Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Foreigners seek jobs in China amid crisis

So it seems from this report that China has now becoming the new land of opportunity. Well, not quite, with only 217,000 foreigners holding work permits, it is not that significant a number relative to China’s workforce size. I do believe this number will grow pretty quickly though, just as any trend that develops in China, the potential for pretty substantial exponential growth is there.

But what’s really pertinent about this report is the fact that these foreign work seekers are going to be competing with millions of well-qualified Chinese jobseekers willing to work for just a few hundred US dollars a month. Not much, but a stepping stone into a potentially huge market. So, those who venture there I would reckon, would possess considerable foresight.

Quotable Quote – “China’s job market has been propped up by Beijing’s 4 trillion yuan (S$828 billion) stimulus, which helped to boost growth to 7.9 per cent from a year earlier in the quarter ended June 30, and from 6.1 per cent the previous quarter.”

Foreigners seek jobs in China amid crisis
Robust growth creates ‘land of opportunity’ for millions of job seekers
Associated Press
Source – Straits Times 20 September 2009

A growing number of young foreigners are going to China to look for work in its unfamiliar but less bleak economy, driven by the worst job markets in decades in the United States, Europe and some Asian countries.

Many do basic work such as teaching English, a service in demand from Chinese businessmen and students. A growing number, however, are arriving with skills and experience in computers, finance and other fields.

‘China is really the land of opportunity now compared to their home countries,’ said Mr Chris Watkins, manager for China and Hong Kong of MRI China Group, a headhunting firm. ‘This includes college graduates as well as maybe more established businessmen, entrepreneurs and executives from companies around the world.’

He said the number of resumes his company receives from abroad has tripled over the past 18 months.

China’s job market has been propped up by Beijing’s 4 trillion yuan (S$828 billion) stimulus, which helped to boost growth to 7.9 per cent from a year earlier in the quarter ended June 30, and from 6.1 per cent the previous quarter.

The government says millions of jobs will be created this year, though as many as 12 million job seekers will still be unable to find work.

Mr Andrew Carr, a 23-year-old Cornell University graduate, saw China as a safer alternative after offers of Wall Street jobs to classmates were withdrawn because of the economic turmoil.

Passing up opportunities at home, he started work last month at bangyibang.

com, a classified listings website in the southern city of Shenzhen.

‘I noticed the turn the US economy was taking and decided it would be best to go directly to China,’ said Mr Carr, who studied Mandarin for eight years.

China can be more accessible to job-hunters than economies where getting work permits is harder, such as Russia and some European Union countries.

Employers need government permission to hire foreigners, but the authorities promise an answer within 15 working days, compared with a wait of months or longer that may be required in some other countries.

An employer has to explain why it needs to hire a foreigner instead of a Chinese, but the government says it gives special consideration to people with technical or management skills.

Some 217,000 foreigners held work permits at the end of last year, up from 210,000 a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Thousands more use temporary business visas and go abroad regularly to renew them.

Job hunters from other Asian countries are also looking to China.

Mr An Kwang Jin, a 30-year-old South Korean photographer, has been working as a freelancer for a year in the eastern city of Qingdao. He said China offers more opportunities, as South Korea is struggling with a sluggish economy.

Still, foreigners will face more competition from a rising number of educated, English-speaking young Chinese, some of whom are returning from the West with work experience, said Mr Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai.

‘You have a lot of Chinese from top universities who are making US$500 to US$600 a month,’ Mr Rein said. ‘Making a case that you are much better than they are is very hard.’


Filed under: Culture, Economics, Straits Times

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