Skip to content
Hays - Recruiting experts worldwide
  1. I am
    I am

New Silk Road: Chinese graduates benefiting from Dubai Business Internships

Updated: 18 Jan 2016


Some of China’s most talented graduates are undertaking internships in the UAE in a new programme that was borne out of the creation of the New Silk Road.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the creation of a New Silk Road from Shanghai to Berlin, an economic zone that spans almost a third of the earth’s circumference. Like the old silk routes, this modern incarnation will carry not only goods, but also people and ideas.


The New Silk Road concept is spawning a range of initiatives designed to create new business and cultural links. One new project, the brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, has created an opportunity for Chinese graduates to travel west to study and do business in the emirate. In doing so, it helps bridge the gap between what industry wants and what education delivers, and forges strong links between China and Dubai.


Now in its second year, Dubai Business Internships (DBI) has accepted 28 young Chinese nationals, either recent graduates or young people with up to three years’ work experience. The participants undertake an internship with Dubai-based leaders in various sectors, including trade, tourism, finance, law and logistics. They also receive formal management training and an introduction to the culture of Dubai and the wider MENA region.


The Dubai Business Internships are a great opportunity for Chinese graduates to begin their careers in the UAE,” says Simon Lance, Managing Director of Hays in China. “The program gives graduates a strong international grounding in their chosen profession.  They live and work in the UAE, immersing themselves in its culture, gaining practical business experience and theoretical knowledge, and forging links that will benefit both nations as these leaders of the future grow in their careers.”


The DBI is facilitated by Falcon and Associates, who worked with Hays to identify the leaders of the future. “We were tasked with the challenge of presenting Falcon and Associates with a select pool of talent for the programme’s second intake, which started in October 2015,” said Sarah Jones, Business Director of Hays North China


“We developed a stringent recruitment process in order to select only the best of the best. We receive thousands of applicants and select 50 at most. We’re looking for superstars, and that’s not a tangible quality. All the applicants are exceptionally bright, many have already launched their own businesses, some have represented China in sport – but even that is not enough.


“They must have good skills in English, cultural adaptability, relationship building, and of course they must be ambitious.” 


Working closely with the DBI team throughout the process, Hays developed a comprehensive and strategic recruitment campaign. “Candidates went through four rounds of assessment after applying,” Sarah explains. “First, there was a telephone screening – the stage at which most applicants were eliminated, because their English wasn’t of a sufficiently high standard. Those who remained in the frame then progressed to a face-to-face interview, during which we put them under a little pressure and were also able to assess their knowledge of business etiquette. Those who were successful at that stage went on to an assessment centre, where they worked in groups to test their competitive edge and grasp of new cultures. Then there was a final face-to-face interview with the DBI team.”


Given the intense competition to gain a place on the programme, it’s not surprising that the successful candidates are keenly aware of the value of the experience. “It’s a golden opportunity,” says Yikai Zeng, who began the programme after completing a Masters degree in marketing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “It’s a dynamic programme that gives you practical experience as well as business knowledge and an understanding of another culture. I’d always associated Dubai with success. Arriving here was so exciting – seeing the skyscrapers for the first time and experiencing the sense of luxury. Now I have finished the programme I plan to stay on here.”


Sunny Jie Feng, whose background is in biomedical engineering, entered the programme after she had completed a Masters in Industrial Economics at Southeast University. “Dubai is more dynamic than any city I’ve ever experienced,” she says. “The programme teaches you how to give the best of yourself – it allows you to grow but also forces you to. It has been life-changing for me. There will be wonderful projects in my specialism on which China and Dubai can work together, and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.”


This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of HR and recruitment.  To access the Hays Journal please visit


In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou.


Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.


- Ends - 


Follow Hays on LinkedIn  for the latest career news, trends and reports relevant to your career



About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 30 June 2015 Hays employed 9,023 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015, Hays reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million. Hays placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments. 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.


Search for jobs