8 Things to Know When Starting Your Professional Career in Shanghai


professional woman

Are you a professional woman new to Shanghai? IPWS have always been a welcoming platform for professional women in Shanghai and to make life easier, we’ve asked a few of our members if they could go back and share some advice on starting their professional lives in Shanghai, what would they say? Here’s 8 Things to know, when starting your professional career in Shanghai!

1. Digital World

One of the top responses from the IPWS community was: get digital. Apps and Smart Phones are a top priority for work & our social lives, and some digital technologies can make your life so much better. Smart Shanghai App and Bon App are good places to start, getting around in the city and knowing where to eat & drink helps you discover the city! Make note of great coffee or healthy lunch spots with wifi, for knowing a good cafe with both can enhance your professional meetings! Shanghai is a wonderful metropolis for shopping but our IPWS community suggests it’s definitely worth setting up your Wechat Wallet & Alipay as soon as you’ve got your bank account sorted. Don’t forget, some friendly banking staff can help you set up the online banking and connect it to wechat, so it’s worth asking! Have digital money will make shopping & delivery quick and easy, and when you’re living a busy professional life it’ll also save you time!

2. Say Yes and Go with the Flow

Some other IPWS members suggest a few simple mantras or sayings to help with your Shanghai life: “Be humble – take whatever comes at you without judgement” and “Think and process before you react or judge”. Also, try to “be a ‘yes’ person” for there are so many opportunities and experiences in Shanghai, professionally and socially, so if you say yes, you’ll experience it all. Other members suggest to be very patient: it’s often harder to do simple things so just ride the wave.

3. Transit in Shanghai

Taxi Cabs & Metro travel is quick and a cheap way to get around (and the Uber China app too!) and IPWS Members encourage you to get your travel/transit card straight away and put 500RMB on it… you can use the card in the taxi as well!

4. Working Life

Starting your professional career in Shanghai will be exciting and there’s a lot to fit in when you arrive. Our IPWS friends suggest you should meet with your important customers in the first weeks, as early as possible. You’ll find this to be beneficial for these relationships in the longer term. As a professional: be a little more harder & pushier. Don’t compromise on what you came to Shanghai for and what you really want. As a professional woman stick up for yourself and your career goals (and stick up for other women along the way). Make sure people know what you want and especially if you’re starting your own business, check in and make it clear on what you want to achieve. Never assume people understand your goals.

5. Embrace the VPN

The internet will work and sometimes not work, but it will definitely be different to what you’re used to. Embrace the change & the VPN.

6. Wechat Life

It’s called ‘micro messaging’ but it’s so much more! Wechat can help you connect with Like Minded People through Wechat Groups (Apartments & Shared Accom, Vegetarian in Shanghai, Wellbeing Awareness etc), it’s definitely instant information and support where you need it. You can do a lot of work using Wechat too, which leads to: Wechat on your Desktop! Wechat can be used on your desktop computer and will save you oodles of time, especially if you touch type… better for your communications through the day! There’s plenty of better ways to use Wechat, so have a read of some via this blog. You will make some great connections via Wechat, so don’t just think of it as personal or a social media app… many Chinese professionals favour communications through Wechat than email, so don’t be surprised when someone asks to scan your namecard QR Code.

7. Shanghai Life

Living in China can be SO great on many different levels. Our IPWS members encourage you to focus on the things you like, and to live somewhere where you can live the life you want: your work is just your work. If you don’t love Shanghai then move on: no need to waste your life! But remember, never be afraid as Shanghai is safe. Enjoy the diversity: there’s nowhere else like it!

8. Join IPWS

Sign up to Shanghai’s best platform for connecting professional women or come along to our next event! IPWS meets a genuine need in Shanghai, for it’s one of the only open and accessible groups connecting all professional women! No matter what industry, background or career stage, IPWS welcomes you. Many of our members tell us “This is exactly what I was looking for”, so why wait!?

A big thank you to our IPWS Members & Friends who have all contributed to this article, if you have more advice to share, please send us an email and we can add you to our Wechat group, or simple leave your thoughts on our Facebook page.