over. Already, there are large expatriate communities in all the large cities in China. For Asian expatriates, the largest communities are Taiwanese, Koreans and Japanese and for Western expatriates, the largest expatriate communities are American, British and German.

Entry Visa
For business or short working trips, it is advisable to apply for the Business Visa. A business visa allows multiple trips of up to 30 days per trip for a period of three or six months depending on the visa applied. An invitation letter from the Chinese office is needed for the application.

For long working trips, a Z Visa is required. This allow you to stay in China for up to one year. You will need a work permit and a letter from your Chinese Office before a Z Visa can be issued.

For those lucky to be on job assignments, the company will likely put you up in a hotel or a service apartment. China has a wide range of hotels and are likely to be clean and comfortable even if in the lower classes. When travelling to smaller towns, you may be unable to find a hotel higher than 3-stars!

For those on their own, renting a local apartment will be the cheapest way to go in the long run. For those really on a tight budget, look for a apartment in a local area and not in one of those expatriate enclave.

Rent leases in China normally runs for a minimum of 6 months but it is not uncommon to find 3 months leases nowadays. When renting apartments, remember that it is a requirement to inform the nearest police station of your new place of residence.

Work style
This can be a interesting area. Depending on the industry, the history, the culture and management, working with the Chinese can be a pleasure or a pain.

If you are working in a Multinational company (MNC), where the Chinese has been exposed to western management concept, you may indeed find the working style very familiar with that at home. You can generally fit in without much adjustments in such companies expecially if they are well established in China.

For others, work can be a nightmare in a entirely Chinese environment. Many state enterprises or Chinese company may run with a working culture reminiscent of the iron bowl concept of the 60s and 70s. If you are sent to work with a Chinese company or a joint-venture(JV) company, there are significant working and cultural hurdles to handle and adjust to.

You will find it useful to check out working and living culture in China with this ebook on China.

Business culture
If you are in China for business purposes, you will cerainly need to learn about Chinese business culture. China has been a closed economy for a long time and while it has certainly embrace the world econmy for a decadede or two, there are still significant and major business cultural differences. It is certainly important to learn about Chinese business culture before landing in China.

In China, the business culture in dependent on the industry, company or even the geographical location of the company. For example, in Northern, business is seldom discussed unless there has been a fair amount of socializing at the restaurant while in the South, business may come before social interaction.

Overall, the business culture of China is more of human interaction than anything else. There must be a fair amount of socialisation and familiarisation before real business discussions of any form can proceed. Do not jump or insist on a serious discussion on your very first meeting as developing a social or friendly bond is considered extremely important as far as Chinese businessmen and business culture are concerned. Please see Chinese Business Culture for further information and advice.

Language Requirements
It is almost impossible to work or do business in China without some understanding of the Chinese language. It is useful to attend Chinese classes before or after seeking work in China. Please see Chinese Phrases page for further basic understanding of Chinese.

On the other hand, if you intend to live or work in China for a few years, it is wise to take up basic Chinese lessons in your home country. In this way, you can at least survive on your own before having to depend permanently on a interpreter all the time.

For more information about Chinese working culture and etiquette, check out this interesting China Book. Or email us for further information.