Any non-chinese working for a Chinese company? Can you share your experience?

Microsoft / Eng whats
Dec 20, 2017 46 Comments

Chinese companies are coming strong. Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent and others, at least in the Seattle area, are seeking aggressively and offering very good salaries.

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding being a non-chinese in these companies. Concerns include the language barrier in the office, language barrier communicating with HQ, lack of autonomy of the us locations, lack of growth for non-chinese employees, poor work-life balance, among others.

I would be interested in hearing someone with first hand experience tell their story. Are these companies a fantastic opportunity or a great risk?

It would be simplistic to assume that all these companies are the same, so clarify which one you are talking about.

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TOP 46 Comments
  • Microsoft
    ശശി

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Amazon
    BIO
    Manager of small dev team in Azure
    ശശിmore
    Don't do it. Don't even consider it.
    Dec 20, 2017 4
    • Facebook LkGW23
      Why?
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Did you try it? Know someone who did?
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft
      yMcg47

      Microsoft

      BIO
      Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore
      yMcg47more
      Transfer to bing first to get some trial experience.

      I would recommend against.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Capital One / Eng HexVillain
      Haha because "the Chinese are stealing all the jobs"? You realize your entire industry is run on H1Bs?
      Dec 21, 2017
  • Cisco T_T cry
    Just the stinky food alone is enough to keep me away.
    Dec 20, 2017 8
    • Huawei / Product
      Puri_sm

      Huawei Product

      PRE
      Apple, Huawei
      BIO
      Eng/PM
      Puri_smmore
      Except while they might say they are open to new ideas, and say they want to change in a certain way, they don't actually want to follow through on any suggestions that don't already line up with what they were going to do anyways
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng
      MP3

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Troll living under the I-5 overpass
      MP3more
      @T_T cry, carry a gas mask at all times. Whenever stinky food present, drop everything and put on a gas mask while screaming at the source of stink “YOU MADE ME DO THIS!”

      The trauma from you scaring the living shit out of them will assosiate in their mind with that type of food and they will stop consuming it. Just like Pavlov’s dog & bell, except here you’re giving them PTSD.

      Wear a GoPro. Report back with results.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • T-Mobile / Eng y73h92e
      Microwaving fish maybe? At my previous company a nice Chinese employee would always microwave fish, it smelled like the fish counter at a grocery store...
      Dec 21, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

      PRE
      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      At my former employer we had a guy who was a bodybuilder, he’d try to eat clean and would eat fish all the time. Mahi mahi every day, in the microwave.

      Some weird science happened there and instead of smelling like fish, the break room smelled like ammonia. Every day at the same time.

      Nice guy, though.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • AT&T / Ops
      DDM2K

      AT&T Ops

      PRE
      Windstream
      DDM2Kmore
      To me, I think my perception changes what a lot of foods smell like.

      If I’m hungry and I know what’s cooking is my food, it will smell appetizing.

      If I walk in and my coworker is making something and I smell it before I know what it is, It’s like my brain wants to approach it with scrutiny and it doesn’t smell good at all. Even if it’s a food I like.
      Dec 21, 2017
  • Microsoft
    ശശി

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Amazon
    BIO
    Manager of small dev team in Azure
    ശശിmore
    I work at Bing. Official language is Chinese. Culture is toxic. I find it hard to get into the inner circle with Chinese co-workers (and I am pretty extroverted and not shy). I would expect things to be worse in an actual Chinese company.
    Dec 20, 2017 3
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Whoa. So we have a Chinese trial mode here at Microsoft. Why haven't you changed groups?
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft
      ശശി

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Amazon
      BIO
      Manager of small dev team in Azure
      ശശിmore
      Looking to move.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft FSaB53
      Shabi
      Apr 22
  • Huawei / Product
    Puri_sm

    Huawei Product

    PRE
    Apple, Huawei
    BIO
    Eng/PM
    Puri_smmore
    Would highly advise against it
    Dec 20, 2017 6
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Yes. First post from someone actually working there. Please share your experience
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Huawei / Product
      Puri_sm

      Huawei Product

      PRE
      Apple, Huawei
      BIO
      Eng/PM
      Puri_smmore
      Internally, higher ups complain about why they can't hold on to people they poach from Apple for more than a year. It's quite easy to see why once you work here: because of their culture. It draws it's roots from factories and the Chinese government.

      They're more authoritarian, less flexible, inconsistent, disorganized, extremely penny pinching cheap (even if spending money in a certain way would make them better off), just to name a few.

      You can't work from home, can only show up to work at 8 or 9am exactly, have to pay taxes on gifts the company gives you at their lacklustre year end parties.

      There are also a lot of gross bodily functions and habits that some (not all) male Chinese seem to think is acceptable to do at work and in the open; the symphony of these noises makes it hard to focus on your work.

      They're all walk and no talk, so you can't take anything they say seriously. It's just a rather unpleasant experience, and makes you realize how good people have it at western companies.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Huawei / Product
      Puri_sm

      Huawei Product

      PRE
      Apple, Huawei
      BIO
      Eng/PM
      Puri_smmore
      I could go on about more things, but my conclusion would just be the same. All of your concerns I think hold true here. I can only speak from firsthand experience, but can imagine things are similar at other Chinese companies
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Thank you so much for your candid thoughts. It sounds really scary indeed.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • OfferUp EoIH85
      This sounds exactly the opposite of what I heard about Chinese companies. To interpret the above in a different way, they are more organized and emphasis on execution and results, rather than having fake and bullshit democracy (aka politics) in most of US companies
      Jan 24, 2018
  • Microsoft Gbiftuj
    It can be hard. If you don't like Chinese culture, not willing to learn the language and overall don't interact well with your Chinese colleagues then you will have a hard time there.

    But if you embrace the culture differences and try to blend in, you will be surprised at how well you can fit in.
    Dec 20, 2017 7
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Make sense. I guess if you actually live in China, you get to learn the language
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft Gbiftuj
      With that being said, I think the trend is there will be more and more Chinese company in the US looking for top Talent. I know Baidu will come soon in Seattle, because of course Qi Lu just joined them.

      They are paying big money. Much more than local companies so they can get talents.

      With the experience of working at a Chinese company as a Non Chinese is going to open a lot of doors for you. You will have a lot of opportunities in the future as more Chinese company come or existing company expand.

      The company will definable promote a lot of Non Chinese into management as that would be a key to attract more non Chinese talent. And you can be that guy.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Microsoft
      ശശി

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Amazon
      BIO
      Manager of small dev team in Azure
      ശശിmore
      We don't want to learn fucking Chinese. This is America, you fucktards learn English and start speaking it in a professional environment.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      English is not my native language, but even when there are a good amount of people with whom I share that language, as long as there is a single person that does not speak it, we always switch to English. We believe it is extremely rude not to do so. Not because this is America and English is the official language, but because it is rude to exclude people.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft Gbiftuj
      Agreed. I switch to the common languages too.

      But not all people in Chinese company do. I agree it is not the best practice.

      But it will take time for this to change.
      Dec 21, 2017
  • Capital One / Eng HexVillain
    My friend is working for a Chinese company and says it's the best company he's worked for. In his previous companies, they were hiring too much for diversity, but at his current one they were hiring more for talent. And he gets respected because he's white.
    Dec 20, 2017 5
    • Cisco T_T cry
      "And he gets respected because he's white" ... Oh that's just great! Would he be treated/respected the same if he were not white and not Chinese?? Pretty much sums it up.
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Capital One / Eng HexVillain
      Honestly the Chinese people I've worked with were all respectful. I think my white friend just thinks he's better and thus is falling into a confirmation bias mindset. But I think your mind has already been made up and your internalized prejudice realized based on your last sentence.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft
      ശശി

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Amazon
      BIO
      Manager of small dev team in Azure
      ശശിmore
      LOL, he gets respected because he is white? That is the last company I want to work for.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      I guess hex wanted to say he is respected because he is not chinese, meaning that he took the risk and put his trust into them.
      Dec 21, 2017
    • Microsoft
      ശശി

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Amazon
      BIO
      Manager of small dev team in Azure
      ശശിmore
      What language is that, dude?
      Dec 21, 2017
  • Expedia pfender
    I have worked at teams in Microsoft where we would go to lunch together but I would eat my lunch alone on the same table.
    Dec 20, 2017 2
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Because everyone was speaking Chinese , as if you weren't there? Is that what you meant?
      Dec 20, 2017
    • Expedia pfender
      Yes. Sometimes they would realize that and talk in English for a while but that didn't happen naturally.
      Dec 20, 2017
  • Apple Kdneuslq
    Dont do it. Thank me and the other guy above later
    Dec 20, 2017 1
    • Microsoft / Eng whats
      OP
      Do you have any experience or anecdotes to share?
      Dec 20, 2017
  • OfferUp EoIH85
    Come on....You know MS’s official language is Indian and Chinese. Don’t be biased upfront, it really depends on the team leader and your teammates. It’s case by case
    Jan 24, 2018 0
  • Tencent KEvP60
    Dont do that,WLB is extremely poor
    Apr 3, 2018 0