Today, travel tales about the Middle Kingdom in the 1970s seem to belong to a entirely different era. During that time, Chinese excitement and stupor towards Western guests was a giggling matter comprised by incredulous smiles, tagging and tailing swarms of curious locals, both encapsulated in an overall feeling of mystery and exclusion between two unknown worlds. Forty years later, and China’s vision of ‘The Big City’ has blatantly changed, as it hosts both urban and social growths. Foreigners and skyscrapers spring-up at the same rate, except the former group is quietly diluted amidst the Chinese multitude.
This shift is the result of the country’s recent openness, affecting its socio-political and economic tendencies. These, in turn, triggered yet another phenomenon, by which China has become a first-choice in terms of business, a trampoline for quick careers, and a cultural and personal ambition for the rest of the globalized world. Shanghai’s foreign population more than doubled in just the past five years, mirroring the country’s general growth.
The influx is increasingly characterized by young intellectuals who are awed by China’s opportunity and social structure — both dynamic in nature, and at the center of global attention. American universities are more frequently preparing young minds for employment practices in China, where the economic scare is less than in most Western countries, and where industries’ delocalization process is almost done. In fact, China’s economy keeps growing — slightly slower and a little shakier than before — despite the recent financial crisis.
Local companies are asking their managers more and more for what they used to lack: the English language; marketing, financial, and management skills. “Local Plus”, the young educated guests, are replacing the conventional “Expatriates” whose title and employment is now considered outdated and costly for the country’s economic success. They view China as an experience as opposed to a burden associated with living in a developing nation. And China doesn’t stop at simply offering employment opportunities for individuals, but gives sinking economies the chance to adopt “exit strategies” abroad.
Higher living standards reflect the country’s physical and mental growth, where the social mindset is entirely in harmony with its risky and everchanging economic system. Living costs remain low, while the international mindsets blossom, and where technology and consumer goods have reached the highest qualitative standards.
The most famous Chinese universities are creating partnerships with the best renowned economic ones worldwide, giving way to an official exchange of students, scholars, and experiences. Even business schools are growing fast, increasingly affirmed in the global arena. Ceibs, for example, the most well-known one today, is located in Shanghai but born under an EU’s initiatives, with the vision of creating a fair exchange of student body, culture, and ideas. Sophisticated scholars rendered its reputation positive, making the institution a Mecca for future managers. The Financial Times has ranked it as 8th in the classification for the best international business schools. It seems as though even just a master’s at Ceibs could actually be the ticket to a highly worthy job, probably still located in China.