These days China is becoming much more than just a place to find cheap labor; it is now an attractive destination for many men who are searching for business opportunities or looking to boost their careers. China is a huge market with demand for just about anything. So regardless of whether you already have a Chinese sweetheart or are planning to go to China to find one, you might find that this amazing country has more to offer than you imagined. In this article, Linda D. from Linda Living in China gives us a run through of how to land a great job in China and what you should bring along in order to succeed. Enjoy the read.
The largest country in Asia has been attracting a huge wave of foreigners in the last years. In Bejing alone reside over 200,000 foreigners and over 180,000 call Shanghai their home. I, myself, am one of the many foreigners living in China. From 2012-1013, I did an internship in Guangzhou and fell in love with the country. Coming back in 2014 and living in Changsha working my first job out of college, I feel better than ever. (author Linda from Linda Living in China Linda Living in China )
China is growing into an increasingly attractive migrant destination, with the number of immigrants soaring by 35 percent during the first decade of the 21st century. China had 685,775 immigrants at the end of 2010, 35 percent more than thatat the beginning of 2000. – EnglishPeople.CN
However, not only Beijing, Shanghai or the third biggest Mainland city Guangzhou are attracting foreigners to move there. More and more smaller and middle-sized Chinese cities are becoming popular work destinations in China. The possibilities seem endless, but is it really that easy to find a great job and live well as a foreigner in China?
Chinese Returnees Are The Greatest Threat For Foreigners in China
Over the past decades China brought 300 million people out of poverty with their open-economy reforms and the middle- and also upper-class has grown rapidly. This new wealth is usually invested in the children. Parents send their kids overseas to study at the best universities in the USA, UK, Australia and other non-English speaking countries. Some of them even stay overseas but more and more of those people have also recognized China’s potential and return. And then there are the overseas-born Chinese. Most of them are second or third generation overseas born Chinese and they also return to the Mainland in great numbers.
These people are the foreigners in China greatest competitors. Just like them, they speak (almost) perfect English, understand Western culture and are well-educated. The only difference: They also speak Mandarin – and sometimes even Cantonese – fluently. A great package for a large company.
Therefore, it is not to assume that everybody who wants to live in China can make it. It is not easy anymore. Having white skin and a foreign face does not do the trick anymore.
What You Need to Bring
As a conclusion to the paragraph above, you need to bring certain skills to overtrump the Chinese returnees. Here’s a short list of what skills you should be bringing to China:
Nowadays, this is vital for good job around the globe. If you don’t have a university degree it will be extremely hard to be successful. However, hey, you can always start your own business which a lot of foreigners also do in China! But it’s not an easy way either. Chinese bureaucracy is one of the toughest in the world. But where there is a will, there is a way!
Obviously, you should definitely be able to speak Chinese. So if you can read this article, you’re good to go. However, Chinese skills are extremely valuable when you want to work and live in China. A lot of people I met in China don’t speak the language and still get by. They have good jobs at hotels but still, something is missing. The language makes you understand the people and it’s the key to understand the people to be successful in this country.
This goes hand in hand with the language skills. If you understand the culture before you come to China, you can avoid certain traps! Every employer will be so much happier if you can provide a broad understanding of the Asian/Chinese culture. Chinese people think differently about many topics than Westerners. If you are able to understand their thinking and use this to your advantage, you can make it.
Moving to China is not easy in the beginning. There are major stumbling blocks to overcome and “bad China days” are the order of the day. Even if you are aware of the Chinese culture and what makes the people tick, the practice, however, things are different. I don’t know how many times I just wanted to scream at people to let me through at the metro station or how many times I just wanted to shut the world out and lock myself in my apartment. It happens and it is normal. Don’t let things get to you personally. There are always good and bad days, so don’t make to bad ones outweigh the good ones.
Step By Step Process to Get a Job in China
Of course we all don’t want just “ANY job”. We want THE job. The one that is exciting, makes us happy and is well paid! So take your time and don’t rush things. Yes, you are excited about moving to China and you want to live there as soon as possible. But take your time to carefully find the job that suits you best.
Usually, LinkedIn is my number one choice for job searches. It is a convenient and sophisticated network of all the major companies worldwide. You can find great job offers on the site and can directly apply. However, sometimes, LinkedIn is not the best choice to look for a job in China.
If your Chinese skills are at a higher level, you can go ahead and look for jobs in Chinese. One of the best portals to do so is called 51job. Just like other websites, it offers you tailored job searches filtered by major, location and salary.
There are tons of other great ways for looking for a job in China specifically for English speakers of other foreigners. The one site that has worked for me to find 2 jobs in China was Sinojobs. It is the leading job board for European-Chinese target groups.They offer jobs seekers’ current job descriptions, employers profile and a CV/resume database. European companies with branches/offices in China are listed as are Chinese companies that are looking for European-Chinese professionals.
Another great way is to look for a job through your country’s Chamber of Foreign Commerce. As an example, this is the German Chamber of Foreign Commerce in China offering great job offers at leading companies: AHK China.
Last, I can only recommend networking, Guanxi 关系, a very important aspect of Chinese culture. If you have Chinese friends or acquaintances, us this to your advantage! Guanxi is a vital part of the Chinese job market. If you know someone who knows someone who knows someone at Huawei, your chances are immediately higher! Let them take your resume and recommend you at the company!
All links at a glance:
Visa and Documents
When going to China for full employment, things look a little different than for an internship. Usually, a normal business visa is enough for doing an internship at a company in China. If you want to be a full-time (or part-time) employee, however, you need many more documents than just the visa application form.
A Z-visa is required to be able to work in China. You will receive this at your nearest Chinese consulate or embassy with the filled out application form, your company’s contract, an invitation letter from your company and a official Chinese working certificate.
Then, after you receive your visa, you are ready to enter China. However, this visa is only temporary and valid for 30 days. When you are in China, you need to register at your local police station, get an “Alien Employment Permit” and eventually your residence permit which allows you to stay in China for 1 year and grants your multiple entries (which means you can leave China and come back as often as you want). For more detailed information click here.
This process can be nerve-wracking and take up to 1 month or longer. During this time, you don’t have your passport and cannot leave the country. However, you will be issued a paper working as your ID for domestic travel.
You are Done!
All there is left now is to get yourself settled in! China is such a wonderful country and definitely the place to be right now. When turning on the news channel, we hear “China here”, “China there”. It feels great to be a part of this emerging economy. Don’t be afraid and do it!