China’s Ex-Expats: Emerging Asia Beckons

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An examination of 20 alternative Asian cities for expats leaving China

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Nov. 18 – It seems likely that this coming Christmas will see the end of many China expatriates’ careers in China. Nervous of the recently introduced, and fairly high, mandatory social welfare contributions for foreigners, employers are cutting back on non-essential foreigners, and localizing these positions. Essential expats will remain, but those on the fringes and not able to offer much in terms of specific talent face culling. As China moves up the value chain, it simply does not need to have foreigners with little actual skills to offer. Returning Chinese can fill lower-middle management, and increasingly senior managerial roles, and the China expat is being squeezed out.

The impact on this will be felt by those that have recently graduated, or are aged to about 35 and haven’t yet found their way high enough up the corporate ladder. There are of course exceptions, but many in this age bracket will find their China career options coming to a close. Contracts will not be renewed, and many will face termination. The lucky will be relocated elsewhere within their existing employers. However, the future externally also looks rather bleak. Both the United States and European economies are in the doldrums, and unemployment is rising. Returning back may also be something of a waste – all that China experience down the drain. Here, employees need to make a decision – remain an expat, and continue to add to the adventure, or return home and take the chances of reabsorbing back into mainstream society. Continue reading…

Dezan Shira & Associates

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