Monday, May 30, 2005

Future at Ericsson Beijing?

Ericsson China has its largest research center in Beijing. I contacted them about writing my Master's thesis and I have received a very good response. The General Manager there sent out an email to all departments and some other centers in China asking them for suitable projects. I believe that I would be the first foreigner to write my thesis on an engineering subject in Ericsson China.

The approval from the GM seem to have opened up a lot of doors, possible more than was intended. On my first visit I was invited to attend internal meetings and could freely discuss with the project managers. I should perhaps consider a career as an industrial spy instead, that would put my Chinese and engineering skills to good use. Any offers out there? I could offer you what Ericsson thinks about the prospect of CDMA2K for a start...

The Product Provisioning Manager suggested that I would spend a day in each department to see if I could find something suitable, and he could right away prepare a desk for me if I wanted. The Hardware Design Manager, which turned out to be a very friendly woman(!), had already prepared a specific project. She told me that she was trying to introduce a western business culture, but she said since the percentage of foreigners was decreasing, she was party failing with that. A part of the enthusiasm of giving me this project would be to counter this.

From the start there had been 9 Swedish expats, now they were down to 6. This at the same time as Ericsson has expanded research personnel from 300 to 600 and has plans to expand by 50% per year coming years (this according to various people there that I chatted with). My biggest concern is how I fit into this.

An expat is incredible expensive, particularly if their kids and families are here. A Chinese engineer would get around 5-7k RMB as a starting salary. For me to make it worth while I would need something in between. Not a 'local hire' salary and an expat package would be impossible. Problem is that this doesn't exist. My requested salary would possible have to be 25-30k RMB. That would still be a bargain compared to a expat package, but still be like one of the top Chinese managers in the whole organization. As a single guy I would have an easy life here with that, but for the future that would still mean difficulties.

First of all, subtract that I would have to have insurance, pay of my study debts, and put away money for flights home. I would have to put away significant amount of money to save for my retirement. Imagine if I would like to have kids in five years. I would possible not be able to afford to put them in one of the expensive private schools here, so I might have to put them in a Chinese. If they went to a Chinese school (which I really would like to spare them from) I wouldn't be able to take them home after, since the Swedish system would not accept their credits. So I would have to choose between not having children or repatriate and restart my career.

My biggest concern right now though is that I don't think telecom is particularly interesting. Antennas in particular.


Anonymous said...

I think it's a difficult thing to make choices as we have to take too many things into consideration.

I learnt a lot from your ideas, and it seems I should start doing that though I'm not a good planner, usually I fail to fulfill my schedule or a future plan.

But all the time I believe the next second is impredictable.


Anonymous said...

Who cares about kids? Don't forget who's your suga daddy! ;-)

The Investor.