Knowing Chinese makes you sexy, rich and happy :)

Many roads lead to Asia

October 29, 2009 – 12:47 am

Before I start with what I have on my mind, I want to post a picture of the beautiful view my Shanghai apartment offered me last month.


My apartment had a great view of high rises, medium sized houses and a park. Going to the park took just 5 minutes. Very convenient.

Hong Kong plans busted

A few of my readers know me quite well and they know my plan was to go to Hong Kong next spring after graduating. Unfortunately this plan vanished. For those who don’t know I’ll give a short overview of my original plan: After graduation in spring I wanted to go to Hong Kong and start working in a small software company. Recently we discussed about the possibilities, but it didn’t work out really, so I have to think now what next. Obviously the days are over when expats got insane salaries just for being an expat. The unhappy end to this unique opportunity came as I tried to balance cold money and quality of life. I have discussed this endless question previously in a long article. My opinion on this issue changed to some degree, but not that much… I guess I’m getting old. Being unemployed is as worthless as having a stressful full time job but no money at all. An equal balance of time, quality of life and money is necessary to remain happy.

So I wonder if I should send job applications to IT companies in Asia, or if this is wasted energy. My skills should be sufficient and I have no doubt a few companies would give me the opportunity of a job interview, however the payment won’t be sufficient for me. I’m out of the age of adventures. The age any payment would do… maybe even no payment. Alternatively I can apply for work in Germany, get skills and work experience and then move to Asia afterwards.


Yes, I don’t limit myself to China anymore. During the last few days I read a lot about other interesting places in Asia outside of mainland China. Except the obvious Hong Kong there are two other candidates that got my attention. First there is the other China, also known as Taiwan, and then there is the financial center of Singapore. Japan and South Korea are both interesting from a economic perspective, but language wise I’d start all over again. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia might be another choice, although not that attractive at the moment.

Other roads

Do I really have to move to Asia directly after graduating? For a long time I thought: YES! But well, why not get some skills in Germany first? Payment is wonderful here, the tax rate painfully high. But that doesn’t matter really. It’s important what is left after all taxes, insurances, food, apartment and entertainment are paid. I’m pretty sure I’ll find something satisfying here in Germany. Maybe that company has some ties in Asia and they might even send me there.

Doing it the Tim Ferris way

There is another option still. For those who don’t know Tim Ferris, you should check the Tim Ferris Website. This smart fellow is the author of the best seller “The 4-hour workweek”, where he shows up ways to get a satisfying life and join the new rich. I definitely want to write a longer article about his book, but here is the short version: Start a company then reduce the amount of work you have to put in, just rake in the money. He suggests that once the company is started it should put on auto-pilot. This way the owner has the freedom to do whatever he wants to. Sounds easy? Well, maybe not. But the idea itself is clear and smart. I’ve collected a few skills in the IT world already and might put them to work. This would provide me with the freedom I desire (and a name card with the title CEO ;) ).

I’ll keep you posted on this matter. This is constantly on my mind, so you can expect an update on this sooner or later.

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  1. 7 Responses to “Many roads lead to Asia”

  2. I guess I will end up in Taiwan early next year. So far things look great, hope I make it.

    If you go to Singapore or KL, most Chinese speak English there, in both cities. And those Chinese (mostly older), who do speak Chinese, mostly speak Hokkien or Cantonese.

    So I guess best choice to further your Mandarin knowledge is Taiwan, if you want to be outside PRC.

    By MKL on Oct 29, 2009

  3. Great to hear about your Taiwan plans. What are you going to do there? Work, study?

    By Hendrik on Oct 29, 2009

  4. Some monetary facts:
    - salary levels in TW are far way below HK & SG
    - SG salaries tax is max. 20%, housing is a bit cheaper, local food too (hawker rockz!), public transport not as good and a bit more expensive (compared to HK)
    - worldwide expat health insurance is €79 / month (that is about 50% less than the cheapest domestic German health insurance)
    - I know “expats” who started with $12k per month in HK and another one (from UK) who just got offered $10k by a famous fashion magazine as creative writer. So unless you are in banking with good 关系 – the times for “insane salaries” are not reality :)

    By kozen on Oct 29, 2009

  5. Oh man, with that h e a l t h i n s u r a n c e keyword you are gonna make shit loads of ad money I guess! Perhaps I should try something like used cars, iPhone, MacBook, IBM or Lenovo ThinkPad … online backup solutions might work as well … :)

    By kozen on Oct 29, 2009

  6. Hi Kozen

    I was googling for stories about expats starting out low and then describing their way up. Couldn’t find much. I do know about how you started out, but I want to see some other possible ways as well. I guess the successful people (except online marketers) don’t write about their career on a blog.

    thanks for adding keywords :D

    By Hendrik on Oct 29, 2009

  7. It’s very hard to get a job in Singapore. Unless a German company sends you there, takes care of all the papers, you will have an awsome life. If you go on your own, it’s nearly impossible. It’s a nice city, yes, but money goes so fast there, things are expensive, for every crap there’s a fee. KL is much more cheaper. But I don’t have a lot of info on how to get a job there.

    My Taiwan trip is connected to a certain woman I met. She’ll help me to find a job and a flat, she has some connections. Then I hope I can learn perfect Mandarin there and have some great time with her and hopefully stay in Taipei for a long time.

    By MKL on Oct 29, 2009

  8. Hi MKL,

    What you say is true. But challenges are fun too. So I’ll try my best to get where I want to be.

    I wish you can succeed in going to Taiwan and learn perfect Mandarin.

    By Hendrik on Oct 29, 2009

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