A visit to Microsoft China shows what kind of opportunities are available for employees of a multinational. Like all multinationals, Microsoft has offices all over the world and employees looking for a change can request a transfer to not just another division, but a whole other country. This was the situation two of our friends found themselves in. They both worked at MS Redmond but an opportunity to return to Shanghai to head up MSN China presented itself and they decided to take it.
Microsoft offer several programs to help their expats offset the high cost of living in Shanghai. Microsoft pays the rent on the couple’s three-bedroom condo that’s just down the street from the office. MS also pays the cost of sending the couple’s two children to the nearby international school. That takes care of the two biggest expenses expats face while working in China. MS has their own VPN to get around China’s firewall.
To offset the income tax difference between the US and China, Microsoft offers a tax equalization package. The company will top up employee earnings to ensure that they’re are no worse off in terms of net pay in the host country than they would have been in the home country. Our friends also received a 30% raise for accepting the China post.
With their biggest expenses taken care of, and a 30% increase from their US salary, the couple enjoy a high disposable income that puts them in the upper end of the elite working class. When your major expenses are taken of, you can really live high on the hog. Hell, you might even be able to shop at the Super Brand Mall.