Internship Experience in China

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Cultural, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel, Zhuhai Blogs

Our attempt at Dragon Boat Racing

Saturday 5th December was meant to be a big day. My first organised trip taking the InternChina interns out to do some fierce Dragon boat racing on Doumen lake. I had it all planned down to a tee.Meet at 11.30am at the bus stop; 12.30pm arrive at Doumen Lake; allocate exactly one hour for lunch; then get on the lake and play some team games.
There were whisperings of potential rain over the weekend but I ignored them. Being from England, it rains ALL THE TIME and a little bit of rain never hurt anybody. However it did have the potential to cancel our Dragon Boat Racing plans…

Half way through the journey, we received a call from the company saying that Dragon Boat Racing had been cancelled because there was torrential rain and it was too dangerous to go out on the lake. This was so unfair. In an effort to make the best of a soggy situation and still have our day out, we made a detour to the Jintai Buddhist Temple which was close by.


Located at the highest peak of Huangyang Mountain in Zhuhai, over looking Yamen seaport, this was everything you imagined a Buddhist temple to be. Surrounded by tranquil waters and picturesque scenery, all that missing was a Chinese Erhu playing in the background to our exploration.

InternChina - Statues at Jintai Temple
InternChina – Statues at Jintai Temple


Under reconstruction after being destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, Jintai Temple was slowly being restored to it’s former glory. Brightly coloured with intricately painted designs and spiritual figures, it was growing into a memorable piece of work.

InternChina - Jintai Temple Statues
InternChina – Jintai Temple Statues

For me, however, Jintai’s highlight was it’s unassuming restaurant located near the entrance. We wondered in, damp and hungry to be greeted by an old man with a beaming smile.

We asked him if there was a menu, he said “No”.

We asked him how much the food was he said “Any price that you want to pay”.

To say that we were confused, was an understatement. After 5 minutes of translation between us we realised that this was exactly how this restaurant operated.
There was no menu, only a vegetarian buffet available and we did only need to pay what we thought the meal was worth.

The food was homely and comforting and the staff were so friendly and helpful, despite our cluelessness. When it came to paying the bill, not being told how much to pay definitely made me more generous than I would be otherwise. This is a very good business idea.

While my initial plans for Dragon Boat Racing may have been swept away to sea, our trip to Jintai Temple was certainly a successful alternative.

InternChina - Stairwell to Heaven
InternChina – Stairwell to Heaven

Until next time for another InternChina Zhuhai adventure….. apply here to join us!

Internship Experience, Learn about China

Meet Shirley: Her Introduction Blog

Hi, everyone, I am Shirley Yan, the new face in the IC Zhuhai office.

InternChina - Shirley welcoming Kai at the Zhuhai Port
InternChina – Shirley welcoming Kai at the Zhuhai Port

About myself

Born in the north part of China, I grew up and completed my secondary education in Shenyang. But I am always keen to experience what I have never experienced before and expect what is unexpected. Driven by my curiosity, I wanted to explore the world outside. So I left home alone and started my overseas education in Singapore at the age of 16. The adventure never ends. In my first year of university, I started to think of the big question: Who am I and what do I truly want to do in life?

Therefore, I spent a lot of time trying to discover my interests and strengths and found myself passionate on marketing and business development. Singaporeans like to call their country ‘a little red dot on the map’. It is a financial and trading center of North-east Asia but the market is tiny. On the contrary, China, as an arising economic entity, has a massive untapped market and a huge population with consuming potential. So I decided to choose China as my destination.

InternChina Bubble Tea in Guangzhou
InternChina – Bubble tea selfie in Guangzhou

Why Zhuhai then?

There is an idiom “南商北工”, which well demonstrates the enterprise distribution in China. It means the northern region is strong in industries and manufacturing while the southern region is advantaged in business and trading. The difference in economic structures is associated with distinct geographical features in the north and south. The political center is located in the north so has number of government-owned industries such as electricity and oil industries. The south (Guangzhou) is close to harbours and has a number of trading, tech and startup companies. Interning in Zhuhai allows me to learn more about marketing and business development. Last but not least, it is ranked top as the most livable city in China.

InternChina - Zhuhai Office View at night
InternChina – Zhuhai Office View at night

Interning in IC

The working culture of InternChina is really impressive and completely different from that of Singapore. In Singapore, business is usually based on a rigid organizational structure where employees are taught to be obedient by the hierarchy. But InternChina team is like a family. I celebrated Christmas with 7 colleagues, one dog and one baby on my first day of arrival (haha) and received the best Christmas gift I have ever received in my life. Moreover, there are a lot of things I can learn from these amazing and enthusiastic people here.

Shirley Yan Intern at InternChina Zhuhai
InternChina – That’s me at the InternChina Christmas Party

Exploration and learning is the essence of life. If you are someone like me, come and join us. You will never regret it!!

 

Internship Experience

Yun Wong’s Internship Experience in Zhuhai

Yun Wong speaks about his still on-going internship experience in Zhuhai. Thanks to the British Council’s GenerationUK funding he had the “opportunity to really test and develop my knowledge and ability in a new and challenging environment”
Generation UKInternChina Internship Experience Yun
InternChina – Yun (first person on the right)
1

Tell us a little about yourself/ Tell us about your internship, your position

My name is Yun Wong and I’m a recent graduate with a degree in Chemical Engineering and Business Management.
Having pretty much spent the last 18 or so years in education. I wanted to really try something different before committing myself to a career path and a full time job.
When I heard about the chance to undertake an internship in China I knew this was huge opportunity to really test and develop my knowledge and ability in a new and challenging environment. If also gives me a greater insight whether or not I would enjoy the chosen industry sector.
I’m currently in my third week of a 2 month internship in Zhuhai. I am working in a marketing position for a company specialising in environmentally friendly and organic products. So far my work has involved shadowing one of the Directors to get to know the company and how it is run. I have also been asked to submit some marketing reports to bring a different perspective and viewpoint to some of the companies future plans.

2 baby blue
What do you think is different from a Chinese working environment to a Western one?
So far during my internship I really noticed that the workplace in Zhuhai has a much more communal atmosphere than those I’ve experienced back in the U.K. Although it may be due to the relatively small workforce in the office but everyone seems to pretty much know each other really well. There always seems to be a conversation going on in the office. Everyone seems to interact more as family or friends rather than associates.
With regards to the work I have been doing, the work has been very varied. Not everyday is spent doing the same thing. Some days I will be writing reports. others spent in meetings discussing expansion plans, discussing company website designs, attending dinners with business partners. I have even been out to the countryside to see first-hand the agricultural work and research being carried out by the company. I’m not completely sure what I will be doing when I get into the office so that definitely keeps things interesting.
Meetings with partner companies also seem to differ quite a lot than from what I have experienced back in the U.K.. Almost every firm I have visited has had a special table to make tea on for guests, meetings are generally feel a lot more comfortable and less formal. They seem to be more of a social occasion in which business is discussed rather than solely focusing on business matters. Also I’ve noticed that Chinese style tea is an essential part of any meeting, as all meetings I have been to I’ve been served a cup as a sign of hospitality.

3
What did you gain from the internship? Do you think it was helpful for the future? Why?

Even though I have only spent 3 weeks in Zhuhai, I have already felt more independent and confident in myself. It was quite jarring and intimidating to be suddenly living in a completely different country with a different culture and language. However, I found the best way to cope is just to relax and immerse yourself as much as possible. In the first week I was pretty nervous about interacting with the Chinese locals in case I did something wrong or offensive accidentally. Now I’m generally more confident when interacting with my colleagues or shop vendors, as I soon realised that people will generally be willing to help you if they see you are actively trying to participate. Hopefully I can carry this attitude into the future to help involve myself more and contribute more to any future work.
I have also gained some pretty good insight into some of the differences between Chinese and British cultural and business practices. Hopefully as China further opens up its economy to foreign companies, this knowledge and experience will give me an advantage should I be involved in working with Chinese partners in the future. Market research in China has also allowed me to see how Chinese consumer behaviour and trends differs from the Western counterparts so hopefully this can be utilised should any of my future work involve expansion into the Chinese market.
4
Why Zhuhai?

With regards to my desired internship sector of business and marketing, Zhuhai seemed to be a ideal place to intern. It has incredibly close ties to Hong Kong and Macau  as well as being very close to the Guangzhou (the third largest city in China) means that a lot of international business occurs here. This means there was a lot of opportunity to find out about business practices in China.
Another one of the main reasons I chose Zhuhai to carry out my internship was because I wanted to experience a different side of China than the mega cities that are always being shown on the news (with the grey looming building, smog clouds and cars everywhere). Zhuhai is such a contrast to this image, its incredibly scenic and green due to the climate, and the air quality is good due to its proximity to the coast. Also having arrived in November it was nice to go from a miserable British Winter to a climate with actual sunlight and warmth.
Even though its a small city (in comparison to the rest of China) there’s still loads to experience with regards to Chinese culture such as Temples, Palaces, nature spots, clubs and great food just to name a few. So I get the best of both worlds by getting to live and work in the more relaxed environment of a smaller city while still getting to experience China.

5
Would you recommend doing an internship with IC?
I would definitely recommend interning with InternChina,  They’ve were really helpful in arranging my internship and making sure the process of travelling to and settling into China went as smoothly as possible. They’ve been really approachable and helpful both before I got to China and during my time here so far. Before I came out to China, they gave me several different options for companies to hold my internship at, then when I chose the one I wanted they put me in touch with the company to talk through what the internship would be like and what I would likely be doing. Therefore I was already prepared for what was expected of me when I first got into the office.
IC also make sure that you get associated with the other interns quickly and hold weekly events and meals with the interns which was helpful in getting over the initial fear of getting into China and not knowing anyone here. Pretty much as soon as I got off the boat and dropped my stuff off at the apartment, I was invited to go meet some of the other local interns for some drinks, which pretty much put my fears of not knowing anyone here to ease, as well as leaving me even more jet-lagged than before.

Overall the guys in the office are pretty like-minded with the interns so they pretty much know what the essentials are for settling into the groove of working here. Also seeing as they’ve been in Zhuhai for a while, they know the best spots for going out, food, drinking etc. which has also been really useful as finding that information can be tough for a non-Chinese speakers.

INTERESTED

Internship Experience, Learn about China, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs

Living the Zhuhai Life

Ni hao, everyone. In this blog post, I’ll write a bit about how life’s going in Zhuhai.
I’ve been pretty busy since my last article, and it’s true what everyone’s been telling me – time really does fly, here. I can’t believe that it’s already been three weeks!

Last week, I said goodbye to my flatmate, Rob. It was great to get to know him and he’s a cool guy.

InternChina - Leaving Dinner in Zhuhai
Rob’s leaving dinner. I’m the third from the left and Rob is the second from the right

My internship’s been going well. I’m working in a small team for an American company. My colleagues are all nice and interesting people. I like the fact that most of my co-workers are Chinese. This way, I get to learn more about Chinese culture. They also know all the best places to eat!

On the weekend, I went to my Chinese friend’s dinner party. The food was delicious – Chinese hot pot with an assortment of veggies, seafood and meat, not to mention a generous helping of beverages. It was really fun and I was surrounded by excellent company.

Internship in China House Party in Zhuhai
InternChina – Cheers!

The next day, I went on a Santa bar crawl. As a westerner, I already stuck out like a sore thumb. But as a Santa-Clause-dressed westerner, it’s fair to say that I turned more heads than usual. After the last bar, we went to a club called MiuMiu. I can now tick ‘stroll up in a club dressed as Santa’ off of my list of things to do before I die.

Sunday was a relaxing day out with my Chinese friends. We had some spicy Sichuan food for lunch, went to the park, walked along the coast and saw the famous Zhuhai Fisher Lady. After this, we had more tasty seafood for dinner.

InternChina - In Haibin park with my new friends.
InternChina – In Haibin Park with my new friends.

It’s been a great experience so far. I realise that I’ve mainly talked about food in this article. Well, I make no apologies. It’s worth coming to China just for that!

I do miss loved ones back home, but thanks to technology, it’s easy to keep in touch. Making the effort to meet new people here has helped, and the friends I’ve made have been very good at making me feel at home.

If you’d like to meet Rob and enjoy the same experience, apply now!

LIVING IN ZHUHAI

Uncategorised

Finding my Feet in China – Robbie’s Introduction

Hi, all! My name is Robbie and I’m a new intern in Zhuhai. I’ve been here for just under two weeks, and I’ll be staying till late January. I’ll post regular updates on how I’m getting on in China. In this article, I’ll write a bit about myself, what brings me to China, and my experience so far.

InternChina - Making friends in Zhuhai
InternChina – Here are some of my buddies on Intern China. I’m the third from the left, in the green.

First off, a little about myself. I’m from the UK, and I’ve been fortunate to grow up with an international background, having previously lived in the USA for several years and in France for a year. I graduated in the summer from the University of Leicester, where I studied Management Studies and Economics with a year abroad in Denmark. I had great time at university, and I hope to always be a student at heart. I’m a food-lover, and not to brag, but I can make the best blueberry pancakes in the world. I enjoy travelling, meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and staying fit.

I applied to the British Council Generation UK programme run by InternChina, because I wanted to do something different after I graduated, gain some more international experience, and I’ve always wanted to go to China. These three reasons combined made InternChina the perfect choice for me. On top of this, my internship is in the financial industry, which is an area that I am exploring as a future career path. This will provide me with a valuable ‘foot in the door’.

InternChina Service - Departure
InternChina – Waiting to board the plane

As for my experience so far, it’s been a pretty wild ride. For the most part, my journey over went smoothly, although I didn’t manage to get much sleep on the long-haul flight to Hong Kong thanks to the constant slamming of the lavatory doors, one of which only occasionally flung open so wide as to hit me in the arm. Not to mention the chorus of endless flushing. However, I did see the funny side – an attitude which has already served me well during my short stay, here.

InternChina - Arrival in Zhuhai with the Hong Kong Ferry
InternChina – Arriving at Zhuhai Port

After two flights and a short ferry ride, and a day of what felt like fading into and out of consciousness, I arrived in a hot and sunny Zhuhai – a pleasant change from wet and windy UK – where I was met by Janice from Intern China, who helped me with some of the basics and took me to my apartment, which I’m sharing with two other interns.

Never having been to Asia before, the culture shock is real. But it’s surprising how quickly I’ve gotten used to things that would seem strange back home, such as the chaotic traffic that amazes me how I haven’t witnessed or been involved in a horrific accident, yet, and the loud throat-clearing noises and spitting, as well as the lack of adherence to what is a sacred institution in Britain – queuing. However, I don’t want to paint a bad picture of China. In fact, I have met plenty of friendly and helpful people here, they have a beautiful culture, and the people are similar in many ways. Being here for such a short time has already made me more open-minded.

As well as the culture shock that I’ve mentioned, there are a number of simple things that I have found to be challenging, such as navigation, using public transportation and buying food. Most of the difficulty is down to the language barrier, where few people speak English. I started self-studying a little bit of Mandarin before I came, and my limited knowledge of a few words has been a big help in a number of situations.

Another challenge that comes from that food has been food poisoning, which hopefully won’t be a common occurrence. The Chinese do seem to have iron stomachs. This is one thing that may take me a while to develop!

I’m really enjoying myself so far. It’s been tough at times, but I’m aware that difficult experiences are valuable. And on a brighter note, it’s really easy to make friends here, probably because all of the international people realise the challenges that others face and understand that we’re all together in the same boat. I have also made friends with a number of Chinese people, who are very fun and outgoing. I’m having a great adventure in China – one that I won’t ever forget

 

If you’d like to get to know Robbie and experience the real China, apply now!

Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel, Weekend Trips, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Yangshuo Pirates for 2 Days!

In the beginning of November our InternChina Zhuhai crew started another adventure. This time the destination was called: Yangshuo 阳朔 <<Yáng Shuò>> – a place with unique and truly stunning scenery.
But before I tell you about our trip, here is a little summary about Yangshuo:

Yangshuo County has a fairy-tale landscape with a lot of traditional Chinese, rural culture which has inspired many artists and poets in the past. Its history goes back to antiquity and was established in the Sui Dynasty in 590AD. The architecture and caves allow people to trace back the ancient history. Located in the Guangxi province close to Guilin, the area is a very popular tourist destination and a delightful escape from noise pollution in big cities.

InternChina - Yulong River Yangshuo
InternChina – Yulong River

The Adventure:

On a Friday we started a 7 hour bus journey from Zhuhai together with about 10 Chinese tourists whom we didn’t know before. Needless to say we were all every excited.

Once we arrived, some of us went to find a midnight bite to eat. The hotel staff told us to be aware of the local “pirates”, which from that moment became the comedy theme of our trip. Nonetheless, we found very delicious BBQ lamb close by, got comfortable on miniature stools for a little while, and made it back safe and sound to the hotel without being made to walk the plank.

InternChina - Yangshuo Lamp BBQ
InternChina – Pirates & Lamp BBQ

The next day we had an early start to finally explore the area and so we got on the bus and went to the world-famous Li River 漓 江 <<Lí Jiāng>>. There we took a boat to cruise along the river and witness the countryside imprinted on the 20CNY note. We also made the acquaintance of these lovely cormorants:

InternChina - Yangshuo LiRiver 20RMB Note Landscape
InternChina – 20RMB Note Imprint
InternChina - Li River Cormorants Yangshuo
InternChina – Li River Cormorants

Next we went to XingPing old town aka XingPing fishing village 兴坪镇 <<Xīngpíng Zhèn>> – a street with many small shops and food stalls.

InternChina - Yangshuo XingPing Old Town
InternChina – XingPing Old Town

We were prepared for temperatures around 10-15 degrees, however, it turned out to be very sunny and warm that weekend and thus we were not equipped with the appropriate clothes. Speaking of clothes, this brings me to the next point on our budget list: Trying on traditional Chinese outfits at The Big Banyan Tree 大榕树 <<Dà Róng Shù>>. So on top of what were already warm clothes we put another layer of the finest Chinese materials.

InternChina - Yangshuo Banyan Tree
InternChina – Posing in front of Banyan Tree

We turned into the sight-seeing highlight for many of the Chinese people around us.

About 100 selfies and group pictures later we jumped back on the bus to see the Silver Cave 银 子岩 << Yínzi Yán>>. Luckily we weren’t there during the very busy season and thus had the chance to enjoy the colourfully lit rocks in only partially crowded areas.

InternChina - Yangshuo Silver Cave
InternChina – Silver Cave

But that was not it for the day. The moon-mountain as well as avery eventful dinner was up next.

InternChina - Yangshuo Moon Mountain
InternChina – Moon Mountain

And once again we turned out to be lucky: we met one of the ethnic minority groups “Zhuang” – really lovely ladies dressed in their traditional outfits – who ended up taking many pictures with us as well! Yangshuo is home to several ethnic minority groups and wearing traditional clothes in daily life still seems to be very common there.

InternChina - Yangshuo Ethnic Minority Group Zhuang
InternChina – Ethnic Minority Group Zhuang

Last but not least we went to see a very impressive, and the world’s largest natural theatre called Impression Liu Sanjie 印象刘三姐 <<Yìn Xiàng Liú Sān Jiĕ>>. Its stage are the waters and natural islands of the Li River and the twelve mist shrouded hills are its backdrop. The performance with 600+ actors is divided into seven chapters including the preface and epilogue which captured the entire audiences’ imagination.

InternChina - Yangshuo Impression Liu Sanjie
InternChina – Impression Liu Sanjie

To round off the day we enjoyed a cool breeze around bar street and celebrated the birthday of one of our crew members!

InternChina - Yangshuo Barstreet
InternChina – Pirates occupying Barstreet

Like true pirates we woke up the next morning bright and early to continue our expedition. This time we took the bus to Yulong River 遇 龙河<< Yù lóng hé >> to go for a round of relaxed bamboo rafting. Even though the weather was drizzly that morning, we didn’t want to miss out on another great experience. The fog covering the mountain tops even gave the area a mysterious look and feel.

InternChina Yangshuo Bamboo Rafting Yu Long River
InternChina – Bamboo Rafting

After a carefree float on the river we went for lunch close by before heading back to our beloved Zhuhai!
#Arrrrrrrr

Events in Zhuhai, Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai Nightlife

Zhuhai’s Ultimate Party Guide

After living in Zhuhai for about 4 months, it seems about time to speak about the after-work possibilities. No matter if you just want to sip a cocktail, have a quiet wine or want to dance to wild electronic tunes, our beautiful city can offer you all of the above!

Bar Street

Location: South, Jida/Gongbei

Being a newbie in the city you cannot miss out on Zhuhai’s 300 meter long bar street 酒吧街 «Jiǔbājiē». As soon as it gets dark, bar street lights up. Here businessmen, yuppies and tourists rub shoulders to enjoy a drink or two, play dice or on occasion rock-paper-scissors at one of the more upscale clubs or dozen open-air bars. If you want to have a taste of the local beer, go for a Haizhu.

88 (Ba Ba)

  • Being the first bar at the corner of bar street it is also the most popular bar in the city. Don’t be shy and join the locals to play a round of dice! The drinks are generally quite expensive there but don’t worry, we also have a solution for that: get yourself a can of beer at one of the shops across the street and enjoy it on one of the benches in front of the bar. 88 is open until 5am 7 days a week.
InternChina - 88 Barstreet Zhuhai Jida
InternChina – 88 on Barstreet

Cohiba (Xi Yang Hui)

  • For a more quiet beer have a seat in the outdoor area of Cohiba or listen to the live singers inside the bar. It can also be a nice break from the electronic sounds of 88. A beer costs roughly ¥20-30.
InternChina - Cohiba Barstreet Zhuhai Jida
InternChina – Cohiba on Barstreet

La Bohemia (桂缘), 珠海市水湾路酒吧街

  • La Bohemia is the first bar on bar street if coming from the North East. Its Latin dance parties on Friday nights are very popular. It is a great place to enjoy Portuguese or Mediterranean food and it also offers a large selection of cocktails and wines.

Casa Pepe

  • This is also a nice place to go if you fancy a quiet wine and some fine dining.

1520 Bar

  • 1520 is one block down from 88 towards the ocean. This bar is similar to 88 but has karaoke/ KTV rooms upstairs.

 

Midtown

Location: North of the City Centre, Lanpu

Midtown富华里«fu4 hua2 li3» is the place to go if you want a night out with a more western atmosphere. Here we recommend A-Club and specifically their outside beer-garden area.

InternChina - Midtown Lanpu Zhuhai Aclub
InternChina – A club in Midtown

Huafa

Location: South-East, Huafa Century City

In this very new and modern district of Zhuhai live most of Zhuhai’s expats. Bars and clubs we recommend you to go to are: The Factory, M2 and MiuMiu.

InternChina - Huafa Factory Zhuhai
InternChina – Factory

Whilst they have live music every Friday, The Factory is still a good place to meet friends to chat and drink, with delicious western food, live music and a round of pool. If you prefer to dance to modern electric sounds like there’s no tomorrow then make the short trip from here to M2 or MiuMiu.

InternChina - Club MiuMiu Huafa Zhuhai
InternChina – Club MiuMiu
InternChina - Club MiuMiu Huafa Zhuhai
InternChina – Club MiuMiu
InternChina - Club M2 Huafa Zhuhai
InternChina – Club M2

With a little bit of luck, you can also spot one or two fancy cars, and even a hello-kitty version of a Ferrari boasting both Zhuhai and Macau license plates:

InternChina - Club MiuMiu Huafa Zhuhai
InternChina – Club MiuMiu

Jida Beach

Location: East Coast, Jida

When the weather is good, which in Zhuhai it often is, at the bars along Jida beach you can enjoy a perfect view over the ocean. The bars are reasonably priced considering their location and have a range of alcoholic beverages and juices on offer. For low-budget travellers we strongly recommend a few “beach beers” which you can get from one of the many small shops around.

InternChina View over Zhuhai Jida Beach (2)
InternChina – View of Jida Beach

Very close to Jida Beach you can find London Lounge, which is a very popular bar amongst expats. Their Chinese as well as Western staff are always ready to crack a joke and also the Open-Mic sessions every second Thursday are worth checking out!

InternChina - London Lounge Zhuhai Jida
InternChina – London Lounge

 

If you also want to experience Zhuhai and get a tour around the city, apply now!

InternChina News, Internship Experience, Job Market in China, Learn about China, Zhuhai Blogs

Interview with JJ – founder of Delta Bridges

You always wanted to know what journalism in China is like?
Check out our Interview with Jean-Jacques Verdun (JJ) who established in 2008 the now very successful Media and PR agency Delta Bridges. The simpatico/ likable French Business man speaks about his background, his business philosophy “Long-term” as well as of the chances and challenges this working environment implies.

InternChina - Jean-Jacques Verdun founder of Delta Bridges Macau Zhuhai Guangdong
InternChina – Jean-Jacques Verdun founder of Delta Bridges

In addition to that he explains the importance of English and flexibility in China. His company provides a real internship opportunities with a lot of responsibility. An experience which one cannot take for granted. The so called “editors” have to evolve a new set of skills in China in order to do their research and to not cross a line in terms of media sensitivity in the country.

We are in the heart of Guangdong, we are in the Pearl River Delta, which is much more dynamic than the rest of the Guangdong province, which is also much more dynamic than the rest of China!

According to JJ, doing business in China is very rewarding and in 99% of his cases he has only had good experiences.

Have a look at this short Video to meet a man who also is known for his positive attitude and good sense of humour: “I might be wrong, but then I’m French, I’m allowed to exaggerate”. You can find the full interview below the video. Enjoy!

 


 

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your company

I’m a French citizen. In fact half French, half American, because my mother is from America. But still, more French than American.

I came to China in 2001 as a French teacher. I was very quickly involved in social activities and we created the first expat club in Zhuhai in 2013. There were such few foreigners here that we really had to support each other.

China was of course not the country it is today. There were no bars, no bar street. It was thus very difficult to meet. And hence the need for such social activities and clubs for us to be able to connect with each other. The Chinese were not as easy to communicate with as today because their English level was not as good as today and also because they had travelled less abroad at that time. So you have to understand that 99% of the Chinese people we met in 2001-2003 never left China. Their parents never left China, their grandparents never left China… so the cultural gab was huge.

Then I created Delta Bridges in 2008 first as a Media Company based in Macau. We had a website providing useful information to the people living in the Pearl River Delta area. Hence the name Delta Bridges. It was hard to set up (the company) in the beginning. We launched (it) in October 2008, at the same time as the big financial crisis worldwide. So the first 2 years were pretty hard because of the financial crisis and no one wanted to pay for advertisement on a new media platform.

But since 2010, we’ve been growing step-by-step and in 2013 we realized that most of our customers were giving us money to buy advertisement on our media platform but they were also giving us money to PR related services such as events, marketing campaigns, business matchmaking, etc.

So last year, in 2014, we decided to officially open a PR agency that is working hand in hand with the media platform.

Some people said: “wow, you’re doing more and more.” So we had to make sure to tell people that we are staying focused while doing business in China. I believe we still keep that focus – I don’t forget that it is important. We just respond to the customer needs. If the customer wants PR services as well as advertisement on our media platform, we should be able to offer these customer services. And in fact, it goes hand-in-hand.


 

  1. What is your business philosophy?

Long-term! Step-by-step and long-term.

By the time I started my company I was not a teenager anymore, not even in my 20s. I was 35 so I knew a little bit what I want and what I don’t want. Also what I care about and what I don’t care about. Become incredibly rich and being hated by everyone was no option for me. Of course I want to make money and I want to be successful, I want my company to grow and I want to improve my lifestyle, but not at any cost. So step-by-step and long-term, meaning the relationship with the customers, the relationship with the employees at Delta Bridges.

I want to be able to smile every day when I come to my office. Obviously the working hours in China are longer than in France, and therefore work is a huge part of life here. In fact, there is no division for Chinese people between the working-life and the personal-life that we may have in Europe and especially in France. So it is important for me to enjoy my work, to be happy, to be in a good mood. If it takes 60-70% of my time, I don’t want it to be miserable.

That being said, of course we need to work hard, and sometimes we’re in a bad mood and sometimes we are angry, but overall we work in a happy environment. That matches with what we are doing as PR and Media company – it is about meeting people, about seducing people, about connecting people. So the happier our mood is, the more convincing we can be! So it again goes hand-in-hand.


 

  1. What’s the main language spoken at your company?

English is the main language spoken at our company. I’m glad you mention that because a few year ago when InternChina started they thought I wanted French speaking interns, and I don’t mind having French speaking interns, but they need to have an excellent English if they want to work with us as we produce English media. I like my fellow French citizens, I like people from Quebec, I like people from any French speaking country, but to do an internship at my company, they need to have a very good English level. In addition, for anyone who wants to do an internship in Asia, English is really a strong requirement. You need to master English pretty well.

 


  1. Tell us about your internship positions

The job title of position number one is “editor”.

We give a lot of responsibility to our interns. It’s a real internship, not a fake internship. They don’t have to brew the coffee or make photocopies – they will go out, meet real people and we expect them to write stories about bars, restaurants, hotels etc. in English. Obviously not in Chinese. That’s one part of the job.

The second part of the job is to prove-read the writings and reviews of their Chinese colleagues. Even though their English level is very high, it’s not high enough to publish their work directly in English. What the interns do is, they write in Chinese and hand over an English version, which sometimes is pretty accurate but it still needs to be prove-read.

The other position comes along with the first one. When we write a review about people and places, it’s not that we just go there and come back. We try to meet the decision-maker of the place. If it is a bar, we try to meet the bar-owner. If it’s a restaurant, we try to meet the General Manager, if not the GM, the director of marketing and sales etc. So there is a lot of PR involved in that job.

I don’t want the people to just go and come back because then the work could also be done in the office. So if you have to go somewhere, you have to build a relationship with the people. That’s important. Also, and that is for the entire team, everyone is expected to find one sales-lead a week. They must try, if they don’t, nothing bad happens to them, but they must try to pass on one lead for the sales people.

So I want my interns, even though they go and write a review about a bar, to keep their eyes open to see what is happening around them on the way to the bar, on the way back and in the bar itself. Bars are just an example here.

We write a review about the bar we don’t charge money for, but maybe these people are also interested to buy advertisement. If they ask questions about it I want my interns to be smart and pass that lead to the sales team. I don’t expect my interns to do sales directly because we are in China and it also depends on how long they are doing their internship. So it all depends on the specific case, whether they want to and how long they stay, for short internships rather not.


  1. What are the benefits for an intern coming to your company? What do you offer the interns?

Like I mentioned, it’s a real internship, so they are faced with real tasks and real duties. It’s not a puppet internship. If someone wants to come to party and relax, we are not the right company because I assign tasks and I expect the work to be done.

Here is another example: if I take someone young who hasn’t a lot of experience and this someone helps our company by producing some work, I make sure as a counterpart that the produced work is real. The people they meet are real decision-makers and I think that’s a great working experience here in China. We are probably one of the companies who expose their interns the most to the real working-life.


  1. What challenges does a journalist face in China?

First of all, we don’t call them journalist, we call them editors for the purpose that journalism and journalism media is so sensitive in China. And this applies for all companies: journalists are not referred to as journalists but editors. An editor is like a softer version of a journalist. Writing in a Chinese style for a westerner, someone with a journalism background for example, who comes to do an internship it is quite different. Here it is sensitive. The Chinese are cool, they are welcoming, but you have to be careful with what you expose to the public, that you don’t publish the wrong thing. So if someone publishes something on the website, on the blog or on WeChat, and it’s controversial, you may end up having problems. That’s something to pay attention to for someone with a journalism background. Here they are editors and they have to tone down a little bit with what they want to say.

Second challenge is the evolving in a new environment. Journalists are normally really good in discovering new things and doing research, but they have to set the skills back to nearly zero here. Most of the information is in Chinese, so you have to develop other skills to do your research, which is again a great experience.


  1.   3 Facts about Business Culture in China

Business culture is very varied. If I talk to my fellow business friends in Zhuhai, their experience and my experience is totally different. Some people still behave in an old-school way to do business, which means long meetings, drinking tea, and sometimes even drinking alcohol, having long dinners, etc. In our particular field, because of the customers we have in PR, we work a lot with faster hotels, local governments, and the kind of people I’d describe as the new China. There is less difference with the west. We talk, we have meetings, we exchange, we send proposals, counter proposals… we are pretty lucky in that sense. The old China can be very eccentric so it can be attractive for some, but I personally prefer the new way.

Fact 2, it’s very fast and dynamic. China has slowed down a little bit the last couple of years, the average economic growth of China is 7.2% this year. We are in the heart of Guangdong, we are in the Pearl River Delta, which is much more dynamic than the rest of the Guangdong province, which is also much more dynamic than the rest of China. My estimate here would be at least 20% economic growth, if the rest of China is 7.2%. I might be wrong, but then I’m French, I’m allowed to exaggerate. Especially European interns that come from a country with 1 or 2% economic growth will feel that difference. So you need to be flexible.

China achieves such an economic growth by working hard. I don’t ask interns to work on the weekend, but sometimes we have unexpected meetings on Saturday or Sunday and like I mentioned, I don’t ask interns to attend, but my regular staff and I go. This means we are pretty much on go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As this can be tense, you have to find out how to resource yourself.

And now I’m going to say something that may be controversial to what people say in the media, even to business people in China: I find Chinese people are pretty good business people. You don’t reach such a growth if you’re not a correct, smart business person. There are prejudices such as that the Chinese cheat, are never on time, and sure their way of doing business is different than ours, and I’m not saying it is easy, it is tough, but in the end, if all of that was true, the Chinese being late, unreliable, even amongst themselves, they wouldn’t work. Business in china works. It’s the country where business has worked the best the last 30 years.

I also wish people would have a different perspective when they do business here. It might be hard and painful to adapt to it, but it works in their way. In 99% of my cases I’ve had a pretty good experience with businesses in China. It has never happened that someone didn’t pay me, as an example.

 

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