Useful tips on working in the Mainland

Useful tips on working in the Mainland

Apart from career prospect and personal development, job seekers should thoroughly consider the consequential changes of life style, family relationship, and social network before taking up job offers in the Mainland.


Job seeker should analyse the demand for the expertise of different industries in the Mainland and see whether their knowledge and experience match with the requirements of these industries. Thereafter they may adjust their plans and expectations on working in the Mainland. Job seekers may get information on the demand for human resources in the Mainland through the TV, newspapers, magazines, and the internet, and by visiting recruitment websites, attending job fairs and recruitment talks. Latest labour market information in the Mainland can be found on "China's Employment" website (「中國就業」) (Simplified Chinese only).

Capable persons are abundant in the Mainland. On top of this, a significant number of Mainland Chinese return home to seek jobs after their overseas studies. As such, Hong Kong people have to make real good efforts preparing for fierce competition in the Mainland. Being fully bilingual and familiar with both the Chinese and the Western cultures are the competitive advantages of Hong Kong people. Moreover, they have a good understanding of the operation of finance and international commerce, a broad perspective, as well as a strong commitment to work and professionalism. These are the strengths and merits of Hong Kong people. However, being less fluent in Putonghua and having less understanding of the trade practices, customs and work pattern in the Mainland when compared with locals, there are hurdles for them to overcome. Those who intend to look for opportunities in the Mainland must not dream of jumping on the bandwagon without careful thoughts. They must consider the matter objectively and see whether they are equipped with the strengths to gain a winning edge.

Hong Kong people working in nearby cities in Guangdong Province, such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan can usually come back and meet their families in Hong Kong on rest days. To those working in distant cities like Beijing and Shanghai, frequent returns to Hong Kong are unlikely. For the married, they have to consider carefully the possible impact on their families if they are working in distant regions. It must be borne in mind that a happy and stable family is of great importance both to the upbringing of children and the development of one's career. The damages caused by physical separation and a lack of connection may not be easily mendable. Therefore, in deciding to work in the Mainland, it is necessary to discuss with the family members and secure some consensus and establish ways of maintaining close ties and relationship, such as making regular phone calls, video conversations and emails and to agree on dates of reunion. If one decides to stay in the Mainland for long-term career development, a relocation of the whole family to the place of work is also an option worth considering.

The living conditions and amenities of different regions and provinces in the Mainland may differ greatly from those of Hong Kong. Hong Kong people may take some time to get used to working in the Mainland. Thus, before taking up a job offer in the Mainland, one should find out what the situation is like, and then seriously consider whether one would fit in well. To capture a clearer and better understanding of the living conditions of the workplace in question, job seekers may gather information from the internet, online forum and the local newspapers. They may also visit the places and get some first-hand experience about the living conditions there.

Tips for working in the Mainland

A satisfactory command of Putonghua is a pre-requisite for getting employment in the Mainland. For those who cannot communicate effectively in Putonghua, it would reduce their chance of employment and affect their work performance. Hard efforts should be made to improve the verbal and listening skills.

Simplified Chinese characters are being used in the Mainland. The failure to read and write Simplified Chinese characters will cause much inconvenience to those who want to live and work in the Mainland. To those who are familiar with the Traditional Chinese characters, learning the Simplified Chinese characters is not that difficult. One may get familiar with the Simplified Chinese characters by reading books, watching videos with Simplified Chinese subtitles; as well as reading books and magazines from the internet in Mainland websites. Job seekers have to master the skills of inputting Simplified Chinese character, if looking for jobs that require frequent typing and data input.

The working style and customs in the Mainland are different from Hong Kong in many ways. For example, the steering wheel is mounted on left-hand side for all vehicles in China and traffic flow direction is different from that of Hong Kong. Attention should also be paid to the Mainland safety codes and practices. The way senior staff gets along with subordinates in the workplace, daily contacts among colleagues, the choice of diction, tone and expression in conversation are all different from what those in Hong Kong. Hong Kong people working in the Mainland must go native, keep an open mind, and try hard to adapt to the changes and accept the difference.

The structure of commercial operation, trade regulations and practices in the Mainland are different from those in Hong Kong. Other than the laws and regulations of the State, the management practices of the municipal governments may also vary from place to place. In order to understand the situation in the Mainland, job seekers may read reports and statistics published by relevant authorities, as well as articles on the newspapers, books and magazines about Mainland. They may gather up-to-date information through frequent exchanges and discussions amongst friends who are familiar with situations in the Mainland.

Whilst Hong Kong people working in the Mainland have to get integrated into the local community, and adapted to the new working style as quickly as possible, they also have to make every endeavor to maintain their own strengths and competitive advantages. Even though they are in the Mainland, they should pay attention to the global current affairs, and the socio-political and economic landscape. They have to acquire professional qualification recognized in the Mainland, to continuously update their knowledge on management, and to adhere to a self-disciplined working attitude and professional ethics and standard.

Not all Hong Kong people working in the Mainland have a good understanding of Mainland's latest development scene. Some may believe that "Hong Kong is superior", and assume that the Hong Kong model and its standards are the best. They would unwittingly neglect the ideas or value orientation of Mainland colleagues. As a matter of fact, the development in the Mainland is rapid, and in many aspects getting a cutting edge over Hong Kong and many Mainlanders are very insightful and open-minded. Hong Kong people working in the Mainland must keep a modest attitude and learn from the merits of others. They should be sincere in getting along with others, appreciate the differences and accommodate the inadequacy of each other.

It is important to find ways to spend the leisure time wisely when moving to a new place where the community and social network are so much different. The tempo of living and entertainment activities in the Mainland are somewhat different from those in Hong Kong. To strike a fuller and more balanced life whilst working in the Mainland, one should cultivate some good hobbies, for example, paying visits to nearby cities, participating in cultural activities, trying some local delicacies, as well as going with friends on hiking and doing sports.

For those living and working in the Mainland, building a broad social network and connections with others will bring them great benefits both in their work and daily lives. One may easily make friends from various backgrounds and collect useful business information by joining functions held by the trade and industrial associations, or professional organizations.

Emergency and Accidents

If Hong Kong residents meet with accidents or emergencies in the Mainland, they or their relatives should immediately seek assistance from the local Public Security Bureau or relevant authorities:

Dial 110 for assistance from the police
Dial 120 for medical assistance:120
Dial 119 for fire services:119
Dial 122 for reporting of traffic accidents:122

For further assistance, please contact the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department of the HKSAR Government:

Assistance to Hong Kong Residents 24-Hour Hotline: (852) 1868
1868 WhatsApp Assistance Hotline: (852) 1868
Fax: (852) 2519 3536
Address: 9/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Facilitation Measures for Hong Kong People

In recent years, the Central Government departments have introduced a series of concrete measures to facilitate Hong Kong people studying, working and living in the Mainland. Apart from employment, the measures also cover the areas of education and daily life matters.

On education, it is specified in clear terms that to protect the rights and interests of Hong Kong and Macao students, Mainland higher education institutions and relevant authorities must accord equal treatment for Hong Kong and Macao students in admission, nurture, management and supporting services. Furthermore, to facilitate their job search and employment, Mainland authorities also require higher education institutions to issue Employment Agreements and Employment Registration Certificates to students from Hong Kong and Macao upon their graduation. For scholarships open to Hong Kong and Macao students as well as overseas Chinese students studying at Mainland higher education institutions, both the quota and amount have been increased.

As regards daily life matters, Hong Kong residents living in the Mainland who meet the relevant criteria can apply for residence permits. A residence permit holder is entitled to enjoy, in accordance with the law, three categories of rights, six basic public services and nine facilitation measures in the place where he or she is residing. This covers areas relating to daily living including employment, education, medical care, travel, financial services and so on. Besides, the China Railway Corporation has installed automatic ticket vending and issuing machines to read and verify Home Visit Re-entry Permits at train stations of various provinces and cities with relatively large demand for ticketing services from Hong Kong people. These ticketing machines can reduce the amount of time otherwise spent on queuing and ticket processing over the counter. Those interested in working in the Mainland may visit the relevant webpage of the CMAB website for the latest facilitation measures.

On 6 November 2019, the Central Government promulgated 16 policy measures which would benefit Hong Kong people from all walks of life and facilitate the development of various sectors in the Greater Bay Area.