Before boarding my plane for Beijing, I was told and lectured on the abuse and degrading working habits corporations instill upon their workers. This had already given me an idea of what I planned on seeing, but what i personally experienced was extremely different.
First stop: Beijing/Tianjin
The mistake I made when making assumptions was I assumed that all working conditions were as bad as factory positions.
Of course the factory tour that we had of Yanjing in Beijing was completely fake and tailored to impress foreigners like you and me. Even when we visited Hyundai we still couldn’t catch a glimpse of the traditional Chinese factories I had read about in Factory Girls or in the videos we had watched before our departure.
Not limiting myself to just factory workers I was however able to find workers that worked publically amongst the city. These workers seem very similar to the traditional construction workers we see in America.
We also visited American companies such as P&G and GBBN where working conditions were very much similar to the United States.
There was a stark differences between Beijing and Chengdu working conditions. I most experienced this when we visited the Hongda car dealership. People were subjected to working conditions without A/C and a more informal working style.
Although this might seem normal for any blue collar job, this is also home to many factories, such as the infamous Foxconn.
But it was nice seeing that the country was certainly being westernized, even in Chengdu. A wonderful example of this would be the Hooters that we went visited.
ShenZhen is the home of innovation for all of China. We visited a place near ShenZhen that specialized in innovation. We learned that the Chinese government is pushing for more innovation and is willing to heavily invest in helping the people of China innovate.
This was an interesting stop as we learned about the new technologies that were being invested into via a western-style workplace.
We also visited the QianHai ShenZhen-HongKong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub.
This allowed us to see the Chinese version of an incubation center for innovation. Heavily funded by the government the facilities here where top-notch. You could also tell the mindset of the people here were not of the same as mainland China, being an SEZ (Special Economic Zone), these people weren’t as heavily restricted in terms of ability to use the internet, and on tariffs and taxes.
With the substantially lower tariffs you can also see that there is a heavy increase in foreign investment. You can see this through the multiple amounts of westernized companies such as KFC and Burger King.
Hong Kong was completely westernized and the workers there were much like the workers here. There’s not much else to say other than the working conditions here are very much what I am use to. I look forward to seeing how China’s working conditions will develop in the future!