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How to Hire Your Chinese Virtual Assistants

If you are doing business in China, you can hire some Chinese virtual assistants to do various jobs for you, in a remote way through internet.

  • Administrative & Customer Service
  • Business Services
  • Website Management
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    Writing & Online Marketing
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    Trade & Sourcing Services
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    Sales & Research

SinoStep is I was invited to an online round table meeting to share my insights for the freelance business and advice for Chinese cross border freelancers.

Road of Chinese Freelancers: Online Roundtable Meeting at Zhihu.

I answer dozens of questions there and write my column on China freelancers and small startups.

Here are some tips for you concerning Chinese cross border freelancers.

Far Less Cross-border Freelancers

Compared to English speaking countries like India, Philippines, USA, Canada, and UK etc. The number of Cross border freelancers in China (yes, in China we call freelancers working on global orders in this way) are far less.

How to Hire Your Chinese Virtual Assistants
How to Hire Your Chinese Virtual Assistants

(data from upwork, Nov. 25, 2016) In the world largest freelancer platform-Upwork, there are 13450 registered freelancers from China, 1569 freelancers had earned either USD1 or worked at least one hour at the platform.

While the same numbers are 568879 and 49713 in USA, 407862 and 51721 in India, 314941 and 45780 in Philippines, 6278 and 604 in New Zealand.

Langauge Barriers

The small number of cross border freelancers is mainly due to the language barriers.

It is quite difficult for Chinese freelancers to compete with other freelancers from English speaking countries, esp. for some common skills.

Labor Cost

Most those Chinese freelancers who are able to build their cross border business can speak good English and they can get good job with good salary in real life.

It is quite difficult for Chinese freelancers to compete for low level common skill jobs. the higher labor cost is the reason.

However, Chinese freelancers are competent in price compared to western developed countries, esp. in technical jobs.

Good English Charges More, But Worth It

Smooth communication is critical for your business success.

But good English always charges more.

Good English Does Not Mean Good Capability

Don’t judge a developer only according to his spoken English, since very few Chinese developers can speak good English, even many top-notch ones from BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.)

Find proofs or testimonials before you hire him.

Be Careful: Many Chinese Translators

Many Chinese translators, either good one, or poor ones, are working on upwork, and many of them do not have real business expertise. Be sure to verify whether they have similar experience.

Find Local Freelancers from the Right Place!

If you target on mainland China market, find freelancers from mainland China.

If you target on Hongkong or Taiwan market, find freelancers from there.

Do not hire a Hongkong VA for the China mainland market, in most cases he/she will either outsource your business to another freelancer (hopefully a good one), or mess up your business.

If you are based in Shanghai, A good choice is to find a VA in Shanghai too.

Travel Required?

If you just need remote work, location is not an issue.

If you need the Chinese freelancer to run errands in certain cities, you need to consider your travel cost.

If you need market research in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, find a freelancer based in there.

If you need freelancers to travel frequently to several places in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Province, Find a freelancer in the same region of Yangtze Delta (could be Zhejiang, Shanghai or Jiangsu).

Monthly or Pay as You Go

A stable relationship will help you solve most problems in a long run at a low total cost.

I developed some China VA service packages according to frequent needs of

  • Administrative & Customer Service
  • Business Services
  • Website Management
  • Writing and Online Marketing
  • Trade & Sourcing Service
  • Sales & Research

Monthly plans will be good for long term plans.VA

If you only have a short project, you can either hire by several hours or negotiate a fixed price for it. But you need to draft a detailed project scope if it is a fixed price contract.

Pilot Contract

You can try a pilot contract as a test to be sure about the skills of the freelancer and how the communication goes.

Phone Call Test

Make sure the one you hire is a real person.

Some freelancers might use other’s pictures to attract clients.

I saw many freelancers using celebrities’ pictures, or a guy using a pretty girl’s photo.

Also make sure the guy can understand your English and can speak English.

Where to look for?

Google and Upwork are the two best places to find cross border Chinese freelancers.

You can search your concerned problems and hire the author if you think he/she is qualified, normally this is for you to hire high end professionals.

Upwork is the largest marketplace where you can find average freelancers quickly.

It will cost more through other channels and you need more time to be sure who is worth working with.

Let me know if you have further questions.

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We’re not going to keep the Chinese site

We Don’t Need Our Chinese Website

Yesterday I got a message from an client to close their Chinese website.

Dear Chao!

It took time to decide whether we still need our Chinese website. Sorry to have kept you waiting.

We decided that we don’t need it, as far as it’s been just a waste no money.
We’re not going to keep the Chinese website. Thank you for your help.

We're not going to keep the Chinese site
We’re not going to keep the Chinese site

Continue reading We’re not going to keep the Chinese site

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Pecan Purchase Tour in USA and Mexico

Sinostep represents several large Chinese roasters to buy pecans and other tree nuts directly from  farms in USA, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.

In this pecan selling season, we headed to USA and Mexico to inspect our ordered pecans, visit some orchards and meet new partners.

As I mentioned in Potential vs Challenge: A glance of China pecan market, nowadays more and more Chinese buyers send people to orchards directly to understand what exactly happen in the market, this is an opportunity for overseas pecan growers and Chinese buyers to establish a more close relationship.

Chao: Buy pecans in Mexico a
Chao: Buy pecans in Mexico and USA

Continue reading Pecan Purchase Tour in USA and Mexico

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Please Help Build My Profile in China

Build my profile in China In China, football is on it’s way up and many overseas independent contractors want to be a part of it. Pedro, A previous professional football player in England come to me for a proper China market entry strategy and some advice. Pedro wants to build his own profile and expand […]
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Video: China Cross Border Consultant Featured by Paypal


As a China cross border consultant, I was invited by Paypal to shoot this video sharing my career life and experience of receiving overseas payments.

I started using Paypal in 2004 when I was building on my own web store then. It is quite early for Chinese merchants and it brought me initial foreign client.

Chao's interview video in Paypal China Merchants' Homepage
Chao’s interview video in Paypal China Merchants’ Homepage

Continue reading Video: China Cross Border Consultant Featured by Paypal

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How to Establish Your China Distribution Network Effectively

Selling to the rapidly expanding market in China is a great opportunity for most global businesses. While many business owners may be very excited by the market potential in China, it’s very difficult for them to start with the strategy and establish distribution channels in the Chinese market. Sinostep had helped a variety of international […]
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