Guangzhou
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Updated 4 months ago

Guangzhou – formerly known as Canton – is the capital of Guangdong province. It’s the country’s third largest city (after Shanghai and Beijing) and a favourite among expats due to the city’s booming economy and an abundance of amenities. A multitude of professional opportunities are available for foreigners hoping to work in Guangzhou, but it’s always a good idea to start by exploring the sectors with the highest employment potential.

Guangzhou economy

Guangzhou has a very dynamic and prosperous economy, which is mainly based on import and export, industry, trade, and technology. In fact, Guangzhou is one of the most important manufacturing regions across China. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounted to over RMB2.3 trillion in 2018.

The city hosts several economic areas including the Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, the Guangzhou Nanshan Export Processing Zone, the Guangzhou Free Trade Zone and the Guangzhou Science City. The Guangzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone is mainly based on the development of the latest technologies while Guangzhou Nanshan Export Processing Zone includes companies involved in biotechnology, automotive parts assembly, heavy industries, etc.

As for the Guangzhou Free Trade Zone, it mainly promotes international trade, logistics and software production, among others. You will also find international companies such as NetEase, NASDAQ and Honda ' as well as many others ' in Guangzhou.

The city is also known for its booming fashion industry and huge sprawling shopping malls like Mall of the World, Happy Valley, Wanguo Plaza and others. Shoppers from all over China come to the city's wholesale clothing market - Baima Garment Market.

Job-hunting in Guangzhou

Expatriates in Guangzhou are more likely to be hired in the fields of technology, trade, industry and tourism. In addition to that and, as the city is becoming more and more international, work opportunities appear in the service sector including hospitality and food and beverage where a growing number of foreigners are employed. There are also English media, both print and digital, where some expats find new opportunities.

Jobs are always available in the teaching field. With that said, due to the city's popularity among expats, the competition is also much higher than in second-tier cities.

Start your job search in Guangzhou by going over local expat job websites and forums, read through English newspaper ads and send out spontaneous applications to local or international companies in your field. Attending professional meet-ups and trade fairs can also provide a great source of job opportunities. Note that knowledge or, at least, understanding of Mandarin or Cantonese will be highly useful when applying for a position.

In autumn and spring of every year, Guangzhou hosts The Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China. With 50 product categories, the fair unites buyers and sellers from all over the world, with the most prominent local companies booking their display booths months in advance. The Canton Fair presents an abundance of part-time work opportunities for expats (as translators, presenters, marketing personnel, etc.), but it is also a great place to look for a full-time position with some of China's most influential companies.

Useful links:

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