Startup Jobs in China – Pros and Cons

With a growing economy and a lot of budding creative talent, the wheel of entrepreneurship in China is all set to take the world in its stride. Visit China, and you will be amazed with their technology advancement and industrialization. China has made a substantial progress as a nation especially on its economic font. The annual GDP rate in China is estimated to be 6.7% for 2016, which is one of the highest GDP rates in different parts of the world. China is included in the list of some of the most popular emerging economies in the world.

Choosing an employment is an individual decision. If you seek comforts and risk-free salaried jobs, you should try hunting for a big multinational employer. For those who love experimenting, and taking risks, and want to learn and innovate faster, joining a startup is a healthy decision. The current article provides an overview on Chinse startup ecosystem, and the positive as well as negative aspects of joining a startup in China.

China – an emerging economic superpower

A series of economic reforms and planned development have transformed China like never before. It was China which came to the rescue of US at the time of great economic recession of 2009 and financed her financial institutions. The rising economic status of China can be assessed on the basis of rising importance given to the nation by established superpowers such as US. The role of China in the international trade is substantially strong with China being the largest importer as well as the largest exporter of commodities trade. Additionally, a dearth of Chinese settled overseas are pushing economic growth by making substantial investments in the nation. In view of these factors, the growing influence of China on the global trade cannot be under-estimated.

China is a business investment hub

Some of the most developed countries in the world are increasingly investing in Chinese economy in order to vouch on substantial growth opportunities that exist in the region. A high population strength combined with the rising purchasing power of consumers are some of the factors that make China an ideal investment hub for your business. The growing popularity of China as an investment hub can be judged on the basis of its 4.5% year on year growth in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment). China’s FDI in the first four months of 2016 was USD 43500 million. These statistics are proof of increasing trust for Chinese economic growth all over the world.

Top Startups led by Chinese

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Chinese are not left behind any more. Chinese entrepreneurs are innovating and experimenting with various business models to launch some of the most disruptive businesses in the nation.

  • WeChat

When one looks at some of the most popular startups in recent times, some of the Chinese led names emerge in the list. As per recent ranking for startups published by Startupranking.com, WeChat has a global rank of 63 among all startups. The company has a regional startup rank of 1 in China.

  • Dreamsky

Another Chinese led startup which is worth paying attention to is iDreamsky. The company has raised more than 100 million USD in its IPO as it continues with the process of localizing its services for the Chinese apps which are successful globally. iDreamsky has become the largest online mobile gaming publishing platform in China within few years of its establishment.

  • Daojia

Food startups in China are no far behind in the innovation race. Much like Foodpanda and Spoon Rocket, Chinese food startup Daojia has already hit it high with 1 million customers and 1000 delivery staff. The company is planning to expand its operations in over 30 cities in China in the next 1 year.

  • Xueqiu.com

Chinese startups pay equal attention to the importance of investment planning. Snowball, the parent company for Xueqiu.com is a Chinese social network as well as news portal for investors. The website tracks data across US, Hong Kong and Chinese financial markets and even contributes information on Bitcoin. Users have the option of signing in for alerts and interacting with other users on the platform, much like they do on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Xueqiu.com has been able to attract a funding of $40 million in series C round by Renren, Sequoia Capital and Morningside Capital as key investors.

  • Haha Pinche

If you thought Chinese did not think about saving fuel and thinking green, you are mistaken. It is correct that traffic jams have become a routine in China since the middle class has discovered the car. In such a scenario, carpooling startups are expected to grab attention. Haha Pinche is a car pool startup which has bagged a $10 million series A funding by Sequoia Capital.

Now that we have a good idea about some of the top innovators in China, let us look at some of the most popular startup opportunities in China.

Startup Jobs in China

Keeping China’s economic progress and its startup growth, in view one can expect a series of startup job profiles in the country. Let us have a look at some of the most commonly advertised startup jobs in China.

  • Business Development

With a rise in the strength of globalization and expansion of Chinese business, the demand for experienced and talented business development executives and managers is no surprise package. A major limitation for Chinese startups is lesser proficiency in English as a language which can limit their opportunities of expansion in overseas. Employing foreign employees with business acumen and efficient communication skills can help in pushing Chinese startups to great heights.

  • Software Engineering

Whether you are a Drupal developer, Linus engineer, UI.UX designer, mobile developer or hardware engineer, Chinese startups need you. The country is boasting with multiple vacancies for these job profiles and if you have the talent, grab the opportunity before it is gone.

  • Education and Training

If education and training is your forte, Chinese startups have great options for you. Startups are in need for talented mentors, managers, trainers and growth hackers that can guide and train Chinese entrepreneurs in taking their business to the next level. If you are comfortable in Chinese as well as English, the opportunities are multiplied for you.

  • Digital Marketing

Digital marketing revolution has reached its peak in the current time. Today, every business needs to ensure its presence online for a greater brand recognition and faster customer acquisition. Chinese startups are no different. They are in continuous need for social media marketing managers and search engine optimizers who can optimize and push Chinese ventures to next levels.

These are not all. There may be many more profiles in the list. We have cited some of the main categories for quick reference here.

Pros of Joining Startups in China

Now comes the most important question, why should you think about joining a startup in China in the first place?

  • You learn a lot!

Well, the first pro of joining a startup is an immense opportunity for learning. Yes, startups make you learn a lot. A well-established company already has its business processes in place and employees joining in have a limited option to challenge or change these business rules. However, in the case of startups, no rigid rules and regulations are in place. Unlike official norms in established companies such as Google, a startup has a more informal set-up.

  • Put your leadership skills to work

The next positive aspect of joining a startup is to lead others. If you are an experienced professional with an established expertise in your domain, joining and leading a startup is the best thing you can do. There is nothing greater than spreading knowledge and skills to empower others.

  • You have greater responsibilities

Another pro of joining a startup is the added responsibility you get. In established companies, entry level employees have limited job roles and responsibilities. In the case of a startup, the atmosphere is a little different. You get to explore some of the advanced aspects of a job specialization at a very early stage. A person has a higher learning potential and a better opportunity to hone his or her professional skills in a startup in comparison to an established enterprise.

  • Learn to innovate

Startups are innovators. Yes, you will learn to innovate when you join a startup. You will have immense opportunities to let your creative juices flow and devise that one strategy which can disrupt business. You may learn new techniques of business promotions, or new methods of customer satisfaction. The good point is that you will be much more advanced with your technical skills and knowledge than your peers in established companies. Startups are quick to adopt latest technology and business methods than established firms which are highly risk averse.

  • You are recognized for your efforts

Last but not the least, joining a startup can allow you to be much more recognized for your work skills. In a small startup, employees who work hard and deliver results are easily visible since there are not many of us to do a job. So, if you have been struggling to attain recognition for your work related efforts, startups are the best place for you.

Cons of Joining Startups in China

Let us have a look at some of the negative aspects of joining a startup in China:

  • Communication may be an issue

Chinese is the official language spoken in China and the English proficiency of businesses in China still has a lot of gaps. In such an environment, communicating in English may be an issue for you since many peers will not understand English easily.

  • It is tough and challenging

When you see that a startup is hiring and you are more than qualified to do that job, just stop. A startup job is expected to be tough and challenging. You cannot expect structured work schedule or working hours. In a typical startup, you can expect the workload to be around 12-14 hours a day, and diminished chances of enjoying weekends and family vacations. After all, it is a startup!

  • You might not be paid well

Another con of joining a startup is that you might not be paid well. Yes, startups do not have much cash flows to their credit in the initial years of their operations. Even if it is a well-funded startup, you cannot expect fancy increments and bonuses straightaway. It may even happen that your company may not be able to support your salary for some time. So, if you do not want to get into that risk, do not join a startup.

  • The startup may fail

A common case with any startup is its unpredictable future. Every business has a certain risk involved, and you never know where the tide will turn. There is a long history of businesses which have failed and many of them are struggling to do so. As per Wall Street Journal research on startup success in 2012, three out of four startups usually fail. That’s is a little high ratio! Who knows, the startup you just joined may not succeed in the long run.

  • You still have a boss to handle

Lastly, joining a startup does not necessary guarantee an entry into the executive team of the company. Startups usually have founders in place and you may be treated as an employee there, even if you are more experienced than your boss.

Our career progress depends on the decisions we take. A well-informed career decision can make a lot of difference in your life. Now since you have all the information about your career prospects in Chinese startups and the pros as well as cons of joining a startup in China, you must choose for yourself – what you want.

Just a piece of advice. Before you choose to join or reject a job opportunity for a Chinese startup, gather enough information on the company, its work culture, employer expectations and the fact if you fit well in the job. After all, it is the question of your career.



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