Recent figures released by China Daily confirm there is an estimated 39.7 million viewers of golf on TV in China – that’s more than the UK and United States combined.
Manager, International Development, PGA Project China for the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland, Matthew Davies, shares his thoughts about some of these opportunities in China, but also talks about some of the key considerations for if you are planning on working and living there.
There are many opportunities in the Chinese golf market, and Davies gives some advice on just how exactly is the best way to find out about these opportunities: “Firstly, for the employment opportunities, you can start by regularly checking the jobs section on your PGA’s website. Recently there has been an increased number of advertisements from China for PGA qualified golf professionals.”
However, it is understanding and appreciating how the Chinese people do business may offer the key as to the best way to find out about opportunities and give yourself the best chance of entering the market.
“The Chinese do business very much based on the relationship and rapport they establish with someone,” Davies explains. “Usually it will take 2 or 3 meetings over dinner before any commercial relationship ensues, sometimes longer. Business is done usually through networks, often through a recommendation by a close associate of that Chinese person whom they trust. As a result, it is understandable that they would rather employ someone, or do business with someone, they have met face to face rather than just read about through a CV or have a proposal land on their desk.”
It would therefore stand that the best way to find out and establish a business relationship with the Chinese is to travel to the country and meet people face to face. One PGA of Great Britain & Ireland member who recently did this is Jonathan Garratt: “Absolutely the trip was beneficial for me. I think the fact that I turned up out here and put myself forward for jobs really made a good impression. The employers realise how serious you are about working in China. It has resulted in me being offered an employment opportunity at every place I visited.”
Jonathan is keen to offer advice for his fellow PGA professionals looking to gain employment in China: “For any PGA professionals who are looking to come out here for work visiting here first is a must. Not until you get here do you really realise how little English is spoken and how different even simple things like eating are.”
But although it is clear there are many opportunities in China for PGA professionals, Davies is quick to point out there are also some hugely important considerations which you need to consider before beginning any venture into China, certainly for employment purposes.
“The first and most important consideration is your Visa and making sure this is taken care of. As recently as July 2013 the rules on employment of foreigners in China have become much stricter, so it is important to understand what you require before applying for your Visa and accepting any employment opportunity in China. Further, you should also agree who is responsible for paying for the application of your Visa and any costs associated with doing so – will this cost be covered by the employer or by yourself? Those travelling with family will also have considerations relating to education and additional health care, which although relatively accessible in the Tier 1 cities, can come at a considerable cost and something to research before booking your flights”.