Is proficiency in the local language necessary? |
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Is proficiency in the local language necessary?

Question :

Dear Sidney,

I was pleasantly surprised to read that language capabilities are not a limitation for marketing roles in HK. For some one with 5+ years of industrial sales experience and an MBA degree without fluency in any of the local languages are marketing roles in technology sector in HK easy to find?

What are the typical salaries that can be expected?


Posted by Daksh on Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014

Comments :

Sidney Yuen - Career Doctor

Posted Wednesday 19th March 2014 07:02:00 PM


Dear Daksh Yes, you are right. Language capabilities are not the most critical requirement for marketing roles or any other roles. With the fast changing pace at all fronts enabled by disruptive technologies and growth in social media, soft skills such as interpersonal skills, ability to learn and value diversity as well as having a customer centric mindset are key. Hong Kong is an international financial hub and a part of China. There are marketing jobs that local language competency is not essential, when I took a quick look at who are occupying the senior marketing and corporate communication’s roles, 30% of them are expats, and they are mostly working at multinational corporations. And interestingly, Gartner, an IT research firm has recently predicted that in the next 5 years, 90% of technology spending will originate outside of the IT department. The explosion in online sales and marketing is driving this trend. The marketing chiefs are finding it easy to pay for technology via their corporate credit cards. With this observation, one can downplay the importance of local language capability and up play the technology deployment in generating revenue, profit and market share. Daksh, you need to make sure you are up to speed on data analytics and socially enabled processes as they are reshaping business models. You may have already heard about the O2O models that increase sales and loyalty. As a sales professional, you definitely need to get yourself equipped with the latest trends and how mobile marketing, online sales and smart phone security are impacting your potential employer’s strategic initiatives. Get back onto soft skills, despite all the technologies out there, soft skills are consistently in demand, as work is people oriented and its success depends on effective communication with our stakeholders; customers, partners, employees etc. While I don’t know about your competency in such skills, you need to recognize and acknowledge your level and to make a plan to improve them. For most expats, we found the ability to appreciate and adopt to the local culture is most challenging. While there are many technology vendors who have based their Asian HQ in Hong Kong, some of their marketing and business development managers are expats and one would expect a regional role and depending on the candidate’s years of experience, the salary package is a combination of a basic salary plus bonus payout that's competitive and rewarding. Good luck!

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