I have a third interview lined up for a company with offices in HK and manufacturing in Dongguan. They are flying me over for a week for the third interview and also to see whether i could see myself living there.
They have already mentioned that they want the potential candidate to live in or near Dongguan rather than HK as most of my time would be spent there and also because its cheaper to live!. The comapny is multi-national with offices all over the world and headquarters based in Hong Kong.
What i would like to know is:
What are the major differences between living in Dongguan and living in HK?
What would the difference in price be for a one bed apartment in both Dongguan and HK
I have three years product development/engineering experience. What kind of salary would give me a good standard of life in both Dongguan or HK?
What are standard things to negotiate into the contract based on me moving to the other side of the earth!
I have read through the previous posts about both Dongguan and HK but would appreciate it if anyone could answer these questions so i am better prepared before i fly out for the interview.
Thanks in advance
1. What are the major differences between living in Dongguan and living in HK?
Night and day differences. Hong Kong = New York City. Dong Guan = Gary, IN
2. What would the difference in price be for a one bed apartment in both Dongguan and HK
You can’t afford HK. Dongguan is actually getting expensive compare to 5 years ago, but still cheap by US standards. I don’t have a dollar figure, sorry.
3. I have three years product development/engineering experience. What kind of salary would give me a good standard of life in both Dongguan or HK?
Can’t help with this. China is just starting to appreciate the value of design. If it’s a multi-national company they will probably pay better than a Chinese company.
4. What are standard things to negotiate into the contract based on me moving to the other side of the earth!
- Moving expenses
- Taxes (local or US off-set)
- Subsidized living expenses?
- Travel back to the US?
- Is this a standard ex-pat package or a move?
- Payment in local currency?
It takes a special type of ex-pat person to live in Dongguan. Listen to your gut and your heart on this choice. Feel it out while you’re there, really try to place yourself there. I’ve met a designer from Switzerland living in a rural area of China who loved it, he stands out like a sore thumb among the factory workers at roughly 6’6". I’ve met other Western-world designers who hate it, or hate the idea of living in China and could not be paid $1m/year to live there. I know I couldn’t live in Dongguan, no matter the price. FWIW, I even consider myself an root-free world traveling adventure seeker. HK might be fun for a little while if the price was right. It all depends on you. Regardless, think of it as a free one-week vacation, with a big choice to make at the end. Good luck.
I forgot to mention…
I have an American friend that lives in Dongguan too. He’s living on an ex-pat package that’s pretty rich. He has enough liberty that he’s started his own moonlighting business and is stuffing his mattress full of RMB. He lives in a 2,000 square foot condo with a Chinese girlfriend half his age. He can speak fluent Cantonese after five years and has a Chinese drivers license (after paying-off the DMV to take a verbal test instead of a written test).
By some standards he’s living a dream life. He says he’s never coming back.
It takes a special person to put up with all of the idiosyncrasies of living in China, and there are more just than a few.
Thanks for the replies, i know its not an easy decision to make and until i get there and see for myself, some of my questions seem pointless, but id still like to know a bit more if you would be so kind…
One-word-plastics - Why do you think i wouldnt be able to afford HK?..it cant be more expensive than London, can it??
TaylorWelden - Why wouldnt you live in Dongguan not matter what money was involved?
I know it a “how longs a piece of string” question, but what are some of the MAJOR differences between living in that part of the world and living in the west? - I live in the UK by the way.
Oh, and by the way, this would be a straight move to a new company. Whats the difference between an ex-pat package and a straight move?
Many thanks again for your help!
Central London prices are probably comparable to Hong Kong prices. You’ll be living in a shoe-box size apartment in Hong Kong if you are earning a salary based on 3 years experience.
I recommend finding an apartment in the New Territories so you can split the difference between Dongguan and HK (if you want to actually live in HK). The commute is going to be a ball buster though. Probably 1.5 hours each way. Most people only go back to HK on the weekends and live at the factory during the week. It’s not an lifestyle I would sign up for.
An ex-pat package is pretty lucrative. It supplements your living expenses and makes the move easier on families. Here is a link to a decent explaination:
The differences between east (Dongguan, not HK) and west are numerous and often subtle. It would take too long to list…
- TaylorWelden - Why wouldnt you live in Dongguan not matter what money was involved?
As a disclaimer-- I celebrate and appreciate all cultures, countries, and people. This is my point of view of the negative reasons I would choose not to live in this specific region. This is no different from me listing the reasons why I wouldn’t want to live in a small town, such as Mayor’s Income, Tennessee. (anyone catch that lyric?)
…Polluted as hell. Maximum visual distance is 3km, maybe.
…It’s madness. I prefer a relaxed city and overall atmosphere.
…1-5% of the entire population speaks English, the rest is Mandarin.
…More or less no ethnic diversity. This is China, they will all be Chinese. This is certainly OK, I don’t have any negativity for the Chinese, but I prefer a bit of a boiling pot for my place of living.
…Pay would likely not be very high, once you convert back to the dollar or pound anyway.
…It’s on the other side of the planet, making family travel difficult.
…The lighting, heating, and cooling are insufficient for a Westerner (for me anyway).
…It is an actual communist country.
…I live in Austin, TX— live music capitol of the world. I’m suspecting that the live music scene in Dong Guan is not so hot. (and I really enjoy Chinese music-- especially the ancient mellow strings)
…The food is unique. I eat anything and everything that has ever put down in front of me. But after spending some time there, I was ready for a change of diet, and fast. This is not Thai, Italian, or Korean, this is Chinese food.
Maybe I’m picky, or maybe I’m a pessimist. But for me, I would not want to live there. I fully support anyone’s decision to move anywhere in the World if that is what they really want to do. You really may fall in love with it, so keep an open mind. It is certainly a unique, exotic adventure to tell the wide-eyed grandchildren.
Thanks again for some great advice and information.
I hear what your saying loud and clear. Before now, i hadnt even considered going to HK or China even for a holiday, nevermind to live!!!
Im sure i will have a clearer picture once i get out there to see what its like first hand, and the other thing is, sometimes you can end up regretting not taking opportunities for fear of the unknown and i dont want to do that. Even if i was only out there for a year or two, it would surely look good on my cv and im pretty bored of the UK right now. Its so expensive here nowadays its not like im living large!..ive barely got enought to pay the bills!
Goddam credit crunch!
Dont know about living there.
I have spend a week in Wuxi, its 2 hours drive north of Shanghai.
It was a great experience. and really an other world.
Go for the week to get a good feel.
I had to get a VISA to enter China, just check if you need that for where you have to go.