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Offline UnsureAboutChina

Working in China
« on: Dec 16, 2011, 05:38 »
I want to know about people's experiences in China.  I am looking into a position over there and have a few questions:

(1) For an equivalent position in the US, how does the pay in China compare for an engineer?
(2) How do the taxes and everything work?  Do you pay income tax in the US or China?
(3) I've heard that there are some perks outside of the normal pay, are any of the perks written into your contract?
(4) Any good or bad experiences?
(5) Any recommendations for someone that is at the very beginning of his research into this?
(6) I've heard that some companies prefer that you don't drive anywhere.  Have you found this to be a real inconvenience?

Thanks!

Offline danimal1481

Re: Working in China
« Reply #1 on: Dec 17, 2011, 08:35 »
I have never lived in, but I did travel to and work with people who lived in China and/or HK.

(1) For an equivalent position in the US, how does the pay in China compare for an engineer?
Most people I know who lived in China got paid in USD or Euros and lived very well over there.
(2) How do the taxes and everything work?  Do you pay income tax in the US or China?
?
(3) I've heard that there are some perks outside of the normal pay, are any of the perks written into your contract?
Some people had houses in gates communities paid for by there company.  These communities were all non-Chinese families and included English language schools.  Most also has expense free travel paid for to bring them back home on some type of schedule.
(4) Any good or bad experiences?
I had plenty of good experiences, but really no bad experiences except the language barrier that will get better with time over there.
(5) Any recommendations for someone that is at the very beginning of his research into this?
Talk to someone you know and trust that has been there before.  Travel the first time with someone that has been over there before to help you get settled in.
(6) I've heard that some companies prefer that you don't drive anywhere.  Have you found this to be a real inconvenience?
I never drove, nor did anyone I know who was living in or traveling to China.  Parking is terrible, traffic is worse that anything you could imagine, accidents are very frequent, and paying for a ride is cheap.  All of that being said the decision is easy...Don't drive yourself.

matthew.b

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Re: Working in China
« Reply #2 on: Dec 17, 2011, 12:37 »
Similar to danimal1481, I have traveled to China and worked with people who worked there long term. 


(1) For an equivalent position in the US, how does the pay in China compare for an engineer?
I didn't pry for exact numbers, but they did indicate the pay was better than here to lure people to the jobs.  Couple that with a lower cost of living and they did pretty good.

(2) How do the taxes and everything work?  Do you pay income tax in the US or China?
You pay taxes to China and if you're out for more than a year you don't pay US taxes.  BUT make sure you talk to a tax lawyer because you do have to file special forms when working abroad.  Many people have gotten into trouble for not filing the forms.

(3) I've heard that there are some perks outside of the normal pay, are any of the perks written into your contract?
Just like danimal1481 said, there are expat communities you can live in where everyone speaks English.   The funny part was that I was working with Belgian and German engineers and they resented the fact that English was catered to and they had to use that as their common language.

(4) Any good or bad experiences?
Touring was really cool.  My brother was over there for 2 years and he went all over the country.

As for the bad: 
hygiene is a big concern, see below. 
Traffic is deadly, you're going to see people killed a lot more than here.
Work safety isn't up to the same standards, if you're around construction or heavy industry, again you're going to see more severe accidents.

(5) Any recommendations for someone that is at the very beginning of his research into this?
My employer brought in a consultant that taught a 4 hour class.  It was very valuable about teaching many hygiene rules.  It is worse than Mexico in many ways, but when you're careful you can avoid getting sick.  I managed to avoid it in 3 weeks over there.  I'd google looking for a class.

I'd also recommend expat forums, again google is your friend. 

(6) I've heard that some companies prefer that you don't drive anywhere.  Have you found this to be a real inconvenience?

Don't even consider driving.  It isn't an inconvenience at all.  Find out a car service where they have an English speaking dispatcher.  The drivers won't speak English, but you can communicate to the dispatcher and have them translate for you.

Offline UnsureAboutChina

Re: Working in China
« Reply #3 on: Dec 18, 2011, 07:39 »
Thank you both for the advice.  I had good experiences in the past going overseas, but I've never been to China.  I think I'd miss the freedom of not being able to drive anywhere, but I assume it is something you get used to.  I think it would be an amazing opportunity to explore a new culture.

Offline guppy

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Re: Working in China
« Reply #4 on: Dec 19, 2011, 08:00 »
I've worked in Beijing twice this year (14 weeks total).  I'm going back on Dec. 27 for at least 2 more months.  I am working as a QA Engineer for an American company.  I can provide some answers for you.

 

(1) For an equivalent position in the US, how does the pay in China compare for an engineer?

I get paid my complete American salary while I am there plus 15% if I go over 30 days straight.  The company pays for all of my expenses while I am there.  My company has Chinese nationals as employees that were hired in the country.  Their pay is about 25% of what mine is and they seem to be happy with that.

(2) How do the taxes and everything work?  Do you pay income tax in the US or China?  The Chinese government monitors each day that you are in the country.  If you go over 6 months (exactly) then you owe taxes for the entire time that you are (and have been) in the country.  The tax rate is about 40%.  Less than 6 months and it's only US tax that you pay.  The time is additive for the calendar year.  It's been a while since I checked but the rule about US taxes is that if you are out of the country for 270 consecutive days then you do not owe the US tax.  You also do not pay into social security or unemployment during that time therefore you are not eligible for unemployment when you return.

(3) I've heard that there are some perks outside of the normal pay, are any of the perks written into your contract?  Perks?  My company puts us up in a 5 star hotel (Marriott).  The Chinese people are very nice. 

(4) Any good or bad experiences? The air in the big cities is worse than in any city in the US.  I had an old man attempt to pick my pocket once but that is the worst of the crimes that you may experience there.


(5) Any recommendations for someone that is at the very beginning of his research into this?  Get EVERYTHING in writing BEFORE you leave the USA.

(6) I've heard that some companies prefer that you don't drive anywhere.  Have you found this to be a real inconvenience?  DO NOT DRIVE IN CHINA.  There are NO rules for driving in China.  Ride in the biggest vehicle that you can find and let the Chinese driver work his magic.  The subway  in Beijing is great.

 


Keep honking.  I'm reloading.

 


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