Podcast: Story in the Story (5/24/2018 Thu.)
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This is Story in the Story.

Only a decade ago, to work for a “waiqi” or foreign company, was held as a bragging right by many Chinese college graduates. Many associate working for a “waiqi” with a variety of alluring perks. Among them, high compensation, sophisticated work environment and opportunities to be promoted working overseas are just a few of them.

However, as over 8 million Chinese graduates entering the urban labor market this year, the same waiqi are losing their mojo.

Today’s Story in the Story explore how Chinese companies have edged up in competing for these Chinese graduates through a Global Times article:

When there were two job offers - Chinese company Huawei and French enterprise Schneider Electric - given to Meng Lei, a graduate of Peking University, firmly put her hands on Huawei, a telecom equipment giant which produces smartphones rival with Apple’s iPhones.

"Foreign-owned firms had long been our favorite choice because of their fashionable lifestyle and advanced management. But in recent years, we turned to domestic companies that are more prominent in the sunrise industry. Their competitive strength over foreign companies is apparent to us,” Meng told the Global Times.

Due to its attractive payments and bonuses, Meng said that such an offer would be a great stepping-stone to a bigger and better career path.

"A decent salary, five-star hotels and high-profile meetings used to be the standard configurations for employees at foreign firms. Now these perks are more common among deep-pocketed domestic enterprises," Carrie Wang, who works for a foreign-owned bank in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"The old belief that foreign companies are superior to domestic ones no longer stands true for Chinese fresh graduates. They are increasingly turning their heads to domestic e-commerce giants like Alibaba or Huawei," Wang said.

In a recent report released by LinkedIn, Chinese graduates' ranking of foreign employers dropped below that of state-owned enterprises and promising Chinese private enterprises, especially those in technology, media and telecommunication industries.

Chinese media reported that the golden era for foreign companies traces back to 1994, when they could take advantage of policies not offered to their Chinese rivals, including lower rate-paying and easier access to government services.

In 2008, Chinese government implemented new rules to level the playing field, imposing 25 percent on both domestic and foreign firms.

"It is hard to completely attribute the plight of foreign-owned firms in China to the phasing out of preferential policies for them," said Wang Jun, vice minister of consulting and research department of China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

"To end the 'super-national treatment' of foreign companies is reasonable. China is now advocating industrial upgrading and in the ever-changing environment domestic and foreign companies should compete equally," he told the Global Times.

Meanwhile, as more domestic brands are expanding their market share, multinationals, once considered the front runners, now have to seek new strategies, including layoffs, to survive in the Chinese market.

In 2017, US tech giant Seagate Technology announced the closure of its largest HDD hub worldwide, located in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. Oracle, a US technology conglomerate, has reportedly cut more than 200 jobs at its research and development center in Beijing; Global digital industrial company General Electric recently announced it would shut down its Shanghai technology center, with thousands of layoffs.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ziyi Zeng and Lance Crayon. Music by: bensound.com)