7 Important Things You Can Learn From The Chinese Work Ethic

China is considered to be an economic superpower and with good reason. People from Asian countries are often referred to as hard working and China is no exception. The Chinese culture work ethic is based on a Confucian Principle, which demands respect for the elderly and perfection in work. Although Confucius was a philosopher centuries ago, his teachings are held in highest regard in China today and shape their society and culture.

The Chinese do not shirk away from hard work, but embrace it, believing it begets success. Discussed below are seven aspects of the Chinese culture work ethic we can learn from:


1) Time Perception

Punctuality is extremely important in China and is even considered a virtue. The Chinese are always on time (if not early) and will easily take offence to tardiness. The same is seen even in Japan. The rules concerning time and punctuality are somewhat lax in India. It isn’t uncommon to arrive 10-15 minutes after the designated time. However, this attitude would not work well in a country like China.

2) Focus on results

The Chinese have several proverbs that demonstrate their attitude towards hard work. The ethos of the Chinese culture work ethic is that hard work pays off and contributes to a happy life. One such proverb is shìshàng wú nánshì, which translates to “nothing is impossible to a willing mind”. The Chinese use sheer determination and diligence to achieve their goals, whatever it may be. This attitude and principle is a strong reason for the presence of many Chinese owned companies and projects flourishing world over.

3) Chi Ku 

The Chinese are driven by results and leave no stone unturned in delivering the best. A 2014 Wall Street Journal article, reported that the average Chinese worker puts in somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 hours each year. This again goes back to the Confucian work ethic, one aspect of which being “Chi Ku” – the act of persisting through hardship. Chi Ku is a valued way to earn respect — and possibly a promotion.

4) Success isn’t left to chance

You’ve heard the saying “hard work beats talent” Well, that’s something the Chinese attest to. Right from school, the Chinese are taught that anything can be achieved through hard work and diligence, not just talent. And this is testament to the fact that they are referred to as an economic superpower. In a time where global economies are plummeting, China continues to show staggering growth. Their rapid development over that last decade isn’t because of their technological advancement – it’s a tip of the hat to the Chinese culture work ethic of the locality.

5) Striving for Perfection

You’ve heard of several western companies employing a predominantly Asian workforce. This is purely because of how willing they are to reach their end goal. This isn’t to say that people from other parts of the world aren’t hardworking, but the Chinese are hard-wired to achieve success. Being competitive and having a goal-oriented spirit is inherent to every Chinese person and is further instilled at a very young age. The proof lies in the fact that multitudes of their countrymen are employed in companies all over the world.

6) Laziness is a crime

American satirist Mark Twain once observed that “a lazy Chinaman does not exist,” and added, “He always manages to find something to do.”

Mr Twain pretty much summed it up there. The Chinese didn’t get to where they are today by sitting around, twiddling their thumbs. The Chinese are so used to working hard that many of their companies reward employees for completing a project in advance. In fact, the norm is to finalise projects in the shortest possible time to take on a new one.

7) Don’t just work hard, work smart

Everyone in China strives to do their best, especially when the going gets tough. Obstacles or inconveniences don’t deter them – they just find a way around it. They come up with alternate methods to achieve their goals. The Chinese have a phrase for it – cha bu duo, which translates to “good enough”. In cha bu duo, the focus is less on process and rules and more on the result.
Now that you have a better understanding of the Chinese culture work ethic, it is time you chase new footprints and transform your career with an internship from China. Visit AIESEC for a Global Volunteer Program spread in leading countries across the globe. You can check out our blog on how to prepare for an internship interview and 6 countries that have an easy visa process for Indians for deeper insights.

Help, Mummy, I’m terrified

Pic 2

Recently, I was offered to opportunity to travel to Egypt as a cultural ambassador to promote student exchange between Indian and Egyptian students. As much as travel excites me, the spirit of this adventure was dampened by a host of people asking me why I can’t choose another country  besides Egypt, whether it was the right time to go, whether I would face too much trouble getting there.

Pic 1Egypt has always held a great fascination for me and like all children growing up I pictured a land filled with men in their regal headgear, speaking a strange beautiful tongue with mummies lying around every nook and corner. The country also has such a unique geo-political situation- part of the African continent with primarily Arabic roots and culture while going through phases of democratic and military rule.

Recent events have seen the media portray Egypt as a land of youth revolutionaries and extremist leaders. So it comes as no surprise that young people are apprehensive about making a journey to the country and that’s fair. I too, had to tackle protective parents and sceptical friends as well and I just want to give you a first-hand account of what it’s like here.

Pic 4The capital, Cairo is a great place to live and experience for any young person! As an Indian, there are many similarities here that will remind you of home. The people here are warm and hospitable, eager to guess which country you are from and always grinning when they guess right (It seems the Indian accent is a cult favourite here ;)). You can always catch a glimpse of the glorious Nile, no matter which part of the city you are at. The tourist favourites- the pyramids, mummies and the sphinx live up to all the hype they are given. The architecture is exciting, the culture vibrant and the atmosphere lively! Alexandria is yet another beautiful city located by the Mediterranean Sea that will captivate you. From kind, hospitable people to the city’s Greco-Roman remains, it is breathtakingly beautiful.

There are many misconceptions about Egypt. It is a land shrouded in mystery and the news out there spells doom, violent protests and unstable political conditions. All that is far from the truth and if you can trust the testimony of a 22 year old girl travelling there alone, then be assured, it is perfectly safe.

Things you should know:

  • Girls will not be stared at lecherously all the time. Honestly, it’s so much lesser than what is on our own streets.
  • Egypt has misconceptions about India. Maybe so, but they LOVE India and adore Amitabh Bachchan. I guarantee you; you will have a conversation about Indian cinema at least twice in your time there.
  • Everybody there is not a protestor or a revolutionary or an extremist. That ended a year ago and there is no clear and present danger.
  • The country is affordable and reasonable. The value of the Egyptian pound although more than the rupee, can buy you commodities for the same value as in India.

If you have 6 weeks to go for an international internship and are apprehensive about picking Egypt, don’t be. I have had an amazing experience there and it is worth the journey- to witness ancient civilizations and modern day marvels in one bustling metropolis. I am back with fond memories, great friends and a second home to go back to someday soon.

Our Generation needs Ethical Leadership


The world is transforming at a pace that is faster than our capability to realize & our actions and intentions now will soon become a consequence in the future, for good and unfortunately bad too. I am not a pessimist by nature, but sometimes it’s quite astonishing to see the direction the world is moving ahead. In the midst of rising personal needs, competition in every walk of life, recognition of achievements and also how some of the achievements are defined, it’s leading us to compromise on some of the most basic and sustainable elements and making us live a somewhat delusional lifestyle. Just to ground the above assumptions and thoughts, events in the past like the Global Financial crisis, Rising Corruption across governments, Lack of initiatives taken up by youth and as a matter of fact ignorance towards taking a stand for the right or wrong – for instance the number of responsible citizens who vote is quite a scary fact. And little did I say that all of these are immense possibilities and opportunities towards a better world, a better ecosystem to live, work and have a purpose while doing that.

The problem starts with lack of awareness and transcends to not knowing what’s the right action. Most of the time the environment around us also just guides us in our actions, and they become reactive over being proactive. Have you ever thought how does it feel when you actually stand up for what you believe in? Yes, it’s quite a rare feeling, but perhaps it’s a good time to learn this as the youth since this will most definitely define how the world will look like in the coming 3-4 decades. What we all stand up for now, will become a consequence in the future for our future generations to deal with. What are the principles you are guided by in your life? Well, that seems like a solid and tough question for an average to think about, leave aside finding out the answer.

Fortunately, after spending a considerable time in an organization like AIESEC which believes in discovering and developing leadership potential for anyone who wants to engage with it, I feel satisfactory about my learning’s, for AIESEC, through my various experiences working with 4-5 different teams of completely diverse individuals, being lead by 4 different leaders and having to learn what is right and what is wrong myself, has been quite empowering. Today, after knowing people from more than 45 different nationalities and having met young people from more than a 100 countries, talking and sharing with them about leadership, world issues & management, not only have I become more aware about the world and myself but also have defined my own value system and principles which guide my thoughts and actions in life now. So from my perspective, something as simple as Ethical Leadership is now the most powerful belief and hope for the world, which earlier, about 4-5 years back would be like rocket science for me to figure out!

“Be aware, have a hunger for learning and contributing more, purposefully” A common motto for all the youth today!

Stop Wishing. Start Doing!

What are you waiting for? GO!

Very obviously you already have learnt of the largely used term YOLO! Keeping aside all the myths and spiritual ruckus about reincarnation and 7 lives, its true, you do only live once. Well at least in this life you have resources to take you to a ‘land unknown’.

My advice to you? Pack a bag, set a destination and sail from the safe harbour. Dream. Explore. Discover.

The world believes that everybody should get away, not just for a week or two but actually experience a country. The food, the culture, the lights. Don’t say that it’s impossible to take more days off, there is always a way.

Oh and yes it is scary! Travelling to Africa, China, Turkey all by yourself! But it is the good kind of scary that puts your outside your comfort zone and lets you breathe that fresh you otherwise would have never. Leaving your friends, your family, your everyday routine, ofcourse it is scary, but isn’t the excitement in the fear more?

It may not always be easy, and sometimes there may be small bumps, but it’s an experience, and one worth having.

How do we do it? Did that question just entirely ruin a beautiful picture that your mind was beginning to show you?

Stop wishing, take the first step. Find an opportunity and plunge!


Sign Up

Going Global to Kenya

“As part of my internship, I visited schools in and around Kibera to talk to the adolescents about the problems they face, made proposals to fundraise for the sanitary napkins project and marketing for the Women Empowerment project.The schools we visited were mainly in the slums so the children from the schools got an opportunity to interact with us and discuss the problems they face in schools.

I also got to experience so much of the Kenyan culture, their food, their night life and how they generally live through the AIESECers from Nairobi who were again an amazing bunch of people. I travelled and saw almost all of Kenya and each place was better than the next. I had no idea that the country was that beautiful.

My internship experience helped me grow so much as a person. It led me to introspect and my future plans have taken a whole new turn. I also met some AMAZING people who really inspire me and changed the way I used to think. I can say that my time in Kenya was a mind blowing experience.  I had so many misconceptions and I realized how wrong I was about the country. I lived with 10 different nationalities in an intern house and the amount I’ve learnt from all of them is just incredible. All the interns worked for different NGO’s and through them I met more amazing people who redefined how I think.”

– As said by Lomarshini Anand – a student of Manipal University, an exchange participant who went global via an AIESEC internship to Kenya.

Read about Lomarshini’s internship experience via her impact report here.

If you too want to have such an experience, sign up now!

Sign Up