China has gotten more expensive but we still need to think about how the China price is often achieved. The China Price pushes on all Chinese people in China. It is a heavy hammer that causes usually unthinkable behavior to become logical. I hope this example causes us to rethink what assumptions we should not have in China.
A topic of concern in China is “digouyou” or gutter oil. You can read about these here and here. Chinese vegetables are sometimes the lowest cost in your vegetable dish in China. The oil used to cook it may cost more. So as inflation pushes up costs, restaurants and oil bottlers found a way to lower costs of their cooking oil by 50 to 100%.
Someone noticed that where you can access sewage, the oil in the sewage separates and rises to the surface. These enterprising people skimmed it off. They then processed it a little or not at all. Then they used it for stir frying at their restaurant or to sell as oil in the bulk market. Oh my. How much pressure would you be under before you would resort to such measures? By spending 50% of the cost to do some processing, the oil becomes hard for inspectors to identify as gutter oil. It is still illegal, but hard to check even if you do make the effort. See a counter point in Unreasonable Fear in China.
The China Price Pushes Candidates Beyond Imaginable Boundaries
So Chinese candidates facing pressure to inflate their value can also go to extreme measures that you cannot imagine. People you get from other recruiters while working for you can do unimaginable things to get the right number you asked for. People go farther and respect fewer limits in China, so your usual eyes for these problems will not work when you come to China. What kind of purchaser, HR manager, or production manager could refuse chances to earn money outside of your plan? Could you imagine what they are up to or the lengths they could go to?
Having someone you can trust who belongs to you could save you big problems down the line and keep you from restaurants or suppliers that have gutter oil. Do think character first when you come to China, and you can reap the benefits of a talented and hard working culture.