Abdalla Mohamed

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Before your stay, How-to Guides

InternChina and TransferWise

Every now and again in the InternChina office, I will look up from my screen and say to anyone who will listen: “This is the best website ever created!”. The team know that I’m talking about TransferWise again! Since discovering TransferWise about 5 years ago, it has saved countless time and a significant amount of money for our organisation and our participants.
Here’s a video introduction which explains how it works:

Compared to making a bank transfer, the process is so much quicker. Typically, all you need is the recipients’ name, email address and IBAN or account number. The fees are clearly displayed, and you can compare these with bank fees before making each transfer. I never even bother comparing any more because the saving compared with any bank has always been so huge for me.

As a British business whose programmes take place in Asia, we send a lot of money to China and Vietnam in order to pay for the cost of delivering those programmes. We use TransferWise for this process which saves us time and money.

For our participants, they can send money to or from their home country whilst in Asia, as well as making deposit payments to us if they’re based outside of the UK. To use TransferWise, you can use your credit or debit card to make payment, or transfer funds from your bank.

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

How-to Guides

Adding an International Bank Card to WeChat Wallet

I’m sure you’ve all heard of WeChat and have managed to set up your account, however for many of you it may have ended there. Finally, after years of feeling left out of the loop, us Wai Guo Ren can saunter up to a till point and nonchalantly wave our phones at the cashier. Has anything been more thrilling than this?!
Tencent announced today that it will be accepting international bank cards as payment through WeChat wallet, meaning you no longer have to go through the hassle of opening a Chinese Bank account. This guide will help you to achieve your dreams of scanning and paying!

A Step By Step Guide

Step 1

Select the “Me” icon from the bottom menu in WeChat and then select the “Wallet” option.

WeChat Wallet Step 1

Step 2

Select “Cards” from the top menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 2

Step 3

This screen may be different for some of you but essentially you want to select “Add a new card.”

WeChat Wallet Step 3

Step 4

With this being China, you can either snap a quick pic of your card or manually enter your card number.

WeChat Wallet Step 4

Step 5

After this select your bank card. If your bank doesn’t appear go ahead and select Visa or Mastercard (whichever one is applicable) and then credit card (even if it’s a debit.)

WeChat Wallet Step 5

Step 6

You will then be asked to enter all you personal details in the following menu.

WeChat Wallet Step 6

If your region is not shown, enter your closest city, and for your phone number it’s up to you whether you use your international or Chinese number!

After entering these details your card should be connected to your WeChat!

In some cases this doesn’t allow you to transfer money from your bank account to WeChat or pay with you bank card. However it does allow you to receive money from others, so I’m sure you can ask your Chinese friends to help out if you give them some cash! Then they can transfer you the equivalent value so it’s available for you to use on WeChat!

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.

Be sure to follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Articles en français, Avant le depart

Nouvelle arrivée à Zhuhai : Audrey

À propos de moi :

Bonjour à tous ! Je m’appelle Audrey et je viens de Strasbourg, dans l’est de la France. Après un BTS CI, je viens d’obtenir une licence “Commercial dans l’environnement européen”. Dans le cadre de mes études, j’ai déjà eu l’opportunité de faire un stage d’un mois à Shanghai en 2015. Ce fut de loin mon expérience la plus mémorable et enrichissante. Depuis, l’idée de retourner en Chine n’a cessé de me hanter. Cela étant dit, je viens de postuler pour le poste de stagiaire dans le bureau de Zhuhai IC. Désormais, je passerai 6 mois dans ce cadre magnifique !

Contexte :

J’ai depuis toujours été amoureuse de l’Asie. Je ne pourrais l’expliquer, cela fait partie de moi. Mon voyage à Shanghai m’a d’autant plus fait tomber amoureux. De façon inattendue, avant mon arrivée, je n’étais pas stressée. J’ai attendu si longtemps après ma confirmation que cela ressemblait beaucoup plus à un soulagement. Mon niveau d’adrénaline était à son paroxysme. J’ai sauté dans l’avion et fait une escale en solitaire à Séoul et à Hong Kong avant d’arriver à Zhuhai. A mon arrivée, j’ai été chaleureusement accueillie et guidée par ma colocataire et collègue ! Internchina a toujours été très présent tout au long du processus avant et après mon arrivée.

Stage à Zhuhai / Zhuhai jusqu’à présent:

Cela fait 1 semaine et Zhuhai est au dessus de mes attentes. Les locaux sont très gentils et accueillants, la nourriture est excellente, les vues sont splendides et l’ambiance est relaxante. Mes collègues sont toujours prêts à m’aider et à m’expliquer tout ce dont j’ai besoin de savoir. Bien que j’ai été submergé au début de mon séjour, plus le temps passe, plus cette expérience me semble être l’opportunité d’avancer et trouver ma voie. Parler et comprendre l’anglais n’a pas toujours été facile mais le temps fait son travail et je me sens désormais plus à l’aise. Profiter de la vie nocturne avec des personnes venues du monde entier est une occasion formidable de développer son “Guangxi”.

Mes attentes :

J’espère :

  • Développer mon “Guanxi” (réseau).
  • Acquérir de nouvelles compétences professionnelles au travers de mon travail au sein d’une équipe internationale.
  • Gagner en confiance en moi.
  • Redécouvrir / approfondir mes connaissances sur la Chine et son environnement des affaires.
  • Profiter de la ville et de ses possibilités ainsi que de la culture locale.
Cultural, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Understanding Business in China

Hear It From the Companies: Guanxi & Mianzi

Congratulations! You have acquired an internship in China! By now, you must have researched all about how to successfully communicate and work with your soon to be Chinese co-workers. Through the research you have gathered, you must have read about “face’’ and “guanxi’’ a lot. Well, here’s a bit more, with tips and advice from two of  our partnered companies here in China!

What is Guanxi or Mianzi?

Here is a quick introduction for those that don’t know these two concepts. Guanxi, or “relationships,” is used to describe relationships in their many forms. These can be between friends, families, or businesses.

You can read more about the concept of guanxi from James here, but it is absolutely essential to conducting business and succeeding in China.

Mianzi or “face”, explained here, is so important in Chinese social, political,  and business circles that it can literally make or break a deal! It can be translated as “honour”, “reputation” and “respect,” and the concepts are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture.

So how do you achieve Guanxi and Mianzi??

There are a few ways you can better your guanxi and gain some mianzi- read some comments from our partnered companies on how best to do it!

“Be open-minded, curious, and prepared!” – Marketing firm

The lifestyle and the business environment in China is different than it is in the West, so have an open mind for your new lifestyle here in China. You need to try being patient and understanding of your new cultural surroundings and work with potential language barriers.

Be Curious

Ask lots of questions while you are at your internship! Don’t worry about bothering your new co-workers, they want to help you, so ask away!

You should also engage in conversations while you are at social events, such as dinners, with your coworkers- this a great way of building your “guanxi!” However, you should remember to keep your questions reasonable and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to ask any questions which might embarrass or cause your coworkers to lose face themselves.

Be Prepared 

Even though you might not know much about China in general, the city you are in, or the language, you can always do a bit of research to show you care enough to learn. This might mean doing some research before you visit, and continuing to ask questions and engage while you are there.

“Offer to buy dinner or go out to eat, and asking for help with and opinions on your work.” – Education company


But this doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Even something simple such as grabbing some nice dumplings or noodles at lunch can do the trick. Spending some quality time with your co-workers will be good for your guanxi and networking, and for your daily working life! If your coworkers ask you out for dinner after a long day of work, take the chance and enjoy a good meal and conversations- you will build your guanxi, mianzi and social circle!

Finally, ask for help when you need it. This is still an internship! You aren’t expected to know everything, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you don’t know something. Asking a colleague will show you are engaged and interested in the work, and they will appreciate sharing their knowledge of the task with you and gain face. It’s as great to earn as it is to give face!

Feeling ready for that internship now? Best of luck and enjoy your time in China!

Don’t have an internship yet? Check out 5 reasons why you should get one in China!

All You Need to Know, Before your stay, How-to Guides, Travel

Getting Ready for China: Setting up Your WeChat Account

Ever wondered how to use the famous WeChat? Here’s a handy guide to turn you from no to pro.

A Little Introduction

WeChat is the biggest social media platform in China, with over 963 million monthly users. It is primarily an instant messaging app however there are many more features than just instant messaging. WeChat or Wēi Xìn is the bread and butter of daily life in China and an essential part of your stay. You’ll need it to speak to friends, contact colleagues and even buy your coffee with it!

Image of the WeChat logo on a PC screen

Getting Started with WeChat

It’s actually really easy to set up a WeChat account. The process is very similar to Whatsapp, in that you need to download the WeChat app from the app store (iTunes, Google Play etc.) and create an account using your phone number.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to set up WeChat on your phone:

  1. Download the app.
  2. Once downloaded, open the app and click “sign up”
  3. Type your number into the field and click sign up, be sure to choose the right area code, e.g UK, USA etc.
  4. WeChat will send a verification code to the chosen number: go into messages, find the verification code and enter it into the “Code” field.
  5. Once confirmed, type in your name and finish creating your account.
  6. After this you’re good to go!


 Opening your Keyboard

To start a text chat, open your keyboard just like in WhatsApp or SMS. Tap the space beside the speaker icon and your keyboard becomes accessible!

 Adding Friends

Now that your account is ready to go it’s time to start making friends. Adding people on WeChat is quick and easy, so it’s great for networking or if you’re on the go.

You can add friends a few ways. The first is to search for their username or phone number, and the second is to scan their personalised QR code.

Adding Contacts by Username & Phone Number

  1. Click the ” + ” icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Click the space beside the search icon which says “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  3. Type the username/ phone number into the space saying “WeChat ID/ Phone.”
  4. When you type in the username, click on the green search button that appears.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. You’re now connected!

Adding Contacts with a QR Code 

  1. Click the + icon at the top right hand of your home screen.
  2. Select “Add Contacts” then “Scan QR Code”
  3. Ask your friend to show you their “Profile QR code”.
  4. Point your phone camera at the code to scan it.
  5. Their contact card will appear on your screen. Click “Add”
  6. Congrats! You’ve just added your first contact!


Lettings Others Add You 

Others can add you by your username, the phone number associated with your account or by scanning your personalised QR code.

To access your personal QR code, go to the “Me” page in WeChat, click on either your profile picture or the QR code beside your username, and open your QR code!

Making a Group Chat

To make a group chat in WeChat, simply go to the ” + ” symbol in the top right of your screen, and then select the “Group Chat” option. Then, add your contacts!


Following Official Accounts

Groups are a big part of how people communicate via WeChat and we regularly use them to post updates about IC activities. To keep up to date with weekly dinners, trips and the latest news be sure to follow the official InternChina subscription accounts and join the group chats.

You can join the subscription accounts the same way you add contacts- simply choose “Official Accounts” in the menu, and then search for the account you want to follow! You can type in “IC” and this will bring up all the InternChina city accounts.

How to Communicate

In WeChat, you can text, send voice messages, make phone calls and make video calls (similar to Skype.)

Sending a Voice Message

To send a voice message, click on the speaker icon beside your keyboard. Then, press the “hold to talk” button, and continue holding this until you are finished speaking. Then simply release and your message is sent! To cancel a message, just drag and release your finger.

Video Calling

You will most likely use a WeChat video call for your interview with your host company, so it’s important you know how to make one!

  1. Open the right conversation- either an existing chat with the contact, or open a new chat by finding the contact in your contacts list.
  2. Open the chat menu by pressing the ” + ” button at the bottom of your conversation screen.
  3. Select the option for a video call.
  4. You’re ready to go!

The same method applies to starting a voice call.


Once you have your WeChat set up you are ready to start life in China! Check out our video on how to use WeChat to sign up to IC activities and follow our official account.



Comparisons, Learn about China

Is WeChat Pay Contributing to the Death of Cash Transactions?

In the two years between being an intern in Qingdao and being a Branch Manager here, plenty has changed. But the most striking change is probably the massive popularisation of digital wallets, the two most popular being Alipay (zhīfùbao 支付宝) and WeChat Pay (wēixìnzhīfù 微信支付). Digital wallets have yet to catch on to the same extent in the UK. Apple Pay is the most notable example, however it definitely does not have the same momentum as WeChat Pay does.

So How Does it Work?

Put simply, you link your Chinese bank card to your WeChat account. From there, you can either scan a shop’s QR code (China loves a QR code!) or the cashier can scan your own personal bar code. From there, you input the amount you have to pay, tap in your WeChat Pay password and, just like magic, your money is transferred immediately.

Wechat Pay QR code scan
It’s so simple to spend lots of money now! All you do is scan your QR code at the till.

I am not exaggerating when I say that WeChat pay is everywhere! From taxi drivers, fruit stalls and tiny noodle shops to supermarkets and car dealers, everyone now uses either WeChat Pay or Alipay, or even both! I have only come across one taxi driver who refused to accept it.

It solves the age old problem of how to split the bill. In Chinese, this is called AA制 (AA zhì). Before digital wallets were a thing, it was a hassle having the right change and juggling between you and your friends to make sure everyone paid their fair share. Now, in a very Chinese fashion, you can send your friends a digital 红包 (hóng bāo red packet) to pay them back for dinner.


The only time I have found WeChat to be a pain was recently when my phone stopped working. On the first of every month, the packages of calls and data on Chinese phones refreshes. If you don’t have enough credit to refresh the package, your phone simply stops working until you top it up again. Becoming reliant on WeChat Pay was a nightmare in this situation, as I couldn’t connect to the internet to make any payments. To make matters worse, I only had 6RMB in my wallet! I couldn’t even get dinner, let alone buy a top up for my phone. I had to go home, connect to my home WiFi and top up my phone before I could access my WeChat Pay again.

So how does WeChat Pay affect the rest of China?

In just a few short years since their introduction into Chinese society, these digital wallets have become massively popular. According to a recent UN report, the value of payments made through WeChat pay has increased by a staggering eighty-five times, from RMB 0.1 trillion in 2012, to RMB 8.5 trillion in 2016. It is hardly surprising when WeChat is so integral to Chinese life. Most peoples’ social life online is conducted through WeChat, using the app to chat, organise events, find flatmates and even pay their taxes online!

A real upshot for the Chinese government as well is that the use of digital wallets has brought vast amounts of cash payments into easily recorded and traced digital transactions. This will potentially make it easier for tax authorities to keep track and collect taxes owed. In addition, it has the potential to bring more people into the economy. Those who are too far from banks, or are lacking the correct documentation to open a bank account where they live, can instead access the economy through their phone, taking advantage of China’s huge smartphone penetration.

The largest change on the street has been the near-extinction of cash. In restaurants, in cabs, in shops, I rarely see cash changing hands. Instead, people brandish smartphones and QR codes. It will be interesting to see how long this trend lasts.

For international payments, we always recommend using TransferWise. They’re cheaper than the banks, because they always use the real exchange rate – which you can see on Google – and charge a very small fee. They’re also safe and trusted by over 2 million people around the world. You can sign up here.


Articles en français, Avant le depart

Comment écrire un e-mail professionnel ?

Vous trouvez cela compliqué d’écrire un email? Ou vous voulez juste vous rafraichir la mémoire? Voici ce que je m’assure de faire à chaque fois que j’en écris un à un futur employeur.
Premièrement, faites bien attention à l’objet du mail. Ce dernier doit être clair afin que le destinataire sache de quoi il s’agit avant même d’ouvrir cet e-mail.

Exemples de sujet pour vos emails:

  • “Internship interview for Friday 15th” or “Important documents required”
  • “Entretien du 15 Février pour un stage” ; “Documents importants requis”

Ensuite, passons aux salutations. Si vous connaissez votre destinataire, n’hésitez pas à ajouter leur nom. Ensuite la familiarité des salutations dépend de votre degré d’intimité avec la personne.


  • “Cher Monsieur Smith”, “Chère Madame Jones”,
  • “Dear Mr. Smith,” “Dear Ms. Jones,”

Vous est-il déjà arrivé de ne pas savoir si votre destinataire était un homme ou une femme? Voici mon conseil dans ce genre de cas pour procéder aux salutations.

Utilisez le traditionnel “Cher,Chère” suivi de son nom si vous l’avez, ou un Madame,Monsieur fera aussi l’affaire. En anglais cela donnera : Dear {Name} {Last Name},

Vérifiez bien l’orthographe du nom de votre destinataire, afin de ne pas faire d’erreur!

Le corps de l’e-mail

Je préfère commencer un mail avec une note positive. Un remerciement, ou bien simplement demander comment se porte la personne est très bien perçu. Ni trop long, ni trop personnel, juste assez pour bien commencer la conversation et cela devrait suffire.

Pour ce qui est du texte, soyez clair et précis car cela influera sur le type de réponse que vous recevrez! N’hésitez pas à privilégier les e-mail courts, afin d’éviter que le destinataire ne survole votre e-mail et rate l’essentiel! Vérifiez bien que le but de votre e-mail est clair, et que vos attentes sont bien exprimées et résumées.

Comment organiser son e-mail
Comment organiser son e-mail


Un e-mail n’a pas à être “fancy”, utilisez une police d’écriture sobre :  Arial, Helvetica, ou Tahoma en taille 12. Pensez à vérifier votre grammaire et orthographe – je double check souvent avec Word, ou un logiciel sur internet! En effet c’est très important, car votre e-mail peut servir de “première impression”, et est donc très important! Veillez à ce que le style de votre e-mail vous fait paraitre sur de vous, même si vous aurez passé des heures à tout vérifier!

J’aime utiliser une phrase de conclusion positive également, afin de conclure en beauté!

Exemples :

  • “Merci pour votre temps” “Thank you for your time.”
  • “Dans l’attente de vous lire” “I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
  • “Dans l’attente de vos conseils” “I look forward to your advice.”
  • “En espérant vous rencontrer prochainement” “I look forward to meeting you soon.”

Les formules de politesses

Dans un mail professionnel, il est recommandé d’utiliser des formules simples comme :

“Bien à vous”, “Bien cordialement” , “Kind regards,” ou “Yours Sincerely,”

N’oubliez pas votre nom et prénom en fin d’e-mail – on ne prendra pas la peine de déchiffrer votre adresse email pour connaitre votre nom!

Une dernière fois!

Votre e-mail est prêt? N’hésitez pas à relire encore une fois, on est jamais trop sûr! Si vous joignez un fichier, ne l’envoyez pas sans avoir vérifié la pièce jointe. C’est parti, il est temps d’envoyer le mail! Pensez à vérifier votre boite mail régulièrement, ainsi que vos spams, qui sait?

En espérant que ces quelques conseils vous aideront dans la rédaction de votre prochain e-mail pour un futur employeur!


Picture of a panda in the InternChina office in Chengdu

En espérant vous accueillir très bientôt à Chengdu, la ville des pandas!

Articles en français, Avant le depart

Quel budget vous faut-il pour vivre en Chine

L’idée d’un stage en Chine vous tente, ou vous êtes déjà sur le point de partir? C’est alors que tout un tas de questions subviennent! Concernant le cout de la vie en Chine voici un article pour vous aider à planifier votre budget!
Bonne nouvelle! Ce n’est normalement pas en Chine que vous allez vous ruiner! Laissez-moi vous convaincre. Pour un repas classique, comptez en général 15RMB – à peine 2€, mais si vous êtes tenté par une pizza par exemple comptons 60RMB, soit environ 8€! Coté boisson, on se croirait en happy hour tout le temps! En effet la pinte de bière vous reviendra à 2 euros, et dans les bars un bon cocktail pourra vous couter 5 euros peut être ? Afin d’attirer plus de clients, certains bars n’hésitent pas sur les promos! Une bière Tsingtao pour 5RMB (0,60 centimes d’euros), qui dit mieux ? Il n’y a pas de TVA en Chine, donc le prix affiché est le prix que vous devrez payer. Mais il n’est pas rare de marchander en Chine, dans certains marchés c’est fortement conseillé! Tant qu’il n’y a pas d’étiquette avec un prix fixe, tentez votre chance, car le prix indiqué aura été pensé comme “étranger = riche”.

Quel est le taux de change du RMB?

Afin d’avoir les taux les plus actualisés suivez ce lien ici.

1 GBP = 8.90 RMB
1 EURO = 7.82 RMB
1 USD = 6.61 RMB
**taux de change au 30/11/2017

Comment déterminer votre budget pour la Chine?

Il y a deux facteurs important à prendre en considération dans votre budget

  • Type d’hébergement: Si vous choisissez une famille d’accueil, vos petits déjeunés et diners seront fournis par la famille
  • Votre rythme de vie: Si vous prenez souvent le taxi, si vous diner uniquement dans des restaurants européens, et si vous sortez boire un verre tous les jours, votre budget sera bien sur plus conséquent que si vous utilisez le bus, mangez chinois et sortez modérément!

Estimation d’un budget par semaine, et par mois

Si dessous, nous avons essayé de faire quelques estimations utiles pour vous aider à imaginer votre budget pour votre séjour en Chine. Si la plupart de nos stagiaires, vivent avec un petit budget en Chine, cela ne signifie pas non plus qu’ils se privent de tout ! Si vous souhaitez dépenser plus, nous avons fait trois estimations de budget. A vous de choisir !

Petit Budget pour ceux qui veulent faire des économies tout en profitant et découvrant de nouvelles choses :
Petit Budget pour ceux qui veulent faire des économies tout en profitant et découvrant de nouvelles choses :
Budget Moyen pour ceux qui voudraient se faire un peu plaisir
Budget Moyen pour ceux qui voudraient se faire un peu plaisir
Gros Budget pour ceux qui voudront dépenser dans les bars, taxis et produits importés
Gros Budget pour ceux qui voudront dépenser dans les bars, taxis et produits importés

Ceci n’est qu’une estimation, et bien sur cela peut varier en fonction de la ville de votre choix! Mais en restant raisonnable on peut se faire plaisir ici! Bien sur, un café chez Starbuck vous coutera 35 RMB soit à peine 5 euros, mais le dernier Iphone lui sera à 7000 RMB soit presque 900 euros! Il y a donc de tous les prix en Chine, à vous de faire votre choix! Dans tous les cas, le budget moyen par mois en Chine, reste bien moins conséquent que votre budget moyen mensuel en France! Alors n’hésitez plus et rejoignez nous!

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