By Sheena on September 23,2016

Foreigners in Yiwu: Zhanna, A Russian Living in Yiwu

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 As one of the BRIC countries, Russia has been keeping a close business relationship with Yiwu, and also has been one of the most important destinations for Yiwu. In Yiwu, many Russians such as Zhang Na are thinking about to settle down in Yiwu after having found their lives and working had been connected with Yiwu. They purchased small commodities in Yiwu market and then distributed to Russia and other European countries. 

Usually, it’s rather easy to recognize a foreigner employee in Chinese company, but things goes to the opposite in Zhang Na’s case. In Zhang Na’s company, there are already 21 Russians. Zhang Na, herself is a Russian girl too. “I am from a city of Russia, and it’s adjacent to Heilongjiang, China. It’s the second largest city but only inhabited with 250,000 people.” Zhang Na introduced. Her name is Zhanna, which is similarly pronounced with Chinese Zhang Na in Pinyin. Before Yiwu, Zhang Na studied 3 years in Ha’erbin in Bachelor and Doctor’s Degree. Her graduate major is linguistics, and her doctor’s program’s majored in Politics Education. Speaking of these two majors, Zhanna laughed. “Those majors are not my choice. It happens to promote a scholarship policy aimed at overseas student. I decided to study the Doctor’s degree in order to win the scholarship. However, here is the thing. It’s too hard for an overseas student to study the Chinese political education. I gave up two years later.”
Actually, it’s more than that. Zhanna got the courage to give up her pursuit of doctor’s degree because she had found a job in Yiwu. 
“There are many big cities in Yiwu. Why choose Yiwu?” We asked.
Zhang Na replied that many of her friends chose to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. But living in big cities is of high cost and is also not easy to find a job. Yiwu is a different case. It’s small, but is the global well-known trade city where provides many chances for foreigners as well as first-tier living environment for us.
On Mar., 26, 2013, Zhang Na flied to Hangzhou, and took a bus to Yiwu. She took a taxi and went straight to the interviewing company. When she finally arrived, what made her disappointed were those five-layer resident buildings and shabby warehouses. But Zhanna decided to take it. 
In the first week, Zhang Na asked a taxi driver to take her to the busiest part of the city. The driver took her to the Foreign Exotic Street. And that gave Zhanna a different idea of Yiwu. Now,  Zhang Na knew where to have fun and what’s good to eat, and she is bragging herself as a half Yiwu expert. 
Zhang Na is appointed by a Russia Trading company, and its headquarter is in Russia. She is responsible for human resources and administration stuff. In her own words, she does those unsolved things. Zhang introduced, at first the company only appointed 5 employees. But in short half year, employees are expanded to 50 people, and one thirds are Russians. It’s much harder to hire Chinese employees. “because as a human resource, I shall know Chinese labor laws, such as the salary, benefits, health care insurance, and extra working fee. In order to quickly get acquainted, I nearly have to recite the Chinese Labor Law.”
People get feelings. Zhang has built a close relationship with Yiwu in these 3 years. Last August, Zhang joined in the World Businessmen Family. She starts to attend public non-profit activities. “Every time I go to the welfare house, I will bring some gifts to those kids. We play together and eat together. Sometimes, those little kids would kiss and hug me. That feels good.”
Last month, with the launching of Yiwu-Russia international cargo train, Yiwu and Russia kind of get closer. For Zhanna, besides the closer distance with Yiwu and Russia, she also feel a deeper belongings.


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