How to find a job in Suzhou

Updated 2022-09-18 14:50

Located in Jiangsu province, Suzhou is an important Chinese city. It is just about 100 kilometers away from Shanghai. So if you hop on a speed train, you can get from Suzhou to Shanghai in just 30 minutes. This has contributed significantly to Suzhou's popularity among expats — as well as the career opportunities that the city has to offer.  

If you are planning to settle in Suzhou, finding a job there should not be difficult. Foreign expertise is welcome and encouraged in many fields. But first, make sure you know more about the city's economy and labor market.


Since the COVID-pandemic, traveling to China and applying for the needed visa and work permit has become substantially more complicated. Therefore, keep in mind that even if you secure a job offer in Suzhou, you may need to wait until the situation changes before traveling to the country.

Suzhou economy

Suzhou is home to more than 2,000 national and many international businesses. The city's GDP is estimated at RMB 1.55 trillion, which puts it in the 7th spot among the ten Chinese cities with the highest GDP.

The city first began to flourish after the construction of the Grand Canal of China (which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) when it became the center of the global silk trade.

Today, the city's major industries include iron and steel, IT and electronics manufacturing, textile products, etc. The city is the world's largest producer of laptops and hosts two special industrial areas: Suzhou Industrial Park and Suzhou High & New Technology Development Zone.

Suzhou is, thus, known to be one of the country's largest industrial regions having an exclusive economic zone.

The Jiangsu province's main economic activities are agriculture: rice, soybeans, wheat, corn, and cotton cultivation, as well as textile, chemical, electronic, building materials, and automotive manufacturing.

The city is also home to some of Jiangsu province's best universities: Suzhou University, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, and others — thus, plenty of positions in the education industry are also available.

Suzhou job market

Suzhou is not a big city by China's standards. But it has a relatively large expat community — and quite a few work opportunities in technology, education, sales and marketing, etc.

The easiest way to get a job in Suzhou is to explore your options in English teaching. You can find English teaching positions in public schools, universities and private training centers.

However, you also need to take into account that since the introduction of the “double reduction” policy in 2021 (which aims to reduce the burden of extracurricular activities for Chinese students), a number of private English training centers across China have closed down. This means that the opportunities in English teaching may currently be limited.

If you work in engineering, IT, web development, industrial design and other technical fields, you will find plentiful career opportunities in Suzhou: in both international and local tech companies. You will also be able to find work in sales and marketing as a lot of companies in China make products for export and need the help of foreign professionals with marketing materials, social media management, etc.

How to find a job in Suzhou?

If you are job hunting from outside China, the best place to start your job search is online. There are lots of websites where you can find job postings for expats in Suzhou. Check out Echinacities, HiredChina, ChinaTeachingJobs, JobsDB, 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 Suzhou 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 Suzhou recruiters and hiring agencies in Suzhou 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 Suzhou and check their website 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 Suzhou. 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.

Additionally, 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 Suzhou 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 starting 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 Suzhou?

Applying for a job in China is similar to applying for a job in most other countries. Have your resume and cover letter ready. If you are applying for a job in an international company or seeking a position where the knowledge of Chinse 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. It is also a good idea to send out copies of your resume and cover letter in Chinese. Good knowledge of Chinese will substantially increase your chances of getting the job.

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. The work visa application process includes three steps:

  • You need to apply for a work permit
  • Then, you need to obtain a PU a letter
  • Finally, you can apply 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)
  • Class C (non-technical and service workers hired for seasonal/temporary projects).

The eligibility requirements, as well as the application process, may differ depending on the class of the working visa you are applying for.

The first thing you will need to start the job application process is to obtain a job offer. Having a valid work contract is essential for applying for a work visa in China. You will also need to make sure that your employer is capable of sponsoring your work visa. There are special requirements for companies in China that want to employ foreigners — and your employer will need to meet these requirements to provide you with a visa.

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 following countries don't require a PU letter: the United States, Austria, Croatia, Czech, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and South Korea.

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 whether 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 will be able to travel to China. But while a work visa grants you entry into the country, it only allows for a limited stay. It is essential that you start your residence permit application process as soon as you arrive in China to make sure you complete your application in time.


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 and may even be banned from visiting China in the future.

Salaries in Suzhou

How much you make working in Suzhou depends on your line of work, level of experience, the company you work for, the benefits package you are on, and more. If you are an English Teacher in Suzhou, you can expect to make anywhere from RMB 8,000 ($1200) to 30,000 ($4400) per month. If you work in sales, your salary can be anywhere from RMB 6,000 ($880) to 30,000 ($4400), depending on your base package and commissions.

Cost of living in Suzhou

How much you spend in Suzhou depends on your lifestyle and spending habits. Your biggest expense will be accommodation rent. This is why the best option for moving to the city would be to have a work contract with an accommodation allowance.

If you are renting accommodation in Suzhou on your own, you should budget for around RMB 3,000 ($440) for a studio in the less expensive areas of the city and RMB 5,000 ($740) and more for a studio in a more expensive area. For a single person, the average living costs in the city can amount to RMB 6,000 ($890) to 10,000 ($1500), sometimes more. If you are moving to Suzhou with a family, you will also need to factor in costs related to childcare, accommodation, and so on.

What are the perks of living in Suzhou?

You will like living in Suzhou if you want to live in a smaller city with easy access to the metropolis of Shanghai. Suzhou has a sizable expat community and plentiful work opportunities for expats. With that, the cost of living in the city is substantially lower than in first-tier cities in China. Suzhou has a humid subtropical climate with four seasons: the winters are windy and cold, and the summers are hot and humid.

The downside of living in Suzhou is the air quality. In 2021, the air quality in the city was classified as “unhealthy”.

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.