How to find a job in China

office in China
Updated 2022-09-25 13:09

China continues to be an attractive destination for new and experienced professionals from around the world. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, traveling to the country as well as obtaining a work permit has become much more complicated. Plus, because of some of the recently introduced policies, finding a job in the teaching industry in China has also become more difficult.


However, this doesn't mean that there are no longer any options for foreigners wishing to work in China. It just means that you need to know where to look.

What are the current conditions for working in China?

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, traveling to China has become significantly more complicated due to the country's zero COVID policy. Currently, most types of short-term visas for China (including the tourist visa) are unavailable. And work visas have become much more difficult to obtain.

Another policy change that you should be aware of is the introduction of the so-called

“double reduction”, which affects the teaching industry in China. The new policy aims to reduce the amount of excessive homework and extracurricular work for Chinese students and has led to the closure of a number of private training centers. This also means that finding work as an English teacher in China is now much more complicated than it used to be pre-pandemic.

However, while finding work may be more difficult, it is still possible. But it may take more research, time, and an intricate relocation plan.

Job hunting in China

There are several ways of moving to China for work.

You can be employed by a company in your home country that has a branch in China and ask for relocation.

Or, you can search for a job directly in China while you are still in your home country. Else, you may already be in the country and looking to switch employers.

Before the pandemic, some expats chose to travel to China on a tourist or business visa and search for employment on the spot. While this used to be quite a risky endeavor, currently, with no tourist or business visa options, this has become impossible. If the option does become available in the future, make sure to have enough resources to support yourself during your stay in the country as you search for work.

Now, let's look into how you can find a job in China from abroad.

First, you can scroll through several job-hunting websites and look into the positions that interest you. Check out Chinajob, Echinacities, Hiredchina, Chinaexpat, Echinacareers, Ping Wai Jiao, 51job, etc. This will give you a good idea of the job market, salary range and available opportunities in your line of work. Once you've selected the most fitting job offers, you can go on to send out your resume and cover letter — more information on that below.

If you are an experienced professional in your field, it may be best to do your job hunting via a recruiter. There are lots of headhunting agencies in China that are specialized in finding foreign employees for local companies. Getting in touch with a head hunter can be a very efficient way to get a job in your field. Check out China Recruitment Agency, Michael Page China, ManpowerGroup, etc. Linkedin is also a good place to search for headhunters in your industry — which brings us to our next point.

Social media is also a good way to look for employment in China. LinkedIn, in particular, is a popular space for hiring managers and headhunters in China to look for foreign talent. Make sure to have your Linkedin profile updated and reflect your full professional potential. If you are only interested in searching for employment in China, it's a good idea to change your current location on Linkedin to a city in China — this will make you more visible to local employers.

A lot of communication in China, including professional communication, happens on WeChat. WeChat is China's number one messenger app, similar to WhatsApp, but with many extra features such as online banking, payments, shopping, social media, and more. Before you set off on a job hunt in China, we suggest you download the app and register an account. A hiring manager or headhunter may ask you for your Wechat ID to continue the conversation about potential employment.

Another way to seek employment in China is first to get hired by a company back home with branches in China and then ask for relocation. As a lot of international companies have factories and offices in China, you will have a lot of options. You will have an even higher chance of employment in China if you work in IT, engineering, project management, marketing, sales, hospitality and teaching.

Which jobs are in the highest demand in China?

There are a number of opportunities available to those who want to work in China. However, these opportunities often lie in specific fields. Some of these are highly specialized and require long years of training. However, in some cases, the knowledge of a foreign language and good communication skills will be enough to land you the job.

Engineering and industrial design

A lot of foreign companies have moved their manufacturing to China. Moreover, many large local companies make products for the foreign market. This means that if you have skills that can be useful at any stage of the production process, you have a high chance of finding a job in China with one of the international or local manufacturers.

Salaries in manufacturing vary depending on your specific position, level of experience, responsibilities, the company you work for, etc. The salary for a beginner to a senior may vary from 15,000 RMB to 60,000 RMB per month, sometimes higher. Industrial designer salaries start at about 20,000 RMB and can go up to 40,000 RMB, sometimes higher.

Marketing and sales

A lot of companies in China make products for export. They need professionals to help them market and sell these products in foreign countries. Many Chinese companies prefer to hire foreign nationals for marketing and sales positions — especially foreign nationals from the countries they see as their biggest potential clients. Some of the most in-demand regions that China has strong export connections with include the United States, Western and Eastern Europe, India, etc.

To get a job in sales or marketing, you need to speak a foreign language and, preferably, have at least a basic knowledge of Chinese. You also need to have good communication skills. Any experience in marketing or sales will, of course, help you get a better position. Salaries in this field vary greatly and are often composed of a base salary (which you receive on a monthly basis) and a monthly or yearly bonus (which is what you accumulate in sales commissions). Salaries in sales and marketing start from 8,000 RMB and can go up to over 30,000 RMB and higher, depending on your commission volume.

Writing, copywriting and translation

As we keep mentioning throughout this article, many companies in China work for the foreign market. This means they often need their websites, marketing materials, social media posts, and more, written in a foreign language — mostly English. This creates a lot of demand for copywriters and translators who work with written and other materials. Knowledge of Chinese is a definite plus in this field but is not a requirement for most positions. In-house copywriters in China make from $15,000 RMB to over 30,000 RMB per month. But if you are not up for a full-time position, you may also consider working as a copywriter part-time or taking on some freelance writing work.

Hospitality and F&B

China's hotel and restaurant industries are booming, and there is a strong need for foreign talent in these fields. If you are a hotel or restaurant manager, a chef, a guest relations manager, etc., there may be quite a few employment opportunities awaiting you in China. You will find all the major hotel chains represented here. Besides, large hotel chains and boutique hotels in China are also often on the lookout for experienced multilingual professionals. A hotel manager of an international or a large local hotel can make from 40,000 RMB to 60,000 RMB, sometimes more. The salary of a chef in a foreign restaurant ranges from 10,000 RMB to 30,000 RMB.


Teaching — especially English teaching — used to be one of the best ways to get your foot in the door when looking for work in China. However, as we've mentioned above, the Chinese government has recently adopted the “double reduction” policy, which restricts the number of extracurricular activities that Chinese students can take on. This has led to the closure of several English training centers and other teaching facilities across the country. This means that there are now fewer teaching opportunities in China than just a few years ago. However, fewer doesn't mean none. If you are a qualified and experienced teacher, finding a job in China shouldn't be too difficult.

If you plan to work as an English teacher, you will have substantially more chances of landing a job if you have proper English teaching certifications such as TEFL, CELTA, DELTA, etc. An English teacher in China can make from 10,000 RMB to 25,000 RMB, sometimes more.

In addition to teaching English, there are other teaching opportunities in China as well on both the school and college levels.

Good to know:

There is a special category of jobs in China that is often referred to as “laowai jobs” (“foreign jobs”). Quite often, these types of jobs don't require you to have any specific skills except for being from another country. Examples of such jobs or gigs include attending conferences or exhibitions as “VIP guests”, marketing products, posing for ads and presentation videos (even if you don't work for the company).

How to apply for a job in China?

To apply for a job in China, you will need to send in a standard application that includes your resume, cover letter and, on occasion, samples of your work. If you are applying for a job where you will be communicating primarily in English, it's perfectly okay to send in your application in English. However, if your Chinese skills allow you to do so, adding a copy of your resume in Chinese will definitely increase your chances and impress your potential employer. Consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

After you've sent in your application, you may receive a call from the hiring manager or your potential new employer. Make sure to have your WeChat app ready. You may then be invited for a job interview in person or online. Note that you may have to go through a round of interviews on different levels before you secure a position.


First and foremost, to work in China legally, you will need to obtain a Chinese work visa (Z Visa). Note that this is the only way to be officially employed in the country. While some companies may offer you employment on business and tourist visas, this practice is punishable by law and may result in deportation.

The work culture in China

Working style and corporate culture in China are quite different from those in Western countries. Differences can be found in everything from relationships with colleagues to daily routines.

A typical working day in China lasts eight hours, with most companies offering one and a half hours for lunch and a 20-minute break after four in the afternoon. A nap in the afternoon is very common in China, and most offices would dim the lights and have some 'quiet time' after about 1 pm. At 4 pm, Chinese office workers would often have another 20-minute break, often accompanied by a serving of sweet treats or fruit.

The notion of efficiency is also different from what it is in the West. While Westerners are used to working under tight deadlines and are motivated to complete tasks quickly, working in China is more slow-paced, emphasizing patience.

Connections (or 'guanxi' in Chinese) play a crucial role. Getting to know your supervisor, manager and CEO is considered the key to further success in the company.

Many companies have strict rules regarding company information: profits, marketing strategies, and goals are often discussed only between higher management. Certain enterprises forbid the use of USB drives or access to local social media while at work.

Working in China can be an exciting adventure — as well as a promising career path. Knowing what to expect and learning about the best practices of China's business culture is a good way to get started.

Useful link:

The State Council of the People's Republic of China (work visa information)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.