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An honest discussion about China
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theoneandonly Offline
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Post: #1
An honest discussion about China
Hello,
I hope that this thread does not violate the forum rules as this is a question that I am really looking for some guidance on.

I am a foreigner living in Tokyo, Japan. I am in my twenties, my job is mobile and on the cutting edge, I love the lifestyle that this city affords.

Japan is very close to China physically, and politically it is the foremost topic.
I see 'raw China': tourists, Chinese businesses, and political designs that would largely go unseen in the West.

I am trying to be open-minded and have been studying Chinese language and building connections with Chinese people in my industry. I understand it is essential to be adaptable, but I would like to hear what your thoughts are, whether you are living in China, or have a better understanding than me.

My home country (Anglo) is heavily populated by Chinese immigrants. Much of the country is now owned by China including some of the major industries and value producing land. Large portions of the cities have been turned into China towns and inhabited by some Chinese who have no desire to respect the culture and history of the country. Foreign investment in housing had increased the house prices to ridiculous levels in many of the cities. I can't help but see a longterm trend that is not going to stop anytime soon.

As a young person, I feel like I have no real guidance for understanding this situation. Should I be completely embracing this new order, what is my place as a non-Chinese? I am humbly asking for some ideological guidance.

Thank you.
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017 09:32 PM by theoneandonly.)
05-22-2017 09:15 PM
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Suits Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
Good to have a new Australian forum member!
05-22-2017 09:19 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
What kind of ideological guidance are you looking for, exactly?
05-22-2017 09:33 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-22-2017 09:33 PM)Space Cowboy Wrote:  What kind of ideological guidance are you looking for, exactly?

Is it correct and natural for China and the CCP to be so embedded in the world?
Is this something that I should flow with or resist?
What is my place as a non-Chinese in this scheme? Should I give up on the idea of my own national identity?
What should a young person be doing to interface with the growing power of China?
There is money in my industry in China that my friends have told me about, much more than Japan, how is it attainable?

I know this is a bit vague, but any feedback is appreciated.
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017 09:54 PM by theoneandonly.)
05-22-2017 09:52 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:33 PM)Space Cowboy Wrote:  What kind of ideological guidance are you looking for, exactly?

Is it correct and natural for China and the CCP to be so embedded in the world?
Is this something that I should flow with or resist?
What is my place as a non-Chinese in this scheme? Should I give up on the idea of my own national identity?

There aren't questions that we can answer for you.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  What should a young person be doing to interface with the growing power of China?

I could say "learn Chinese," but there are many people earning lots of money in Chinese who can't pronounce a single word of Chinese and there are many people earning lots of money in areas that have no relation to China and where learning Chinese would be of no value.


(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  There is money in my industry in China that my friends have told me about, much more than Japan, how is it attainable?

No one can answer that vague of a question. We need to know what industry you are in, how old are you, what are your skills and how many years are you willing to invest into learning about business in China.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I know this is a bit vague, but any feedback is appreciated.

Yes, far too vague.
05-22-2017 10:01 PM
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theoneandonly Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-22-2017 10:01 PM)Suits Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:33 PM)Space Cowboy Wrote:  What kind of ideological guidance are you looking for, exactly?

Is it correct and natural for China and the CCP to be so embedded in the world?
Is this something that I should flow with or resist?
What is my place as a non-Chinese in this scheme? Should I give up on the idea of my own national identity?

There aren't questions that we can answer for you.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  What should a young person be doing to interface with the growing power of China?

I could say "learn Chinese," but there are many people earning lots of money in Chinese who can't pronounce a single word of Chinese and there are many people earning lots of money in areas that have no relation to China and where learning Chinese would be of no value.


(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  There is money in my industry in China that my friends have told me about, much more than Japan, how is it attainable?

No one can answer that vague of a question. We need to know what industry you are in, how old are you, what are your skills and how many years are you willing to invest into learning about business in China.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I know this is a bit vague, but any feedback is appreciated.

Yes, far too vague.

I am 25. Digital product design & development are my areas of skill.
I am willing to do what it takes if that is where things are heading.

I have been living in Japan for 3 years and speak fluent Japanese and am able to engage with people and texts at a high level. Japan's overall impression of PRC is that of dirty and uncivilized, yet tolerated to a degree. They have a better impression of ROC and Hong Kong, but to be honest Japan does not really 'get' things that are non-Japanese and that may have rubbed off on me. I can't help but feel that my time here has narrowed my perspective.

I see Chinese tourists / immigrants /businesses with a DGAF hustle attitude and it is quite a contrast to Japanese culture. Because they DGAF it almost seems to give them a power though.
05-22-2017 10:23 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-22-2017 10:23 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 10:01 PM)Suits Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:33 PM)Space Cowboy Wrote:  What kind of ideological guidance are you looking for, exactly?

Is it correct and natural for China and the CCP to be so embedded in the world?
Is this something that I should flow with or resist?
What is my place as a non-Chinese in this scheme? Should I give up on the idea of my own national identity?

There aren't questions that we can answer for you.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  What should a young person be doing to interface with the growing power of China?

I could say "learn Chinese," but there are many people earning lots of money in Chinese who can't pronounce a single word of Chinese and there are many people earning lots of money in areas that have no relation to China and where learning Chinese would be of no value.


(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  There is money in my industry in China that my friends have told me about, much more than Japan, how is it attainable?

No one can answer that vague of a question. We need to know what industry you are in, how old are you, what are your skills and how many years are you willing to invest into learning about business in China.

(05-22-2017 09:52 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I know this is a bit vague, but any feedback is appreciated.

Yes, far too vague.

I am 25. Digital product design & development are my areas of skill.
I am willing to do what it takes if that is where things are heading.

I can't tell you anything about this market, except that you need to be really special, as in China, there's always someone willing to work for less money than you.

It would be hard to live a Japanese standard of living while earning Chinese wages.

(05-22-2017 10:23 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I have been living in Japan for 3 years and speak fluent Japanese and am able to engage with people and texts at a high level.

If you speak fluent Japanese after three years, you'll be able to learn Chinese in roughly the same time.

(05-22-2017 10:23 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  Japan's overall impression of PRC is that of dirty and uncivilized, yet tolerated to a degree. They have a better impression of ROC and Hong Kong.

The Japanese impression of the PRC is accurate. While their view point is very ethnocentric, they probably know and understand the Chinese better than anyone else in the world.

They have a ton of business in China. Japan is too small and wages are too high to justify not placing factories offshore and China is the obvious place to put them for Japan, even more so than for the US, as sea shipping is just a hop and a skip.

As well, Japanese products are the thing to have these days in certain segments of the Chinese population.

Japanese business with China is done on the down-low, but there's no question that they are hand and glove when it comes to their economic relationship.

I think that the Japanese success there would be really undermined if they were more "open-minded" about their trading partners.

(05-22-2017 10:23 PM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I see Chinese tourists / immigrants /businesses with a DGAF hustle attitude and it is quite a contrast to Japanese culture. Because they DGAF it almost seems to give them a power though.

Yes, they do that.

There's no merit to debating the Chinese way of doing things. All there is to say is that a nation full of people who DGAF about anyone but themselves and maybe their kids or parents is hell on earth.

China is a very high stress place to live. Everyone is cold and calculating, unless they want something from you, at which point they have acting skills to rival Hollywood. It's unpleasant to always have to be on your guard, because you literally can't trust anyone. You can't even trust your own instincts, because if you allow yourself to be swayed by how likeable someone is, there's a good chance you'll pay for it down the road.
05-22-2017 10:34 PM
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Post: #8
RE: An honest discussion about China
This thread would be better served in the Lifestyle, Travel, or Newbie forum.

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05-22-2017 10:37 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China


05-22-2017 11:15 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
Suits is on point.

I would question why, after dedicating so much time to successfully living in Japan, you would want to try your hand at China. Culturally speaking they are not very similar, despite some shared cultural heritage. Living in China is an interesting experience and it can be rewarding, but as Suits explained it is extremely stressful and tiring. The Chinese are the most selfish people on the planet and will do anything and everything just to steal the dirt from under your fingernails.

I'm not sure why you would give up your national identity, because you should know that as an expat in Asia it is something you can never truly give up.

Can a foreigner make a lot of money in China? Certainly! Especially managers in certain industries. But in order to make good money you have to be offering something that a local doesn't offer. I would ask yourself if you think that applies to you. What are the skills and traits you possess that a million locals don't already have, who will work for cheaper wages and don't carry any red tape or paper work. These skills would generally be either a technical job skill that takes an advanced education, or certain cultural/social skills that the Chinese don't foster.
You're so close, I'd recommend a trip to Beijing or Shanghai.
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017 11:32 PM by Space Cowboy.)
05-22-2017 11:28 PM
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Suits Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
A lot of guys on the forum probably don't know this, but the business I'm building here isn't even a China business. I'm creating a line of educational products that are intended for a global audience, not just a Chinese one. Sure, I do see China as one market I'd like my products to enter, once completed, but I have zero interest in risking all my chips on one country, especially one that's got a business law system literally designed to screw over foreigners.

My plans for China are to let a local supplier handle distribution of physical products sent to PRC addresses and give them a considerable cut to keep them happy, with a contract in place that allows me to drop them at any time for any reason.

Digital products for customers who pay in non-RMB currency will be distributed from my non-Chinese business entity and customers who want to pay in RMB will need to pay a premium to buy through my Chinese distribution partner.

As far as I'm concerned, creating a Chinese business entity that is legally permitted to earn money is too much trouble in the short term. I'd rather focus on other markets that are easier to legally operate in.

The only reason that I live in China is because I'm good at earning money here (to pay the bills while I develop products and to fund production costs). I'd personally always prefer to build a non-China specific business.
(This post was last modified: 05-22-2017 11:47 PM by Suits.)
05-22-2017 11:46 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
What are some of the difference between Chinese and Japanese? Can you tell just by looking and are the languages similar?

Beliefs are more powerful than facts.
05-23-2017 12:23 AM
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Suits Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-23-2017 12:23 AM)Meat Head Wrote:  What are some of the difference between Chinese and Japanese? Can you tell just by looking and are the languages similar?

You can tell by looking. Japanese look completely different from other Asians.

Languages couldn't be anymore different. Sure, the Japanese use borrowed Chinese characters for their writing system, but the Japanese language's structure, grammar and syntax is completely different and their use of the Chinese writing system is ingenious and far easier to learn and read than the original Chinese system.
05-23-2017 12:33 AM
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theoneandonly Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
I wonder if there is a viable middle ground between my current situation and Mainland China?
For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which both interest me, and seem to be perhaps more compatible for me to live and work. Once I have acclimatized to that, then it could be possible to branch out into the mainland.
05-23-2017 12:43 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-23-2017 12:43 AM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I wonder if there is a viable middle ground between my current situation and Mainland China?
For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which both interest me, and seem to be perhaps more compatible for me to live and work. Once I have acclimatized to that, then it could be possible to branch out into the mainland.

Why?

Are you doing poorly in Japan?
05-23-2017 12:51 AM
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theoneandonly Offline
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-23-2017 12:51 AM)Suits Wrote:  
(05-23-2017 12:43 AM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I wonder if there is a viable middle ground between my current situation and Mainland China?
For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which both interest me, and seem to be perhaps more compatible for me to live and work. Once I have acclimatized to that, then it could be possible to branch out into the mainland.

Why?

Are you doing poorly in Japan?
No things are good here.
Tokyo is vibrant and there are a lot of startups and exciting things happening here. I am interested in broadening my horizons and tapping into new markets. I never wanted to lock myself into one country but that is what has kind of happened over the last 3 years.
(This post was last modified: 05-23-2017 02:57 AM by theoneandonly.)
05-23-2017 02:40 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
Embrace it. "By 2016, China’s GDP was $21 trillion and America’s was $18.5 trillion, when measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), which both the CIA and IMF agree is the best yardstick for comparing national economies...If the US and Chinese economies continue their current growth trends, China’s economy will be 50 percent larger in 2023."

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017...story.html
05-23-2017 05:04 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-23-2017 02:40 AM)theoneandonly Wrote:  
(05-23-2017 12:51 AM)Suits Wrote:  
(05-23-2017 12:43 AM)theoneandonly Wrote:  I wonder if there is a viable middle ground between my current situation and Mainland China?
For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which both interest me, and seem to be perhaps more compatible for me to live and work. Once I have acclimatized to that, then it could be possible to branch out into the mainland.

Why?

Are you doing poorly in Japan?
No things are good here.
Tokyo is vibrant and there are a lot of startups and exciting things happening here. I am interested in broadening my horizons and tapping into new markets. I never wanted to lock myself into one country but that is what has kind of happened over the last 3 years.

I wouldn't overthink it then.

The first thing to do is do a little travelling. Go to Taipei. Visit Beijing. Drink outside a 7-11 in Hong Kong for a week.

Until you do that, we can't really have this conversation.
05-23-2017 05:18 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
As an Asian man. I cant fathom why OP would wanna go from Japan to China.

Maybe from a business development opportunity point of view, Japan would be a pain in the ass to deal. But if you lack the acumen, staying as a salaryman in Japan is way better than slugging it out in China.

Like suits say, they will have no problem replacing you with someone who will do it for 10% of your salary. Especially if hes trained by you.
05-24-2017 09:06 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
OP,

Be VERY careful about china. You are correct to question their place in the world. They are a very strange culture that will annoy the living fuck out of you since you've been in Japan for so long. Trust me.

One of my best friends in China lived in Japan for several years and he HATES it. He is already planning to leave after 2 years here.

China is to Japan as chaos is the order. I don't mean to sound pessimistic but you have to realize that China is a third world country in a first world suit. A lot of anything you hear about China is misinformation and they seem to like it that way. What do I mean? Everything's about appearances in China. Buildings are constructed to look good, but not always to last. It's a very different way of living.

It's a very cutthroat place where you will immediately be told by every foreign you meet to be VERY careful about your dealings with the locals.

I don't mean to sound sensationalist, but you really should heed that advice. China can be a brutal place to live if you come from a country where people are known for honor (the west and Japan). In China, any agreement that you may have with someone you don't know is merely a suggestion to them. They don't know you, you don't know them, and if they can benefit and fuck you over, they may opt to do that.

All that said, I really enjoy living here. It's a fun, dynamic environment where you learn a lot.

I don't want to turn this into China bashing, so I'll just say this:

Visit China a few times before you make ANY plans to live here or do business here. It is unlike any other nation on earth and it isn't the sort of place you can just waltz up in and fit in. If you do just move here expecting to totally "get it" the first time you show up, you're going to be in for a rude awakening.

I will be checking my PMs weekly, so you can catch me there. I will not be posting.
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2017 10:04 AM by Fortis.)
05-24-2017 10:04 AM
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Post: #21
RE: An honest discussion about China
For "theoneandonly," I'll offer my standard advice:

Read all the archives of the ChinaLawBlog.
05-24-2017 10:15 AM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-22-2017 09:19 PM)Suits Wrote:  Good to have a new Australian forum member!

Aren't you Canadian? The description matches your homeland too.

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05-24-2017 02:33 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-24-2017 02:33 PM)Transsimian Wrote:  
(05-22-2017 09:19 PM)Suits Wrote:  Good to have a new Australian forum member!

Aren't you Canadian? The description matches your homeland too.

Not to the same degree.
05-24-2017 10:08 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
Hong Kong and Taiwan are quite different from Mainland China, it might be more up your alley. As others have said, a lot of people go to China thinking they're going to just become filthy rich and many, many fail.
05-24-2017 10:35 PM
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RE: An honest discussion about China
(05-24-2017 10:04 AM)Fortis Wrote:  OP,

Be VERY careful about china. You are correct to question their place in the world. They are a very strange culture that will annoy the living fuck out of you since you've been in Japan for so long. Trust me.

One of my best friends in China lived in Japan for several years and he HATES it. He is already planning to leave after 2 years here.

China is to Japan as chaos is the order. I don't mean to sound pessimistic but you have to realize that China is a third world country in a first world suit. A lot of anything you hear about China is misinformation and they seem to like it that way. What do I mean? Everything's about appearances in China. Buildings are constructed to look good, but not always to last. It's a very different way of living.

It's a very cutthroat place where you will immediately be told by every foreign you meet to be VERY careful about your dealings with the locals.

I don't mean to sound sensationalist, but you really should heed that advice. China can be a brutal place to live if you come from a country where people are known for honor (the west and Japan). In China, any agreement that you may have with someone you don't know is merely a suggestion to them. They don't know you, you don't know them, and if they can benefit and fuck you over, they may opt to do that.

All that said, I really enjoy living here. It's a fun, dynamic environment where you learn a lot.

I don't want to turn this into China bashing, so I'll just say this:

Visit China a few times before you make ANY plans to live here or do business here. It is unlike any other nation on earth and it isn't the sort of place you can just waltz up in and fit in. If you do just move here expecting to totally "get it" the first time you show up, you're going to be in for a rude awakening.

Thank you for your insight.

I had a good chat with a friend about this topic.

He told me that in East Asia, there are perhaps 3 'clean business' countries, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan. Everywhere else is 'dirty business', take it with grain of salt I guess.

I totally get that China will rip you off anyway it can. I think living so long in a relatively safe and benign monoculture like Japan has lead me down a narrow road.

I think I lost a little bit of hustle by being complacent about things here, interesting how that happened.

Will post a field report about Taiwan and HK after I follow Suits advice..
05-30-2017 06:21 AM
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