Category: Living & Working in China


Permalink 10:57:03 am, by dacare, 578 words, 89 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Challenges in the air to foreign recruitment

The continual smog affecting the country's major cities has created problems in terms of recruiting workers at foreign-invested companies as expatriates fear to put their own and their families' health at risk, industry insiders said.

The biggest issue is not so much investment or business decisions but recruitment, according to Roland Decorvet, chairman and chief executive officer of Nestle for the Greater China Region.

"We are really struggling to persuade people to move to Beijing - especially people with children," he told China Daily.

"We certainly don't want to increase our offices here. We'd rather increase them in places other than Beijing."

Decorvet said the company has made an effort to clean the offices' air and has given subsidies to employees for air cleaners at home.

But what employees worry about most is their children, said Decorvet, who as of May 1 is leaving Nestle to take a position at Mercy Ships, a charity organization.

The Swiss native will be succeeded by John Cheung, who is from Hong Kong.

For its part, Panasonic Corp of China said that it is paying a "hazard bonus for those foreign employees located in a challenging environment".

In negotiations this spring, revisions of salaries and labor conditions were discussed based on the air quality in China, the company's communication office said. But no decision was made.

The Financial Times reported on March 12 that the Japanese electronic company would offer air pollution compensation to their workers in China.

Panasonic is not the first to subsidize expats living in smog-affected cities, but it is the first to acknowledge that the allowance is specifically related to smog, according to Max Price, partner of Antal International China, a recruitment specialist based in the United Kingdom.

Price from Antal called it a dangerous precedent, which could be seen as putting a price on the health of individual workers.

Employers already are offering extra health insurance for foreign workers in China, with some companies "pollution-proofing" their buildings with air filters and window sealing, he said.

Such situations have become more prevalent. Some foreign professionals have decided that enough is enough and have asked for repatriation or an assignment away from China, according to Price.

"It is becoming more of a factor as time progresses. Polluted air is a major issue for foreign professionals, especially those looking to move to China with families," he said.

The pollution issue used to be offset by significantly higher salaries, but with the cost of living rising in expat areas, the salary benefit is not as attractive, Price noted.

Della Peng, human resources director for ManpowerGroup China, a workforce solution provider, said she is aware of the issues surrounding smog.

"Some enterprises could find it hard to recruit foreign employees if the air situation is not improved," said Peng.

Several managers have been transferred out from China due to the problem, she said.

But she said that, overall, the allure of working in China - one of the most crucial markets for international companies - still outweighs environmental issues, which are likely to be improved in the future.

In addition, she said, employers are making efforts to balance the costs and opportunities. For example, despite the concerns over smog, the number of inbound visitors last year has increased, she said.

Measures taken by foreign-invested companies to lure more expatriates include subsidies to those assigned to smog-affected regions or implementation of flexible working hours, she said. Many companies have moved expatriate professionals to less-polluted cities.

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Permalink 11:30:22 am, by dacare, 369 words, 73 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Foreigners allowed bigger stakes in Chinese companies

Relaxed regulation unlikely to create big short-term waves amid low stock market confidence: Analysts

Foreign investors can own more of a listed Chinese company after rules were relaxed to draw long-term overseas capital.

Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) can hold up to 30 percent of a company, under a guideline issued by the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

That had earlier been capped at 20 percent of total outstanding shares in a company. Foreign investors will soon also be able to invest in more financial products, including asset-backed securities and preferred shares, according to the authority.

Analysts said the move is meant to attract more long-term capital and boost China's equity market. It is in line with the Chinese leadership's plan to further open up the capital market.

QFII and RQFII are programs for licensed foreign investors to buy and sell yuan-denominated "A" shares on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

State Administration of Foreign Exchange data show that in February, China issued total quotas of $52.3 billion under the QFII program and 180.4 billion yuan ($29.32 billion) under the RQFII program, which allows investments using offshore yuan.

QFIIs increased holdings in more than 20 Shanghai-listed companies, according to their annual reports. The Bank of Ningbo Co Ltd and Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd were among companies that got the most QFII investment, Securities Times said on Thursday.

Analysts said foreign investors, favoring long-term value investment, are cautious about China's stock market, which has suffered bearish sentiment since 2008 and has been hurt by insider trading and price manipulation scandals.

"The overall amount of QFII and RQFII investment is still limited on the A-share market, so the impact of the new rules may be limited in lifting the market," said Zito Ji, an analyst with a mutual fund in Shanghai.

Investors cite corporate governance as a problem. Analysts say a lack of clarity about how Beijing will tax profits from QFII investments has also restrained some investors, Reuters said.

A weakening yuan and a pressured property industry is dragging investor confidence in China's stock market.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.4 percent to 1,993.48 on Thursday. And Shenzhen Component Index dived to a five-year low to 6,698.2.

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Permalink 02:13:57 pm, by dacare, 146 words, 110 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

China to Welcome More Professionals from Abroad

China will recruit more top-notch professionals from abroad this year, said the country's human resources authorities on Wednesday.

It is hoped the high-level experts will fully engage in the country's development, said a statement from the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, after a national meeting of Party and government officials in charge of human resources.

China has operated a recruitment program, named "Plan 1,000", to attract overseas Chinese experts to build their careers in the country, since 2008.

So far 4,180 people have been recruited, 861 of them last year, the statement said.

These professionals, mostly scientists, have contributed to research in bioscience, plasma physics, nuclear technologies, space programs and satellites, it said.

But the government is also working on rules to end contracts with those who do not meet the needs of the country or fail to do their jobs, the statement added.

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Permalink 09:33:40 am, by dacare, 524 words, 132 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Expats in top demand for Chinese state-owned enterprises

There has been a significant increase in the demand for foreign professionals to represent Chinese state-owned enterprises abroad as the nation gears up its global commercial activities and plans listings of its domestic companies on international bourses.

Robert Parkinson, founder and CEO of RMG Selection, an international recruitment firm with offices in the China, says that the job market started picking up in the second half of 2013, and ended the year with strong indications of good hiring activity continuing into 2014 on the back of growing optimism and confidence. One the areas that is seen robust recruiting is for foreigners who can represent Chinese interests abroad, and have specific knowledge of capital markets and listings regimes.

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RMG recently published the results of a survey of the China job market, done in conjunction with academics from the University of Nottingham. The research report, 2013 China Talent-flow Survey Report 2, tracked several trends such as the rate of ‘job-hopping’ in various industries, including financial services and professional services.

Of the 4,000 participants in the survey, more than a quarter had changed jobs in the previous 12 months compared to about a fifth in the previous survey period (end 2012/early 2013). Parkinson says candidates demand – and get – increases varying from 20% to 50% each time they move.

Most of the ‘job-hopping’ activity was concentrated among candidates who earned 50,000 RMB (over US$8,000 per month), while the age demographic most likely to change jobs was the so-called “millennials” – candidates born in the early 1990s – with 43% reporting they had changed employer in 2013.

“Many Chinese graduates will take pretty much any job they can find because the job market is so competitive. But once they have settled, and a better offer comes along, they will move quickly.”

RMG is seeing a flood of ethnic Chinese to China – either nationals who have worked abroad moving home, or people with Chinese ancestry and family connections wanting to seek opportunities in what Parkinson described as a very ‘hot’ market.

But Chinese companies were also seeking out foreigners who could represent their interests abroad – especially people with a strong understanding of and experience in international capital markets – skills that many Chinese nationals currently lack due to the country’s historically closed economy.

But for expats, finding a job in China and even looking for another role when already working in the country is challenging. Many channels available to finance professionals in other parts of the world, such as company recruitment portals, job boards, newspaper listings, and internet sites are practically non-existent.

One of the reasons, says Parkinson, is cultural. “Candidates, especially senior people, regard it as beneath them to look for jobs – they expect employers and headhunters to come to them.”

This supports one of the key findings for the research: that using headhunters is still the preferred channel for Chinese companies to find candidates. In the recent survey, the researchers found that the percentage of Chinese companies using headhunters had increased from 35% to 57% in the past year.

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Permalink 01:24:52 pm, by dacare, 1188 words, 96 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Job center focuses on helping expatriates

Moving your entire life to a foreign country can be hard. Finding housing, schools, medical care, not to mention a decent job, are just a few of the hurdles expatriates face.

Now China hopes to entice more skilled experts to its shores by making the task of relocating and securing a dream job a little bit easier.

The newly revamped Shanghai Employment Promotion Center has been modeled as a one-stop shop for foreign job seekers.

With more than 430 of the world’s top 500 companies now with offices in Shanghai, one step is to attract experts in short supply.

Shanghai is home to more than 160,000 expats. In 2013, they again ranked Shanghai as the most attractive city in China.

But while Shanghai may wow with its good looks, it’s the overall package that entices expats.

The Shanghai pilot free trade zone, launched on September 29, is China’s latest move in expanding economic dealings with the outside world.

Once upon a time, Chinese bureaucracies like the SEPC were little more than a rubber-stamp department, drowning applicants in mountains of paperwork.

But, at its base in Shanghai, staff here are now trying to woo workers from all corners of the world with the benefits of grabbing a job in the city.

Utilizing networks

Ding Feng, the center’s director, said they are the first port of call for companies seeking a recruitment permit, a requirement for hiring foreign workers in China.

“Foreign job-seekers could get work visas with the recruitment permit and then apply for a foreigner employment permit,”Ding said.

Documents here are in English, allowing foreigners with little knowledge of Chinese to register for employment or extend their visa.

“This is my first time and so far it seems to be very efficient,”one American job seeker said.“The staff are very helpful.”

Beyond the paperwork, the center has now extended its scope to helping expats utilize educational, medical and social networks.

It’s all part of the government’s recent endeavor to make their departments more service-oriented. Foreign employees, who are referred to as“foreign experts”in China, are among the target population of such services.

Rose Oliver from Britain is one of them. The 49-year-old works as a professor at Shanghai University.

“I found it to be more than just a bureaucratic-like agency,”Oliver said.

“It is more than an office that facilitates visas. They are actually concerned with expats’working lives, their lifestyles and the quality of life they have in China.”

Oliver said it’s the center’s personal touch that has helped her to“have real exposure to Chinese culture.”

This includes the cultural events run by the center that provide foreign experts with knowledge about living in China.

According to Huang Weimao, deputy director of the Shanghai Foreign Experts Affairs Bureau, streamlining all-important social security services is another vital role. The SEPC is under the bureau’s jurisdiction.

“We have close contact with expats, to give them help with obtaining child education, medical care and even housing,”Huang said.

The help is appreciated by expats like Oliver.“They provide a lot of security.”

“When we have problems, I contact Huang. We don’t necessarily have daily contact. But at least there is the knowledge that they are there if you need them,”Oliver said.

Health care concerns

Besides basic medical insurance, the bureau has coordinated with a state-owned company to offer tailored medical services for expats.

“Foreigners tend to have higher requirements,”Huang said.

The offerings of assistance have been expanded as part of the Expats Residence Law. The law, which took effect on July 1, grants foreign workers with a bachelor degree or above, equal access to investment, government jobs, schooling, and an all-important driver’s license.

Russian biologist Philip Khaytovich works in a joint scientific research center established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Germany’s Max Planck Society.

“Before it was not clear what to do with us, because there was no legal framework to deal with foreigners, like how to provide social insurance,”Khaytovich said.“Now it has all changed.”

Khaytovich is part of China’s“1,000 Foreign Talents”program used to recruit scientists from around the world.

“I was fortunate to get into the talent program, as it provides generous support for our work. I think this can make China a very attractive place for research.”

The bureau is responsible for the program’s talent recruitment. With the top 500 companies on the look-out for executives and managerial experts, the bureau is right there helping.

Huang is especially seeking experts in the ship building, automobile, electro-mechanics and new materials industries.

Long-term visa

As part of luring and securing expat workers, China has plans to introduce a long-term visa. It will replace the working visa, which must be renewed annually.

“A lot of expats are willing to stay for a long time,”said Oliver.“They aren’t just coming for a year or two. They are coming to make a life here.”

Huang also just put another improvement in the pipeline.

“Foreign experts require a flexible visa policy," Huang said.“The creation of the Shanghai free trade zone provides a chance for change.”

Khaytovich, 40, said he has already considered retiring in China.

The new residence law for expats allows foreigners to collect a pension, but Huang still admits new provisions may take some fine tuning.

How to apply for a foreigner employment permit


1. Applicants should be in good health with no infectious diseases such as leprosy, AIDS, STDs or pulmonary tuberculosis. They should also have no other disease according to specific job requirements.

2. An assured work unit.

3. Professional skills, proper educational degrees and over two years of work experience related to the job.

4. No criminal record.

5. Valid passport or other international travel identification that can substitute.

6. Men between 18 and 60 years old and women between 18 and 55, under common situations.

7. Other requirements required by laws and regulations.

Application materials:

1. An application form.

2. Copies of valid business licence or other legal registration certificates and organization code. Foreign enterprises should also provide a copy of the approval certificate.

3. The applicant’s resume including the highest educational degree and complete experience. The resume should be printed in Chinese with the employer’s seal.

4. Related certificates of applicant’s skills (certificates should be issued by related organizations or by the applicant’s former employers.)

5. Copy of related educational diploma to the job in China.

6. Copy of the applicant’s valid passport.

7. Other materials required by issuing authorities.

Where to submit

? Shanghai Employment Promotion Center

Address: 4F, 77 Meiyuan Road

Phone: 12333 or 3251-1585

Opening hours:

9am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 5pm from Monday to Thursday

9am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 3:30pm on Friday

Closed at weekend.

? Foreigners in Huangpu, Xuhui, Jing’an, Changning, Jiading and Putuo districts and the Pudong New Area can go to district employment promotion centers to apply for the permit. Foreigners in other districts must go to the Shanghai Employment Promotion Center.

Huangpu: 525 Nanchezhan Road

Xuhui: 1F, 9118 Humin Road

Jing’an: Counter 5, 2F, 241 Wuning Road S.

Pudong: 3995 Pudong Road S.

Changning: 1F, 517 Wuyi Road

Jiading: 1F, 119 Jiajian Road

Putuo: 1F, 1036 Wuning Road

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Permalink 10:16:56 am, by dacare, 1379 words, 248 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Living & Working in China

Hot on the recruitment trail

Bringing in international students is a bonanza or provinces... so where is Manitoba?

CHENGDU, China -- Sandy Prentice is the international program administrator for the Kootenay Lake School Division. The name rang no bells for me. It helped, however, when Sandy explained Kootenay Lake is the school division that serves Nelson, a town of 8,000 in southwestern British Columbia.

What on earth are you doing here? I asked.

"What everybody else is doing," she responded. "I'm recruiting students."

We were in a great exhibition hall at the impressive Shangri-la Hotel, built on park-like grounds at the forks of the Jin and Funan rivers in downtown Chengdu. The hall was filled with neat rows of booths, like streets along which thousands of students, many with their parents, window-shopped for an "international" school where they might study in English.

The largest "district" in this booth city was occupied by American institutions, but there were strong representations from the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Ireland and on and on.

Canada occupied a couple of blocks, where, not surprisingly, B.C. and Ontario had the most storefronts. Quebec was there, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan... but not Manitoba.

They were all recruiting students, evidence not so much of a desire to spread "international" know-how, but of the vast amounts of money spreading know-how can earn.

"International education brings into B.C. about $2.1 billion a year," Colin Doerr, a director with the B.C. Council for International Education. "It's right up there with coal development."

B.C. attracts about 23,000 students a year, about one-quarter of the 80,000 international students who arrive in Canada annually. Extrapolating from B.C.'s experience, that makes the sector worth more than $8 billion a year to the Canadian economy.

Not all of those students arrive from China, although a great many of them do.

Sending children abroad to be educated has long been the practice for China's elites. But its popularity is growing as the middle class grows.
Recent Chinese government data indicate 20 per cent of Chinese families are middle-class, meaning 30 per cent of income is available for uses other than necessities. Given China's one-child policy (changed to two-child at the Communist party's recent third plenum) and a culture of saving, it means there are tens of millions of families that can afford to send their child abroad, and they are doing so in ever-greater numbers, and at ever-younger ages.

"Studying abroad is very popular," Ivy Zhang, my Canadian-educated translator said. "People realize that English is a very strong skill, even if you work in China."

Which brings us back to Sandy Prentice, an exemplar if ever there was of how even the smallest Canadian jurisdictions can benefit from reaching out to China, and in particular to the huge, largely untapped second-tier markets such as that offered by Winnipeg's sister city, Chengdu, population 14 million.

Prentice said Nelson realized some time ago there were benefits for both sides in recruiting international students, especially in recent times when Chinese families saw additional benefits in sending their children abroad at high school (and even younger) ages to prepare for university entrance.

Kootenay Lake today teaches 150 foreign students from 11 countries, the biggest contingent from Germany (for whom skiing is a big attraction) followed by Korea, Brazil and China.

Each student earns the school division $12,000 in tuition, a total of about $1.8 million a year, a lot of money for a division that serves a total population of 20,000 -- the 8,000 residents of Nelson and 12,000 more in its catchment.

Then there are economic spinoffs in payments to host families and to the wider B.C. economy as a result of family visits, usually in Vancouver during school breaks. Often families will buy a second residence in Vancouver to facilitate visits over periods that can span six years and more (three high school years and at least three years of postsecondary study).

Prentice explained Nelson is a "white-bread valley" that has few connections with the increasingly international tenor of globalization.

Part of the foster-parent program is designed to change that, if only a little, by requiring families to prepare Chinese meals and share Chinese entertainments. Relationships between foster and Chinese families often become permanent, as do bonds between students and "Mama Bears and Papa Bears."

Colin Doerr, of the B.C. council, said the one-to-one relationships 80,000 international students a year forge over their time in Canada are perhaps the most significant enduring benefit of international education programs... for both sides.
"They provide the single most important partnerships of all that we do," he said.

In the swirl of bodies, I was often stopped and questioned by students, who assumed because of my age and white beard, I must be a professor. Others would stop me for no other reason than to chat in English. One young man followed me for a time eavesdropping on my conversations. "I find it very interesting to listen to what you say," he explained.

At the Saskatchewan booth, we stopped an older woman, thinking she might be considering a career change, but found instead she was an "auntie" picking up brochures for a niece whose mother was at work and could not attend.

The involvement of extended family in educational aspirations is common in China, where traditional family fealty is now more narrowly focused.

The auntie said she was instructed to collect information about Saskatchewan because "it is safe and has clean air."
It was a recurring theme. Hosa, a strapping 6-2 Grade 12 student accompanied by his much shorter parents, said he was looking at Canada because of its "harmony."

His parents, however, were less philosophical.

"Definitely it will be Canada," his father said. "It is a good country with good air quality."

"Saskatchewan has become pretty aggressive about recruitment," said Ian Morrison, a recruiter for the Saskatchewan Institute for Applied Science and Technology. "Saskatchewan's population has grown 10 per cent in the last five years and will grow by 10 per cent again in the next five years, mostly from Asia. Traditionally, we never pursued them (international students) but now we have to. We need them."

He said the Moose Jaw institute has about 350 students from China and is seeking more.

"Most of them are using us for immigration purposes," Morrison said.

For the most part, Chinese students enrol in programs that also earn university credits. After three years, they graduate and are eligible for permanent resident status, which allows them to work. It also makes them eligible for resident tuition fees, which are about one-third of the $10,000 to $15,000 they had been spending as international students.

If all goes well from Saskatchewan's point of view, the students will remain in the province and became highly trained members of the workforce.

We stopped an intense-looking young woman with large, round owl glasses and short pigtails tied above her ears, her clothing and Ugg boots showing a meticulous fashion sense.

Rebecca said she was a Christian and had chosen her name from the Bible.

I confess an inability to guess women's ages in China, perhaps because they are, for the most part, petite.

I asked her if she was looking for a school to which she might go after graduating from high school.

"I am a master's student in linguistics and I'm looking for a school to purse a doctorate," she replied.

Ah, yes, of course.

Rebecca said she was looking for a school in Canada because "I have lots of friends there."

Her English was flawless, but her accent, like so many accents in China where English teachers might be from anywhere in the global village -- from England to India -- was impossible to describe.

She said, however, that the accent of the country in which she studied mattered -- she wants to sound mid-Atlantic.
I asked if she planned to remain in Canada, return to China, or go elsewhere.

"Maybe, it depends," she said.

Which struck me as an extraordinary thing to say. That a young Chinese woman in Chengdu confidently could contemplate a career path that would take her anywhere in the world of her choosing struck me as evidence of how quickly China has changed.

But when I said so, she responded instantly.

"It has always been this way for some people," she said. "Now there are just more of them."

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