With so many cultural differences between China and the West, the decision to relocate to China as an expat can be a difficult one.
Although expats do indeed have some complex cultural differences to navigate however, there are a huge number of positives for people taking the move.
As providers of expatriate relocation training, we hear a lot of feedback from our relocating clients on their experiences.
Let’s look at some of the common positives that we’ve gleaned from people relocating to China...
1: China is well located and bordered by 14 other countries which means you have easy access to lots of other incredible countries.
You don’t even have to fly to get there, so if you’re someone that loves experiencing new people and cultures, then you can build some incredible experiences by taking the train or travelling by road. Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Vietnam are all options if you want some adventure during your vacations.
2: There’s a lot that Westerners can learn from the Chinese culture.
The way people communicate, build relationships, show respect, manage their teams and interact with friends and families differs to Western culture. Learning new ways to do things and different approaches to managing situations in the workplace not only gives you extra strategies to use in any given situation but it also enables you to build trusting relationships with a broader spectrum of people.
[Did you know the Chinese communication style heavily relies on people to 'mask' their emotions? It's crucial to try and maintain a sense of harmony, especially in public, so it's very common to not show how you feel. This comes from Buddhist and Confucian teachings. To discover more about Chinese culture, check out our our free guide.]
3: China has a great food culture and meals are often eaten in groups which makes for a more sociable environment.
In the large cities in China, you can generally find a restaurant somewhere that serves the international cuisine you’re after. In fact, many people argue that Shanghai restaurants serve some of the best food in the world – and with so many Michelin starred restaurants in the city, then it’s hard to argue with this. So, whether you’re looking for Vietnamese, Korean, Indian or American food, then you can generally find it.
4: Although most people in the workplace understand English, they tend to be better readers and writers than speakers.
For expats with the language skills who are new to China, this can be a challenge at first. However, it really pushes you to learn the language, which is a great asset on your CV as, not only is Chinese Mandarin a beautiful language, but it’s also spoken by over 20% of the world’s population.
5: The large cities in China tend to be very multicultural which gives you the opportunity to meet people from many other parts of the world.
If you work in a large multinational, then you’ll develop some great intercultural business skills which will help you anticipate and navigate local business cultures wherever you are in the world.
Relocating to China
This blog outlines just a small number of advantages for expats relocating to China.
Clearly there are many more, depending on the city to which you relocate. If you get the opportunity to move to China, then it’s one not to miss. And, since China is so family friendly then it’s a great destination for expats with trailing family members
If you are planning to relocate to China, then contact us for access to our online Chinese cultural learning course which is jam packed with insights and strategies to help you make the best impression possible when you are there.
Alternatively, contact us if you’d like to receive live webinar training with one of our expert country trainers.
You may also find the following blogs useful:
- China Cross Cultural Management Guide
- 5 Chinese Dining Etiquette Tips You Really Should Know
- Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept
- Expatriate Guide to Surviving Culture Shock