Working in China



The market in China has seen staggering growth in the last few years, and right now China is the world's fastest growing economy. Expats bound to the Huge Oriental Dragon of Asia will find thriving employment opportunities and the chance to experience one of most ancient and beautiful cultures in the world. 

China has the second-largest economy after the United States, and foreign trade accounts for a third of China's GDP. The per capita income about stands at about $6,675 per year, though a typical college graduate earns quite a lot more. It might not sound enticing to move to a place where your salary is almost sure to disappear, but with the cost of living 50-75 % lower than the US, a little goes a long way. Many multinational companies are relocating in China and other companies that are already located in Asia are moving their Asian headquarters to this country because of its rapidly developing economy. 

"Visa and work permit are not particularly difficult if your expertise is needed in a place of work; the family visa is quite easy to obtain once you have a spouse who is legally and formally employed here."- Varya, Expat in Zhuhai, China 

China’s Job Market 

The market in China has seen staggering growth in the last few years, and right now China is the world's fastest growing economy. The Banking & Financial Services industry is most in demand as China has opened up this sector to foreign companies. Companies in China tend to recruit local candidates who are bilingual and who have experience of working in multi-national corporations (MNCs). The second choice is for Chinese "returnees" who are ethnic Chinese with experience of working abroad. 

"With agreements between developing countries and China, more and more of the process is being streamlined. It is now very possible to receive a revolving Visa, allowing you to enter China up to 90 days per visit and valid for the life of your Passport."- Clint MacNichol, Expat in Zhaoyuan, China 

Then, for certain niches, skill sets, and some top-level management positions, expatriate staff positions are available. Employers consider the ideal expatriate worker to have the right mix of technical experience, soft skills and language abilities. 

"Exhausting. Since living in Bozhou the government paperwork and visa application is a nightmare. Mostly because I am the first foreigner to be married to one of the Chinese locals. Most have never seen a family visa, or know how to process specific applications."- Anna Zech, Expat in China 

Career for English Teachers 

The first expatriate in China were English teachers in universities. Until recently, teachers made up a significant part of the expat workforce. China is the preferred destination for TEFL jobs (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) because of the speed and ease of getting a visa for this sector. Although employers need government permission to hire foreigners, authorities get back to you with an answer within 15 working days. In other countries, this process can take a couple of months. 

"Visas are getting more and more expensive, but the paperwork is still acceptable. Work permits are almost impossible to get. It really depends on the company, but it takes a lot of time (1-2 months) and a lot of money."- Caterina Russo, Expat in Beijing, China 

To land a profession teaching English at a top university in China, you need a TESOL Certificate. Teaching in an international school in China is an excellent option for those who already have US teaching credentials. English teaching jobs or university teaching jobs can usually be found via e-mail and telephone contact with the school or through a job agency. Candidates need a government-issued public school teaching certificate and should plan on attending to participate in on-site interviews. 

Average Salary and Work Hours 

The significant increase in the wages in China during the last decade gave many international businesses an impression that this country is no longer a source of cheap labour. Each of the country’s regional governments was forced to increase the salary in the attempt to keep their employees. Shanghai, the China’s financial capital currently has the highest minimum wage which is 2,190 Yuan or USD 327 per month while the monthly minimum wage in other smaller provinces is 1,000 Yuan or USD 145. 

The standard Chinese work week is 40 hours or eight hours a day, five days a week. As per Labour Law Article 41, overtime or work outside the standard working hours should not exceed three hours per day or 36 hours per month. Employees are also entitled to overtime pay which should not be less than 150% of their salary during a regular work day, 200% on their rest day and 300% if the overtime is rendered during a national holiday. 

The Chinese Business Culture 

Businesspeople will often have a soft spot for those who are learning their native language. In fact, in various progressive industries today, such as information technology, telecommunication and engineering, individual positions are reserved for foreigners who speak Mandarin and will allow for very attractive pay. Those who have the qualifications for teaching English may also find China as a good place to find a well-paying job. English teachers are some of the top-earning expatriates in this country. Engineering and middle to high-level management positions in foreign companies are also some of the highest paid jobs. 

In a typical Chinese workplace, people are addressed using their family names and handshakes are a very common gesture of friendliness, especially towards Westerners. In a white collar environment, formal attire is always expected. When coming to meetings, the highest-ranking person should enter the room first, and the most senior sit at the head of the table and must be addressed first. In general, the Chinese are known as very hardworking and industrious people. For an expat who wants to live in China and make a mark in its corporate world, this trait is something he must learn by heart.


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