Jim Rogers once said “If you were smart in 1807 you moved to London, if you were smart in 1907 you moved to New York City, and if you are smart in 2007 you move to Asia.”
The legendary investor stood by his word when he sold his New York mansion in 2007 and moved to Singapore.
Now it’s three years later. Who cares if you didn’t escape America in time to dodge the financial crisis. You’re ready to more to China.
'Singapore 40 years ago was a swamp with a half a million people. Singapore now, 40 years later, is the country with the largest foreign currency reserve per capita of any country in the world.'
'It's got the best education in the world, the best health care in the world. It's astonishing to come to Singapore and see that everything works.'
And he's bullish on China too.
Believe it or not, becoming an expat is pretty cheap.
The plane ticket (slide 10) is a drop in the bucket. Real estate (slide 8) is still cheap, despite the bubble. Although your new job won't pay as much, the cost of living is MUCH cheaper.
If you are moving with your family, then count on $50,000-a-year to enroll your kids in the local American School.
For trips to China, the CDC recommends vaccines for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis.
Anti-malarial drugs are only necessary if you plan on living in a rural part of the Anhui, Yunnan, or Hainan provinces.
Your shaky grasp of Mandarin won't be a problem in China.
English is taught in all Chinese schools, putting China on course to having the largest English-speaking population in the world, according to The Irish Times.
English will get you farthest in the urban areas, where education and exposure are higher. During the Olympics in Beijing, for instance, 90,000 taxi drivers were schooled in English.
In Hong Kong, English is an official language, found on all official signs.
In order to get a Chinese work visa, you'll need to have a job before arrival. You'll also need to have a precise resume written in Chinese and English.
Boom sectors like technology and finance are always looking for talented expats.
Another strategy is to work as an English teacher for a period of time. The language skills and street savvy you learn as a teacher could lead to a more prestigious job in the future.
Plan to have to scour Web sites like China Job and Shanghaiist in order to get a grip on the job market. If you don't have some experience already, however, this approach won't work for you. In order to get a work permit, and a job, you need 2-5 years of experience, depending on the role.
The other approach is to contact the recruiting offices of big banks and consultancies that have localised training programs in China. Many do -- although most require Mandarin language skills.
Getting a visa involves many banal steps, and while all are vital, there are a few that should be paid close attention.
First you need to prove expertise in your field with a 'Foreign Expert licence' from the Chinese Government.
Next, you must send application for a Work Permit to the Shanghai labour Social Security Bureau, where it will be approved or rejected in only five days, according to ShanghaiExpat.com. We assume it often takes a lot longer.
Before arrival, it's important to set up a network of people who you have previously had contact with, whether online or in the real.
This will make your transition much more comfortable, as you'll be able to explore China with like minded people you already have a connection with.
Now if you wait a while, you might find great real estate prices after the China real estate bubble tanks. But then again, if you're anything like Jim Rogers then you don't believe in the China bubble.
This fine home costs $4750 a month on realtyshanghai.com.
Renting is not only a good idea in the foreign market, it's your only option until you've lived in China for over a year, according to Shenzen Daily.
Before heading off, make sure to get some Yuan from a place like AAA or another travel agency.
You may pay a premium before departure, but its always good to have a little cash in hand, just in case you have a currency crisis on arrival.
Also, be sure to notify your bank and credit card companies that you are leaving for China prior to departure, or else you won't be able to get cash or make purchases on site.
Don't expect to wake up as Jim Rogers on day one and start making the bold business bets that will change the world.
You'll need time to settle in, take in your selected city, and start to come up with your own contrary bets on the country around you. Take a few days, if not a week, to relax.
Better to be over your jet lag before you start work.
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