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Foreign executives continue to see opportunities in China

Updated: 2013-11-06 23:57
By SHI JING in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Even though many multinational companies are focusing on localization and are paying executives who work overseas the same as those who work at home, executives' interest in moving to China hasn't waned.

Arpin International Group, a US company specializing in moving household goods both domestically and internationally, is in an excellent position to witness the growing interest. The group's sales in China doubled in 2012 and are continuing to grow in 2013.

"Of course, we have seen that more overseas executives are willing to move to China," said Michael Johnsen, Arpin's vice-president of business development.

Arsheya Devitre, 40, a senior manager in Shanghai working for the New Hampshire-based wastewater-management company Wheelabrator Technologies Inc, is one of Arpin's customers.

Born in the United States, Devitre grew up in Hong Kong, studied at Nanjing University in the early 1990s and worked in the late 1990s in Beijing, where she met her husband, Alok Somani.

"Living in Beijing then was wonderful as everything was close by. Now it's crowded, and buildings are everywhere," said Somani, 48.

"But when you are younger, it doesn't really matter. We would bike to work and go camping on the Great Wall. It was just a fun time," she said.

Nowadays, the poor air quality in Beijing and some cities has become a problem, motivating some expatriates to leave Beijing.

But they still see China as an attractive place to work and live overall.

Robert Parkinson, managing director of RMG Business Consulting (Beijing), said the pollution has never really been a big deal for him. Since arriving in China, he has quit smoking.

"I think cigarettes are considerably worse for your health than Beijing's air problems," he said.

"I personally prefer Beijing. It is more ‘real China' for me. I have made a lot of friends here over the years, and the atmosphere is more like a 'big village' than Shanghai's is.

"I also travel to Shanghai regularly for business, and find it can sometimes be too much fun. My wife and I worry that if I lived there, I would be partying too much," he said.

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