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Zhuhai – A growing magnet for foreign investment

I’d never heard of Zhuhai until applying for my internship with InternChina, I was always under the presumption that coming to China meant going to one of the main cities, such as Beijing or Shanghai. I didn’t know where Zhuhai was, or what this city was all about, which is a major shame seeing as the moment I arrived, I fell in love with this place. Luckily though, the Chinese government see’s the potential of Zhuhai; with the winning tropical climate and the fantastic location of the city (on the border of Macau and a ferry ride away from Hong Kong), Zhuhai is slowly starting to edge it’s way onto the map.

InternChina - Location of Zhuhai
InternChina – Location of Zhuhai

Zhuhai is currently in the process of transforming from a relatively unknown city into a growing magnet for foreign investment. Fluor Corp, the American engineering and construction conglomerate, and Finland’s marine engineering Stalwart Wartsila are among the latest big-name companies to invest in Zhuhai. Also, amongst the list of european companies that have set up operations in Zhuhai include BP, Shell, Bosch, Philips, Schneider and ABB. Fluor’s investment formed part of a combined 35.5 billion yuan ($5.59 billion) investment by multinational and Chinese companies in 28 equipment-manufacturing projects in the city. A lot of the current investment comes after the introduction of the Pilot Free Trade Zone which was introduced into Zhuhai.

InternChina - Zhuhai City Skyline
InternChina – Zhuhai City Skyline

The China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Guangdong FTZ) was approved by the state council at an executive meeting held on 12 December 2014. It was then officially launched on the 21st April 2015, the Guangdong FTZ covers three areas: Nansha Area of Guangzhou; Qianhai-Shekou Area of Shenzhen; and Hengqin Area of Zhuhai. The main aim of this is to embrace Hong Kong and Macau to serve the mainland and open up to the world.

InternChina - Zhuhai's Mayor Jiang Ling
InternChina – Zhuhai’s Mayor Jiang Ling

Speaking at the investment and trade symposium in late August, which showcased 200 Chinese and internationals companies, Zhuhai Mayor Jiang Ling said “Zhuhai is at the prime stage of its development and the city is anticipating an even rosier development prospect in the next decade,” Basing his upbeat forecast on the growing importance of Zhuhai’s position as an international gateway to the western Pearl River region, Jiang predicted the Hengqin Free Trade Zone would play an important role in improving the business environment. 

Zhuhai is definitely a place to keep at the back of your mind when wanting to develop some good 关系 (guānxi) in China.

If you’re looking to break into the Chinese market but don’t know how, perhaps an internship in one of this countries 4 big cities can be a starting point, apply now!

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Zhuhai’s economic development in figures

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The Free Trade Zone in Zhuhai is expanding every year. Established in 1996, the FTZ is one of the 13 active zones in China and the only one in the west bank of the country. It is becoming one of first class FTZ in the world by 2020.

It is estimated to have yielded 1.69 billion Yuan ($270 million) in GDP and 1.3 billion Yuan ($208 million) in value added output of industrial business above expected size in the first half of this year. The year-to- year rise is between 10% and 12% annually.

Recently after a reform in its management methods of settlement of foreign exchange capital investments, the FTW offers even friendlier environment for foreigners willing to invest. The new rules make sure that there is minimum loss when transferring foreign exchange capital. This system protects each investor from fluctuating exchange rates.

The zone is to become a comprehensive bonded new town combining an international trade exhibition platform, regional logistics hub, bonded processing base and bonded commercial housing base. The beginning has started with the 20 level Chiao Kuang Business Center in Zhuhai-Macao Cross-Border.

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Live Science Park to be created by Singapore in Zhuhai’s Free trade zone Doumen district.

A Singapore-headquartered fund management company will build a Singapore Life Science Park in the zone costing 12 billion to 15 billion Yuan ($1.92 billion to $2.4 billion) to cover a headquarters economy, medical treatment and health rehabilitation, medical R&D centre and other industries. The ground of the project will combine bio-pharmaceuticals, medical apparatus, massive health industry, medicine logistics and e-commerce in its territory.

AVIC International Holdings LTD will make the zone’s biggest aviation parts exchange centre in China. But this is not the only project in the city. Statistics show that the number of high-end projects since last year reached 179. These include a couple of Fortune Global 500 Companies and Top 500 Companies from China. The total investment exceeds 30 billion Yuan ($5 billion).

The expansion of the FTZ will include leading enterprises from the aerial maintenance and training sector, precision machining, electronic parts manufacturing, medicine and medical apparatus, warehousing and logistics.

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The Zhuhai-Hong-Kong-Macao bridge is almost done. It should be oppened by 2016.

Once the Zhuhai-Hong Kong-Macao Bridge is finished it will create a historic trade bond in the delta. The FTZ will become a Macao-facing logistic delivery centre taking advantage of its preferential policies – “free trade zone”, “24/7 customs clearance dedicated checkpoint” and “special export tax reduction policy”.

By 2020 Zhuhai will have one of the greatest environments in the world for investment. The bridge with Hong Kong will make sure that it takes no more than 30-40 minutes drive to one of the most important financial centers in the world. The special rules in the Free Trade Zone will encourage many of the biggest companies in the world to invest and create their centers of operation in this place. And this is just the beginning. With growth that keeps pushing  higher than 10 % each year, Zhuhai will become one of the most important points in China’s future economic development.

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Why is Zhuhai a good place for an internship?

When people think about China, the first cities that usually come to mind are, of course, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. If you know a little bit more about the country, you might think of Tibet, Canton, or even Nanjing and Xi’an. But if you have a limited knowledge and experience of China, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of a city called Zhuhai.

Zhuhai, in the Southeastern province of Guangdong (where Guangzhou, or Canton, is also located), has a population of 1.5 million people. By Chinese standards, this can be considered a small city. So, why would a Westerner want to do an internship in Zhuhai?

To borrow the popular saying… “location, location, location”. Zhuhai is primely located in an area called the Pearl River Delta which, in geographical terms, is the area surrounding the Pearl River estuary. In economic terms, this area comprises several hugely important cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, to name a few. This region is considered an emerging megacity and is one of the main hubs of economic growth in China. Meaning: there are thousands of thriving businesses in the area and the number will only keep growing.


In 1980, Zhuhai was named a Special Economic Zone, due largely to its strategic location. This status has meant that the Chinese government is spending a great deal of resources to make Zhuhai a modern and leading city in terms of business, science, education, tourism and transportation. The amount of investment and the convenience of travel (you can walk across the border to Macau, take a 1-hour ferry to Hong Kong or the high-speed train to Guangzhou) has turned Zhuhai into a hugely attractive place for foreign capital. So, if you are a Western intern, it will not be hard to find a company that has business ties to your region of the world.


Now, we all know that an internship abroad isn’t just about the work experience. It is also about the chance to live in a place different from your own, have exciting adventures and learn about a new and exotic culture. Zhuhai is also the perfect place for this. While it is rapidly developing, it is still one of the smaller cities in the area and has not been affected by pollution, heavy traffic or crime. Here, you can relax on the beach after a long day of work and eat delicious traditional Cantonese food. If you’re homesick and longing for a bit of Western culture, you can hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for a day or a weekend.


So, as you can see, Zhuhai is arguably THE place to be when it comes to choosing an internship in China. The cherry on the cake? The Intern China family, ready to support you every step of the way and help make Zhuhai your home away from home.

Looking for the ideal internship location? Take full advantage of all that Zhuhai has to offer! Apply now or send us an email for more information.

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How to finance your Internship

If you are a British student looking to come and undertake an internship placement in China then finding funding is not as easy as in some other countries. I have been looking into how best to go about it and have come up with a few possibilities:

1) Ask your university – Some universities will provide you with financial support for your internship placement. At universities where a work placement is compulsory, the university often pays the mediation fee for you. You won’t know if you don’t ask!

2) Scholarships – There are also a few travel scholarships around, again often related to universities. The best overview of such scholarships is available here: https://www.csc.edu.cn/laihua/scholarshipen.aspx. You may have to apply, expressing how your trip will be a benefit to your future studies (you will have a very strong application if it is to carry out a work experience placement in China!). Again, these are often advertised through university channels.

3) Confucious Scholarship – Although this is a scholarship to come and study in China, it is definitely worth a look if you are a student here! Main catch is you have to have done an HSK exam, so try and do one nice and early to give you time for your application.

4) Trust funds – Look online and in your local newspaper for funds to support young locals. Although quite hard to find, they can be great if you do apply to one for some money – could help you with part of the trip.

5) Get a job! With a couple of weeks of holiday work in England, you could happily live in China for months.

Remember, once you get out to China living costs are very low. Pints are 20p instead of £2, a big dinner out is £3, a taxi is £1, a bus is 10p. Set up costs may seem quite high, but once you are here you will get on fine with very little money!

If you are interested in coming to China and do an internship, then apply now via email info@internchina.com or through our website www.internchina.com.


by James