Many of us come to China for business or in search of a new job, and usually within the first week we’ll learn the importance of “guanxi”. For those fresh off the boat, making strategic connections in the local business or job market is no easy feat. Luckily, first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and even Shenzhen have a number of networking groups and organizations targeted specifically at expats. These groups or organizations often hold regular events and are one of the easiest and quickest ways to make progress in your career or business endeavors. Below， we introduce the different types of networking events out there and a number of specific local clubs and organizations to follow.
Networking types in Shenzhen
1) Gourmet networkingbr> One of the most common types of networking in Shenzhen is ‘wine and cheese’ events. With tickets costing around 380 RMB, you can indulge in some nice food and drinks (as the name suggests), which also serves as a great conversation starter. The atmosphere is relaxed, social and open to people engaged in various spheres of life. The conversations tend to revolve around travel experiences, impressions of the city and lifestyle before gently drifting into business, for those interested.
2) Speed networking
‘Speed networking’ is a relatively new player on the Shenzhen market. The event promises “professional and efficient networking” and is perfect for those who are always on the go and want to get straight to business. The principle is the same as in speed dating, only this time you are hunting for a perfect business match. In addition to “business dates”, speed networking provides trainings and talks on better self-presentation, like “Structuring a Perfect Elevator Pitch”.
Local clubs and associations
1) SWICs and SACs
The two most influential clubs in Shenzhen – SWIC (Shenzhen Women International Club) and SACS (Shenzhen Asian Culture Society) provide countless opportunities for networking and socializing. At most club events, however, you are discouraged (sometimes even not allowed) to directly promote your business. As harsh as it may seem, it does not really prevent members from getting to know each other’s businesses and numerous shows/events and gatherings at the clubs provide a number of opportunities to showcase your skills.
2) Internations – the worldwide expat community
In addition to local inventions, Shenzhen hosts international networking events, a good example of which would be Internations (www.internations.org). In brief, Internations is a community for people living and working abroad. You can become a member by signing up on the website, which will give you access to all the events happening in your city and you will also start getting reminders when such events are approaching.
3) Asia Business Network
“Do you want more business?” This is the signature question of another new addition to the Shenzhen networking family ABNET (Asia Business Network), a member-only business networking organization with a strong focus on business development. Do not expect trips to the mountain or wine tastings here. Even though the group meets weekly over breakfast or lunch, the food is by far not the highlight of the evening. Each member is given a set of tasks aiming to develop their business and that of the group members (bringing business referrals, inviting visitors and scheduling member-to-member meetings). The organization requires an annual membership fee.
This is by far not an extensive list of “organized” networking opportunities in the city, but if you are a newcomer or simply new to the networking scene, this should be enough to get you going. One thing that should be noted, however, is that most of the networking events mentioned here are targeted towards expats. Even though you will get to meet a few local businessmen and professionals, local representation as such at these events is quite limited, so it could be your best interest to also explore local networking efforts, (language barrier to be considered of course).
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Keywords: networking in Shenzhen
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Shenzhener's have less Guanxi to rely on so the social networking is more popular. It's also because southern people are smarter, more passionate and more willing to go outdoors to meet friends which might be useful to their achievement, which is their only purpose to stay at Shenzhen.
Jun 12, 2014 15:38 Report Abuse