Moving to China – All you need to know
China has a growing economy and better standards of living. For example, Shanghai has accommodated more than 300,000 expats from all over the world, and the population is expected to increase to reach 800,000 over the next ten years. There are about four million foreigners living in China at present. China is offering tax-free salaries with housing allowances, economical goods, and maids. China Daily reported that the number of Europeans looking for jobs in China has considerably increased. China provides thriving business and career platforms to foreigners who wish to work in China. Before moving to China, it is recommended to know the Chinese cultural and working environment.
Learning the Language
The Chinese language can be difficult to learn because it is a tonal language where every word has at least four meanings. If you are learning Chinese for academic or business purposes, opt for Mandarin, which is also the national language of China. Mandarin is also widely spoken in Hong Kong and Macau. However, the primary language of China’s Guangdong province and Hong Kong is Cantonese.
Compared to Mandarin, the Cantonese language is much more difficult to learn due to its ever-changing variety of slang terms and a variety of tones. Mandarin, on the other hand, is a bit easier to learn. Normally, everyone in China is able to understand either Mandarin or English. If one is moving to China, they must acquire some language skills in order to communicate with the local staff. Many companies also provide language classes for expats to help them learn the Chinese language.
You possess helpful and beneficial skills for working in China with diplomas and professional experience in engineering, IT, marketing, education, environmental technology, logistics, quality assurance, and finance. The vast majority of expats are employed in foreign-invested enterprise (FIE). Make contacts and be patient; contacts with the local people can help you in job hunting and working in China.
Be Aware of Social and Business Etiquette
One has to be very conscious of their behavior in China. The Chinese are very courteous and welcoming. If you are invited by a family in China, accept the invitation. If you refuse the invitation without any valid reason, it is considered to be very rude.
Professionally, body language and your mannerism is very important when dealing with Chinese people. In China, the meeting starts with the shaking of hands but not too vigorously, as it will be interpreted aggressively. Shaking hands is followed by a slight nod of the head. Remember, Chinese are not fond of physical contact. Physical contact may take place only in the case when a host is guiding his guest. You will be surprised to know that in this circumstance, the contact is made by holding only a cuff or sleeve. Unlike people in other countries, Chinese do not like to be slapped, patted, or put arms around someone’s shoulders. In China, business deals are made and discussed over a networking dinner. In a business dinner, Chinese seniority is considered. A senior manager toasts with everyone, and juniors only toast with their friends at their table.
Know Your New Chinese Colleagues
Chinese are cautious of their dignity and reputation. The concept of saving face has a fundamental place in Chinese culture. Not only in China but in other Asian countries as well, people avoid situations where they may encounter embarrassment in public. A new colleague may feel uncomfortable dealing with you. He might be thinking that their English-speaking skills are not good as yours. You can break the ice by introducing yourself in Mandarin. In this case, your Mandarin might be worse than their English, but by ‘giving face’, you will save them from their feeling of being embarrassed. Expats can make new friends at work by making the first move towards their Chinese colleagues.
Unexpressive Supervisors and Bosses
Chinese culture gives importance to relationships ahead of profit and business efficiency. Chinese supervisors are hesitant in rectifying their subordinates. In China, expats may be surprised to find the supervisors dropping hints instead of having straightforward talks. One has to walk in for a private conversation and assure them that it won’t harm their relationship. Sometimes, yes could mean a firm no and maybe is a no. In short, in China, action speaks louder than words.
Participating in Local Culture
Expats travel back to their homeland during the Chinese holidays. Easter and Christmas are not celebrated the same way as, for example, in the UK or USA. There are expat parties that celebrate such events in expat areas. It is best to be involved in local festivals. The main events of the year are Chinese New Year at the end of January and the Mid-Autumn Festival in the first week of October.
Explore China and Make Friends
It is an opportunity of a lifetime to work in China and visit different places in China. Treat it as a working holiday. Domestic destinations in China are reachable within a few hours flying time. If you are living in the main cities, such as Shanghai or Beijing, it would be easy for an expat to enjoy Chinese destinations during weekends. The Island of Hainan has clean, white sandy beaches and has also been the host city for the annual Miss World Competition for the past several years. In the winter, one can enjoy skiing in many areas comprising natural beauty.
Making friends in China for expats can help them overcome homesickness. It is nice to make a Chinese friend for quick translation and assistance with many issues. If you are able to immerse yourself in the Chinese culture, you will end up making honest and good Chinese friends.
Every city in China has its own taste and menu. Try out different Chinese cuisines before jumping to KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. A scrumptious Chinese dish can be bought for around 8 RMB (US $1.25). The prices are no more than 40 RMB (US $6.25) per person in the market restaurants.