Interview with Hong Kong Female Journalist
Originally from mainland China, she is currently writing her first book on her expat life in Hong Kong, working as a communication specialist at a British recruitment consultancy, and is a Forbes contributor on mainland China’s labor market. Journalism has always been Jennifer Cheung’s passion.
We were delighted to catch up with her and learn how her ambition and the ability to “identify opportunities and be brave enough to ask” has led her to where she is today.
1. How did you come to be an analyst on China’s labour market, an intern at VOA Beijing and Forbes, Hong Kong, as well as a Forbes contributor?
Journalism is always my passion. When I was in a media program at the University of Hong Kong, I was very eager to get as many media experiences as possible and wrote lots of news assignments in order to secure favorable internship recommendations. Because of that, I got my internship at VOA over winter vacation and with Forbes the summer of the next year. After my Forbes internship, I landed a full-time editorial position at China Labour Bulletin (CLB), a non-profit advocating labour rights for Chinese workers. CLB hired me because I used to blog extensively on China’s human rights issues and had a network of Chinese Internet activists. In the second year, I asked my supervisor if I could be promoted to analyst, a position which enabled me to write in-depth analytic pieces. My supervisor said yes. In the meantime, I noticed Forbes’ contributor initiative and talked with my former Forbes editor about my new assignment and asked if I could contribute to Forbes on Chinese labour issues, which have become my expertise. He agreed.
2. What would you say has been the key to your success thus far? To what do you attribute your accomplishments?
Aside from hard working and networking, I’d say it is the ability to identify opportunities and be brave enough to ask. Honestly I don’t think I’m successful yet, relative to what my classmates at journalism school have achieved. They are great inspirations for me.
“Identify opportunities and be brave enough to ask.”
3. What is one of the greatest obstacles you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?
My research and reporting on Chinese labour issues have received a considerable amount of political headwinds as many Chinese officials still hold a conservative attitude towards media coverage on strikes, protests and other industrial actions. I always reminded myself that my area of research and coverage is anything but politically sensitive and the overall objective of my organization is for the benefit of all the stakeholders in industrial relations, i.e. employers, employees and the government. In addition, I try to seek organizational legitimacy by winning support from heavyweight scholars, lawyers, etc.
4. What are your future career goals?
Hong Kong is a dynamic international metropolis where mind-boggling events keep me curious all the time. To document my unique experiences, I’m in the middle of writing my first book on my expat life in Hong Kong, including the interesting people I met and the memorable things we did. That is my immediate plan. In the long term, I’m interested in developing inspiring content that facilitates people’s living and cultural exchanges in Hong Kong.
5. What do you think are some of the most important things that lead to professional/business success for women in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong in general is a fast-paced and competitive workplace and is notorious for its prevalent over-time work culture. It is not rare for ambitious career women in Hong Kong to devote themselves to work or literally “marry” their work.
For me, successful professional women are not only smart hardworking but also exude natural confidence and femininity. It’s also important to proactively seek fun for a good work-life balance.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter.