Chinese City Fact: Dalian

Dalian is a city in North East China with an urban population of around 3.5 million people. Highly regarded in China as one of it’s most beautiful cities, it is often compared to Seattle and San Francisco. It is actually a relatively young city in China terms at only 100 years old and played an important role as a trading port in it’s early days.

Dalian - Into the Cityphoto © 2009 Ashley Wang | more info (via: Wylio)

It is also sometimes known as the “Oriental Brazil” because of it’s very successful football team and it’s yearly fashion festival in September. Thanks to former mayor Bo Xilai, Dalian is a city of green parks, fountains and seaside scenic spots. A lot of new development is going on in the city including a signature project, “Dalian Tiandi” which will bring together a series of sustainable and cutting edge mixed use developments in a larger masterplan.

Dalian, Chinaphoto © 2009 Ashley Wang | more info (via: Wylio)



Managing Your Expectations – Relocating to Asia – Part 1

To say the property and construction markets globally have been turbulent since 2008 is somewhat of an understatement. In Asia, as with almost everywhere, there have been periods of inactivity alongside very busy periods. This article is designed to give an overview of the current market conditions and some helpful insight in to what you can expect when looking at the possibility of relocating to Asia.

This is titled “Managing Your Expectations” as I feel there are a lot of people who either:

a) simply don’t know what to expect from a position in Asia or

b) people who are convinced they know but then find the reality very different.

They are opinions having worked here for a number of years and having worked with many job seekers and companies. Part 1 this week focuses on the markets in general and what companies are looking for. Part 2 will be published in a couple of weeks focusing on what you may be able to expect in terms of salary and benefits. **Part 2 can now be found by clicking here**

Tianjin Construction © 2008 Jakob Montrasio | more info (via: Wylio)

A lot of people around the world hear that Asia is the place to be at the moment, with unprecedented economic growth still continuing as most Western countries continue to try to pull themselves out of their respective woes. This is the case in some respect but it doesn’t automatically mean that relocation will result in candidates finding it easy to secure a position. The harsh reality is that a lot of the companies in Asia have suffered at some point in the last few years and there still remains an underlying level of caution to bringing people on board. Yes there are skills shortages but companies are prepared to wait for the perfect person to come through their door.

At the moment, in Asia, that perfect person is someone with prior experience in (and therefore an understanding of) the Asia markets. Ideally this person will speak the relevant local language and it’s therefore no surprise that most companies are targeting locally based talent to fill their requirements. On the occasions companies are prepared to look into relocating someone, they will focus initially on returning Asian candidates before widening their search. This makes sense when you think about it. Asian candidates will generally speak the right language, most will know what it’s like to work in the region and how to behave culturally. They will perhaps have the added benefit of a Western education or professional experience. They are also sometimes perceived to be “better value” than their Western counterparts, not wanting as big remuneration packages. It’s easy to see why companies could be reluctant to look further afield.

It may sound bleak for candidates looking to relocate but there are occasions where candidates can have great success in moving to the region.

Firstly it’s about having a particular skill set that’s in high demand but in low supply in Asia. A great example at the moment is that of tunnel engineers. It seems most engineering consultancies, contractors and construction firms are crying out for good tunnel design staff to work on any number of the large infrastructure projects currently being undertaken in Asia.

Secondly it’s about companies feeling candidates are serious about moving to Asia. A company is going to need to feel very sure that someone has really thought about their relocation strategy before investing the time and money to move them over. There are a lot of people who think it is simply a matter of applying for a job and then maybe flying themselves over if they can get some interest from companies. At the other extreme some think it’s just a matter of having a few telephone chats and securing an offer that way. I would say that both these scenarios are highly unrealistic. Companies right now need reassurance and an approach as described above is seen as someone hedging their bets and not really committing to anything.

Landing at sunsetphoto © 2010 Colin Huang | more info (via: Wylio)

People who have the most success will convince a company that they have done their research and will take the plunge to get themselves to Asia to meet prospective employers face-to-face. Now I’m not saying this is a suitable course of action for all candidates but you can see that companies cannot fail to be impressed by someone taking a risk and making that effort. It’s something to seriously think about and in a lot of ways makes good practical sense as it allows people to visit their prospective new homes at the same time.

Part 2 will follow on the 8th April. Next week we’ll be posting our March update so remember to check back then to see what’s been happening over the last few weeks.

Chinese City Fact: Qingdao

Qingdao or “Tsingtao” as it’s known in the West is a major seaport and industrial centre in Shandong province. With a regional population of around 8 million inhabitants it was awarded “Most Liveable City” in 2009.

Qingdao 2008 141photo © 2008 Ryan Fung | more info (via: Wylio)

Average annual growth has exceeded 16% in recent years and it was one of the first cities to be named as a Special Economic and Technology Development Zone in 1984. A number of high tech industries are based in the city but most people know Qingdao for it’s famous Tsingtao Brewery which exports it’s beer globally. It’s annual beer festival is very popular with tourists.

views of Qingdao photo © 2009 Bridget Coila | more info (via: Wylio)

Architecturally the city is an unusual mix of German and Chinese buildings and some traditional buildings remain in the old city. Redevelopment has been happening fast however and was helped when Qingdao hosted the 2008 Olympic Sailing competitions.

Cultural Differences

We are often asked by people who are thinking of relocating to Asia “what is it like to live there?”. We could probably write an extremely long article on life in China alone but we were recently sent a great graphical representation which we think sums things up brilliantly.

The PDF is attached below – please click the link to open it up – it’s about 1.7MB so shouldn’t take too long.

East vs. West PDF – please click here to view

Credit for “East vs. West” goes to designer Yang Liu. Information about her work can be viewed on her website and a hard copy of the PDF can be ordered there –

A couple of sample images:

East vs. West - Punctuality

East vs. West - Punctuality

East vs. West - Making Contacts

East vs. West - Making Contacts

Chinese City Fact: Nanjing

Nanjing is situated 186 miles west of Shanghai and is known for being the old capital of China during many of the historical dynasties. It also became capital of the Republic of China in 1912 before Beijing took over.

Nanjingphoto © 2008 Monan Qiu | more info (via: Wylio)

Today’s local economy is centred around the “Five Pillar Industries” of electronics, petrochemicals, cars, steel and iron. In recent years Nanjing has been competing with other cities in the Yangtze River Delta for foreign investment and on average 2 foreign firms establish offices in the city every day.

Nanjing_0055photo © 2009 Jim | more info (via: Wylio)

Being one of the ancient four capitals of China, Nanjing has a long history as a cultural centre with a number of art groups, museums and libraries located in the city. During a darker spell in it’s history Nanjing was also subject to a brutal massacre during the Japanese occupation in 1937. The estimated death toll was as much as 350,000 and this is still an extremely sensitive subject for it’s inhabitants.

Nanjing, Chinaphoto © 2010 ronan crowley | more info (via: Wylio)

For more on Nanjing, please visit:

For more in the events of 1937 please see (Warning: some graphic images):

Opinion Poll: March 2011 (Poll Now Closed)

  • UPDATE 28th March 2011 – this poll is now closed. Thank you to all who voted – the results can be seen below – we received a 100 votes and we’ll be commenting on the results in our Monthly Update to be published on Friday 1st April.

This month we’d like to get your opinion on the Property and Construction markets in Asia. Do you feel things are positive in the region? Do you foresee the growth continuing? We’d like to know.

Also, this month we’d be keen to find out where our voters are voting from (this is done totally anonymously). For example we’d like to see if people based overseas generally view the markets in Asia as positive or perhaps whether people based locally think there could be some potential dangers.

Please take the time to vote on both polls – we’ll publish the results at the end of the month.

Chinese City Fact: Xian

Xian is a very important cultural and educational centre in central China and is one of it’s oldest cities. Perhaps best known to tourists for it’s Terracotta Army it has become a must visit destination for many people visiting China.

Xian Mausuleo Emperador Qin Terracotas 02photo © 2010 Rafael | more info (via: Wylio)

The first emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the famous Terracotta warriors for his mausoleum, one of many to be located in the Xian region.

Xian perhaps has one of the richest mix of architectural styles in China. Many Chinese traditional buildings still remain and they were designed to be large and ornamental. The different styles can be differentiated by the colours of the roofs and the details underneath.

Muralla y Torre de la Campana de Xian China 10photo © 2010 Rafael | more info (via: Wylio)

Some popular attractions include the Bell Tower (1384), The Great Mosque (over 1000 years old) and the best preserved and most complete City Wall in China.

Xian city wallsphoto © 2006 Bill Tyne | more info (via: Wylio)

South gate of Xianphoto © 2007 Richard Weil | more info (via: Wylio)

For more on Xian please visit: