4 Tips for Working in China

  • August 27, 2018 / Queenie Kawabe / 0 Comment

Working in China can be one of the most exciting experiences for a young or seasoned professional. The economic development in China along with its rich culture and history make it an exciting place to work and live.

The job opportunities in Chinese cities also make it an attractive destination for expats. Whether you are a fresh graduate looking for a change or are looking to relocate your family, China is a great option to consider. Of course, as moving abroad can be daunting, there are a variety of considerations to take into account before making such a huge decision.

4 tips for working in China that can help prepare you for one of the greatest adventures of your life.


1. Understand Your Responsibilities and Expectations

When you apply to jobs in China as a foreigner, they might hire you since you will offer your employer a unique point of view on the job. No matter your industry, you will have an extra value of coming from a different background.

But, you will want to make sure you are clear about exactly your role within the company and what your daily responsibilities are. There are many potential scams that you have to watch out for. For one, there are companies which will simply want a “foreign face” to represent them in client meetings. This is something you will want to avoid if you want to grow and advance in your professional life.

On the other hand, some employers may have very different expectations than that of your home country or what you are used to. From different working hours to a change in quality and pace, it can be hard to adjust to working in China. In general, business will be much more fast-paced in timing and expectations in China.

Something else to remember is that “guanxi”, or relationships within the business can be more important than some other countries. Understanding that the people you know and connections you make are even more valued than perhaps what you are accustomed to back home.

Getting used to these cultural changes can take time and do not be too hard on yourself if you make some mistakes in the beginning.

2. Learn the Language

Of course, it is easier said than done to learn Mandarin Chinese. Yet, understanding the basics before you work in China can make the whole process much easier.

It is easier to get by with simply English in many larger cities. However, knowing the basic language and culture can make you an attractive candidate. It will also help you understand certain differences from your home country.

If you are planning to advance in China, it will be increasingly important to learn the basics of business Chinese. Of course, you do not need Chinese to get around. But as more foreigners are spending the time to learn Chinese in local universities, the competition can be fierce. Usually, those with the language skills will have first priority in the job selection.

3. Negotiate Your Salary 

What you need to negotiate well are your Salary and other expectations such as housing, air travel, and vacation days. As someone who may be coming from far away, it is important to understand how many vacation days you get. You also need to consider if they will compensate your travel costs.

Most likely, you will want to travel around Asia as well. Being able to balance these vacation days with those of going home for holidays will be something to consider as well.

As for salary, make sure to understand the balance of earning what you would earn back home, but also understand the local salary. Of course, the cost of living can be lower in some cities in China. However, you want to ensure that you are getting a fair opportunity compared to what you would back home.

4. Prepare for Unexpected Circumstances

When you do decide to move and are living in China, make sure to keep a positive attitude and prepared for unexpected circumstances. From medical problems to difficulties within your job, it can be easy to get worn down quickly.

Factors such as pollution or slow Internet can get people down quickly. Understanding the situation you are getting in before you come to China is important. However, your outlook on the situation can truly make a difference and help you get through anything that might otherwise be a challenge.

China is an exciting place that is full of new opportunities arising, and no matter age or field of study, there is something for everyone to enjoy here.

Tell us – what other tips do you have in regard to working in China? 


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