WHY DID I TELL YOU TO STUDY CHINESE DAMN HARD IF YOU START A BUSINESS IN CHINA?
In my last post I gave you a few tips on setting up and running a new business in Shanghai. Click here if you need a reminder!How to start your own company in Shanghai and make it a succeess?
In the end I reminded that the command of Chinese is crucial as well. However, I believe that it deserves a separate post to explain to you why.
Yes, there are a lot of foreigners who come here, never learn Chinese but still get a decent amount of Mao Ye Yes every month. But let me tell you something – if you are an entrepreneur who starts his/her own thing, do not even waste your time on comparing these two career paths. They chose this life, but you chose to build your own company. Yes, it will require much more effort, there will be amazing ups and frustrating downs, and you will feel that you start from 0.But guess what – it will be damn worth it when you see your own business growing in the land of ever rising dragon. However – speaking Chinese will be one of the key factors that your success will depend on. Here’s why:
1.You will need Chinese employees who won’t speak English
You live in China and you will need Chinese employees (repair guy, chefs, cleaning staff – to name a few). They are usually people from other provinces than Shanghai. You will need to explain how to do the job well, what are your expectations, you will need to send them message because maybe the next day you need them to come earlier or later. FYI – google or baidu translators can’t be fully trusted so don’t think you can rely on those!
2.You will need to deal with suppliers, delivery guys who won’t speak English
One of the things I love about doing business in China is that there is an app for almost everything.The delivery apps make your life extremely convenient.However, you do need to speak Chinese to communicate, for example with Shansong or SF drivers ( delivery apps).
3.You will need to deal with your landlord who probably won’t speak English
So if you started a business, most probably you will need an office. And if you want your office to be in one of those nicely renovated lanehouses, chances are that your landlord will be a local who speaks no English at all. Well, of course you might have a friend or even an assistant who will help you get the message across. But do you really want to be this dumb foreigner who sits in this meeting and understands nothing? Some landlords even refuse to deal with tenants who can’t speak Chinese. Nobody likes to make their lives more complicated after all.
4.You will want to attract local customers who won’t speak English
So you do your business in China then obviously it is not just English speaking foreigners that you want as your target. You do want to appeal to the population of 1.4 billion (and counting) local people and how will you be able to do that if you don’t speak their language?
Yes, ok, you can hire hostesses but you are the face of the brand you have created so YOU are the one they will want to meet and talk to!
5.You will get more scores on your visa status
Here’s breaking news for you – even as a company owner, all the Chinese visa requirements apply to you.Yes – same as for those who work in big companies. It’s not fair but all we can do is to simply accept it and comply. If you speak Chinese and can prove it with HSK ( Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì – Chinese Proficiency Test), your will definitely gain some extra points on the work permit scoring system. Check out how it works here! China Work Permit requirements
I would like you to help you understand 2 things.
#1 It’s 21 century and although English has become international business language, it does not guarantee success in every part of the world. Especially not in China.
#2 You made a decision to come to this country where the locals have their own specific culture and language. If you see yourself living here for a longer while – accepting and understanding both is a must.