Working in China
Working 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 economic powerhouse. In fact, many Hong Kongers and Taiwanese feel that it is important to have good job experience in China.
It is also very common to be posted for short working trips to China as a technical expert or co-ordinator as China is a big consumer of modern technology. Many companies sent their technical staff on short assignments to familiarize their Chinese counterpart on new technology.
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 staff.
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.
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 MNC, where the Chinese has been exposed to western management concept, you may indeed find the working style very familiar with that at home.
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 early 60s and 70s.
Again, business culture in dependent on the industry, company or even the geographical location of the company. For example, in the North, 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 discussions of any form can proceed. Do not jump or insist on a serious discussion on your first meeting. Please see Chinese Business Culture for further information.
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.
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