Western cliché: "hard working Chinese people".
Back in France and I generally speaking in we the west, we always have this cliché of the "hard working Chinese people".
They work very hard and never stop working: everyday of the week and sometimes days and nights!
Truth is: Chinese people are not different than us...
Truth is you have many different situations in China. Some people have easy jobs, while others have tough jobs.
Some Chinese people work in administrations, others work in private companies. There is also a main difference between small or large companies, or according to the industry, the nature of the job...
...and have very little efficiency!
Even though in most jobs, Chinese people have little efficiency, productivity.
They tend to stay at the office hours long but not doing that much. I think it has to do with the education, the motivation, the internal organization of companies. Working harder won't necessary help you have a higher salary, be promoted or leave the office earlier. Chinese people always look at the carrot: in no way will they work harder if this doesn't mean more money.
Even though Chinese people have a main advantage on us: 100% availability!
In China people are always available. It has to do with smart phone and the way people communicate.
While in France we would rather communicate directly on the phone, most Chinese people would rather chat using their phone: wechat.
It makes a big difference! Most Chinese people are always available: during week-ends, lunch, dinner or even at night! Communication is key in most works.
The definition of productivity is changing.
While productivity relied on how fast one could produce something, the bottle neck was at the factory: the workers, the machine... Today productivity relies more on how fast people exchange information and communicate.
And with modern chat, wechat, Chinese people don't type anymore but they chat but speak: they send voice message, one sentence after another! So there is no loss of time as compared to talking on the phone! Also this cuts down useless talk as compared to phone communication!
Thus Chinese people have a strong avantage on us! And can only beat us in the long run!
How to explain that Chinese people are always available?
Chinese people love technology.
They will invest in the most recent smart phones and many other things we overlook as gadgets.
Chinese society has no strict barreer between public and private life!
While in France it is unpolite to call people at home too late or during week-ends, this is not the case in China! While in France it is unpolite to call during lunch time, it doesn't matter in China...
In France we have several phone number to help segment private and public life.
We have a home fixed phone, a fixed phone at the office, a private mobile phone, a mobile phone for work and sometimes a secretary...
We use answering machines to receive voice message. Chinese people don't even know what it is...
All these are ways to protect ourselves and our private space. You give your private phone number only to a limited number of people. To the others you give your office number...
As But Chinese people simply add everyone on their weichat! And they can communicate all the time with them!
This is an amazing advantage in our fast environment.