Working in China

According to my view and a whole lot of people, China has for a long time been the heartbeat of the worlds’ economy. This is where every business person desires to embark. Everyone wants a little piece of China. As a lawyer, there are quite a number of things one needs to keep in check as they pursue that market…

First and foremost, the culture; this is the make it or break it factor. Chinese people are extremely fond of their culture and exalt it above everything. You need to study their culture, understand it and where possible be able to incorporate it into parts of your life. For instance, you need to know that entertainment is very important to them and how they view entertainment may be different from how you view it.

Foreign GSK manager's trial in China - photo Reuters via Telegraph

A foreign private investigator on trial in China – photo Reuters via Telegraph

Secondly you need to be conversant with their laws and that includes the fact that you cannot practice Chinese law if you are not a Chinese citizen who has gone through the required process and have the valid practice certificates. Where you are a citizen you need to have completed a one year internship program after your exams before you can be declared as an attorney/lawyer.
Thirdly you need to be well acquainted with the language. Knowing Mandarin and can read Chinese language will be at a greater advantage. The knowledge of these languages also makes you more marketable as a lawyer and it increases your value.

Skill set is very important for you as a lawyer as well. My advice would be to gain enough field experience before you go on board into the Chinese market. The more you know about your country and other countries the more relevant you will be. This will enable you to be more versatile and sharpen the already gained knowledge on law due to the different scenarios.
With the Chinese clientele you need to be very persistent in terms of payment.

Some clients may pay you the full amount in time but in most cases they will not pay it on time/ at all. You need to be very careful with the clients you choose to work with (research is your friend). Being cautious helps you avoid cases of being swindled.

You need to be patient and know that it will take a while before you build a good number of clients; nothing comes easy especially in china. A lot of research is needed, you need to understand the type of people you want to represent/ advise and the issues they face (not forgetting your limitations if you are a foreign lawyer). Do you want to work in the trade business? Do you know the laws in and around trade? Are you well connected to people who can help? What are the limitations that you will face as a lawyer in that area?

Finally be willing to learn new things, be flexible because with China’s diverse culture and growing economy you need to be able to act with sufficient speed and be very flexible. If you do not have the passion, don’t bother pursuing law in China because you will be frustrated and unfulfilled.

Useful Reading

  • Harris, D. (2006, October 10). China Law Blog. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • Harris, D. (2007, February 14). China Law Blog. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • Hodkins, T. (2006, September 4). Transnational law blog . Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • Kwintessential. (n.d.). Kwintessential. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • Lewis, R. (2013, January 18). The Lawyer. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • unknown. (n.d.). CQ recruit. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
    wales, I. l. (2007, September 28).
  • International law society of England and wales . Retrieved September 18, 2014, from


By Claire Maumo for


Internships in China are hot right now – get work experience in the world’s (only) red-hot economy that really makes your resumé stand out!

Things to research

Before we get to the big list of links, here are the main points you need to consider: decide what you want and then see if the program matches

  1. Location (major city? dodgy industrial suburbs of major city? semi rural boondocks?)
  2. Timings: length and start date
  3. Target industry and specialism … or focus on volunteer / charity / ecological projects?
  4. Direct placement with a company or via an agency/organization arranging it (this can affect whether you are working alone or in a group) — and is the organization based in your home country?
  5. Do we know anything about the Chinese company and how to research more about it
  6. Position requirements / your level of experience and skills
  7. Accommodation arrangements and location (would you like to try a long commute across Beijing every day?)
  8. Working hours and holiday allowance
  9. Supervision and working environment
  10. Any business travel requirements or all working in one place
  11. Leisure/tourism arrangements by host company or agency
  12. Any Chinese language requirements
  13. Whether Chinese language study is included in the program
  14. Whether the company offers any living costs or stipend (they will not really be able to call it a salary)
  15. Visa arrangement process and responsibility for costs
  16. Flight arrangement and costs
  17. Possibility of free travel after the internship
  18. Paperwork requirements for agency/program signup and time to complete
  19. Pre-payment / deposit and overall fees required from the agency/organization (should probably put this at no.1 question!)
  20. Paperwork confirming contracts and expectations
  21. What, if any, formal paperwork / references you are going to get from the Chinese company at the end
  22. Whether agency/organization can offer contact to previous participants or at least show their previous comments and help with FAQs
  23. Whether the agency/organizer offers any advice or assistance on what to buy / wear / do / learn before coming to China (for complete beginners or  younger students)
  24. Whether the program will be able to match any of your special dietary needs… mobility needs… medical needs…
  25. Whether you can meet representatives of the agency/organizer in your home country in advance


List of China Internship Programs

The following list is in rough order of how popular/famous the program is.

The list includes Hong Kong Internships because, duh, that is also China. But for sure not the same kind of experience as a Mainland China internship placement 😀

The linked companies come with no implied recommendation or guarantee – always do your due diligence and try to get in touch with people who have already done an internship with a particular organization.

Also don’t forget to check out the Shenzhen internships currently advertised right here on Shenzhen Jobs.

Please send us new program links or any corrections through the comments on this article or via our contact form.

Hired China Internships

HiredChina Internships

New and professionally focused English language China jobs site: A variety of internships including some well known companies and main focus on Shenzhen and Qingdao.

HiredChina Facebook Page

Intuu China Internships


“Going beyond together” sounds a bit like the slogan of a Luohu massage parlor… just kidding.

Intuu China has a variety of internships in Beijing and Shanghai.

IntuuChina Facebook Page

CRCC Asia internships


This is definitely one of the major and best established internship programs specialising in China. Includes Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen [woot!]

CRCC Asia Facebook Page


ELI Abroad China internships

Experiential Learning International / ELI

Internships in Shanghai with a variety of industries to look at.

ELI Facebook Page

Hutong School internship in China

Hutong School

Definitely one of the cooler and better marketed brands around, Hutong School cover Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu with strong offerings for people wanting to learn Chinese.

Hutong School Facebook Page


CIS Abroad


An international organization offering all kinds of student study programs in different countries, the China programs focus on language learning in Beijing and Shanghai.

CIS Abroad Facebook Page


Dream Careers Summer Internships

DreamCareers Summer Internships

As the domain name would suggest, this is a vacation-timed program with placements in several US and European cities. The China program seems to be just Hong Kong at the moment, but this is a unique city and good way to get China on your CV without actually going through the full culture shock of the mainland.

Dream Careers Facebook Page

Projects Abroad China internships


Volunteer placements as well as business internships in a variety of professions including medicine and law, in Shanghai and Chengdu.

ProjectsAbroad Facebook Page


The Intern Group hong kong

 The Intern Group

Internships in various major world cities and the China one is in Hong Kong. This looks like a well established organization.

The Intern Group Facebook Page

i to i teach English abroad

i-to-i /

This is an Egnlish teaching internship which would be a good way to start an international TEFL/ESL career, although another way of looking at it would be that this is a way for new teachers to jump in at the deep end of a very challenging environment for expat teachers…

i-to-i TEFL Facebook Page

Dragons internships


The domain name “where there be dragons” sounds ridiculous, but this organization clearly has excellent experience running gap year and other programs all around Southeast Asia as well as China.

Dragons on Twitter 


Frontier Gap - work abroad



Masses of countries covered by this organization. Focus on adventure travel… excellent for Gap Year experiences…

Frontier Gap on Twitter




These folks have literally trademarked China internships so they ought to know what they are doing! Covering Qingdao, Chengdu, and little known but lovely Zhuhai (really near Shenzhen). Includes homestay programs – good way to get deeper into the culture and food!

Intern China Facebook Page


World Endeavors internships

World Endeavors

Beijing and Shanghai internships with a wide variety of industries to look at.

World Endeavors Facebook Page


Global Links and ISA internships

Globalinks Learning Abroad with ISA

Good variety of internships on offer in Shanghai, including a placement with an animal hospital.

Seriously, an internship holding koalas in China. What are you waiting for.

Go Intern Abroad Facebook Page


World Internships

World Internships

Shanghai and Beijing internships with a very nicely set up website that lets you begin the application online.

World Internships Facebook Page


Knowledge Must

Knowledge Must

Knowledge of China must you have, true global intern to be, hmm? Eat chicken feet or do not eat chicken feet, there is no try, mhhh!

Seriously there are some very nice resources on this site, check it out. Strong India connections and apparently have China base in Chengdu. Why not intern in Sichuan and then in India for a complete spicy food initiation!

Knowledge Must Facebook Page


API study abroad

API Study Abroad

Beijing and Shanghai placements. We couldn’t say it better than their introduction, so here it is verbatim:

China presents a fascinating juxtaposition – it is home to one of the world’s most ancient civilizations caught in the midst of some of the most rapid expansion of economy and infrastructure in history. The pace of development and change has grown exponentially over the course of three decades, and now cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Gaungzhou (among others) are world-class centers of business, culture, finance, and trade. There has never been a better time to travel to or study abroad in China – take the leap with API!

API Study Abroad Facebook Page


Connect123 internships


Connect 123

USA based organization arranging internships in Shanghai. Includes volunteer opportunities.

Connect 123 Facebook Page


More internship program links to be added soon… use the comments form for more suggestions! If you represent any of these organizations please contact us to add expanded/updated information.

Perhaps one of the most asked question of all time when you check out forums on teaching English in China is whether one should pick up private students and teach them at home in China. Although the question seems easy enough and perhaps you may have heard of instances when an expat pulls this off flawlessly or may have seen it in a movie, the truth is, private tutoring in China can be more of a problem especially if you do not have the right type of visa.

Most private tutors in China belong to two categories, those who are allowed to teach English, and those who are not allowed to teach English in China. Let’s take a deeper look on the two categories, shall we?

Who Is Allowed to Teach English in China?

Technically speaking, if you are an expat, only someone who holds a Z visa or a Foreign Expert’s Certificate is permitted to teach English in China. This permission is typically obtained because the individual is employed by a legitimate company or institution offering English services. Under this category, an employer may or may not allow the English teacher to seek other sources of income.

English teachers who have the non-exclusivity clause in their contracts are allowed to take on private students for one on one tutorials as freelance English teachers. The number of students may be more but it should be within what is legally allowed and not resembling formal classes unless the teacher has established his or her own school.

A problem that can arise from this is if the English teacher’s contract with his or her registered employer says that all forms of teaching should be exclusively done only for the employer’s company or if the tutorial sessions are operating like an unlicensed or unregistered school.

For those who do not have a Z visa, non-commercial tutoring will not pose a problem, such as tutoring a friend. However, it is better to simply abide by Chinese laws and regulations and get a Z visa to not get into trouble. Some small companies may take advantage of tourists or expats and lure them into teaching for the small companies but this places the tutor at risk since if the company decides to not pay them, they cannot report about it otherwise they would risk getting arrested, fined, and deported; perhaps even banned from procuring future visas.

Who Is Not Allowed to Teach English in China?

The answer to this one is simple. If you do not have a Z Visa or a Foreign Expert’s Certificate as your work permit, don’t even think or try of advertising tutorial services. While it is true that a lot of individuals have not been caught illegally working in China, it is also true that a lot of ESL teachers has been caught, arrested, fined, and deported.

Please note that as earlier stated, freelance English teaching in China will not pose a problem as long as you have the right visa and is complying with the terms in your contract with your registered employer. Once you have checked that you are all clear to conduct tutorial classes or seek extra employment opportunities, only your resourcefulness is the limit as to how much extra income you can make as a part-time freelance English teacher.

Want to know more about the Do’s and Don’t’s of being a freelance English teacher in China? You may get more information at Teach in China and looking for China expat forums focused on the city or region you want to be at. Be open for possibilities, but be responsible to check possible consequences first. Happy English teaching!


Article by Dianne

Have you thought of pursuing law in China? It is not such a bad idea considering the status of China as the second largest economy. Maybe you have a passion for the language and you are fascinated by the Chinese people and culture, or it could be that you consider the Chinese market; very exciting because of the ever changing trends. All these are good reasons if you are well prepared for what is to come.

Haikou Intermediate People’s Court Photo: Anna Frodesiak (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Just like any other career there are many things that can hinder your path but if one has prepared and planned for them it makes things much easier. I have picked out the top three problems that one may come across as an international (foreign) lawyer in China.

The citizenship factor.

Just like other countries you cannot practice law in China unless you are a Chinese citizen and have sat for the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) examination, passed it and received a passage certificate.

HOWEVER, one may work for foreign law firms as a consultant on other issues such as business, investments and minor legal issues. You are not at any time allowed to represent clients in the court of law and where you are to be directly involved with the law, the Chinese government must have granted you the permission which is also limited.

Basically if you really desire to act as an attorney then you must be a citizen of China.

Minimum experience.

Another problem you are likely to encounter is if you are fresh from law school. In most cases you cannot practice law in China especially as a foreigner if you just got out of college. You need to have practiced it back home for at least two years. What most people do is work around it by practicing law for 6 months and one day at home that makes up one year or you can do it for another 6 months and one day that makes two years according to your country.

The other problem that comes with this is you need a work permit which your employer (an international law firm in most cases) should get for you.

You also need an invite from the company. The downside of that is if your country does not have a law firm in China, it gets hard for you to get access into the Chinese market.


Drastic competition in a foreign land. Consider the competition that is eminent in your home country now triple that in China. China is on top of the economic chain and it also has a lot of foreign firms. United Kingdom and America topping the list of number of firms with very educated advocates and lawyers, and here you are from a normal law school not as much skilled and experienced. The odds are against you which may be very frustrating especially if you are not very passionate about practicing law in china because you are in it for the money.

My advice would be prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Read, research and connect.

Works Cited

  • Harris, D. (2006, October 7). China Law Blog. Retrieved Septembeer 18, 2014, from
  • Havard law school Students. (2011). THE LEGAL PROFESSION OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA. Massachusetts: President and Fellows of Harvard College.
    Unknown. (n.d.). CQ recruit. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from
  • Wales, I. L. (2007, September 28). International Law society of England and Wales. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from


By Claire Maumo for

If you are thinking of starting up your own business and you are already living in China or thinking of relocating, here are 5 top opportunity areas you need to know about…

Opening a food business in China might be a bit competitive though... Image: Ming Xia Beijing jian bing triptych

Opening a food business in China might be a bit competitive …
Ming Xia
Beijing jian bing triptych

Not everyone is carved out for a 9 to 5 job. Some people are more comfortable being their own bosses, but the real issue is getting set up, and this is hardly ever an easy endeavor. It becomes even more difficult when you move to an entire different part of the world. Here, it doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about what people actually want. After all, all successful businesses are built on the back of satisfied customers.

Now China is a booming economy, and its population guarantees demand if you know the right things to offer. In general, the economy is a haven for new businesses, but even then there are niches that if carved offer much more than others. These are profitable volcanoes, ready to be erupted. So, if you are bent on going ahead with a venture in China, we put forth for you the most attractive business opportunities from that part of the world.



It is no secret that China has its priorities set when it comes to education. The nation realizes the importance of having world-class education, and so, spends a great buck on educating itself. When it comes to paying the cost of education, you are not on the favorable side, but the same high tuition turns into revenue when you change roles. So, the demand is certainly there and considering it is education we are talking about, it is there to stay. If you can offer great quality education, this venture could turn out to be more lucrative than you would expect it to.


With people becoming more and more conscious about their appearance, there is a window of opportunity that many small-scale businesses have exploited over the years. What people want are specialized skincare products that cater to their specific superficial needs. The sub-niches in this niche offer you a crossroad – women-only products, or those designed for men, there is ample room for you to choose from. Which way you wish to steer your business is entirely up to you, what is of more importance is that not only is China interested in such personalized products, but is also able to afford them. So, why not provide an aging, yet wealthy, China with it what it wants?


One reality you will become acquainted with after you move to that part of the world is that there is some serious lack of international food. You’d see it here and there, and that is about it. Expats and tourist usually struggle finding food that they are comfortable with, while the locals can also do with a slight change in the menu. One to consider for experienced chefs and restaurateurs…

Green Technology

China’s pollution issues are no longer a matter that the Chinese government can turn its head away from. It is worried and it is in need of solutions, however small they may be. This is where you come in. While it may not be a walk in the park to get contracts, and some may even require you to have internal contacts in the government, it should not deter you from having a go. People have tried and succeeded in providing green-technology before, and there is no reason why you wouldn’t.

Internet Business

Internet is something that can bring all of China together and touch new heights, and the rise of Alibaba is a proof of that. Unfortunately, there is no enough internet access in the country. The demand is there, standing idle and unfulfilled. Their misfortune is your opportunity. Easy to set up, a small-scale internet business would go a long way in providing both the parties with exactly what they need.

Setting up in business in China requires superhuman patience. Try not to get as abstracted as this guy though...

Setting up in business in China requires superhuman patience. Try not to get as abstracted as this guy though…

Pudong, Shanghai at night By Nicor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to learning about China, there is no lack of misinformation. Guided by stereotypical opinions, people say what people hear. What these people lack is a first-hand experience of what it is really like to be there.

If you have heard that you are better off being an employee in China because well, it is difficult to set up in a country so different than yours, you need to know these five things more than anyone else.

So, throw away what you have heard about China, and then proceed towards astonishing yourself.

Everything Is BIG

China is growing really fast, and has been for quite some time. But what this has resulted in is a situation where everything, from the population to the ideas, is big. They just don’t know the word ‘small.’

If you expect a hundred customers in a normal day, how about you put forth the possibility of a thousand? If you expect to reach out to ten thousand, how about you consider reaching out to a hundred thousand? That’s China for you. And the good thing is, it is not just talk, but reality that the 1.35 billion people in that part of the world live with.

And, when these people start to talk, they talk big. Nobody thinks about a company that wants to reach out to a few thousand people. Try a million, maybe?


Having Business Contacts Can Be Pretty Handy

Not only is it more convenient, but the tradition in China involves conducting business transactions in a way that really helps when you know someone beforehand. Going out for roasted duck to discuss a promising business idea is part of the norm. You are experiencing China, while conducting business – win-win.

Typical scene of your business meetings… By Popolon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It Is Running FAST

It has become more of a cliché to refer to growing economies as fast runners. But, China takes it to a whole new level. Don’t expect sitting in long discussions of pricing and details. They do NOT want a marathon. Things go fast around there, and terms and conditions are decided likewise.

If you think you know what it means to have a fast-paced business society, China will alter your perception for good.

Passionate about a business idea you wish to put into effect? China is the place to be.


China Is Changing

A visit to that part of the world by the end of the 20th century would have presented an entirely different picture than what awaits you today. People came for the Great Wall and looked forward to visiting the Forbidden City. Not anymore.

Today, the sky-scrappers talk volumes of the fact that China has come a long, long way. It is fast growing, and the maps that were used a few years ago show an entirely different city.

The best part about this change is that it is willing to take you along. What you need to have is a good idea, and a way to pitch it. Boom! Bulls-eye.


Talk, Talk, and Talk Some More

There may be a lot of countries, which do not give importance to the power of words, but China certainly isn’t one of them. Words are sacred – they are expected to be kept, irrespective of a formal commitment.

But, that’s not about it. People want you to talk there. They want you to tell them about who you are, what you aspire to be, what you wish to create, why you think you are the right choice, and a thousand such questions. It is about selling yourself, your idea.

From addressing employees to meeting investors, China wants you to speak up and you better. Don’t know Mandarin? Not an excuse. Use an interpreter, but either way, get your message across. Simple as that.


Hopefully your pay packet will not look only like this. Photo credit:

“Would working in China me enough to make it worth relocating?” — this is the million dollar question, or rather, x thousand RMB question!

Moving abroad is a big decision, whether it is to China or anywhere that is far away and has a totally different language and culture. One key thing to make sure of before committing to any China position is whether or not you will be paid well enough.

China’s rise as an economic powerhouse has resulted in many people jumping at the opportunity to live in the likes of Shanghai and Beijing. And quite honestly, why wouldn’t they? The private sector has soared, and that part of the world has suddenly become an attractive destination for people from all four directions. So, if moving to China is under contemplation, it is only natural to want to know what the pay structure is going to be there.

One thing that should be clarified at the very start is that irrespective of where you are headed, there is no one “China salary” pay-level. Different occupations have different demands in different parts of the world, which in turn result in different pay levels. And then again, there are a thousand more factors that come into play and determine how much you take home. So, don’t expect a straight number that matches the whole of China or even one city or industry, but research specifics to get an idea of what you might be getting yourself into.

Expats in China actually enjoy a higher salary than locals employed there. Although the salary packages have not really improved over the recent years, it is safe to say that they are still attractive and OK compared to living costs. This gives you a general idea that if you are concerned about being paid peanut rates because well the Yuan is weak, you need not worry a second more. Or why else would such an enormous amount of people are headed to that part of Asia?

Anyhow, let’s look at the factors that ultimately determine your pay. First things first, do you know how to speak Mandarin Chinese? While inability to speak in their native language is not a deal breaker, if you do have a hang of the language, you are in for a delight. That’s right – the Chinese love their language and any expat who can speak it. Plus, you will be easier to work with from the locals’ perspective and so, it is only logical.

Another thing is how experienced you are. A survey conducted in 2011 indicated that expats with experience of 15+ years enjoy about US$240k equivalent per annum, working in the banking and financial sector. The pay in the legal sector is also extremely attractive, with expats with experience of 6+ years working for international law firms earning around $200k per annum. The biggest surprise of the survey was the pay of top-level executives in Sales and Marketing, with the number touching $400k for top-level expats with 20+ years’ experience. Now that’s Wall St. level. Clearly there is a lot of demand and not enough supply of experienced talent.

If you are not that experienced in your field, a number of about 70k in occupations like property & construction, human resources, and finance can be safely expected. Mid-level IT experts can expect an impressive $100k. Now add to these numbers the fact that health insurance is included in most salary packages, which can save up to $200 per month. Impressive, right?

Now these are just numbers. They don’t incorporate how well you are able to negotiate your salary or who you work with. The language issue, the working conditions and hours, and other similar factors are also at work when it comes to determining your salary.

China is a big country, and your specific destination may also play a vital role, according to a recent survey – China Salary Insight. The main cities offer much, much better payment prospects. The survey indicates that Shanghai leads the rankings, offering highest average pay in all of China. Shanghai is followed by Shenzhen, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

While China may not be THE most attractive location in terms of pay, it is certainly a haven for ambitious individuals. If you believe you can work in such competitive environment and bring a skill-set that is out of the ordinary, the pay should be the least of your concerns. You will be well compensated.