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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.