While interviewing for a job at Chinese tech giant Tencent, a now-former employee asked if he would be expected to use Mandarin at work in the Singapore office.
He was satisfied with the answer that a mix of Mandarin and English would be required. He accepted the position.
But the reality was different — Mandarin was used in the office very frequently, the former employee said. The man, a Singaporean, ended up leaving Tencent because of difficulty communicating.
“If I need to spend so much time trying to understand things, I’m going to be very inefficient,” he said, adding that a person who’s better with Mandarin “is probably a better fit.”
Working at a Chinese tech firm
Chinese tech companies are expanding their offices around the world, including in Southeast Asia.
As they post openings overseas, more people are wondering what it’s like to work for them. This year, CNBC reported on tech workers in the United Kingdom who turned down job offers at TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, after encountering stories about an intense work environment there.
Those people cited fears of the so-called “996” work culture practiced by some companies in China, which requires employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. A TikTok spokesperson told CNBC in May of this year that “we absolutely do not have ’996′ policies.”
CNBC interviewed 10 current and former employees of Chinese tech firms to ask what work life is like in those companies’ Singapore offices. Most requested anonymity owing to fear of repercussions or because they do not have permission to speak to the media.