Foreign employees in Shanghai are generally satisfied with their overall work conditions. A Shanghai professional association recently surveyed foreign employees from 75 different companies. Foreign workers are happy working in Shanghai, but also have a number of concerns. From the survey results, it is clear that there is room for improvement. What innovations can Shanghai implement in order to attract top international talent and how can the city make itself more attractive for foreign workers?
High Taxes and Annoying Visa Paperwork
78.7 percent of survey respondents believe that taxes and cost of living in Shanghai are too high. This was a major issue for many respondents. 77.3 percent of respondents said that Shanghai should implement tax incentives to make itself more attractive for businesses. Many developed countries use this practice to encourage business growth.
69.3 percent of respondents think that personal income taxes in China are substantially higher than in other countries. In addition, they believe that protection under law, and protection of individual rights should be increased for foreigners in order to attract top talent to Shanghai.
Foreign employees in Shanghai also have some issues with visa access and procedures. 38.7 percent believe that there is too much paperwork in the visa process and that the renewal process is cumbersome. There is also room for improvement in terms of support for residence permits and employment visas.
Shortages for a Foundation for Innovation
In terms of investment and innovation, 66.7 percent of respondents believe that the environment for startups, and research and technology, needs to be further improved in Shanghai. Shanghai should enhance support for research in tech, and strengthen its startup infrastructure to create an environment for innovation. In addition, Shanghai should strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and foster an atmosphere that encourages academic exchange.
Shanghai currently has shortages in terms of foreign talent in three categories: technical personnel, research and development, and management talent. Technical talent is the most in demand, account for 63.3 percent of job openings. Management talent used to be easy to find in Shanghai, and is now more in demand than ever before.
The investigation team behind the survey proposed that Shanghai abolish the age limit for senior management personnel, expand family support for senior personnel, cancel the age limit for children accompanying senior management personnel, and technical personnel. As for the issue of high taxes, some experts have suggesting increasing tax limits for families.
Foreign Companies Face Issues
Apple’s vice president Philip Schiller said that the company will not be able to effective transfer most of its research and development personnel to its new offices in Shanghai. There are many factors in this decision, but the legal differences between the United States and China play a major role. Patent laws, and other related laws and regulations are different in China and the United States. This will make it different for Apple to find a foreign research and development team for its China office.
Philips president Frans van Houten had issues bringing his family with him to China when the company moved its global headquarters from the Netherlands to Shanghai. Van Houten’s wife and two daughters, accompanied him to China. However, one of his daughters was 20 years old, and could not enjoy visa support because she was over the age of 18.
Shanghai had an embarrassing issue with Ford when the company moved its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore to Pudong. Ford’s president of the Asia-Pacific region, David Schloch, was over the age of 60, disqualifying him from a Chinese work visa. In China, people generally retire at 60, so work permits are not available to foreigners over the age of 60. Ford had to find a way to get around this frustrating barrier.
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