Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Help wanted! Young US-American professionals head to Beijing and Shanghai

I thought it was very appropriate and a nice coincidence that upon returning from my business trip to China & Singapore, I turn on my blackberry and am flashed with this NYT article: American Graduates Finding Jobs in China.


BEIJING — Shanghai and Beijing are becoming new lands of opportunity for recent American college graduates who face unemployment nearing double digits at home.

“I’ve seen a surge of young people coming to work in China over the last few years,” said Jack Perkowski, founder of Asimco Technologies, one of the largest automotive parts companies in China.

“When I came over to China in 1994, that was the first wave of Americans coming to China,” he said. “These young people are part of this big second wave.

[Source: NYT - American Graduates Finding Jobs in China]


Let's be honest. China has not escaped the shocks of the global economic recession. There are empty office and commercial buildings around Beijing’s Central Business District. Rents are sky rocketing and apartments are remaining unsold and unoccupied. Factories are closing in Southern China. Political turmoil has touched regions where minorities are great in number. And… so on.

Nonetheless, after living and working in the country at the beginning of the crisis (Sept - Dec 08), and returning to do business this past month—the fact remains there is one thing you can find in China that is missing from my colleagues and friends here in the North-Eastern United States, down in Lima, Peru and Belo Horizonte, Brazil and across the pond in the UK and France.

“A positive outlook on the future.”

Walk the streets of Beijing and the city is full of people just as the NYT article above describes; motivated and adventurous young entrepreneurs and professionals from all walks of life that have come to China to build their respective futures.

Likewise, a considerable portion of China’s younger generations remain confident and positive about their futures. In a country of 1.4 billion people (probably more) you will hardly ever find a general consensus. What applies in Beijing, will not apply in western China in the city of Xinjiang. This does not change the fact, that the life styles and future aspirations of China’s youth are considerably different than those of their parents and grandparents.

The Chinese are not ignorant; they know things are probably worse than their government lets on. At the same time, critics in the west are too quick to point fingers and predict imminent economic collapse. Sometimes it is a bursting real estate bubble, an over-valued stock market due for a correction, plunging exports, or decreasing import demand. Critics will always find a way to well… criticize.