International Business in China

Designed for students interested in international business and economics, the International Business program offers undergraduates the unparalleled opportunity to study Chinese language, international business, and economic development in Asia’s financial center. Students participate in carefully designed activities and experiential study trips that provide a first-hand encounter with China’s rapidly changing business environment.

Program Terms Fall Semester, Spring Semester
Credit Hours 15
Subjects Offered Chinese, Business Chinese, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Management
Language Pre-Requisities None
Field Components Capstone Research, Internships
Housing Shared Apartments with Chinese Roommate
Excursions Week-Long Field Study Trip
Application Deadlines April 15 (Fall), November 1 (Spring)

All students are encouraged to consider spending an academic year in China, whether continuing in their current program to deepen their knowledge of Shanghai, or at a different Alliance program to broaden their understanding of China’s regional diversity.

The International Business in China program offers unparalleled opportunities to examine China’s rapidly changing business environment and the global networks in which it plays an increasingly strategic role. The 15-credit semester is comprised of a required core course and Chinese language plus two electives.

Students must have completed one business and one economics course prior to arrival, or two economics courses if business is not available at your school. 

Required Courses

ECON 360 China: Economic Giant (3 credits)

The course provides an interpretative survey of China's emergence as a global economic power. The phenomenal changes in the Chinese economy over recent decades are highlighted, and aspects of quantitative development are related to the radical reforms adopted since 1978. Students discuss major policy issues encountered by the Chinese government in sustaining high-speed economic growth without instability. Students also explore China’s pursuit of full integration into the global free trade system. All students complete a capstone research project as part of this course.

Chinese Language (6 credits)

No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.

CHIN100 Beginning Chinese I
CHIN101 Beginning Chinese II
CHIN200 Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN201 Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN300 Advanced Chinese I
CHIN301 Advanced Chinese II
CHIN400 Advanced Chinese III
CHIN401 Advanced Chinese IV
CHIN600 Advanced Readings in Chinese

Elective Courses

All elective courses are taught in English. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.

CHIN 320 Business Chinese I or CHIN 322 Business Chinese II (3 credits)

Students must have completed three semesters of Chinese language for this course.

Students develop specialized skills in business-related communication in Chinese in both oral and written forms.

ECON 371 / FINC 370 International Money and Finance (3 credits)

Students must have completed an Introduction to Finance course as a pre-requisite for this course.

This course familiarizes students with the basic theories for global financial liberalization and the major policy problems involved for the Chinese government to fully integrate the country with the global financial system. Discussions address Chinese interest rate determination, the exchange rate regime, and associated risks; new investment and financing techniques; B-share versus A-share in Chinese stock markets; the role of qualified institutional investors; and the possible implications of renminbi becoming fully convertible in the future.

ECON 380 International Trade: A Chinese Perspective (3 credits)

This course helps students develop the conceptual basis and the necessary tools for understanding modern international trade at the intermediate level. Topics include classical and modern theories of international trade, factor price equalization, empirical tests and extensions of the pure theory model, economic growth and international trade, the nature and effects of protection, and motives and welfare effects of factor movements. Each topic includes case studies under the context of China’s international trade with the U.S. and the rest of the world.

INTS 380 Internship (3 credits)

Students must have completed three semesters of Chinese language for this course.

Interns are placed in Chinese, joint-venture, or foreign-owned companies; research institutes; non-governmental organizations; or media and art studios. Placements are highly competitive, and other foreign languages and professional skills assist in the placement process as well. Interns spend approximately 10 hours per week at the internship site and complete a final academic paper with an accompanying oral presentation. Internships are supervised by a faculty advisor who meets with students at least twice individually and at least three times as a group.

MKTG 390 China as a Global Market (3 credits)

China is not only a major export market but also a global sourcing base, given that Chinese exports are dominated by foreign-funded enterprises. Discussions include China's rising purchasing power and consumption market potentials, trends in China's demand for capital goods and western technology, marketing new products, cultural attributes in Chinese consumer behavior, outsourcing and sourcing in China, the service industries, international distribution systems, market regulations and deregulations, export tax rebate and import duties, and pricing and terms of payments.

MGMT 390 Managing Enterprises in China (3 credits)

This course focuses on the modus operandi of major types of enterprises in China, such as large-scale state-owned enterprises, share-holding corporations, collective enterprises of global significance, and foreign-funded conglomerates. Discussions address functional aspects of enterprise management, including production and investment decision-making, financing, marketing and supply sourcing, human resource management, technology transfer, and research and development, as well as the Chinese government's changing regulatory framework.

A distinctive component of the Alliance's programs in China is the capstone research project embedded in the required core course. Students are challenged to engage with Chinese people and deepen their own understanding of one aspect of Chinese policy, society, culture, or business practice through their research. While utilizing academic research and articles as a foundation, students are encouraged to use local resources, such as interviews, participant observation and surveys, to craft their final paper and presentation. Graded project work includes a project abstract with a problem statement and research methodology outline, a PowerPoint presentation, and a final paper.

Featured Capstone

Joyce Park (Connecticut College)

"My report reviews the history, processes, and strategies of eBay and TaoBao in the context of the Chinese market. Though its primary purpose is to analyze and compare the two corporations, this report can also serve as a future reference for other e-commerce companies who wish to gain insight on how to successfully penetrate the Chinese market without repeating the mistakes of eBay. Both primary and secondary research was conducted to gather information for this report. Primary research consists of surveys done by 50 local Chinese students, interviews with Chinese roommates, as well as my own observations. Secondary research also comes from a broad range of sources, including scholarly journals, published case studies, and public blog and forum discussions."

Examples of Student Capstones

  • Agricultural and Environmental Policy in Modern China
  • The Chinese Automobile Industry: Past, Present and Future
  • Impact of Censorship on China’s Television Industry
  • Say Hello to the Competition: Chinese College Students and the Real World
  • The Need for Renewable Energy in China
  • China High-Speed Rail: What Can the United States Learn From it?
  • Investment in Brazil and China’s Middle Class
  • China and United States: Trade Imbalance and RMB Exchange Rate
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: The Chinese and American Militaries
  • The Social and Economic Implications of China’s One Child Policy
  • Nutritional Challenges of Urban China
  • China is Wealthier, but is it Happier?

For more capstone project ideas from Alliance students in all our China programs, click here. To read more abstracts of Alliance students' capstones, click here.

In Shanghai, students have the opportunity to participate in a 10-12 hour per week, 3-credit internship at sites that may include Chinese and foreign businesses, NGOs, and government organizations. Students must have completed at least three semesters of college-level Chinese language, and will be expected to complete the academic requirements of their internship to receive credit For more information, see the Shanghai Internship Handbook.

The Alliance makes every effort to place student interns at companies or organizations that match the organization’s needs with what each student brings to the table - including but not limited to the student’s Chinese language level and communication skills, prior experience, and work competencies. Students should not contact organizations themselves. The placement process begins with the submission of the Field Component Form during the program application process, and placements are typically finalized after an in-person interview in China. 

Featured Internship Placement

Andy Yau (Bentley University)

"I interned at one of the biggest IT outsourcing and technology companies in China, called Pactera. I was given the opportunity to work with a team who designed, developed, tested, and supported software requested by our clients, one of whom was Microsoft.

The most surprising thing that I learned from my internship experience was that communication is very important! (Especially because I wasn't able to speak Chinese fluently and my coworkers weren't able to speak English fluently). My conversations with my coworkers, even across the language barrier, allowed me to further understand China. When my coworkers expressed sadness that I was only there for three months, I felt that that they actually enjoyed me being there."

Sample of Past Shanghai Internships

Although the Alliance makes every effort to accommodate student preferences during the placement process, applicants are also encouraged to be flexible. Certain fields and industry sectors may limit the types of work available to undergraduate interns. The internship field in China’s large cities is highly competitive and the number of available placements is limited.

  • Shanghai Tonghe Industrial & Trade Development Co., Ltd, the not-for-profit economic development bureau of Baoshan District Government
  • Chi Heng Foundation, a Hong Kong based NGO that focuses its work on supporting education and training for children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS
  • Pactera, an IT and software development firm consulting for finance, technology, telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing and retail
  • Image Tunnel, a studio located in Shanghai’s Contemporary Arts District that is devoted to recording the changes in the city and promoting the culture in Shanghai
  • Merck Chemicals China, global chemical company offering specialty products for electronics, printing, coatings, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotech industries
  • Forte, Inc., a residential real estate subsidiary of Fosun, Inc., Shanghai’s largest privately owned company
  • CITS, New Shanghai International Travel Service Co., Ltd, China’s largest travel services agency
  • City Weekend Magazine, a print and online magazine under Ringier, a Swiss-based multinational media company
  • Pramex International, a subsidiary of BPCE International et Outre-mer, the leading French consulting firm for international development and transactions
  • Austen Morris Associates, an international financial planning and wealth management firm headquartered in Shanghai

Language classes taught by full-time language faculty selected and trained by the Alliance. Area studies courses are taught by faculty from various universities in Shanghai. 

Dr. Narisong Huhe
ECON 360 China: Economic Giant

Dr. TONG Chunyang 
MKTG 390 China as a Global Market 
INTS 380 Internship

Dr. WEI Chen 
ECON 371 / FINC 370 International Money and Finance

Dr. KENG Shu 
MGMT 390 Managing Enterprises in China

Dr. CHEN Bo 
ECON 380 International Trade: A Chinese Perspective


A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is each student’s responsibility to work with the home school study abroad advisor and faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business in China Program—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course taken while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi. The grading scale used in determining letter grades is as follows:

Excellent      A+ 97-100% Acceptable C+ 77-79%
A 93-96% C 73-76%
A- 90-92% C- 70-72%
Good    B+ 87-89% Unsatisfactory D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
Failing F < 60%


At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home school, with an unofficial copy forwarded to the participant. 

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

  • Fall programs - transcript issued in late February
  • Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Students in Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University. Students enrolled during that time can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, you may contact your Student Services Manager.

Academic Calendar

  • Fall 2015 term: August 26 – December 21
  • Spring 2016 term: February 12  June 4

The Alliance orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly. More details can be found in the Pre-Departure Information section.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities and excursions, and field study trips, the Alliance strongly discourages students from hosting visitors until the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit after the program has ended.


  • Suggested flight departure: February 11
  • Arrival in Shanghai: February 12
  • Orientation: February 13-15
  • Classes begin: February 16
  • Independent Travel*: TBD
  • Field Study Trip*: TBD
  • Students depart: June 4

* Organized trip dates are subject to change at any time.


  • Suggested flight departure: August 25
  • Arrival in Shanghai: August 26
  • Orientation: August 27-29
  • Classes begin: August 31
  • Independent Travel*: October 4-11
  • Field Study Trip*: November 7-14
  • Final exams: December 14-18
  • Students may depart: December 19
  • Students must move out of housing (by 12 noon): December 21

*Organized trip dates are subject to change at any time.

Students are housed in Tonghe International Apartments adjacent to the Alliance program center and university and a 10-15 minute walk from area studies course classrooms. The two bedroom apartments are shared by one Alliance student and one local university student, while three bedroom apartments are shared by two Alliance students and one local university student.

The apartments include a bathroom, kitchen, and a furnished bedroom with desk, desk lamp, closet space, and a remote control heating/air-conditioning unit. The bedrooms also include sheets, pillows, and a comforter. Towels are not provided. The furnished common areas include a TV, filtered water dispenser, refrigerator, and stove-top gas burners or a hotplate in the kitchen. Some apartments also have a small washing machine. Filtered water is replenished at student expense (12 RMB/$1.80 per tank) with the help of the Tonghe front desk staff. No kitchen utensils or other supplies are provided. During orientation all students are required to pay a 500 RMB (approximately $74 US dollars) housing deposit. If there is no damage to the room at the end of the program, this deposit will be refunded in full. Internet is available in each apartment for purchase (89 RMB/$14 per month) via the Tonghe front desk.

A distinct feature of the International Business program is the chance to share a double room with a local Chinese university student. This offers the opportunity for Alliance students to get to know Chinese students on campus quickly and to engage in language and cultural exchange with their new friends. Chinese roommates are invited to attend many of the organized activities. Former Alliance students consistently rate this experience as one of their favorite program features.

Meals are not included in the Alliance program fee.  Many students eat in the new cafeteria on campus. Meals are inexpensive (about $1-3 per meal). Many students also eat in local restaurants, especially those on the street adjacent to the campus. Students should budget $10 per day for meals, which will allow them to eat some meals off campus at local restaurants if desired.

Vegetarians will find that good food is available in China. Most restaurants serve lots of vegetables, tofu dishes, and staples such as rice, noodles, or dumplings. Note that some restaurants may use animal fat in preparing dishes.

The Alliance arranges extra-curricular classes which may include Chinese painting, calligraphy, cooking, taiji or other martial arts, pottery, seal carving, or paper cutting. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.

Throughout the term, students are invited to take part in a full schedule of excursions, events and lectures designed to enhance their understanding of China and the historical and modern influences that impact its culture and people. Students explore the famous sites of Shanghai including Yuyuan Park, the historic Bund along the Huangpu River, and the former French concession. Field visits may also include cultural performances, museum visits, special lectures, and opportunities to meet locals, including students from other campuses. To complement the international business curriculum, the Alliance arranges a series of visits to Chinese, joint-venture, and foreign-owned enterprises, allowing students to better understand the local business environment. Below is a sampling of activities from previous semesters. Specific activities for future terms are subject to change.

Company Visit to Sigma Group in Baoshan District

Sigma's aluminum alloy exports represent 50% of China's total aluminum alloy exports, and 40% of China's aluminum alloy exports to Japan. With the rapid development of China's automobile market, Sigma's domestic sales have also increased at a rapid pace. Sigma has the highest domestic sales volume out of China's secondary aluminum smelters. Students visited the company and each were given a copy of the New Yorker magazine article in which Sigma Group and its CEO Tony Huang were prominently featured. Tony personally hosted the excursion, led students on a tour of the processing facility and shared his insights in a Q&A session.

Weekend Trip to Shaoxing City

Students on the Shaoxing City trip have the opportunity to visit two textile factories and Asia's largest textile market. Students also paddle down one of Shaoxing's historical canals, visited Lu Xun's boyhood home and school, and picked tea at a tea farm.

Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Founder and owner Mr. Yang Peiming hosted the tour of the facilities and provided an introduction to his poster collection. Participants of this activity included SUFE students and their Chinese roommates. For more information on the Propaganda Poster Art Centre, please visit

Visit to Baosteel in Baoshan District

Students participated in a site visit to the largest iron and steel conglomerate in China. Baosteel is the sixth-largest steel producer in the world with revenues of $21.5 billion.

Lecture/Discussion: "Adapting to China's Business and Financial Practices"

The engaging lecture and Q&A session was led by Daniel Drescher, Alliance alum and 2008 graduate of University of Florida; Li Qi, Managing Director, Prosperity Assets Management Company and former Assistant Vice President, Golden Brilliant Investment Holding Company; and Wang Xumin, former Investment Director, Prosperity Assets Management, Ltd.

Documentary/Discussion: "Art, Economics, and Shanghai's Urban Redevelopment Politics"

The artist, and voice behind the M50 (Moganshan Lu) Studio and Contemporary Art Gallery District, presented her documentary on the making of the M50 district; an exploration of contemporary art, urban redevelopment, and social transformation.

Program Fees

Spring 2016 Program   $ 14,950
Fall 2015 Program   $ 14,950

What's Included

The program price includes tuition and fees, housing, pre-departure materials and advising, student visa authorization documents, orientation, organized activities, field study trips, course materials and basic stationary supplies, phone and internet set-up assistance, the services of a full-time resident staff, and medical/evacuation insurance.

what's not included

The program price does not include airfare to China, the cost of your student visa, meals, transportation, phone and internet, deposits required for local services, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

out of pocket expenses

When making your budget, think about your spending habits – are you a “Just the Essentials” Traveler, happy to eat all meals at the campus canteen and exploring the city on foot? Or are you more of the “Everything Extra” Traveler, who wants to experience everything – nights out at the clubs, shopping at boutiques, and traveling every weekend?

Estimated Out of Pocket Expenses for One Semester

Roundtrip airfare to China $ 1,300-1,800
Visa processing and shipping $ 260
Residence Permit (if issued a single-entry visa) $ 160
Macau Arrival Visa
(for certain international passport holders)
$ 20
Meals $ 1,000-1,200
Local transportation (varies by distance) $ 700-1,000
Phone usage (varies with data plan) $ 80
Internet usage $ 80
Incidentals and personal care items $ 50
Independent travel week $ 300-500
Entertainment $ 100-500
Weekend travel $ 100-500
Estimated Total $ 4,150-6,150

*Estimated in-country expenses based on 1.00 US Dollar = 6.36 Yuan Renminbi


Remember to check in with your home university and visit our Finances pages to learn more about financial aid and scholarships.

Our Shanghai program center sits just around the corner from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE), within the center of Shanghai’s university district. Meet our on-site staff!


The Shanghai programs are located just outside of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics’ (SUFE) main campus within the center of Shanghai’s university district. The neighborhood is lined with numerous small shops and restaurants to serve the transient student population. Within two blocks of student housing, you can find many small shops and cafes as well as the cuisines of Xinjiang, Hunan, Sichuan, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the U.S.A., and more. Several parks and recreational facilities located on campus just blocks from students’ dorms serve as great places for Chinese and international students alike to study, relax, or play frisbee.

Just a short distance from campus is Wujiaochang (五角场), a long-standing commercial node that has undergone a dramatic makeover in recent years. Today you will find two large shopping malls with scores of shops and restaurants of all kinds, including electronics, books, clothing, a movie theater, KTV, numerous bakeries, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Watson’s, and a Shanghai No. 1 Food Mart. You’ll also find H&M, Haagen Daz, and Sephora all in a row, as well as The Bank of China, ICBC, and ATM machines for China Construction Bank, Merchants Bank, and others. You can explore beyond this area’s student hangouts and cultural activities by easily catching metro line 10 downtown at Wujiaochang to experience the rest of what this exciting metropolis has to offer.

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

The Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (上海财经大学), founded in 1917, is a multi-dimensional university with a core focus on applied economics and management and offering majors in law, philosophy, as well as humanities. SUFE, home to 24,000 students on two campuses, is administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education and has recently been selected as one of the "21st Century's Key Universities in China." It is the number one ranked finance and economics university in China. 

Check out this interactive map of the Alliance's resources across Shanghai:

View Alliance On Location: Shanghai in a larger map.

The Alliance organizes a nine-day field study trip to Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangdong Province during the fall and spring semesters. The Field Study Trip allows students to deepen their understanding of investment and financial service industries influencing economic development in China.

Historically Hong Kong and Macau served as key colonial trading ports, but today these territories exist under Special Administrative Region status as part of China. Students visit the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and witness local advancements in infrastructure. The high level of economic integration along the Pearl River Delta plays a leading role in China’s economic growth. In nearby affluent Guangdong Province, students explore various international manufacturing centers.

Alliance alumnus Hunter shared his experiences on the blog: Part I, Part IIPart III

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