The position of foreigners and their companies in China is changing and causing much of debate. Changing realities, concluded the panel of the China Weekly Hangout, after a few leavers too their case to the media, no reason to complain. But China veteran Bill Dodson was still shocked when he did not get his annual visa renewal after nine years, he tells Kera news.
The Kera News:
Bill Dodson began his career in China as a consultant helping foreign companies set up businesses. He says 10 years ago, they were treated like kings. China welcomed all kinds of foreign firms, and it provided tax breaks and other incentives because it needed the investment and know-how.
“I was in the city of Changzhou … and the government official told me, ‘You see this plot of land here? If your client comes here, we will give him the plot next door for free,’ ” Dodson says. “You would never hear that now unless you were in the deep interior of China.”
That’s because China’s needs are changing.
Coastal cities are no longer interested in pumping out cheap products that line American big-box stores. They want to climb the value chain.
Dodson just wrote a book about the phenomenon, titled China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland’s Future.
“If you’re in clean tech, you are good, you are in an encouraged industry,” he says. “That means they will break down walls to bring you in. If you’re just pretty much a regular Joe trying to make a living because this is where your life is, it’s different.”
Every year, Dodson extends his residence permit for another 12 months in China. This year was different. After living there for nine years, his permit was only renewed for another three months.
“They said, ‘We have to check out if your company is a real company first and then we’ll extend it,’ ” he says.
Dodson relies on the permit to live in China legally with his Chinese wife and their young son. He’s not sure why he didn’t get an automatic yearlong extension, but he sees it as a sign of the times.
“The complexion of things here for us expats is changing,” he says. So has the competition from the Chinese.
More about the position of foreigners in China in this session of the China Weekly Hangout.
The China Weekly Hangout is organizing a session on energy security with Terry Cooke from the Wilson Center and Richard Brubaker, assistant professor sustainability of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) on Thursday on September 27, 10pm Beijing Time, 4 pm CEST, 10am EST. Interested? Get more information here,or register here.