Archive for the ‘Working in Beijing’ Category

2013 Chinese Holidays

imageThe 2013 Chinese Holiday calendar is out!  Too many 7 day work week for the lowly workers like me.  If you’re planning out your holidays next year, be aware of the following holidays to maximize your vacation leaves or get out of town.

  • New Year (元旦): New Year’s Day falls on January 1 (Tuesday).  The holiday schedule would be from January 1 to 3 (Tuesday to Thursday).  Work on Jan 5 & 6 (Saturday & Sunday).
  • Chinese New Year (春节):  Chinese New Year falls on February 10 (Sunday).  The holiday schedule would be from February 9 to 15 (Saturday to Friday).  Work on February 16 & 17 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节):  April 4 to 6 (Thursday to Saturday).  Work on April 7 (Sunday).
  • Labor Day:  April 29 to May 1 (Monday to Wednesday).  Work on April 27 & 28 (Saturday & Sunday).
  • Dragonboat Festival (端午节):  June 10 to 12 (Monday to Wednesday).  Work on June 8 & 9 (Saturday & Sunday).
  • Mid-autumn Festival (中秋节):  September 19 to 21 (Thursday to Saturday).  Work on September 22 (Sunday).
  • National Holiday (国庆节):  October 1 to 7 (Tuesday to Monday).  Work on September 28 & 29 (Saturday & Sunday).

Ahhh!!! That’s 4 seven-day and 1 eight-day work week!  So unfair!  I hope I’ll be able to get through those weeks.  Have a good year of the snake!


Quirks of Working with Chinese

I’ve been working in China for the past 9-1/2 years in the field of teaching, market research and real estate.  I am by no means an expert of Chinese habits, attitude and culture but I’ve noticed some quirks which Chinese have that are different from other cultures.

If you’re planning to work in China or already in China but looking for a job, here are some quirks your Chinese colleagues might have.  They can be frustrating and amusing.

image 1.  No sense of loyalty.  I don’t envy the work of HR managers in companies operating in China.  Chinese people working in multinational or local companies tend to hop from one job to another quite often.  Their reasons can be varied from low salary, don’t like the management, parents want them to work for the government and expectations not met.  My Chinese colleagues always tell me, if I want to get a good paying job, I must quit my company and look for another job.  Salary increase in Chinese companies are minimal.

image 2.  Need to be spoon fed.  Chinese people are very diligent but you need to give them a strict guideline on how you would like it to be implemented.  Only some people have the thought process to question or change something that you ask them to do.  If there’s no procedure or guideline, they flounder and don’t know what to do.  They will give you something else rather than the things that you want them to do.  Repetitions of the same thing will produce better result.  Just don’t expect them to catch something unusual if you’re looking for a result other than the norm.

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Social Insurance for Foreigners in Beijing

imageIn July 1, 2011, the Mainland Chinese government introduced a new Social Insurance Law which includes participation of all foreigners working in China.  For Beijing employees, this law has been implemented since October 15, 2011 and all payments are made retroactively.

The Chinese social insurance system is consists of five insurance payment:  retirement, medical, work-related injury, unemployment and maternity.  Both employees and employers must pay the contributions.  The employers will deduct the employees share from their salary and will pay both contributions to the local bureau.

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This Month’s News Tidbits

It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted some news tidbits.. Here’s my take for this month.  Some might be old but still relatively useful.

New Subway Extensions & Line

Subway Line 8 (lower left):  If you frequent the subway or you’ve been travelling in Beijing, you might have noticed that the connection to subway line 8 is temporarily closed.  This is due to the construction of the extension of 6 stations to the north of South Gate of Forest Park.  Subway line 8 is scheduled to open by the end of the month.


Subway Line 9 (upper right):  I thought that travelling to Beijing West Railway Station will be a breeze but apparently that won’t happen till September 2012.  This month, the new Subway line 9 will open it’s Southern section which will have 9 stations with a length of 10.8 km.  Line 9 will connect to the Fangshan line in Guogongzhang.  Technically, it’s still a standalone line and won’t connect yet to the major lines in the city.

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2012 Chinese Holiday Calendar

image 2011 is about to end and if you’re like me who likes to plan ahead on where to go for the next year, read further on next year’s list of Chinese holidays.

  • New Year: January 1 to January 3 (Sunday to Tuesday).  Work on December 31 (Saturday).
  • Chinese New Year: January 22 to 28 (Sunday to Saturday).  Work on January 21 (Saturday) and January 29 (Sunday).
  • Tomb Sweeping Day: April 2 to 4 (Monday to Wednesday).  Work on March 31 (Saturday) and April 1 (Sunday)
  • Labor Day: April 29 to May 1 (Sunday to Tuesday).  Work on April 28 (Saturday)
  • Dragon Boat Festival: June 22 to 24 (Friday to Sunday)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: September 30 (Sunday).
  • National Day:  October 1 to 7 (Monday to Sunday).  Work on September 29 (Saturday).

That’s it!  Hope you can plan the year ahead.  I’m pretty sure I won’t be going anywhere for National Day as my brother and sister in law will be coming.  As for the other holidays, I still don’t know.  I might not opt to travel much as I think I overdid it this year.  Happy Holidays!


Amendment to China’s IIT Law

Circulars are being sent out in the past couple of days to company’s HR as the amendment to China’s individual income tax law was released and will take into effect on 1 September 2011.  Does that mean that I will be paying more taxes?  I hope not.

Key Changes

The key changes for individuals on the IIT law are as follows:

  • The monthly standard deduction for Chinese individuals’ income from salaries and wages will increase from RMB 2,000 to RMB 3,500.  Monthly standard deduction for expatriates remains at RMB 4,800.
  • Income tax rates applicable to individuals will change from the nine bracket progressive rates to seven bracket progressive rates.  They removed the 15% and 40% rates.

New Tax Bracket


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2011 Chinese Holiday Calendar

imageIt’s out! The Chinese government recently announced the 2011 Chinese Holiday schedule. If you’re already planning for your next holiday destination, better check this post first before you finalize it. You don’t want the crazy scheduling to mess up your plans and eat up your meager holidays.

  • New Year: January 1 to 3 (Saturday to Monday)
  • Chinese New Year: February 2 to 8 (Wednesday to Tuesday).
    Work on January 30 (Sunday) and February 12 (Saturday).
  • Qing Ming Festival: April 3 to 5 (Sunday to Tuesday)
    Work on April 2 (Saturday)
  • Dragon Boat Festival: June 4 to 6 (Saturday to Monday)
  • Labor Day: April 30 to May 2 (Saturday to Monday)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: September 10 to 12 (Saturday to Monday)
  • National Day: October 1 to 7 (Saturday to Friday)
    Work on October 8 (Saturday) and October 9 (Sunday)

Plan ahead and plan wisely. Just remember tickets will be expensive a week before the seven day holiday and three days after the seven day holiday. Happy planning!


Tax Me Not

image It’s that time of the year where locals and expats alike who earn more than RMB 120,000 a year are asked to file for their income tax return.  Income includes salary, bonuses, freelance gigs and property sale.  This is the first time I’ve filled the form and it was a little bit daunting especially for a foreigner who can’t read Chinese.

Taxation in China is quite different from other countries.  My sister who’s working in the US always talk about getting tax refunds.  In the Philippines, you’re taxed according to your civil status, whether you have dependents and your work status.  I haven’t heard of any refunds but they usually have deductions when the annual income tax deadline looms.

In China, expats are being taxed for income of more than RMB 4,800 a month.  After the first RMB 4,800, you have to look at your tax bracket on how much they will charge you.  In any case, whether you have kids or not, whether you work the whole year or not, you would still be taxed for any income more than RMB 4,800 (expats) and RMB 1,800 (locals).  No refunds whatsoever so tough luck!

After filling up the form on their website,, you will get a “Thank you for filing your tax” screen.  In any case, I still prefer it here as I pay less taxes than in the Philippines and life is a bit better here in Beijing.

So don’t wait till the last minute, tax filing deadline is on MARCH 31, 2010.


2010 Chinese Holiday Calendar


image We’re almost at the end of 2009 and I hope next year proves to be a better year for everyone.  I hope the world economy makes a rebound and everyone’s life will be at least a bit easier.

Our HR already sent out a memo regarding the 2010 Chinese Holidays.  That means I can plan my vacation and make the most out of the 11 days vacation leave that I’m entitled to on top of the Chinese Holidays.  As usual, expect working on the weekend or seven days straight as China just love to messed up regular working people’s schedule.

  • New Year -  Jan 1 (Fri) to Jan 3 (Sun)
  • Chinese New Year – Feb 13 (Sat) to Feb 19 (Fri), must work on Feb 19 (Sat) and Feb 20 (Sun) … *aaahhh!*
  • Tomb Sweeping Day – Apr 3 (Sat) to Apr 5 (Mon)
  • Labor Day – May 1 (Sat) to May 3 (Mon)
  • Dragon Boat Festival – Jun 14 (Mon) to Jun 16 (Wed), must work on Jun 12 (Sat) and Jun 13 (Sun)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival – Sep 22 (Wed) to Sep 24 (Fri), must work on Sep 19 (Sun) and Sep 25 (Sat)
  • National Day – Oct 1 (Fri) to Oct 7 (Thu), must work on Sep 26 (Sun) and Oct 9 (Sat)

There you have it!  I’m dreading the seven day work-week.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be grumpy on the seventh day!  Why can’t they just stick to a long weekend like in the Philippines.


2009 Chinese Holidays

holidayI didn’t get the memo from HR but if you’re planning your holidays or trips this year, try to veer away from the dates below as it would either be difficult to go around or the scenic spots are full of tourists.  Also, employees should take note when you need to go to work and when are the real holidays.

  • New Year: January 1-3, 2009.   Not much happening in BJ as this is not one of the major holidays.  Employees are expected back to work on January 4 (Sunday).
  • Chinese New Year: January 25-31, 2009.  The most important holiday for Chinese.  Bus station, train station and airports will be swamped with people a week before the big day.  Sale abound throughout the city as presents are expected to be given to relatives.  Girlfriend/boyfriend for hire ads grow rampant to appease the parent’s desire for their children to marry.  Employees need to make up two days to complete the seven days on January 24 (Saturday) and February 1 (Sunday).                               Read the rest of this entry »