As part of my internship at InternChina I have had the opportunity to go on company visits and see interns at their workplace. This has been a real eye opener as it has allowed me to see for myself what placements InternChina provide and I have to say I haven’t been left disappointed.
The diverse array of internships on offer means that there should be an ideal placement for any student or graduate interested in a Chinese placement. Job roles I have seen range from contacting clients in host countries and marketing the company to very creative roles such as designing new products and editing magazines. What’s interesting to see is that internships are on offer in completely different industries and sectors. Interns have been placed in factories to co-ordinate the distribution of products to western countries, had responsibility in setting up and running events in music theatres and positions are also on offer in more corporate office jobs where negotiating with clients and drinking lots of tea is a necessity.
Before my arrival, I had a few misconceptions of how businesses operate in China. What I first imagined was very quiet offices where employees would simply complete their work with minimal interaction. Strict rules would be set and a dismissive reaction would be used as a barrier to avoid any divergence away from the shared working norm. These initial thoughts could not have been further from the truth and I was pleasantly surprised by the openness and in a lot of ways expectancy of new ideas coming from foreign interns. One main attraction to many Chinese companies taking on foreign interns are for the interns to transform the traditional Chinese workplace to give it a more western edge. Original thinking is welcomed, and it is up to you as the intern to make your mark on the company!
I have also noticed that business connections are predominantly made through making friendships. Sharing a few drinks or welcoming people into your home for dinner are ideal ways to create a long lasting business relationship in China. Chinese people very much look out for their friends- I have seen that InternChina’s service has been rewarded through relationship building. The team were invited to a wine sourcing company who welcomed us in and gave us tasters of wine they had on offer. At the end of the visit they provided us all with a free bottle of wine, which shows the perks of generating the oh so important ‘Guanxi’.
Putting the strict and uncompromising Chinese working culture stereotype to bed, it is not uncommon to have a beer after work at the end of the week,or even once a big business deal has been made.