Finding a job and working in China

Updated 2022-09-18 13:58

Jinan is the capital of China's Shandong province. It's one of the most beautiful cities in China, known for its stunning landscapes and hot springs. But if you have something more long-term in mind than just soaking in mineral-rich waters and admiring nature, you'll be glad to know that the city also offers professional opportunities for expats willing to settle in the area.


Over the years, Jinan has evolved into a major national administrative and economic center. It has also been attracting more and more foreign professionals and investors seeking experience in the region. If you intend to settle there, finding a job in Jinan should not be difficult. The city is home to many local and international enterprises that would benefit from foreign talent. Start by learning about the city's labor market and have your updated CV ready.


Since the COVID-pandemic, traveling to China, as well as obtaining the needed visa and work permit, has become substantially more complicated. Remember that even if you secure a job offer in Jinan, you may need to wait until the situation changes before traveling to the country.

Jinan economy

Jinan owes most of its today's economic glory to a natural phenomenon. Around 1852, the Yellow River (the second longest river in China) shifted to a new bed in the north of Jinan. This has played a crucial role in the city's future development, making it a trade center for agricultural goods and farming produce in China's north.

Later on, Jinan became an important industrial city thanks to the significant natural reserves of iron and coal. This has led to the development of durable metal and automobile parts industries and the manufacturing of transportation tools, bio-engineered products, and more.

Recently, the city has experienced a shift towards tech-intensive industries, with areas like IT, communications technology and animation playing an increasingly important role.

Jinan hosts various specialized areas, namely the Jinan High-tech Industrial Development Zone, which consists of companies such as Panasonic, LG, and Sanyo; the Jinan Export Processing Zone, and the Liaocheng Economic Development Zone.

The city has good quality human resources thanks to its universities and other higher education institutes. These include the Shandong University, the Shandong Polytechnic University, the University of Jinan, and the University of Finance and Economics of Shandong, among others. The city also has more than 200 research institutes and national laboratories.

The job market in Jinan

When you search for job openings in Jinan on popular expat websites such as Echinacities, you will see a lot of job offers for English teachers. English teaching is indeed a good way to get started if you want to move to Jinan. To teach English in China, you will need a TEFL certificate or a Bachelor's degree in a related field. In addition to English teaching, there are other opportunities in education. There are 22 universities in Jinan, some of which hire foreign professors.

If you are looking for a position in a tech company, you will also find opportunities in Jinan. The city is home to several tech and economic development zones.

Many local tech companies in the city work for export — which means they have jobs for qualified professionals such as engineers, developers, industrial designers, project managers, IT experts, etc.

A lot of companies in Jinan work for export, and they often employ foreigners in sales, marketing, social media management, public relations, and more. To get a job in marketing and sales, you will need good communication skills and familiarity with the market you will be working for. Knowledge of a foreign language will also be beneficial.

How to find a job in Jinan?

If you are job hunting from outside China, the best place to start your job search is online. Check out these websites for opportunities in Jinan: Echinacities, ChinaTeachingJobs, 51job, etc.

Another useful tool in remote job hunting is social media. Make sure your Linkedin account is fully updated and indicates that you are open to new opportunities. It is also a good idea to change your Linkedin location to Jinan so that your profile is more visible to employers and headhunters in the city.

If you are an experienced professional, your job search will be more efficient if you go through a hiring agency. You will find a lot of Jinan recruiters and hiring agencies on Linkedin.

Yet another way to go about your job search is to contact potential employers directly. You can look up companies in your field with offices in the city and check their websites for potential employment opportunities. You can also reach out to their HR departments and inquire whether there are any openings in the department you want to work in.

You can also check with employers in your home country. Some international companies may have branch offices or manufacturing facilities in Jinan. Finding a job in your home country first and then exploring relocation options may be one of the best ways to have job security in China.

The best thing about being relocated from a company back home is that international companies typically provide their employees with generous relocation packages that include perks such as moving costs, accommodation, living expenses, education for children, tickets to fly back home for holidays, and more.

Before you set out on your job search in China, make sure to download the WeChat app. It's the number one app in China with over 900 million users and is used for most online communication in the country. WeChat is primarily a messenger app, but you can also use it for work calls, sharing documents, holding online meetings, setting up work group chats, and more. WeChat is also a social media, shopping and contactless payment tool.

If you want to search for work in Jinan when you are already in the country, you can still do all of the above. However, to work in China legally, you will need to apply for a work permit and residence — and the only way to do that is from outside of China. So, if you secure a job offer, you will need to travel back home and apply for a work visa before you can start your employment.


Currently, you can only travel to China if you have a valid residence permit. You will also need to undergo a quarantine on your arrival. Make sure to check the latest entry requirements to the country before making any travel plans.

How to apply for a job in Jinan?

Applying for a job in China is similar to applying for a job in most other countries. You will need to have your resume and cover letter ready and tailored to the position you are applying for.

In most cases, if you are applying for a job in an international company or seeking a position where knowledge of Chinese isn't required, you can send your application in English. However, if you speak and write Chinese, make sure to mention this in your application or even add copies of your resume and cover letter in Chinese to your application. This will substantially increase your chances and employment options.

The next step in the application process will be a message or call from the hiring manager or your future employer. As we've mentioned above, make sure you download the WeChat app, as a lot of communication in China — including work communication — happens on the app. In fact, it's a good idea to add your WeChat ID to your application so that your potential employer can get in touch with you quickly.

If the employer is interested in your application, you will next go through a round of interviews.

Note that if you are applying for work in a large company, you may need to interview with several department heads at different levels. If you are applying for work in a smaller firm, one or two interviews will probably be enough.

How to apply for a work visa to China?

The only way to work in China legally is to apply for a work visa. In order to do so, you will need to go through the following steps:

  • Applying for a work permit
  • Obtaining a PU letter (optional for applicants from some countries)
  • Applying for the work visa itself.

Note that all work visas in China are classified into three categories: Class A (high-level talent),

Class B (professional personnel) and Class C (non-technical and service workers hired for seasonal/temporary projects). The eligibility requirements for each visa class may differ.

The first thing you will need to do is get a job offer. This is essential for applying for a work visa to China. You also need to make sure your employer can sponsor your visa, as there are special requirements for companies in China that want to employ foreigners.

Once you have secured a work contract, you will need to ask your employer to send you an official invitation (work permit notice). You may also need to obtain a PU letter, an invitation that is issued by the China Foreign Affairs Office. Currently, applicants from the United States, Austria, Croatia, Czech, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and South Korea do not require a PU letter. However, as these requirements change frequently, make sure to check whether you need a PU letter prior to your application.

Once you've collected the above documents, you can apply for the work visa itself. You can submit your application at your nearest embassy or consulate in China. Note that you will need to make an appointment first.

If your application is approved and you receive your work visa, make sure to check if all the information on your visa is correct, such as your name's spelling, type of visa, entry date, length of stay, etc.

When you have received your work visa, you can travel to China. However, you can only stay in the country for a short time on the visa you've received. This is why you will need to apply for a residence permit (based on your work visa) as soon as you arrive in China.


Obtaining a work permit is the only way to work in China legally. With that, you may find job offers (especially in English teaching) that won't provide you with the needed documents. While quite a few expats engage in such employment offers, the consequences for working illegally in China are severe. You risk facing heavy fines and deportation. You may even be banned from entering China in the future.

Wages in Jinan

As an English teacher in Jinan, you will probably be making from RMB 15,000 ($2,200) to 25,000 ($3,700) and maybe more, depending on your position, the school or training center you work for, etc. You can also increase your income by taking on some work on the side — for instance, tutoring or online teaching.

If you are employed in tech, your salary will depend on your position, line of work, seniority level, etc. On average, engineers in Jinan can make anywhere from RMB 20,000 (3,000) to 40,000 ($6,000), while project managers in specific fields generally make upwards of RMB 30,000 ($4,400). Salaries in sales vary greatly depending on the company you work for, your base salary and commissions package, and more.

Cost of living Jinan

The cost of living in Jinan is lower compared to first-tier cities in China. Your biggest monthly expense will be rent. This is why it's always beneficial to have a work contract that covers your accommodation expenses. If you will be paying for rent yourself, you should budget around RMB 2,000 (4300) to 4,000 ($600) for a studio. Renting in central locations will be more expensive. As a single person, your expenses in the city can be from RMB 8,000 ($1,200) to RMB 12,000 ($1,800), sometimes more, depending on your lifestyle.

What are the perks of living in Jinan?

You will like living in Jinan if you want to live in a naturally beautiful Chinese city with a rich cultural heritage. Jinan is known as “the city of hot springs” and is home to over a hundred natural pools. There are close to nine million people living in Jinan — and there is an expat community in the city, though much smaller than in Beijing or Shanghai. Living in Jinan will be more comfortable if you speak Chinese — however, the actual language spoken in the city is known as the Jinan dialect, and you may need to adjust to the way locals speak. Jinan is home to the oldest part of China's Great Wall and is also well-connected to other cities in China via a high-speed rail.

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.