Monthly Update: June 2011

Market News

The Chinese government this month announced the long discussed expansion of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, with the aim to turn the city into an international metropolis. The development of Xi’an is seen as a key process in the overall development of Western China.

Xi'an City Wallphoto © 2009 Will Clayton | more info (via: Wylio)

The Beijing to Shanghai high speed rail is ready to launch on July 1st and this month carried it’s first passengers. Travellers can expect to find aircraft style lie flat business class seats as well as journey times of around 5 hours – around half the current train travel times. It is hoped the rail link will attract passengers who usually opt to fly between the cities.

Honqiao Railway Stationphoto © 2010 Drew | more info (via: Wylio)

China’s fast growing love for luxury retail products is causing some headaches for luxury brands. Demand for prime retail locations is so high that many companies are having to wait for more than a year before getting the sites they want. In addition, there has been a growing caution by brands to locate themselves in second tier cities where they are finding the spending power of individuals is perhaps not yet as high as anticipated.

Louis Vuitton, Hong Kongphoto © 2006 Kent Wang | more info (via: Wylio)

In Hong Kong, a house on the Peak sold for a city record $800 million Hong Kong Dollars. At $96,362 HKD per square foot, the sale blows away the old record from March this year of $62,000 HKD per square foot for a property on Stanley Beach Road. Property prices in Hong Kong continue to rise causing some to worry whether a bubble is forming and about to burst.

Singapore has overtaken Hong Kong and becomes the third most expensive place for expats to live in the world. Tokyo remains the most expensive location and the top three cities have seen inflation creep up impacting on the costs of basic daily items.

Singapore River where it all © 2011 William Cho | more info (via: Wylio)

Finally, little known Kunming has been earmarked as a future regional air hub in Southwest China as part of plans to open up this region to more trade and tourism. With links to Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand it is hoped that a new airport will be in operation by the end of 2011 becoming China’s fourth largest regional hub after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Poll Result

This month we have had a focus on Graduates in the design industry. Our June poll asked design graduates to tell us what they would look for when selecting their first position. We allowed people to make a selection of their top 3 choices and the results can be seen below:

Over 1/4 of all voters wanted to work for a company that supports further studies or registration. This is perhaps not surprising with a large proportion of fresh graduates looking to gain experience that gives them extra qualifications or the necessary experience to become registered. It seems that the next most popular choices were the opportunity to work on large projects (11.33%) within a large company (11.33%). That said, an almost equal number of votes were cast to work within smaller companies on smaller schemes. It seems that there is a pretty even spread of opinion between working within larger and smaller organisations. Quite a high proportion of you felt that working within a “Design Name” would be an important factor. Interestingly, more people felt that gaining technical experience took precedence over getting conceptual design experience – perhaps this is to do with gaining relevant experience for future registration? Very few people looked for a high starting salary as a graduate which is a clear sign that people coming out of design school really do take a look at the opportunity rather than the financial benefits available. This certainly reflects what we experience when talking to design graduates who are often very unconcerned about their potential earnings at the start of their careers.

The response this month was phenomenal and we’re keen to keep getting your views. There will be another poll to vote on in July so remember to check back soon and we’ll announce things on Twitter/LinkedIn.

What’s Hot

We have had an extremely busy June particularly with the developers ramping up growth within their teams in mainland China.

A lot of our clients are looking for Project Management staff to be stationed (as always) on their new projects on the mainland. Architecturally trained candidates remain the most in demand although a growing need for civil and structurally trained candidates has become apparent. Some developers are also looking at opportunities in Hong Kong so we have seen a slight increase in demand for staff to be based here and to work on projects here. However, if you are flexible on location and open to working on some amazing projects in slightly unusual places, we have a large number of roles we can talk to you about!

Within architecture and design, the most pressing needs are for architects with around 7-10 years experience. Clients are really prioritising candidates with solid prior Asia experience and it is becoming more difficult to secure opportunities without fluency in Mandarin. Candidates with transportation and retail experience seem most in demand and clients are reluctant to interview people based overseas – there is a real push to meet candidates face-to-face who have made the commitment to travelling to Asia in order to secure something – whilst there is no guarantee that this will get you a job, it is deemed a suitable risk to many in order to work within the Asia market. A range of opportunities exist for candidates in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing and we are keen to speak to design candidates who wish to work on some fantastic projects in China.

Most Urgent Requirements

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

  • Senior Project Managers – Hong Kong and China – multiple needs from Top Tier Developers
  • Senior Architect with Retail experience – Hong Kong – fantastic international architecture practice
  • Senior Interior Designer – Hong Kong – great boutique retail design firm
  • Construction Manager Piling – Hong Kong – to work with a top developer
  • Senior Estimator – Hong Kong – a key role within an iconic developer
  • Project Director – China – 2 or 3 positions for a Top Developer to be based on landmark schemes in China
  • Project Architects – Shanghai – multiple roles within a growing award winning design firm. Bilingual candidates only
  • Senior Landscape Architect – Hong Kong – for a leading developer
  • 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.


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