International marketing talents recruitment: special session
Marketing Talents - China Opportunities
Helping Chinese companies locate international talents
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Freelancing in China
If you're a freelancer in any creative field (be it writing, graphic design, consulting, personal training, or even male modeling), you should familiarize yourself with the realities of working in China. Not sure whether you should work for yourself or not? Here, we've weighed the benefits and drawbacks to give you a better understanding of your options.
The benefits are easy to see. Versatility is the primary benefit. If you're employed full-time by one employer, you usually work from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and have very few paid days off. As a self-employed person, you get to set your own hours and take holidays whenever you choose. The internet makes it possible for freelance writers to set their own schedules and do their job from any location. It's tempting to pack up your laptop and go to Sanya for a week when the weather at home is chilly and dry. In addition, if you're prepared to put in the time and effort, freelancing might pay out more financially than working for a single company.
To be sure, there are drawbacks to consider. The prospect of working in a setting other than an office might be intimidating for some individuals. If you don't have to be at your job by 9 a.m. sharp, getting up early takes self-control. Work from home may be convenient in certain ways, but it lacks the structure of a traditional office and the social interactions that come with working with others throughout the day. Moreover, the freelancer's life isn't the most steady, particularly in the beginning. If your employer is slow to make payments, you may find yourself living "hand to mouth."
Freelancing on a Visa is not without its practical challenges. Your visa stands as the primary obstacle. You may still have time remaining on your Z visa if you had previously worked full-time for a firm but have since quit to pursue freelancing. Your residence paperwork will also be in order. However, you can run into issues if you try to start out as a freelancer right away without first obtaining a work visa.
Many independent workers opt for the F visa. The F classification is for "an foreigner who is invited to China for a visit, an inquiry, a lecture, to conduct business, scientific-technical and cultural exchanges, short-term advanced studies, or internship," which is a broad category that covers a wide range of occupations. You'll need a letter of invitation from a corporation if you want to apply for the visa via the proper routes. If you have some freelance work lined up, this shouldn't be too tough. However, for a price and with some shady practices, there are firms that can get a F visa for you.
Costing and taxation
If you sign a contract as an individual and send in invoices on a monthly basis, the business will handle the invoicing and tax payments for you. The tax threshold is set at 5,000 RMB per month of income. If you want to make six figures working for major corporations, you should establish a Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise rather than a partnership. If you want to engage in commercial activities such as trading, manufacturing, or consulting, you'll need to set up a WFOE, which is a limited business in which you have 100% ownership. The initial investment is significant, therefore only those with deep pockets should think about this. Get the lowdown on WFOEs right here. AccessFinancial is one such company with locations in both Shanghai and Hong Kong that may sponsor your Z visa and handle invoicing on your behalf.
Organization is also important while working alone. Invoicing for several clients may be a nightmare, therefore it's important to keep detailed records and separate your email into folders for each client or project.
Discovering a Job
If you're looking for job, it'll be easier or harder depending on the field you're interested in. The expat employment forums are an excellent area to look for creative jobs. More than fifty Chinese cities are included in eChinacities' employment classifieds. FreelancerChina.com, which calls itself the "biggest outsourcing platform in China," is an interesting niche website to check out. Freelancers respond to advertisements for work posted by companies. Escrow services are used to handle the financial transaction. There's no learning curve after signing up, and you can start using it in only a few minutes. Word of mouth and networking events are also great ways to meet potential customers. There are numerous opportunities for fresh models and actors to be discovered on job boards, since many agencies and management companies post openings on these sites.
Freelancing is less secure and more uncertain than regular employment, but it may pay off handsomely if you know what you're doing.