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Candidate Blog: Read this very carefully before deciding to work for a Chinese bank in Hong Kong

Having worked in Chinese companies in Hong Kong for four years, I have faced some situations that made me ask: "What's wrong with this firm?".

For those of you who want to join a Chinese bank, please ask yourself: "Are you ready for the Chinese working culture?"

Here are some examples, so you can see what I mean.

Case one: Daddy's boy

A new recruit was joining the team and our senior manager told us to give him a chance to "learn" in our department. "You are focusing on development in China. He can help." But we never asked for an additional staff member. After "investigations" we found that he was from Beijing and his dad is from an official committee.

Case two: Don't fight the law

After joining a new firm, my team secretary reminded me to maintain a good relationship with a colleague in another department, no matter how bad his work was. When I wondered why, my colleagues said his dad is the senior police officer in a big city in China. They made a bad joke: "You will be arrested without any reason if you don't have a good relationship with him. Or you can choose not to visit that city."

Case three: Hanging by the fax machine

One of my colleagues' father is a rich businessman in China. Recently she was requested to join an internal meeting, but she declined because she was waiting for a fax from a client and could not leave the fax machine. What an excuse! I would love to receive all the faxes for my company and never take any responsibilities.

Not all bad

Family background need not be a concern at Chinese banks. Some of the second generation of officials are smart and diligent. They have perfect academic backgrounds, good networks in China, and are familiar with the local culture there.

But if they don't do their jobs well, they become a liability. A few of them are lazy, selfish and short-sighted. They always hide in their comfort zone. When you are working with them, you have to stay calm, or you might get angry.

I am searching for another job now, and actually I wouldn't mind joining a Chinese firm again because I have got used to the culture. But for those who are looking for opportunities in Chinese banks, ask yourself again: "Are you ready?"

The views are those of the author and not of eFinancialCareers.

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager
  • Vi
    6 October 2011

    Its not happening only on "Chinese bank" or "Chinese firm", its everywhere to be honest.

  • Ia
    Ian Robertson
    6 October 2011

    1) Daddy's boy sounds like he might be useful. This kind of thing happens in every culture.

    2) they were joking. It's unlikely this guys dad is going to arrest you because you fell out with the son over the pricing on a deal.

    3) perhaps it was an important fax. Some faxs are important. Perhaps the meeting was routine and she did not want to attend but its difficult for Chinese to directly say this. A US banker might say 'this meeting is a waste of time'. Quite likely this is what she was really saying.

    4)there are issues in China with well connected jobs worths - that is people who lack ambition and /or competence.

    The main issue with China banks as i understand it is salary and that the banks tend to be conservative, follow a strategy which is more about China INC than profit maximisation.

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