Working in Shanghai

Cycling to work in ShanghaiShanghai is a city of 20 million people, so it comes as no surprise that industry in the metropolis is varied and that expats work in many diverse business sectors.

China has one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world but only recently, within the last 20 years, has it opened its doors to international companies and foreign investment. As a result of this relatively new mentality, Shanghai has stepped up as the new financial axis on which China’s burgeoning economy spins.

Yet the international industry in Shanghai is not only rooted in finance but also in physical trade, as illustrated by the city's bustling harbour – the largest cargo port in the world. 

Industry in Shanghai includes steel, oil, chemical, cars, textiles, high-tech equipment, technology, biomedicine and shipbuilding. A new emphasis is especially being placed on high-tech development and manufacturing, services and other renewable industries.

Shanghai is one of the best places in China to find a job as an expat. While Chinese companies in cities such as Beijing are increasingly only hiring expats in top-level management or positions that require special skilled workers, there is still a need for a large, and not necessarily highly qualified, expat workforce in Shanghai's Chinese-owned companies.

However, salaries and relocation packages often fall slightly as local Chinese employees are willing to compete for the positions for less compensation. Knowing Mandarin can be important when applying for lower level jobs, but companies would rather focus on the speciality skills of higher level expats than language acquisition.

Expats should expect a higher salary and a more appealing relocation package when hired from overseas than if hired from within the country. Some high-level relocated expat jobs come complete with allowances for housing, schooling and insurance, and a number of bonuses in salary, while many other positions come with none. It is important to try to your best to negotiate your contract to your advantage as best as possible.

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