Chinese City Fact: Hefei

Hefei is a large city of some 4.9 million inhabitants and is capital of Anhui Province in Eastern China. Traditionally it’s biggest industries were based around agriculture and prior to World War II, acted as an administrative centre and market for the fertile agriculture region surrounding the city. As with many cities, industrial growth took over and it’s population went from a relatively small 30,000 to 300,000 by the 1950’s.

Hefei townphoto © 2007 Taiyo FUJII | more info (via: Wylio)

Unfortunately, Hefei is still a poor city. As the capital of Anhui it attracts a lot of migrants looking for opportunities which do not exist. As a result, wages stay low. In 2005 the problems weren’t helped when the local government decided to beautify the city by clearing away many of the historical markets. This added many thousands of people to the list of unemployed but did help to reduce the spread of disease from unlicensed food stalls. Now most residents do feel that Hefei has a better environment to live in and investment continues to develop the city into a more modern metropolis.

Transporterphoto © 2007 Taiyo FUJII | more info (via: Wylio)

Hefei bird viewphoto © 2007 Taiyo FUJII | more info (via: Wylio)

For more on Hefei please visit:


Monthly Update: May 2011

Market News

In China, the government has increased the supply of land for subsidized housing dramatically in 2011 up 140% to 77,400 hectares. It is hoped that more affordable housing will soon be available to the many who need it within the urban areas.

In Shanghai, a recent poll found that one in every 175 people living there has a personal wealth of more than US$1.5 million (10 million Yuan). More than 132,000 people have reached this milestone mainly due to the rapid growth in Shanghai’s economy in the last year. The richest person was Eddie Ye with an estimated fortune of 15 billion Yuan. Unsurprisingly he is a property tycoon.

Pudong Skyline (night)photo © 2010 Kamal Zharif Kamaludin | more info (via: Wylio)

The doors opened on Galaxy’s flagship Casino project in Macau earlier this month. Queues formed for the grand opening which sees an extra 450 gambling tables added to the enclave’s total. Featuring a huge wave pool and more general attractions, it is hoped that the Galaxy Macau will attract a more diverse crowd including families who will stay for longer at the hotel. On average, people spend 1.5 days in Macau. It is hoped that by offering more of a holiday resort style Macau will be able to encourage people to stay for longer.

飯店林立photo © 2009 Albert Hsu | more info (via: Wylio)

On the mainland, house prices rose in 67 out of 70 cities monitored by the government in April. Smaller cities are defying the efforts made to cool property prices across the country.

Poll Result

We asked for thoughts on package benefits in our polls this month. Assuming that everyone received all the benefits listed, we asked which one’s people would want to see increased.

The results are as follows:

Over half of all respondents said they would like to see an increase in the amount of holiday they receive. In Asia, holiday allowance is generally much lower than internationally. However it is balanced with a greater number of public holidays so time off during a year is typically the same. Despite this it appears that most people feel that they receive too little holiday allowance in their packages. Nearly a quarter of you voted for an increase in housing allowance. It would be interesting to know if this is simply to cover increases in rent or to allow people to perhaps upgrade to bigger/better accommodations. We were quite surprised to see a relatively large number of people requesting increased medical benefits. We have seen more requests in recent months from candidates who would like more comprehensive medical cover but this is mainly to include family members.

All in all, an interesting poll. Thank you as always to everyone that voted.

There will be another poll to vote on in June so remember to check back soon.

What’s Hot

May has seen no let up in the number of requirements we have coming through.

Massive demand remains for Project Managers to work with developers up in China. If you are architecturally trained, have an engineering background (E&M, Civil or Structural) then we want to hear from you. Some developers are starting to consider candidates being stationed in Hong Kong with regular travel to accommodate those who simply don’t want to live in China. However, if you have experience in China and are happy to be stationed there, we can definitely come up with some really interesting options – we are working with many of Hong Kong’s top tier developers.

On the contractor side we have needs for strong Quantity Surveyors, Geotechnical Engineers and Project Directors (with fit-out backgrounds). We have been advised that needs are going to increase sharply in the coming months as more infrastructure projects come online so we’re always on the look out for strong infrastructure candidates.

In architecture and design, needs also remain high. It goes without saying that fluent Mandarin speakers will have greatest success securing options. There are roles in Hong Kong and across China and we have opportunities from many, many clients for candidates ranging from fresh graduates up to Senior Design Directors. Registered Architects are still required by many firms in Hong Kong. We have also seen an increase in Urban Design positions in the last month with a number of firms looking to take on candidates with strong experience in masterplanning in China. In interior design we have had a number of positions come in from clients, design companies and luxury retail brands. Retail interior design is booming at the moment and we have a need for candidates at all levels.

Most Urgent Requirements

We have outlined below the urgent vacancies we have had through from clients over the last month.

  • Senior Project Manager – Hong Kong – key role for a luxury retail fashion house
  • Senior Architect with Façade experience – Hong Kong – fantastic international architecture practice
  • Senior Interior Designer – Hong Kong – great little boutique retail architecture and design firm
  • Associates and Architects – Hong Kong – to work on some truly iconic transportation projects
  • Senior Urban Designer – Beijing or Shanghai – internationally acclaimed architecture team
  • Commercial Manager – Hong Kong or Shanghai – international fit-out contractor
  • Senior Project Managers (E&M) – Hong Kong and China – top tier developers across Hong Kong and China
  • Senior Geotechnical Engineer – Hong Kong – leading international contractor, infrastructure projects
  • Senior Architects – China – Mandarin speakers needed for a variety of top design names

We also have many, many more roles posted on our website and these are only an overview of our top positions at this time. Please check back regularly. The easiest way to stay up to date with our latest positions is to follow us on Twitter.

Please visit our website for more information on the above roles and our other vacancies:

If you wish to enquire about a position please send an email and your CV to

Follow us on Twitter here: Please also subscribe to our blog by filling in the email subscription form on the right to stay up to date with our latest posts, updates and information.

Chinese City Fact: Jilin City

Jilin City is the only major Chinese city with the same name as the province in which it sits. Home to nearly 2 million people in the urban centre, it is also known as the “River City” due to the Songhua River which surrounds it.

Tree Frost of Jilin City 6photo © 2010 Mumu X | more info (via: Wylio)

It’s location in Northern China means it is subjected to very cold winters which creates one of the Four Wonders of China each year. Tourists come from all over China to see the “Ice Rimmed Trees” which are due to the warm river not freezing during the winter, creating water vapour which then crystallises on the branches of the nearby willow trees.

DSC_1438photo © 2007 drnan tu | more info (via: Wylio)
For more on Jilin City please visit:

Handing in Your Resignation and Dealing with Counter Offers – Part 2

Two weeks ago in Part 1 of our article on Resignation and Counter Offers we discussed how best to handle the process of resigning from your current position. This week we will look at Counter Offers and how to handle them.

Dealing with Counter Offers

On occasion, an employer can decide that they wish to keep you on rather than lose you to another company. This can result in what is known as a “Counter Offer”. That is, they will come back usually with improved contractual terms and conditions reflected most often in a better job title and an increase in salary. Whilst this may seem like a potentially easy option to consider, it is worth remembering a few key things when it comes to counter offers.

1.  The overwhelming majority of candidates, who receive and accept a counter offer from their current employer, leave that employment within the following 6 months. The main reason for this is because the original reasons for wishing to leave a company don’t go away by being offered an uplift in salary or title. It is often a variety of reasons that causes someone to leave and hoping a pay rise will fix things often results in a very temporary solution.

2.  In a buoyant market where there are more opportunities than there are candidates, it is often easier, quicker and considerably cheaper for a company to counter offer someone rather than hire someone new. They avoid the hassle of interviewing, advertising or hiring a recruiter to find someone else.

3.  Very often a counter offer is used to buy a company time to find your replacement. A lot of employers will take a resignation as a sign that someone is not a team player and they will start the process of finding a replacement very quickly.

4.  It is damaging to a team atmosphere. If someone resigns only to be given a pay rise and promotion, it can mean that colleagues become resentful and the atmosphere difficult to work in.

5.  If your employer is suddenly able to offer you an increase in salary and a promotion, why weren’t they able to do this previously. If it takes you resigning for them to act, then you must question whether they are the right employer and whether they really value you?

You may receive a counter offer during the resignation meeting or shortly after in the days that follow. The important thing is to think back to the original reasons for leaving your current employer. Whether it be to further your career in another company, take on a new challenge or work in a new environment, don’t forget that your decision to leave should be final. Once you have made the decision to leave, stick to it. A change of heart can look unprofessional not only to your current employer but to a potential future employer who you may have already committed to joining.

The response to a counter offer should be positive but firm. Tell your boss or employer that whilst you appreciate the gesture, your decision is final and your reasons for leaving are still there.

And that should be it. You will now have handed in your notice and handled a counter offer. At this point you are now able to tie up any loose ends and help make the transition for your current employer as smooth as possible. A feeling of relief often hits at this point!

237 of 365: Leaving the officephoto © 2009 Tim Regan | more info (via: Wylio)

If the process is handled in the correct manner, there is no reason it shouldn’t result in a positive outcome for all parties. There are inevitably going to be bosses and companies that take a resignation very personally and who can make things unpleasant for the employee during the notice period or even after. Don’t let that worry you though. You will quickly see that if they behave in this manner then your reasons for leaving are more than justified and they weren’t the right company for you in the first place.

If you require any advice on resigning or responding to a counter offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Ellicott Long. We have many years experience dealing with the various scenarios that present themselves and can provide you with some advice specific to your case.

Chinese City Fact: Changsha

This city in south-central China has an urban population of around 2.7 million people. Famously it is known for being the site of Mao Zedong’s conversion to communism. He began his political career in Changsha receiving training and then working as a teacher and principal.

changsha rice noodles2photo © 2010 m6 leica | more info (via: Wylio)

Now Changsha is the capital of Hunan province and an important industrial, commercial and port city in central China. It is also one of China’s fastest growing cities and attracts huge amounts of foreign direct investigation from other Asian countries including Singapore, South Korea and Japan. The idea is to fast transform the city into a hi-tech, manufacturing and service driven economy. However, this has not come without it’s problems including serious environmental pollution issues.

Hunan Provincial Museum - Changshaphoto © 2006 David Schroeter | more info (via: Wylio)

Baijiu Man Bronze Statue in Walking Street, Changshaphoto © 2011 David Schroeter | more info (via: Wylio)

For more information on Changsha please take a look at:

Opinion Poll: May 2011 (Poll Now Closed)

  • UPDATE 26th May 2011 – this poll is now closed. Thank you to all who voted – the results can be seen below – we received 100 votes and we’ll be commenting on the results in our Monthly Update to be published on Friday 27th May.

This month we would like to find out how people rate the benefits they receive in a position, outside of the salaries and bonuses. Do you want more holiday allowance? Would you like to have housing allowances? When you vote, please imagine you have all the benefits listed, even if you don’t. Please then tell us which one you would want to see increased. Feel free to add any benefits in the “other” section that you think we may have missed and you would like including.

As always we also want to know where are voters are voting from. Please make sure to vote on both polls. No personal data is collected or recorded.

The response to our polls has been increasing in recent months so please vote quickly to tell us your views before it closes!

Handing in Your Resignation and Dealing with Counter Offers – Part 1

We recently conducted a poll regarding counter offers (please click here to see the results). We thought a useful follow up to this would be to provide an article on resigning and counter offers.

A lot of people find resigning from their current position one of the most daunting aspects of moving jobs. How will your boss react? What will your colleagues say or think? This article aims to give advice and guidance on how to handle the act of resignation. It is split into two parts. This first, published this week, will focus on the resignation. Part 2 will follow in a couple of weeks and will look at “Counter Offers”.


So you’ve made the decision to leave your current employer? Maybe you’ve secured a new position or you are leaving to concentrate full time on finding something else. Either way, handing in a resignation still remains a worrying prospect for many people. But it doesn’t have to be. Handled in the correct manner, resigning from a position can result in a smooth transition for all parties and leave both sides feeling positive about the decision.

The actual act of resigning or handing in your notice occurs face-to-face with your boss. For this, a meeting should be arranged, preferably not too far in advance (you will only worry as the time draws closer) but at the same time not just appearing out of the blue. Perhaps ask your boss or supervisor if you could speak to them at the end of the day or first thing the next morning.

91/366 ~ ready, set, firephoto © 2008 jill, jellidonut… whatever | more info (via: Wylio)

For the meeting you should prepare a resignation letter. There are a number of guides online with example letters but it’s useful to remember a few key points:

1. Be concise – you do not need to go into masses of detail about your reasons for wishing to leave. Simply state your intention to give your employer notice (as defined in your employment contract) from your position (state your job title)

2. Thank your employer – it’s worth writing one or two lines thanking your employer/boss for the opportunity to work with them and the experience you have gained

That’s it. It simply acts as a written confirmation of your intention to give notice and leave your position.

For the meeting itself, take along your resignation letter. Again, keep things simple. State that you are resigning from your current position and wish to give your employer notice. Hand over your letter to your boss at this point. Obviously different managers / personalities will react to the news in different ways. The main thing to ensure is that you remain calm and that you are positive about the opportunity you have been given by your current employer. Some managers may get angry and demand to know the reasons why you wish to leave. Again, remain calm, positive and if you wish to give a reason to them, ensure it is professional and not personal in nature. You are not obliged to go into a level of detail with your boss but depending on your relationship with the company you may wish to tell them a bit more about your plans.

The key with a resignation is to deliver it in the right way. Your boss must come away from the meeting know you have made up your mind fully and are intent on leaving the company. Therefore be brief, concise and to the point during the meeting. Confirm your last day with them or ask them to go away and come back to you with this information. Equally offer to make the transition as smooth as possible by preparing a handover or assisting a colleague or replacement in taking on your workload. Some people prepare a written handover prior to the meeting to give to their boss with the letter or resignation.

And that should be it. It really should only take a matter of minutes. There may be some discussions but it should be about confirming your intention to leave and allowing your employer to go away and prepare for your departure.

Some employers will require their staff to work out their full notice periods, others may offer gardening leave. Either way it is important to respect their decision and your contractual obligations. You may be able to shorten your notice period by using some unused holiday allowance.

It is also important to respect your employers wishes regarding announcing your departure to the team. Leave this for them to deliver and maintain a positive attitude and approach during your notice period. It is important that you leave the company on a good note regardless of your reasons for leaving in the first place.

Hello New Officephoto © 2006 Martin Cathrae | more info (via: Wylio)

All being well, your resignation will be accepted, a timescale for your departure agreed and the last few weeks of employment should be a relatively painless process, leaving you to look forward to your new challenge.

In 2 weeks we’ll publish Part 2 on Counter Offers. Please check back for more updates and comments on this post.