China, consistently rated one of the most challenging of all destinations for corporate relocations, is also noteworthy as a key location for accomplishing many companies’ business goals.* Given those factors, it isn’t surprising that assignments to China require careful planning and a realistic understanding of the challenges ahead—challenges that can derail mobility programs and cause a multitude of issues for assignees on the ground. Cartus’ new guide, Best Practices for Effective Relocation to China, explores the issues and provides common sense best practice approaches to respond to China’s numerous challenges.
China’s Broad Range of Challenges
Language and culture.
Language and Intercultural issues are at the top of the list for challenges encountered by assignees, as Cartus’ Jenny Castelino discusses in this recent video. Mandarin is the common language for both business and social interactions. English is not widely spoken, even in the large cities.
The basic Chinese values of hierarchy, “saving face,” and relationships can present difficulties for assignees, who may not understand how they influence behavior; even something as simple as asking questions in a meeting or giving a straight “yes/no” answer to a question.
Housing, schooling and the environment.
With shortages in many desirable schools in China, families may not be able to secure spots in their top choices, and planning—both for their number-one choices and their backups—should be evaluated with an eye to commutation times and distances. Housing options, in turn, should be looked at with an eye to quality of construction and finishing, as well as pollution levels. The environment looms large as an issue throughout much of China, with food safety, air pollution, paint toxicity, and authenticity of medications being concerns that directly impact assignees. In fact, the air pollution issue alone is one of the top reasons for assignment “turndowns.”
Regulatory, compensation, payroll, and allowances.
The regulatory arena in China is not only complex but also changeable. Issues range from new social security laws that now impact foreign workers to challenges such as offshore remittances and understanding China’s corporate tax policy, including the collection and reporting of Fa Piao (an official invoice used by Chinese tax authorities to calculate and collect taxes).
Responding to the Issues
What can mobility managers do to understand these issues and put support and policy into place to help ensure successful assignments? Cartus’ Best Practices for Effective Relocation to China guide explores the issues and provides common sense best practice approaches gleaned from Cartus experts and companies doing business in China. Download a 2-page excerpt from the guide, or request the full report!
* Cartus 2014 Biggest Challenges survey.