It should be noted there are countless articles of information about what not to do when in China but few take the time to understand the differences fully. Something like slapping somebody on the back for a job well done may not be a good thing, even though it was well intended. The communication between managers may be different and meetings may be longer and seem to have no objective all. Weekends are to be spent with the family right? Not necessarily.

Spouses may feel neglected as they may not be invited to dinners, golf on Saturday or nights out with clients on the town. Children may not see their father for extended periods until the transition has been completed and the company allows for the time off.  The expat may do more corporate networking than he is accustomed to back home. Company presentations may last for days or even a week. Depending on the industry, “face” can be quite a significant factor. For example, public feedback and criticism might best be given lightly as not to embarrass someone who has been with the company for a long time. Family, lifestyle issues, adjusting to the work, failure to fully comprehend the mission itself, performance, foreign recruiters and the like are just a sample of problems facing the placement of an ideal expat to China.

Age and not merit are most likely to be a driver of loyalty to one’s peers in the company. It is in the preparing for those cultural differences that may allow for lot less strife and smoother transition for both expat and family in the long run.

Many expat’s are afraid that if they stay too long, they may miss a chance for promotion and lack relevant experience to continue with where they left off prior to being placed on an overseas assignment and it is often found that fear of the unknown plays a significant role when confronted with success or failure of an expatriates life in China.

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