Finding work in China

office in China
Updated 2020-04-30 08:29

China's booming economy offers abundant opportunities for expats wishing to head off the beaten track and explore Asia's unique lifestyle. Whether you are in search of a new long-term career or just looking for a change of pace with a part-time job, here's what you need to know about working in China.

Job-hunting in China (from abroad)

There are typically two scenarios when looking for a job in China. You can either work for a company in your home country that has an office in China (preferred) or look for a job in China once you have already arrived.

The most efficient way to look for a job in China is through the web. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to employment abroad in general and employment in China specifically. If you already have a city in mind, focus on the websites displaying job vacancies in that specific city.

Visit or contact the embassy of your home country in China to get more information about teaching jobs opportunities. You can also get useful information by contacting the economic missions or chambers of commerce of your country established in China.

Start by sending out your updated CV and references to foreign companies in China or check in with the companies in your home country that have offices in China.

When invited to work for a foreign company in China, you are likely to benefit from the so-called 'expatriate package' that comes with a number of advantages like relocation help, health insurance, housing allowance, salary paid in foreign currency and so on. You will also be able to enjoy all western holidays (like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year and more).

With that said, working for a Chinese company comes with benefits of its own. You will get to immerse yourself into the local environment, get more Chinese language practice, and an insight into the workings of a local office. Additionally, with more and more expats working in China, a lot of local companies have adapted to 'foreign' requirements and offer contracts that are quite 'expat-friendly'.

Job-hunting in China (locally)

If you are already in China and are looking for new opportunities, you can search for a suitable position on the spot.

Once again, looking for work online can be very efficient. Scan local job search websites as well as English expat-oriented online resources to see available positions in the city you are in or are willing to move to. Note that big cities generally offer more employment opportunities but hand in hand with higher competition. Smaller towns, on the other hand, are often in demand of foreign professionals and provide a lower cost of living as one of the attractions.

With regards to your application, adapt your CV to Chinese standards by emphasising your qualifications and education (employers highly value degrees in China) as well as on your English, Mandarin, and other language skills. Put forward your ambition and your motivation in line with the job you are applying for and attach a cover letter. Typically, applications are sent in English. However, if your Mandarin skills allow it, having your CV and cover letter in Chinese will surely impress your potential employer. Consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

Once in China, focus on developing your contacts. Networking is essential in the country. Referred to locally as 'guanxi', it is basically a system of influential relationships, which facilitate business and other dealings. It's always a good idea to prepare your business cards in both English and Chinese to make your area of expertise instantly clear to potential local employers. Take the time to attend business conferences, professional meet-ups and exhibitions to expand your career opportunities.


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.

Useful links:

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.