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S.N.O.R your way to China – Guide before you go.


Snoring is a type of action we do when we are not aware of it (hopefully….), it happens when we are unconscious.

I want to help fellow entrepreneurs here to get out of this unconsciousness and have a S.N.O.R plan. A VERY conscious 4 step plan to be ready to move to China.


Step 1: S for skills

Skills would be the 1st thing to develop and some would claim it would take the longest time developing it. What are the skills needed or at least recommended for a person who is moving to China.

Cultural Change – Get ready for a cultural change in the way you live and the way people around you will be. It will be annoying, tough and frustrating sometimes.

On the other hand it will be interesting, full of liveliness and challenging. Don’t be one of these people going back on the next flight possible. Get accustomed to what’s happening.

I recall that on the 1st day of work in a Chinese company I needed to call my wife because we just moved to our new apartment the previous day and there was a lot to do.

After making the phone call, I was told that no personal calls during work hours are allowed, only on lunch break or after work. This is something that western companies are more tolerant about and in China is a NO in many companies.

This is one example out of endless Challenging, peculiar and misunderstandings happening all the time!

My point is that you have to KNOW that you should suffer a cultural change. Have that in mind.

Language – Tons and tons of posts/newspapers/websites are written about Chinese language. It’s takes a couple of years to master it, which you probably don’t have, but you should be prepared with some basics.

I’ll write a separate review on some of the options out there, but here are a few main ones, you should have a look, at least to start with:

Chinesepod – One of the most known websites out there today which gives podcasts on various subjects in different levels. It’s thousands of podcasts that are ready for listening, you are talking about here.

Melnyk – Melnyk is also a popular website.  Melnyk gives a long series of lessons you can listen to. The first few dozen lessons are free and get you to a basic level to start with.

Study more Chinese – a website that cover news and findings of other readers about the Chinese language. It’s a good resource to find more materials.

Chinese hacks – Cool website that brings all tips & tricks to learn the language. Try it out to find more tools to enhance your Chinese learning experience.

Step 2: N for Networking

Networking is an art, it’s like a big game of connect the dots, and once you’ve connected then you get a nice picture of the environment that will be your play field. Generate meetings for networking. Go to conferences in your country/area got to do with China, in either industry you are at. It can be Tech, or sourcing or HR. Anything you can think of. The most important thing is getting those contacts and build your map in China.

You’ll learn a lot and feel more confident when arriving. These will also be the people that might help you to set in and perhaps your future business partners.

Linkedin groups

A different kind of networking I recommend on is using LinkedIn. Before I decided to move to China I started networking in groups about China and got connected with people that have “China” on their profile. Some of them are good friends of mine right now. After finding them, I got in touch with them and asked them about the right way to arrive & help finding a job, Etc.

To start with I recommend the following groups. There are many many more, but these are the ones I know and active at. There are valuable discussions there and more important people like you who have the same interest:China.

Recommended Linkedin groups

  1. China Expats and Returnees jobs
  2. Business in China
  3. China Business
  4. China networking group

Step 3: O for Online

Wow, this step is exploding with info! When mentioning “Online” I actually talking about blogs, you just have to pick the right place for you and things that interest you the most.

Blogs on China are endless (No, Really!) and you cannot cover them all. There are excellent blogs about technology in China (Click here for a Twitter list with the major tech blogs in China and Asia) , Business & lawLanguagelocal info & Daily lifesourcingnegotiation and more, more &….more.

This list of links is not to be treated as ultimate or the best one, it meant to give you a taste and a place to start explore from.

Before I arrived I swallowed those blogs, I wanted to know everything that was going on. Almost every blog has a valuable blog role list, with which you can develop your interest even more.

There is even a website the collects all these blogs into one place, China blog network. CBN, lists are organized by topic so it’s easy to find what you need.

In addition, with some of the bloggers I also made some networking. This helped reaching more contacts and information I needed. I encourage you to follow 5-10 blogs that you find interesting for you. Try following those bloggers on Twitter as well. Send me a message if you cannot find the right blog for you on the subject of your interest. I’d be glad to help.

Step 4: R for Reading

Books would open up China for you like you’ve never felt before. When moving and living in China, you see the culture all around you and wonder where things were originated from and which person people are talking about.

I personally skipped this step before coming and I’m soooo sorry about it. It’s not something irreversible, but I’m feeling I’m missing a lot.

So as blogs, there are endless books about China. My wife on the contrary never stopped reading. She was reading more than a dozen books about China most of them of its modern history. So, I ask her a lot about current affairs and things I don’t understand and I emphasize that you should do it yourself.

Here is a list of HER recommendations.

  1. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China – Jung Chang
  2. Mao: The Unknown Story – Jung Chang &  Jon Halliday
  3. The New Emperors: Mao and Deng – A Dual Biography – Harrison Salisbury
  4. When Huai Flowers BloomStories of the Cultural Revolution – Shu Jiang Lu
  5. The Chinese cultural revolution as history – Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  6. A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film - Michael Berry
  7. Wild Grass – Ian Johnson
  8. Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China – Peter Hessler
  9. i. The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up – Liao Yiwu

Click here for reading more about this list of China Books.

As my wife’s’ list is mostly related to modern history, please also check David’s additional list for business books related to China here.

After taking all these steps, I believe you’ll be more prepared and learn what’s going on in the middle kingdom.

Now, Go and S.N.O.R!


David Dayton is the owner of Silk Road International and currently lives full-time in Shenzhen, China. He speaks English, Thai and Mandarin and has worked in Asia for more than 15 years. You can contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at



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