About the Chinese Individual Income Tax

In any country you will live and work in, one question might be raised: where and under what kind of taxes will you be subjected?

This issue is appreciable for our individual customers, who will have their residency in China mainland. Some recent changes in the Chinese Individual Income Tax regulation have taken place in January 1, 2019. As such, it is important for newcomers as well as for those already living in China to be aware of the new regulation.

ASI Movers - as expats' best relocation partner from, to and within China - will offer a brief overview on the topic for those planning to move in China this year.

Who Is Subject to China's Individual Income Tax?

If you are planning to stay in mainland China for more than 183 days (cumulative), with a domicile or not, and in a single tax year, you will be therefore considered as a Chinese tax resident and must pay the Individual Income Tax. This will be derived from any income earned inside China as well as overseas income.

In the case of individuals who have no domicile in China but stay longer than 183 days (in a tax year), they shall be exempted from this Individual Income Tax if and only if they are out of the country for more than 30 consecutive days within the 6 years. To benefit from this exemption, this trip shall be notified to your local tax bureau in advance. Before the updated regulation, this exemption was known as the “Five-Year Tax Rule”, as the count was hold for 5 and not 6 years.

For those who are non-resident, and stay in China for less than 183 days (in a tax year), their China source income is still taxable.

Which Income Are Taken Into Consideration & At Which Rate?

Taxes will be collected, directly on wage, on the following income:

  • Income from wage, from your employment contract;

  • Income from contract or lease of a business;

  • Author’s remuneration and royalties;

  • Interest, dividends and profit distribution.

Under the new Income International Tax, these four categories followed the same seven brackets of progressive tax rates.

Commissions and bonuses are included in this calculation. Some deductions (up to monthly RMB 5.000) can be applied for the following expenses on the cumulative individual income:

  • Children education: 1.000 RMB monthly per child;

  • Continued education: 3.600 RMB/year;

  • Caring for the elderly (over 60 years old): 2.000 RMB/month;

  • Medical expenses for serious illness: less than 80.000 RMB;

  • Housing loan interest and housing rent: depend on the city.

 

The individual income tax impacts both local and foreign employees who received income from a working contract in China. These new regulations take into account the situation of the expatriate families with children or dependents elders.

Shanghai & Expatriates: a Long-Lasting Dynamic

Shanghai and expats’ relationship is as long as it is peculiar. From the 18th century premises, to nowadays dynamic foreign population, expats have been witnessing and participating in the city’s expansion. To understand why Shanghai is still one of the most attractive cities in China, ASI Movers - expats best relocation partner for more than 10 years - has thus decided to take a look back at the past but also have a look at what characterizes the expat population today.

Let’s explore who were and who are the foreigners living in Shanghai!

Shanghai: Expatriation as a Tradition

The Premises

It all started in the 18th century, when Chinese silk, porcelain and tea started to become popular in Great Britain and imported there. While Chinese rulers at the time were not interested in foreign goods, Great Britain nevertheless took advantage of the possibilities Chinese population represented and started to export Opium to the Middle Kingdom, as to re-equilibrate the balance. The infamous Opium Wars started just after, with the outcome we all know.
One of the many of the consequences has been the installation of a British autonomous settlement along the Huangpu River, whom « remains » are still visible today and among the most famous elements of Shanghai Patrimoine.

 

The Golden Age for Foreigners

American, French, and German quickly joined, forming a great foreign community and gathering in international concessions. The particularity of these concessions was that trade within their « borders » were not subject to Chinese law and could therefore trade freely.Then began a period prosperity for Shanghai’s « expat » community, not only in terms of trade, but also in terms of infrastructure (from new roads to fancy hotels, Shanghai looked nothing like the rest of China), making it the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city in Asia. In the 1930s, Shanghai foreign communities already counted at least 60,000 individuals. Cultures started - if not to mix - to cohabit and westernized leisure places started to flourish (cafes, restaurants, international clubs, etc.) paving the ground for what Shanghai looks like today.

The Modern Times

This era of blossoming Shanghai took an end after the Japanese took over the country and did not resume when the Communist Party took power since the foreign way of living as well as the foreign communities were looked down as forming part of the « Four Old »: old habits, old culture, old customs and old way of thinking.
It’s only a decade after the first economic opening measures that took place in 1978 that Shanghai started to re-conquer its old status as the flagship of the revenge the country was going to take over its History. As such, investors were enjoined to take part in the cities’ development. From then on, Shanghai’s development has been impressive, and the degree of change has nearly no equivalent elsewhere in the world.
Job opportunities came along with investment opportunities as the country’s opening-up process increased.

What Is Shanghai Expats Community Like Nowadays?

Shanghai expat community is now China’s first (2017), before Beijing and Hefei, with about 150,000 foreigners registered as of 2019 (the real figures are thus believed to be greater).

In terms of country of origin, one might not find the ones who ran the international concessions back in the early 20th century, as Great Britain does not even appear in the top-10.

Japanese, US citizens and South-Koreans account for respectively 17,8%, 13,6% and 12,2% of the international community, Japanese and South Koreans alone accounting for nearly 30%.

Data source: Shen Xinyi / SHINE

The three main reasons for expats to relocate to Shanghai as in 2016 were work (50,6%), family reunion (26,5%) and education (10%) (Shen Xinyin/SHINE). This is aligned with Shanghai current dynamic as a hub for international trade and investment. Consequently, when one member of the family moves for career purpose, her/his family follows.

Shanghai also is home for many students eager to get familiar with Chinese language, way of doing business, and culture.

As for China is general, the average age of expats is 41.7 years old, there is a majority of male and most of them are in a relationship.

Nowadays, Shanghai has reconquered its reputation of Chinese most vibrant city. With business still flourishing, expats are naturally attracted by the opportunities it represents.

A younger population is also coming, with the idea of learning about the country but also be part of what is happening here in mind.

The city can be disarming for newcomers, as change happens fast and in impressive scales. Not only is it true for the city itself, some neighborhood disappearing and being replaced in a blink of an eye; it is also accurate when it comes to the business environment: it follows trends, and the opportunities available as well as the way one is exercising one’s job can vary rapidly. For someone to stay long-term, it means it requires to be adaptative, responsive to change.

However, that does not mean the city has no soul or deep identity, change is simply part of its nature and - as we have seen throughout its History - the constant is its dynamism.

ASI Movers has been helping expats relocating from, to, and within China for more than 10 years, accompanying them in their international journey with the most qualitative and comprehensive support. Because moving is always a challenge, we aim at making this journey the easiest possible for you!

The Expats’ Guide for CNY

What Is CNY About?

Chinese New Year (CNY) marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and Spring. As you might already know, each year is associated with a zodiac sign. In 2019, we enter the year of the pig which is synonym of luck, good fortune, wealth or more generally prosperity.

The celebrations are divided in 3 parts, the dates varying from one year to another since they follow the Lunar Calendar:

  • The so-called « Little Year » (Jan. 28 – Feb. 4th 2019) when are held the preparations of the actual New Year.
  • The « Spring Festival » (Feb. 5th – Feb. 15th 2019) which begins the celebration of the New Year.
  • The « Lantern Festival » (Feb. 16th – Feb. 19th 2019) which official date is Feb. 19th.

CNY is one of the two Chinese National Holidays and is the occasion for families to gather and celebrate together. As workers are returning home, the country practically shuts down for a period of 2 weeks up to 1 month. Factories and administrations close as the population is pouring into train stations and airports to travel across the country, and – more and more – to go abroad.

It is then not the best period to travel around China and we advise you to go abroad if you have the opportunity to do so. However, there are a few places in China where you can avoid the crowd. It is a good period for instance to visit Beijing or Shanghai as most of the population has headed back to the countryside, even though one can feel quite disoriented with seeing the busiest cities that empty.

 

We would advise you to refer to the China highlights' handful guide for CNY 2019. It will help you navigate through the most important and busiest time of the year more easily, especially if you are not familiar with the country, its traditions and thus its flows of population:

Traditions and Good Practices You Should Follow

People usually visit family members and relatives with their hands full of presents. Food and sweets are very popular gifts, such as fruits, cakes, biscuits, chocolates or candies. If you ever are invited to a CNY dinner and thus are thinking of offering gifts, the number is important as even ones symbolize happy occasions and odd ones unhappy occasions.

Elders and married couples also offer hongbaos to younger relatives and family members. You might already be familiar with the red enveloppes one gives with two hands in real life, and more and more digitally.

It is interesting to note that digital hongbaos are becoming more popular but also a communication tool for high-end brands. Tencent QQ for instance, offered the occasions to luxury companies to design branded red packets as for users to send them to their friends on the App. As such, a limited number of users had the occasion to send Ferrari, YSL Beauté or even Burberry hongbaos.

Keep in mind that 8 is the luckiest number in China while 4 is synonym for bad luck, if you have in mind to give a hongbao to someone.

Red is the color: from red items of clothing to red lanterns, including red couplets with the character  福 (happiness) held on the doors, as it symbolises prosperity.

As your trusted relocation partner, ASI Movers at helping you navigating through CNY peacefully. We are here at every step of your international journey to help live a happier and simpler life!

Debunking the Myths about China: What Expats Need to Know

When coming to a new country - namely China - or even just when being interested in one, it is normal for expats to have prejudices. Our education, the media, the History, the work from scholars that have penetrated common knowledge, etc. All of this contributes to help us build a general idea of a given country’s culture.

The hard part begins when one tries to overcome preconceptions to acquire a more genuine understanding of the host country. For business purposes, by curiosity, or simply because it eases the integration process, the reasons of such an initiative are numerous.

As a newcomer on the Chinese soil, or even if you have been here for several years, it is always interesting – and useful – to challenge your believes and to explore more about local psyche.

Cultural Awareness: Why Has It Become Essential?

Two groups are interested in the concept of cultural awareness: expatriates and companies.

  • The former do because being familiar with local customs and way of thinking help them living a balanced life, avoiding conflict, and predicting the general people attitudes' toward a given situation. Being able to accurately predict someone’s response to an event is essential for individuals to build stability in their life.
  • The latter do because the well-being of their employees often means more chances of them being more productive, more easily integrated in the company, and more smoothly transitioning to their new tasks. Expatriation failure (when an expatriation ends before its term or is considered not fully achieved) is most of the time linked with poor employee’s integration and great costs for the company.

As put by Kate Hutching in her article Cross Cultural Preparation of Australian Expatriates in Organizations in China: The Need to a Greater Attention to Training:

"The removal of national protectionist trade policies, de-regulation of international fiscal and monetary markets, and rapid advances in communications and distribution channels, has contributed to the increasing numbers of organisations that have decided to expand their operations across international borders in the last two decades.”

What could be overlooked in the past decades, i.e. cultural awareness, has now become essential as international assignments – or more broadly international mobility - are getting more common.

How to Increase One's Knowledge and Cultural Awareness?

Tons of means are available to increase one’s knowledge about Chinese psyche: reading the news, watching documentaries, looking for scholars’ works, meeting locals and discussing with them, attending training programs or conferences, etc.

Yet, the most important, apart from exposing oneself to this information, is to stay open to whatever could contradict one’s believes, past experiences, or what has been previously learnt. Open-mindedness is key when it comes to understanding your host country and effectively grasping what traits make up its personality.

Debunking the Myths

If one agrees with continue down this path, then the Harvard Business Review article "China Myths, China Facts" written by Erin Meyer and Elisabeth Yin Shen would be of great help. They identified 3 common myths that have been “perpetuated informally through stereotypes, and formally through management-training programs”.

  • Myth 1: China is a collectivist country. Even Hofstede’s works state “At a score of 20 China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves.”
    In this article however, the authors state that Chinese people, especially the younger generation, are more on the individualistic side of the spectrum. One of the interviewees argues that “as a child, I was punished for stepping out of the box and told to be ‘average’. But we have left this mentality with passion. In China, we are so eager to move ahead. Westerners often feel our style is pushy and aggressive”.
  • Myth 2: Long-term deliberation is preferred. However, for whoever has been working in China, or has simply followed the past decades’ economic growth, it appears obvious that Chinese psyche now tends to “real-time reaction” as stated in the article, and quick decision making. This tendency is in accordance with the government aiming at fostering innovation.
  • Myth 3: Chinese people are risk averse. However, given the decision process is usually quick, risk tolerance is nowadays quite high in China. One of the interviewee stated that the country’s growing GDP is a proof that “the level of entrepreneurship and risk taking” is high.

Understanding the ever-changing psyche of China is key when it comes to not being lost in the Middle Kingdom. Debunking myths as the Harvard Business Review did is very useful for expats aiming at being at ease in the country, and being successful socially and professionally.

At ASI Movers, we aim at making your relocation process the smoothest possible, and this is aligned with providing you the best insights on the country’s state of mind. After more than 10 years operating in China, we are aware of the challenges one faces, and work hand in hand with our customers to provide them the best services and support possible.

Being a Foreign Entrepreneur in China: a Guideline

If you are to come to China or are already here, there are great chances that the vitality of the business environment plants the seed of entrepreneurship in your brain.

Why not start a company in China?

Chinese Government is well aware of the potential entrepreneurship represents, as well as the role it played in the country’s development.

Accounting for 60% of the nation’s GDP, and providing 80% of the jobs, the private sector is essential to Chinese economy. Even though some argue that it has been the consequence of the Middle Kingdom’s development rather than its cause, entrepreneurship remains key.

The truth lying in one or the other of these two causality chains, it still remains that many foreigners have had the envy to try to make it in China.

ASI Movers is aware of this tendency. Having moved thousands of expats throughout our 10 years of activity, we have decided to introduce you the Chinese entrepreneurial environment and the opportunities of founding your own business here.

The Entrepreneurship Landscape in China

Background

For many years, China bore the image of a state-owned economy for observers outside its borders. It is still true that entering an industry dominated by a state-owned enterprise is quite risky since. The latter will indeed benefit from financial advantages, and connections ensuring its quasi monopoly on the market.

Yet, the reforms initiated in 1978 and which developed in the 1980s paved the ground for an economy based on private companies and entrepreneurship.

The 1990s have seen the rise of the Internet entrepreneurs. The 2000s saw the emergence – apart for the stable growth of the Internet and mobile technology sectors – of entrepreneurship in sectors such as energy, healthcare, financial services, or consumer retail among others.

Nowadays, China is the second largest host of so called unicorns i.e. non-listed companies valued at over USD 1Bn.

Entrepreneurship Culture in China

The entrepreneurship culture in China is different from the one in the West, firstly because of the environmental and institutional context. China’s economy being driven by the state, young innovative companies having connections bear a huge competitive advantage compared to their peers. Investing in political connections and network is thus as important as securing monetary investment.

It mainly came from the urban youth raised in the 1980s and 1990s in the midst of the economic reforms.
Young entrepreneurs are partisans of the “trial and error” technique and do not consider a failure as the end of their promising career, but rather as a step in their journey. They are less risk averse and more opportunistic than their peers, they also focus largely on personal success.

An aspect that might be considered as a drawback by foreigners is the education system. The latter shaped the locals' mind: rote learning is the core of their school life. One might thus think it can undermine Chinese entrepreneurs’ critical thinking spirit.

Not only is the entrepreneurial spirit different from the one in the West, the projects developed also bear specific features:

  • Integrated Innovation i.e. adapting an existing (often Western) business to Chinese market is huge.
  • Answering unmet needs in, specifically, Chinese society is the main focus (mainly due to the the relative closure of the Internet, some Western businesses did not make their way into China, leaving an empty space for Chinese companies).
  • Monitoring and acting in accordance with the government policies and interventions is important in China. Entrepreneurs should target industries defined as key by the latter as to benefit from the current environment.
  • Combining online commerce and marketing with relevant infrastructures and forwarding system enables the products to be delivered anywhere in a very short time. This feature is key in China.

Foreign Entrepreneurs in China

As China is becoming more and more interested in welcoming foreign talents, the environment for foreign entrepreneurs is warmer and warmer. It also participates in giving a positive image of China overseas.

Some local governments such as the city of Hangzhou even provide incentives for foreign entrepreneurs to come: in 2018, the city of Hangzhou offered subsidies ranging from RMB 200,000 to RMB 5 million to foreign entrepreneurs bringing projects fitting the city development path.

One of the first advice one could give to a soon to be foreign entrepreneur in China is to not blindly see the Middle Kingdom as a huge market of 1.3 billion people of which even 1% market share is profitable.

To successfully start a business in China

  • Learn about your customers: Chinese habits, tastes, mindset is different from the one in the West. Ensure there is a market for your potential offer, and adapt your practices and products if necessary.
  • Take advantage of the barter economy i.e. non-monetary reciprocity, which recent resurgence is mainly due to insecurity, the rise of the Internet and the importance networking has taken (especially in China where the concept of Guanxi dominates).

How to Set-Up a Business in China

If you are a Laowai eager to sell your products or services in China, you can choose between 3 kinds of businesses:

  • Joint Venture
  • Representative Office
  • WFOE or Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprises

The landscape for entrepreneurship seems paved with gold for the ones keen to really understand the peculiarities of the Chinese economy, get inspired by the local features of the private companies, and explore the opportunities, them being obvious or less visible.

Starting a business in China is a definitely a worth it experience. For you to focus on this life project, ASI Movers is here to provide you the smoothest moving process possible. Focus on what matters, we take care of the rest!

Telethon 2018 organized by Shanghai Accueil

Yesterday, Shanghai Accueil organized a charity dinner-aperitif for the benefit of the Téléthon 2018, the occasion for ASI Movers - who happily joined forces with Madeleine Bakery of this event - to raise awareness on this cause. The Téléthon is a French charity event aimed at raising awareness and money to fight against rare illnesses.

Since the FIAFE (Fédération Internationale des Accueils Français et Francophones d’Expatriés - International Federation of the Welcomes of French and French Speaking Expatriates) committed to support and raise found in favor of the AFM Téléthon, Shanghai Accueil (whose mission consists in welcoming French and French speaking expatriates in Shanghai) followed suit.

Shanghai Accueil organized a series of events with several partners:

  • A dinner cocktail on Nov. 30th with the UFE Shanghai;
  • A partnership with Epermarket from Dec. 1 until Dec. 8th.
  • A dinner aperitif at Madeleine Kerry Center in partnership with Madeleine and ASI Movers. Yesterday's profits have been fully recontributed to the Téléthon.

These events and operations demonstrate the commitment of Shanghai French and international communities to such important causes. The mobilisation is indeed very important in Asia, and more particularly in China.

Christmas Abroad – How to Make the Best of It

As more and more Christmas decorations are appearing in Shanghai streets, stores, and restaurants, ASI Movers has decided to anticipate a bit on the festive season and explore what it means for an expat to celebrate Christmas abroad, more precisely in China. What are the challenges? What are the pros? How to make the most of this season even though one is likely far from many family members? How to recreate the cheerful atmosphere we enjoy at home?

Here are the answers!

Christmas Abroad: How to Make the Best of It?

Festive season, especially Christmas, is a friends & family moment. You gather around good food and dive into the warm atmosphere coming with the end of the year and its traditions.

However, when you live miles away from friends and family who stayed home (and it might be the first time for you to be away from them) the celebrations can be a bit bitter.

Moreover, you might have ended up in a country where the traditions are way different from the ones you are used to and which comfort you (if there even are!).

How then overcome the spleen that can arise from such a situation, and make the most of living festive season abroad?

  • Call your close ones back home but avoid drowning into nostalgia. It is important to schedule phone calls and skype sessions with your friends and family back home. It is essential to feel that you are part of the events that are happening there, see the people you haven’t seen in a while, and get some of the vibe you are missing in your location flowing through your phone or computer screen. However, do not let yourself completely absorbed by nostalgia, that’s our next point.

  • Live the foreign experience. Take advantage of being in a foreign environment to explore what celebrating Christmas there, even if the actual celebrations are very few. In most cities in the world, there is a Christmas market where you can not only feel the original atmosphere of the season, but also where you can experience different culture’s way of celebrating the end of the year.

  • Gather with the foreign community. Chances are you are not the only expat in the city you live in, not even in the neighborhood. Many local expats associations and organizations offer you the opportunity to celebrate with other people like you, who might go through the same hardships. Social media groups (Facebook, WeChat) are also a great way to connect with people.

  • Try incorporate new rituals with each destination you relocate to. If you have been or are likely to experience living in several places through your life try collecting Christmas traditions the same way you do with objects. It is a great way to remember your past experiences but also explore and thus get more familiar with the place you now live in.

Celebrating Christmas in China

Harbin (see picture above) hosts an Ice and Snow Festival which lasts 2 months (Dec. 20th - Feb. 28th) and which great opening is scheduled on Jan. 5. It features impressive ice sculpture (the most famous attraction of the city), fireworks, ice lanterns, winter swimming, fishing, skiing, sledding, and more related activities. From Dec. 24th-30th, you can enjoy a 50% discount to access the ice sculpture exhibition as it is still in trial period (90% of the snow craving is finished). Even though Christmas and New Year's Eve are less popular in China than in the West, the city is decorated accordingly.

 

 

Only 1% of Chinese people is Christian and thus is traditionally celebrating Christmas. This community is very active in preparing Jesus’ birth, which counterbalances the fact that most of the remaining population do not know the meaning of the event. There is no public holiday on this period and people work on December 25th.

However, as for many other things coming from the West, Santa Claus made his way in the Middle Kingdom.
He even has a Chinese name: Shen Dan Lao Ren (圣诞老人) literally Old Christmas Man. In big cities, Christmas trees, decorations and markets are blooming, in rural areas it remains uncommon.
Giving apples on Christmas Eve is becoming more and more popular as the latter's translation - Ping'an Ye (平安夜), literally peaceful evening - sounds like píngguǒ (苹果), apple.

Another take-off from the West is family and friends gatherings at someone’s house, cafes, KTvs, etc. Family reunions cannot be compared to the big family reunions we are used to in the West but the tradition is slowly making its way in China. Young couples associate Christmas it with a romantic event, exchange gifts and date.

Celebrating Christmas in Shanghai

  • Shanghai being the vivid city it is, with many malls, fancy shops and restaurants, as well as a place where the West meets the East, Christmas is visible in the streets (light garlands, Christmas trees, etc.) and the occasion for shopping opportunities. Open-hours are extended during the period in many shops, Christmas sales are held (Nov. and early Dec.).
  • Several Christmas markets are organized around the city, selling Christmas products & gifts, food and drinks. Search Paulaner's Christkindlmarkt, Jing'an Christkindlmarkt and Jiashan Market for more information.
  • If you are Christian, check local churches for Christmas mass, many of them even hold English religious services.
  • Book a table in an international hotel or restaurant to enjoy a great Christmas dinner, or gather with friends in a bar for a more festive atmosphere surrounded by fellow expats.
  • If you prefer to stay at home, e-markets and stores dedicated to expats will provide you the ingredients necessary to reproduce the traditional dishes you crave during this period.

Even though far from being the major event it is in the West, Christmas is gaining popularity in China. Some elements have been adapted to local tastes and sensibility, while other will really give you the occasion to experience an atmosphere reminiscent to home. Go around the city, enjoy the decorations, taste good food in one of the Christmas markets and gather with friends for nice dinners and drinks, that's the Christmas recipe!

Global Mobility: a Shift Towards Employees’ Wellbeing

While the demand for skilled employees is rising in developing countries, international assignees tend to be more demanding regarding the quality of the employee mobility program companies provide.

Simultaneously, companies need to implement effective mobility management programs. The focus is on assigning the right people and providing them the right incentives and assurances to make the project the most fruitful for both parties.

Expatriation is defined by a lot of uncertainties

Having met and helped many expats in their moving and thus relocation process, ASI Movers is aware of the problematics one faces when undertaking the “expatriate adventure”, and has thus put together a summary of nowadays trends in Global Mobility.*

Which Profile Is More Inclined to Move Abroad?

On the one hand, married people or people in the middle of their career are the least likely to accept a job that would change their life and career plans.

On the other hand, young actives, senior executives/decision makers, and unmarried business owners are the ones keener to undertake the international experience.

The latter see the expat life as an opportunity for starting a new business, give their career a new impetus, develop their entrepreneurship spirits. For young actives, working abroad is often seen as a set-up / pay-off mechanism. They might give up a higher salary (the golden package which are becoming rarer and rarer) and the comfort of a stable life in their home country for a more thrilling job, with great of opportunities of evolution.

A person's country of origin also influences one's propensity to accept an expat status. Employees from Latin America, Middle East and Africa are more likely to temporarily relocate to another country for up to two years with a minimum of 10% increase in pay.

Which Incentives Should Expats' Employers Provide?

As stated by the 2017 IPSOS report, employers need to be more flexible regarding the incentives they provide.

Employees demand more than just an increase in pay. Income only ranks 5th in terms of how impactful a criteria is when making the decision of going abroad.

Effectively managing employees' expatriation means - eventually - retaining international, culturally flexible ad knowledgeable talents. It appears essential to focus primarily on the repatriation process: going abroad is often only a step in one’s career.

Nevertheless, as the Harvard Business Review found out, many repatriates end up filling temporary assignments once back. The latter compared to the one abroad is a demotion. They lack opportunities to put their foreign experience to work.

How to Manage Expats Effectively?

  • Focus on knowledge creation and global leadership development rather than on filling immediate business needs, and rewarding or punishing an employee by making him/her move to a specific place. Expatriation should be part of a defined and global strategy.
  • The employees' technical skills should match or exceed their cross-cultural ability. Even though performing very well in their job at home, they will need to adapt to the new country’s culture, communication, management practices etc.
  • The following qualities should characterize them: a drive to communicate, broad-based sociability, cultural flexibility, cosmopolitan orientation; collaborative negotiation style.

  • End expatriate assignments with a deliberate repatriation process.

Managing expatriation has become more complex for corporations as the challenges for employees sent abroad pile up. It requires a thoughtful employee mobility program and an effective management to make it work. The common issue is often resides in who should oversee the relocation process: The Global Mobility Team? The Generalist HR? An external Party?

The answer is all of them, in cooperation.

Because of all these challenges coming along with relocation, moving should go smoothly for expatriates. That is the reason why ASI Movers has been providing expats stress-free and tailor-made moving services for  more 10 years, never failing to comply with our clients’ needs.

 

 

 

* This article is based on the following resources:
  • “Perceptions of Employee Mobility in a Climate of Change”, Mobility Report, BDO, IPSOS, Sept. 2017
  • “The Right Way to Manage Expats”, Harvard Business Review, J. Stewart Black & Hal Gregersen, March-April 1999.

Relocating With Children: Why Your Child Could Become a TCK

Being a parent is not always an easy task, but being an expat parent comes with a whole new kind of challenges.

When relocating with your children you might want to know more about what they are experiencing and how it will shape their identities, hence if you change home on a regular basis. Your lifestyle has indeed an impact on how they see and interact with the world, but living it, it can be hard to clearly see which one.
ASI Movers has thus decided to provide you detailed insight into the notion of TCK i.e. Third Culture Kid.  Scholars have been working on this concept for more than 50 years, a term specially designed for expat children, not only describing what personality traits they are more likely to develop, but also what it can bring along in terms of opportunities.

What Is a TCK?

Introduced in the 1950s by the sociologist Dr. Ruth Hill Useem, the term Third Culture Kid refers to those “who [have] spent a significant part of [their] developmental years outside their parents’ culture”, who neither have fully adopted the local customs nor completely kept their parents’ ones, yet who have built their own, at the intersection of the two or more cultures they experienced.

What Are the Characteristics of TCKs?

The way they have built their cultural references obviously affected their identity. Because they do not recognize themselves in neither of them, they often feel they do not belong anywhere. They thus can develop a feeling of loneliness, eventually bringing them to a state of “cultural homelessness”.
For the same reason, they are keen to develop more tolerance towards others, their set of values and habits. They display a higher degree of open-mindedness because they have been exposed to several cultures from a young age.
They often are more creative, and the school you are going to choose should take full advantage of this personality trait (Lee and Bain, 2007).
They tend to submit themselves more easily to authority figures.
Studies also show that TCKs comparatively enroll more in college and tend to have more advanced degrees than their non-TCKs peers.
A large portion of them will also embrace a nomad lifestyle further in their life.

What Are the Advantages of Being a TCK?

While having been exposed to a foreign culture from a young age or moving regularly can represent a huge challenge for your children, it is also important to discuss with them and stress the pros of their situation.  The life they are likely to live being as peculiar as unique.

They will be more open-minded and culturally aware than their peers. Not only will it enrich their way of thinking and general knowledge, but it will be a decisive advantage in a more and more multicultural and globalized world. Scholars call this ability Cultural Intelligence, a skill that is sought by HR all over the globe. People who have cross-cultural experiences are cherished by employers and their peers as they already acquired the skills needed to live in nowadays society.

Their view of the world and its mechanisms will be more complex and thus more accurate than many people. They will learn languages more easily. Their interpersonal sensitivity will enable them to understand the codes of a given group and adjust to them instinctively. More generally, they adapt more quickly and understand the complexity of situations easily.

ASI Movers is aware that children can be disoriented and overwhelmed by the challenges of living in a new country or having to move on a regular basis, thus not ready to see the positive aspects of being a TCK.
That is the reason why we feel entitled to make your relocation the smoothest and most stress-free as possible.

The inconveniences inherent to relocating should not overshadow the benefits of moving abroad, meeting other cultures and people. Let ASI Movers take care of your belonging, and allow your family to focus on what matters and take full advantage of the experience!

Expats Retirement: Going Abroad Again

When an expat plans his/her retirement, three options arise: going back home, staying abroad in the country he/she is residing in, or choose another country. Many elements come into play when it comes to making this decision: from proximity with family, to lifestyle, including the cost of life and the tax one can be subject to.

As expats’ best relocation partner, ASI Movers has decided to explore what are the trends shaping expats’ retirement choices, as well as the key elements one needs to consider when planning before leaving the working life.

The Elements to Take into Account Before Retiring

First, it is essential to estimate your savings and the cost of living you will target in your new residence. Some countries require you to prove you own a certain amount or earn a certain revenue to settle down within their borders, which makes it essential to prepare and gather these information beforehand.

You will then obviously have to decide where you want to retire in terms of personal preference. As already stated, you will have to pounder upon different criteria: the lifestyle you can expect there, the scenery, the climate, the proximity with your family, the activities you can enjoy once on site, the expat community, the safety, etc.

Finally, you will have to determine when you want to retire.

Taking some time to think about all these elements and gather information is crucial to make your retirement project a success.

Retiring in China: Is It Possible?

Unless your spouse is Chinese, there are little chances you will be able to spend your retirement years in China. As a matter of fact, if you are not employed, your only way of staying in China long-term is a reunion visa: Q visa if your relative is a Chinese person or a foreigner residing in China with a permanent resident permit; or S visa if your relative (spouse) is residing in China for work or study. Even if you can plan of being a consultant (and thus work) or study Chinese for instance, these are not sustainable solutions if your aim is to enjoy a peaceful and constraint-free retirement in the Middle Kingdom.

If you have spent – or are planning to spend - several years working in China before exiting the labor market, remember to check if there is any agreement between your home country and China in terms of pension plan. French people for instance, will not see their years worked in France and the ones worked in China add up, if they want to receive a full pension once retired, they should contribute willingly to the French pension system.

The Trending Destinations for Expats’ Retirement

Since spending one’s retirement in China is very unlikely for people not married to a Chinese person, many expats who have lived their life traveling choose to follow suit for their years of retirement and settle abroad.

According to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index (2018): the most popular destinations among retired expats are:

  1. Costa Rica: for its beautiful sceneries, its excellent rankings in Buying & Investing, Entertainment & Amenities, Health Care and Healthy Lifestyle criteria.

  2. Mexico: for its vivid culture, the climate as well as an good to excellent health care system.

  3. Panama: for the benefits & discounts retirees can expect there, and the ease with which one can obtain residency.

  4. Ecuador: for its good rankings in Benefits & Discounts, Fitting in, Entertainment & Amenities, Healthy Lifestyle and Climate criteria.

  5. Malaysia: for its low cost of living and its top ranking in Entertainment & Amenities.

  6. Colombia

  7. Portugal

  8. Nicaragua

  9. Spain

  10. Peru

 

One destination our clients seem to target lately is Thailand. Its sweet climate, inexpensive housing and cost of life, rather cheap healthcare system, welcoming expat community and beautiful landscape have convinced them.

If that is your plan, know that a so-called “retirement visa” exists, whose official name is non-immigrant visa. To obtain it, you will have to give the proof of having enough funds (a revenue ≥65,000 BHT / month, or a Thailand bank account with 800,000 BHT for a period of 3 months before applying for the visa, or a total revenue and saving accounting for more than 800,000 BHT the day you apply).

You will then obtain a one-year resident permit, the latter is renewable, and can be completed by an extension-stay notice and a re-entry permit.

Prolonging your expat lifestyle by retiring abroad comes with the planning required for relocating in a foreign country, with the additional preparation necessary when you choose to settle somewhere for good.

Even if the path will not necessarily be problem-free - with many aspects you might discover by searching more about the country or the specific legislation - planning in advance is the best way to ensure the process runs smoothly.

At ASI Movers, we are dedicated to providing you the moving service you need when choosing to retire back home or abroad. We take care of your belongings from packing at departure to unpacking at destination, you just have to focus on you!

 

Resource:

Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 by International Living