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9 years in China... I have to admit that speak Chinese is more convenient

8 tips for perfect adaptation to Chinese Life

8 Tips for a Better Life in China

8 tips for a better life in china

With shrinking growth and opportunities in the West, many are those who think about or already decided to have a try and relocate to China for professional reasons.

Some just go on their own and finally want to stay there for a while, but most are sent by their company for 1 or few years’ missions, after having become a trusted element in the management team back home.  No matter the context, of course, you may feel lost once arrived, and yes, there is a real cultural shock.

No matter the context, of course, you may feel lost once arrived, and yes, there is a real cultural shock.

But don’t stop there, take it as a new challenge, a way to leave your comfort zone and learn more about yourself, acquire new competencies and reach more maturity. You will feel scared at some point, exasperated many times, but you will have rewarding experiences and you are going to have loads of things to share when you will go back at home… Then when this time comes, you will maybe realize that in fact you need more and want to go back living in China!

You will feel scared at some point, exasperated many times, but you will have rewarding experiences and you are going to have loads of things to share when you will go back at home… Then when this time comes, you will maybe realize that in fact you need more and want to go back living in China!

Here are 8 tips to better prepare for your new challenge in China. Don’t judge too fast, live your experience at full capacity and only after that, you will be able to love or not your Chinese life.

Read more about: Moving to China

  1. Ask questions to the right persons: your future colleagues or boss

Chinese manager

 Accept you are in a very different country and try to adapt to Chinese. If you have questions to prepare your trip, ask people who already went to China or are currently living there, rather than reading too many things about what to wear and how to behave.

Your future colleagues or boss in China, as well as those who’ve been there and already came back, are the best positioned to give you relevant answers. Besides it shows your interest in the mission and your trust in both your company and colleagues, a very good point!

Once in China, spend your days out, avoid locking yourself at the hotel or in your new flat. At the beginning, the more you will go out, meet people and see things around, the quicker you will get used to it and integrate yourself, get independent and finally enjoy your experience in China. The first place to visit is of course where you live. In Shanghai or Beijing, public transports are usually cheaper than in the West, and it is even truer for other places. So take advantage of it to explore the whole city, starting in your area. And then of course, if you want to see the best places in China you will have to leave big cities and head to Xinjiang province in the northwest, Yunnan province in the southwest or even further to Tibet.

  1. Learn Chinese, at least, some!

girl and book

No need to become fluent if you are in China for the short term, but you should definitely learn Chinese for a while, at least, all the basic stuff that will make you much more independent and quicker on a daily basis. You will also certainly save money. So even in a situation where your colleagues are all supposed to be able to speak English, and you are on a 6 months’ mission, it is still worth trying to learn Chinese in Shanghai, and it is almost mandatory in all other Chinese cities. You will not need more than 30 to 60 hours of 1 on 1 classes to learn all the basic stuff.

Now, if you consider staying for a long time in China, or develop yourself there, then there is no doubt that you should start investing on your Chinese, in order to progressively be able to smoothly interact with your environment and make the most out of your experiences.

  1. Be patient with new language

zen

You are trying to speak Chinese in the street and be patient. Obviously, you meet some of them who don’t want to understand you, because they are stubborn and you have to respect them even if you are upset. Others, make some efforts. This kind of situation helps you to forget your shyness. Then, you are taking the habits for speaking Chinese language and be more and more comfortable when you will practicing.

  1. Create an Ali-pay account and Wechat account

Wechat new way to connect

Today, Chinese get a Wechat account. Indeed, they are connected and the famous platform help them for everything. So you have to get this app first to discuss with people, find a flat, have a social life. In addition, you can browser on brands’ page and find good activity such as go to the restaurant, visit museums, shops, go to the party. Then, Wechat or Alipay enables you to become a loyal customer and benefit of some promotions or offers, scan QR code to be aware of your favorite place’s news. You can also pay thanks to your account directly with your smartphone. Congratulation! You are becoming a real Chinese consumer!

  1. Accept their self-centered attitude

Wine in desert

As everyone who comes from Western countries, you think many negative things about Chinese’s skills and habits. But don’t! Indeed, like you and me, they have their own culture and customs. However, trust me, they have changed since few years and they look like more and more to you! But there exist some points which can’t criticize them just because they are different. Of course, you are angry because you are sometimes invisible, they look impolite, self-centered. Actually, they don’t, and you should find the exception in order to show you are wrong. You are the attraction and they love your culture. They are only shy so try to be comprehensive. You and Chinese have many things to learn each other. So don’t give up!

Did you know that China has more billionaires than the United States ?

  1. Pay attention to what you eat

chinese food

In China, you can eat very good specialties, especially if you have the chance to try Cantonese or Xinjiang food, as well as some dishes from the northeast.  But in some situations, you can be quite surprised and taste what you could fairly call super spicy or disgusting food. Consequently, learn basic Chinese to be able to ask for non-spicy food, and how to both smile and keep quiet when you are not totally sure about what you are chewing on. Another important aspect of this is hygiene. Most of the foreigners will experience at a point or another some diarrheas. To avoid it as much as possible, never eat a fruit without carefully washing it, same goes with salad and raw vegetables, and avoid street food unless it is well grilled (it would be a pity to totally avoid it, so just make sure you choose the right spots). Finally, the water. Tap water is clean in all big cities in China, but most of the people do not drink it unless it was boiled before. This old reflex is often useless since the water is totally free of virus or bacteria almost everywhere except in some remote areas. One major concern however for many cities is heavy metal pollutions, mainly due to the old lead-pipe networks that are progressively being replaced.

  1. Seize any opportunity to discover the culture, no matter it looks good or bad

chinois famille

Some people are used to traveling all around the world and well aware of big cultural gaps that can exist between different societies. These travelers usually better accept both good and bad aspects of their experiences. However, for many of those who’ve stayed in their home country for most of the time, China will be the first big adventure in their life. Big hopes with no preparation can lead to some sort of deception in the first days, as life can seem hard at the beginning. But don’t lose faith, open yourself and get used to it. You will quickly start enjoying all the new things that China can offer!

Few words about Chinese manners now. To make it short, don’t be shocked or feel offended if you see people spitting or slurping in front of you. Both are minor features of the culture, and probably not the most relevant aspects to consider when judging someone. Besides, well-educated folks or those with more international backgrounds will often pay more attention to avoid it, as they are well aware that Westerners are quite sensitive on the topic.

Another interesting aspect to keep in mind does not hesitate to bargain. At least in “rather informal” shops or malls dedicated to foreign tourists in biggest Chinese cities, and selling everything from fake products to DVDs or tailored suits to traditional items. Don’t be too candid, Chinese are very gifted sellers, and they might propose different prices once they noticed that you were an expat. So do not hesitate to play the game from time to time, propose much lower prices and check people’s reactions, they won’t consider you impolite (some will in fact, but it can be part of the game as well). And if you want to make sure to get the right prices and avoid getting scammed, the best way is clearly to learn Chinese in Beijing or Shanghai for example. When you can speak Chinese, most of the hunters will immediately stop seeing you as a potential prey J

  1. Avoid Chinese holidays

china crowd

Be careful, you think New year time or others Chinese events are wonderful and you want to be in. Unfortunately, that is not a reality and as a foreigner, it would be very difficult to have fun among million of them. You have to adapt to this situation and let them celebrate their vacations. Meanwhile, you should take away from famous areas to find another activity with your expat friends. Or go to work! You can ask your boss to have some rest another day.

Even if you stay in China for short time and make all the possible efforts to live with Chinese, sometimes you will need to have fun with people of similar background and culture. Hanging out with foreigners who have been on site for a while can be helpful to share good addresses and tips. Freshly arrived ones will be undergoing the same process as you, so it is also nice to spend some time with them and talk about things. To find them, just take part of some sport team or join local community events. Last chance, try few of the most famous bars you can find online and avoid to be shy. After all that, if you did not meet any foreigner it means there are none in your town.

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    10 more years to wait before getting a clean air in Beijing

    Everybody knows the pollution in Beijing and in many other Chinese cities is bad. However, most of people are not aware of how bad the situation is and if it could get better sometime soon.

    10 more years to wait before getting a clean air in Beijing

    The World Health Organization estimates that a limit of maximum 25 micrograms of PM 2.5 (particles below 2.5 micrometers) per cubic meter of air to insure a healthy environment. Let’s have a look at historical and future target pollution levels recently published by the Chinese government in Beijing (average annual concentration of PM2.5):

    The average annual concentration of PM 2.5:

    • 2013 : 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter
    • 2014 : 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter
    • 2015 : 83.2 micrograms per cubic meter
    • Objectives for 2017 : 73 micrograms per cubic meter.
    • Objectives for 2020 : 64 micrograms per cubic meter
    • Objectives for 2030 : 25 micrograms per cubic meter

    These latter objectives were announced by Chinese government as a new target.

    These new targets also include Beijing’s closest cities as Tianjin, and the province of Hebei, which is even more polluted than Beijing. Hebei is actually one of the world’s main steel producer, burning coal to melt it.

    beijing pollution

    As a result, in 2013 Hebei and Tianjin area combined together had an average PM2.5 concentration of 106 micrograms per cubic meter, while Beijjng’s average concentration was at 89.5. With that in mind, it seems difficult for these areas to succeed in achieving government’s targets. However, they are so close that their activity impacts without any doubt the quality of the air in Beijing. That is why their success is of capital importance for the success of Beijing.

    According to the World Health Organization “small particles produce health impacts at even very low concentrations” and “no threshold under which no damage on health would be observed has been identified up to now. Therefore, the WHO 2005 guideline limits aimed at achieving the lowest concentrations of PM possible”.

    pollution beijing people outside

    Let’s hope that new government policies will succeed in changing the industry, bringing a cleaner and fresher air over China, to finally become an example for other developing nations. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to wear a mask!

    If you have to stay home because of pollution, here are some interesting articles to read: 

    Pollution in China on Yahoonews

    Beijing living Blog

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      6 GOOD reasons to learn Chinese

      What are the best reasons to study Chinese language?

      Mandarin is the most widely used among Chinese languages. It is spoken by more than a billion people around the world and is therefore the most spoken language on earth. Along with the internationalization and strengthening of the Chinese economy that has gradually taken place since the beginning of the century, many foreigners have come to “the central country” (most accurate translation for “zhongguo”, the Mandarin word used for China) and even more are about to come! And naturally, a great part of them have been pushed to study Chinese…

      So, what are the 6 good reasons?


      1 – A powerful economy and many job opportunities

      More than just in China, people speak Chinese in other Asian countries, like Singapore or Taiwan. Many “huaren”, as Chinese people call Chinese migrants leaving outside China, are also holding strong positions over the economy in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines or even in Indonesia. As a result, learning Chinese expands opportunities to find a job anywhere in Asia and can definitely make the difference with other competitors.

      learn-chinese-get-a-job

      2 – A wide and dynamic area with loads of business opportunities

      For those who dream about launching their own business, Asia is a perfect playground. However, a strong limitation to make it come true is that many local people cannot speak English. Take the advantage by learning Chinese!

      china-flagge-kurve

      3 – Chinese is in fact not so difficult to learn

      We all heard that Chinese language was one of the most difficult one to learn since we were children. But actually, Chinese grammar is very simple and flexible, and a basic Chinese level can be reached within just few months.

      slide1_left

      4 – Gain access to a brand new world

      Visit amazing places, get in touch with amazing people you could never have got in touch with if you could not speak Chinese. Asia is big, very big. And you will see there among the most beautiful places on earth. The problem is that most of these places, at least for China and Taiwan, are in remote locations where nobody speaks English. It would be a pity to miss these treasures just because you cannot communicate in Chinese…

      shanghai_tower_pirages281108_1

      5 – Change the way you see the life, broaden your view

      Chinese language is very special, using tones add one dimension to the communication, and words are often made of associations of other words that, put together, best describe them. These two particularities put together will impact your conception of language, and even in some cases your conception of words themselves, and their real meaning. It will also be a chance to learn about the long history of China, its culture and rich traditions.

      Beijing - Forbidden City / Verbotene Stadt

      6 – Just to enjoy real Chinese food

      Chinese food is varied and tasty, because it comes from many different Chinese areas and cultures. It has nothing to see with most of dishes you will get in Chinese restaurants back in Europe or in the US. So if you learn Chinese, you should be able to order your food in restaurants and maybe you will be lucky enough taste real Chinese food.

      xiao-long-bao

       

       

       

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        When artists are using the pollution for inspiration in Beijing

        A Chinese artist turned Beijing dust pollution into a brick.

        This is not a rumor: pollution in China, and particularly in Beijing, is becoming even worse than beliefs. Residents of the huge city try to escape the smog, a cloud of heavy and really harmful pollution, which is hovering the urban area. An artist, nicknamed “Nut Brother” and armed with a vacuum cleaner, has exposed himself to the harmful vapors during 100 days, four hours per day.

        beijing art China
        Beijing Art Beijing Artist  Beijing pollution

        As weird as it may seem, his project is for the common good: how to show, in a relevant way, how bad this sadly famous heavy fog is, by shifting all the dust he can possibly collect into a brick.

        beijing artists

        This project was announced by the artist in late July. Nut Brother is from Shenzen and after living in Beijing for years, he has decided to show the pollution in this city by vacuum the dust. For that, he has walked every day in Beijing’s streets with little equipment – like wearing a respirator mask from time to time – and has collected dust.

        A hundred days later, on November 30, he gathered the collected dust with other materials such as clay and brought it to a brick industrial unit to produce a brick. The process was first semi-finished in the factory; he then finished the work by drying it and firing it up to make the brick.

        His project was born in 2013: Nut Brother had decided to alert the world and to make people react by showing what they breathe day after day. His aim is to highlight essential environmental protection and also to bring to light a precious and old relationship between nature and human.

        His walks conducted him from Tiananmen Square to the headquarters of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, to the Bird’s Nest national stadium, where he was taken for a simple “air cleaner” or an “air monitoring person” most of the time. During this work, he posted every day all the information about his activity on his Weibo account: date, vacuumed area of the day, weather and some pictures taken by passers-by.

        This work became famous in China easily and quickly, but many people are wondering if the project is real and if the brick is actually formed of pollution dust.

        Indeed, some Weibo users have mentioned that it is impossible: to be achieved, a brick would needs to consist of PM 250, the fine particular matter in the air, instead of PM 2.5.

        Apparently, the total weight of dust and smog which were collected was about 100 grams, whereas the added clay weighed several kilograms, which is not a lot more than what is used for a common brick. In the end, Nut Brother declared he was not doing a scientific research and that his project was purely a symbol.

        He would now like to donate this special brick to a construction site, so it becomes a part of this urban jungle and not just so “dust returns to dust” but so it contributes to the evolution of consciousness about environmental protection.

         

        Further reading about Beijing here

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          What you need to know about the new office of TailorMade

          A few months ago, TailorMade settled in its new Chinese Learning Center in Sanlitun, in “Maison France Chine” office building, together with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (CCIFC) and 11 French companies. The whole project was supervised by SCOUT Real Estate, who also opened an agency at the 1st floor of the building.

           

          Thanks to SCOUT Real Estate, (property solutions provider in Beijing)

          SCOUT Real Estate agency was founded in 2007 by two French partners, Gregory Desbuquois and Jean-Baptiste Audran.

          SCOUT does not offer only Office services, but also Residential services, helping expatriates to find their new home in Beijing and Retail services, finding locations for companies opening Shop, Workshop, Showroom…

          TailorMade and SCOUT Real Estate are not only located in the same office building in Beijing, but they are also part of the French Connection, a group of enterprises offering a wide range of services to expatriates and their families and sharing the same aspiration for customer service quality!

          When expatriates arrive in Beijing, they will first look for a new home and school for the kids. They soon realize that they should learn Chinese to make their daily life easier and really enjoy living in Beijing. Having the 2 service providers located in the same building is definitely convenient!

          About Scout Real Estate

          image002

          SCOUT Real estate is also writing a blog “Living in Beijing”, which is a good source of information for expatriates and their families: home search in Beijing, advantages of residential compounds, international schools introduction, tutorials for Chinese APPs and administrative procedures, extracurricular activities for kids and adults, healthy living in Beijing, markets and shopping… as well as real estate market information, guide for renting an office in Beijing… The blog is available in two languages, French and English.

          If you clearly understand the benefits of learning Chinese language using a method developed for foreign professionals coming to China for work, then, it shouldn’t take you long to figure out the reasons to choose a foreign managed Real Estate agency, with experienced consultants who know what matters to foreigners when it comes to finding a new home for their family!

          Visit SCOUT Real Estate office and meet with their expert team of real estate consultants.

          Address: F1, Room 101, No.81 Building, No.4 Workers’ Stadium North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100027, P.R.China

          北京市朝阳区工人体育场北路4号81号楼1层101室(机电学院院内)

          Phone: +86 10 8596 8873/72

          Website: http://scout-realestate.com/

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            Top 10 Chinese fortunes of the web

            The list of 2015’s richest Chinese people in China by Forbes magazine has come out. This year, 1% of those on the list’s total wealth has grown by 5% from 376 billion to 540 billion.

            In the same period last year, Alibaba’s founder, Jack” Ma Yun, came top of Forbes list for the first time after the IPO of his company. But this year, Ma is in second place, although he remains the richest person in the technology market.

            Wanda group’s Wang Jianlin has overtaken Ma, thanks to the stock market inputs derived from his company.

            Despite the strong interest in the rankings, this article will instead show you the top 10 Chinese CEOs in technology.

            1st. Jack Ma – 21.8 billion dollars

            The 2nd richest man in China, he increased his wealth by 19.5 billion last year.

            Despite coming in at second place as China’s richest personality, Jack Ma saw the net value of its trade increase, propelling it to the top of the rankings, despite a 20% decline in share price since Alibaba’s IPO in September 2014.

            jack ma

             

            2nd. Ma Huateng -17.6 billion dollars

            3rd richest person in China. He  increased his wealth by 14.7 billion dollars last year

            The founder of Tencent, “Pony” Ma Huateng increased his wealth b,thanks to WeChat which continues to grow and also by investing smartly, such as “Didi Dache”. Despite the volatility of the Chinese stock market this summer, Tencent’s share price climbed steadily.

             Ma Huateng

             

            3rd. Lei Jun -13.2 billion dollars

            4th richest person in China , his wealth increased by 9.1 billion last year.

            Lei Jun is the founder of a very successful start-up, and saw his wealth increase exponentially thanks to the expansion of Xiaomi. He also has investments in listed high-tech companies on the stock exchange, such as Cheetah Mobile.

            lei jun

             

            4th. Robin Li -10.4 billion dollars

            6th richest man in China, his wealth fell by 14.7 billion dollars compared to last year.

            It’s not such a good year for the CEO of Baidu, Robin Li. Concerns from investors on the profitability of Baidu and market share have led to a decline of nearly 30% in his wealth in last 12 months.

            robin li

             

            5th. He Xiangjian – 9.3 billion dollars.

            7th richest man in China, his wealth increased by 7.5 billion dollars in comparison to last year

            He is the CEO of Xiangjian Midea, a household appliance manufacturer. Midea brings smart home devices to smart homes”. He also gaibed partnerships with Alibaba and Xiaomi.

             

            6th. Liu Qiangdong – 7.8 billion dollars

            9th highest  fortune in China, his wealth increased by 7.1 billion last year

            Nearly a year and a half after its entry onto the American stock  exchange JD, CEO Liu Qiangdong saw his wealth increase slightly, because of the the share listing.

             

            7th. William Ding – $ 7.5 billion

            10th Richest man in China. His wealth increased by 4.9 billion.

            Netease is a technology company unknown to the general public outside China, but is a web portal company which provides many online games.

             

            8th. Lu Guanqiu -$ 7 billion 

            13th richest person in China, with their wealth increasing by 5.4 billion since last year.

            Lu Guanqiu is Wanxiang and Fisker’s manager, a manufacturer of hybrid electric cars, acquired during the bankruptcy of its US owners., Wanxiang was founded in 1969 and used to make auto components.

             

            9th. Jia Yueting – $ 6 billion

            17th richest person in China.

            CEO Letv is new to this list. Jia Yueting succeeds to increase its value by diversifying enormously, from streaming sites to the film industry, also with electric vehicles. The company has created a start-up taxi service, a minor rival to Uber and Didi Kuaidi.

             

            10th. Zhou Qunfei -5.9 billion

            18th through China

            Only one woman makes the cut in China in the technology sector; Zhou Qunfei was already crowned as the richest woman in China, and is now the second coming of Chinese new Forbes ranking.

            She first worked in a glass factory before joining Lens Technology in 2003, bringing with her, all her knowledge and expertise. The company creates glass screens for smartphones, computers and tablets. Today, the company counts Apple among its customers , and also which it provides glass for Apple Watch, and Samsung.

            TailorMade 

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              China has more billionaires than the United States

              China is surpassing the United States

              Where are all the billionaires? In China, despite an economy slowdown, corruption, crack down…

              According to The Hurun Report, a China-based wealth research firm, China has 568 billionaires whereas the United States has 535 becoming the first in the world list. It surpassed the U.S. in summer 2015 and has grown by 90% last year only.

              However, Hurun’s list is subject to debate, because it is different from Forbes’ list and other wealth expert firms, which keep the US as the country with the highest number of billionaires. According to Forbes’ 2015 China report, China has 335 billionaires whereas the US has 536.

              Usually, when an economy is slowing down, billionaire growth decelerates too. But from 2014 to 2015, the total wealth of the world’s billionaires grew by 9 percent, reaching $7.3 trillion in 2015.

              According to Hurun, Beijing would have surpassed New York as the billionaire capital of the world.

              Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of Hurun Report, declared “Despite its own slowdown and falling stock markets, China minted more new billionaires than any other country in the world last year, mainly on the back of new listings”.

              Hoogewerf was not been able to explain why Hurun’s numbers are so different from Forbes‘, just claiming people’s personal wealth is hardly an exact science — especially in the unclear Chinese economy.

              He also said that was a low count; he estimates they missed, at least, two, because “Some people deliberately make their wealth a secret because … they gained it through illegal ways.” and “Some others simply prefer to keep a low profile.”

              dollars and yuans

              Hurun lists the different main sources of wealth in China. Real Estate, Manufacturing and technology are the 3 biggest sources of wealth in China, the first one produces 117 billionaires, the second one 94 and the last one created “only” 68 billionaires.

              According the report, China also has the largest number of young billionaires (under age 40) and of self-made women: 93 out of 124 self-made women billionaires worldwide are from China.

              Read more: 10 Digital Strategies you need to learn if you work in Travel industry in China

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                Should Expats learn Chinese in Shanghai?

                Should Expats learn Chinese in Shanghai?

                Every year, more and more foreigners come to China, for studies or for the next step in their career. Some will stay for short time, others will be in China for long, and they have one point in common which is that most of them will learn Chinese at some point. However, for some of them especially expats coming for short time, and even more when moving to Shanghai, investing on Chinese or not remains a big question.

                Here are some advices from foreigners who’ve lived in China for a while.

                What you can do in Shanghai without any Chinese skills:

                Partying: most of famous clubs or pubs will have English speaking staff, but not all of them and not all the staff. So for basic things you should be able to communicate without problems. Things might get harder if you have some special request, specific questions or if you get into trouble areas where freshly arrived foreigners are easy targets (guys or girls hooking you in the street asking if you want a massage or students proposing you to try some amazing teas in a small local shop while having a cultural exchange).

                Eating, but mostly foreign food. Local restaurants usually have no English speaking staff in Shanghai, or the most expensive ones.

                xiao-long-bao

                Travelling through the city, mostly in subway. Indeed, everything is translated in English which is quite convenient. However, if you want to take the cab you will definitely need to speak some Chinese, unless you just show some address in hanzi but the driver will probably still keep on asking you questions in Chinese all the way long and you may end up taking the longest road to reach your destination point.

                Meeting people and making friend, but only with foreigners and the few Chinese who can speak English. That being said, those who really do not want to learn Chinese can be reassured because it already makes a lot of people. The bad side of this is that you will surely miss part of the adventure and live almost like you would have back home if you’re already from a big international city.

                improve_chinese_skills

                Working is of course not a problem neither, as far as you are in an adapted structure and environment.

                What you can’t do in Shanghai if you don’t speak any Chinese

                Generally speaking, making good deals on a daily basis, as shops with English speaking staffs are more expensive. And at the end, everything added together makes a substantial amount of money. You may buy food more expensive, same will happen with clothes, your flat rent will be higher, and you will often pay more for a drive than would have a Chinese speaking friend. This can be easily solved by acquiring a “survival” level in Mandarin, and you won’t have to learn Chinese in Shanghai for more than 30 to 60 hours to secure it.

                dollars and yuans

                You will not be able to ask your way, or simply ask questions and exchange with locals, which will make your daily life a little more complex and your experience less rich. Every time you need something you will have to ask a friend who speaks Chinese to help, and since you cannot do it all day long you will end giving up on less essential things. Many Chinese can speak English in Shanghai compared to other Chinese cities, but it still represents a very small part of the population and most of the time, you won’t have anyone close around you able to communicate in English in Shanghai.

                You cannot reach a comprehensive understanding of local culture, as it requires daily exchanges with numerous locals at your work, school, in the streets, shops or anywhere possible. You will only be able to interact with those Chinese people who are already interacting with loads of foreigners, and they will naturally be less curious about you since they already got plenty of foreign friends, so less eager to share ideas with you. And as a matter of fact, they will also be much fewer. At the end, all this can make a big difference regarding the personal experience you will acquire, and for the professional side you may miss obvious information and good business opportunities.

                guanxi business people

                Any conclusion?

                In Shanghai, you will be able to survive for sure if you don’t speak any Chinese, which is not the case in all Chinese cities. But your life will be harder, things will take you more time, cost you more money, and the experience you will accumulate through you trip will be poorer. So naturally we recommend you to learn some Chinese, even just a little if you have no time, because you will surely quickly benefit from it once on site.

                If you just want to make your daily life easier, pay things their real price and move quicker through the city, 30 to 60 hours of individual Chinese lessons are usually enough, as they will get you to a “survival” or “survival +” level. If you are among the lucky ones who already studied some Chinese at school, it makes even more sense to take few hours of lessons to refresh your mind and most importantly practice your daily oral Chinese, confirm it is operational. In that case 20 to 30 hours of class can be enough, but you definitely need to make sure your pronunciation is right with a professional and probe your oral skills, even basic ones.

                learn_chinese_in_beijing_bottom

                For those who want to fully enjoy their Chinese experience, understand the culture, develop their local network and eventually use these skills for business purposes, they will need to learn Chinese in Beijing or Shanghai for a minimum of 150 to 200 hours (we use 1 to 1 training with a professional and experienced teacher as a reference here). And of course, it will take a lot of curiosity and practice to reach the highest level, but it is definitely worth it and relatively quick to get to.

                One last advice, for those who want to make more local friends or do business in Shanghai, once you reached a small level in Mandarin don’t hesitate to learn few basic words of Shanghainese!

                Read more:

                Learn Chinese in Shanghai
                top 5 reasons why you have to learn chinese and take the hsk exam

                6 tips to success with your marketing in China
                10 digital ways to learn Chinese

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                  Top 5 Reasons why you have to learn Chinese and take the HSK exam

                  Group studying chinese

                  Top 5 Reasons why you have to learn Chinese and take the HSK exam

                  What is HSK test?

                  You may have heard millions of times about this HSK test. It is standing for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (汉语水平考试) meaning Chinese level test.

                  It was launched by Hanban, which is a kind of institution tightly link with the Ministry of education. The main goal here is to spread and better serve the Chinese language in the world. Mandarin is one of the most spoken languages in the world.

                  For 30 years, this test has been taken over 100 billion times!  Why not just passing it!

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                  How does HSK test works?

                  You have 6 levels of the HSK that will test your Chinese language proficiency. The content of the test will depend on your level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced.

                  For example, level 1 to level 2 will be more focus on basic listening and read understanding. From the level 3 to the level 6, it will be advanced understanding of listening and reading with presentation and image description…etc.

                  Now that you have a better understanding of what is the HSK test, here let discover the 5 reasons why you should better pass your HSK test and learn Chinese.

                  1. In China, you have to speak Chinese.

                  If you are planning to go to China, you will have to know you have to speak mandarin. When you will go to order food or doing some daily activities, speaking Chinese is obviously a necessity. I know what you are thinking…”I have to learn a bit mandarin, but why do I have to pass HSK test?”
                  It is a way for you to force yourself to start to learn mandarin and to speak the right one! If you start to learn Chinese, you will know that depending on the accent that you will use, the understand meaning will be different.

                  1. The HSK is asked for foreign students who want study in Chinese Universities

                  Both students whose mother tongue is not the Official Chinese Language (Mandarin) but a Chinese dialect and foreign students are asked to take the HSK. Professionals also take this exam when they want to prove their Chinese proficiency to potential employers.

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                  Here there is an interesting article about the best program for you to learn Chinese in Beijing.

                  1. Showing to your employer your dedication to being in China and your respect for Chinese Culture.

                  It shows all efforts made to learn Chinese culture.

                  Learning one country’s language is a way to step up to its culture and to let them give the feeling that you are planning to immerse into the Chinese culture.

                  As most of the countries, each one has its own way of thinking and traditions are deeply rooted in china. So, showing interest in this culture is a way to win one more positive point during a job interview.

                  If you want to do business with Chinese people, you need to understand them and the first is to know how to speak mandarin.

                  Do you think it is too difficult to pass the HSK test? Do not hesitate to contact us.

                  1. So many foreign workers are expatriating in China. Wouldn’t you like to be the first on head-hunters’ list?

                  It shows a value added competence to your potential employer.

                  Being able to speak and read Chinese will be the “plus” skill which is more and more sought-after by Chinese employers and multinational groups.

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                  They need foreign workers who are able to deal with Chinese businessmen in Confucius language. Passing HSK will be your VIP entry pass. Here, you will be able to show your skill and performance to the recruiter.

                  1. It is easier to learn Chinese

                  Nowadays, learning Chinese is easier than never, thanks to Chinese schools for foreigners in China. Some of them can provide Chinese lessons online and offline, one-on-one, or in small groups… and can help to prepare you for the HSK exam

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                    Do Chinese consumers prefer Chinese brands?

                    Are Chinese consumers more attracted to Chinese brands?

                    China is counting an impressive and still increasing number of millionaires in US dollars, all willing to buy more and more expensive brands. So naturally, the country was until recently considered as a gold mine for foreign luxury brands.

                    However, CEOs seems to have forgotten a major point, and a new report by Thomas Gatley of GaveKal Dragonomics claims that multinationals have already started losing Chinese consumers while local companies are taking over these market shares. This point seems to be that Chinese consumers, in fact, do prefer labels that are ‘‘made by/in china’’.

                    A good example of that change lies in the automotive market in China, which still raises interests… and concerns. Indeed, recent events are changing the way international companies look to this specific market. First, while announcing its record earnings worldwide, Toyota Motors also reported a big slowdown in China. A second concern came from a new Chinese car which should go on sales soon: it is very similar to Land Rover, it is cheaper and has already reached thousands of pre-orders.

                    China continues to copy or “re-design”, produce and sell foreign cars. But generally for a much lower price. This phenomenon is also observed in other industries: clothes, electronics and appliances, which are originally designed in foreign countries and later copied in China.

                    yuan

                    Coming back to the automobile sector, in 2013, most foreign companies such as Ford, Daimler or Volkswagen have seen their sales rise by 70 percent. But in 2015, while Chinese automobiles brands sales increased by 30 percent, foreign brands only reported a 12% growth. Moreover, to better compete with its foreign fellows new Chinese brands pick up similar names, like Great Wall Motors, JAC Motors or Chang’An Automobile Group.

                    If you want to know more about the Chinese economy, here there is an interesting article about 5 interesting tips on the Chinese economy.

                    Chang’an Auto

                    changan auto

                    What is now surprising is that, if local Chinese companies are copying foreign ones, they are not putting quality aside. They succeed in offering similar products to famous brands, with a lower price but still a good quality. This situation not only put into danger international brands performances on the Chinese market but also on other markets, as Chinese brands slowly acquire the capacity to compete anywhere.

                    Xiaomi smartphone

                    Xiaomi photo

                    The same scenario occurs in many fields, and loads of companies are rethinking their strategies, trying to identify new competitive edges or striving to cut costs in order to keep up with the price war. A living example of this potential scenario becoming true is Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone brand that became the leader in China and is now known overseas as the new powerful smartphone which is cheaper than Apple or Samsung devices.

                    Read more:

                    Top 10 Chinese fortunes of the web
                    China Speculation Research: Contamination Weighing Down China’s Future

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