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careers in China for foreigners
Foreigners in China
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Top 10 Careers in China for Foreigners

Thanks to globalization and economic growth, the opportunities for foreigners desiring to work in China have increased significantly in the last few years. In 1996, there were only 180,000 foreign workers registered in China, but the number is rapidly growing since there are so many careers in China for foreigners today. For some time now, teaching English has been one of the main job areas for foreigners in China, but lately, there has been a growing demand of expatriates with skills in engineering, sales, management and so much more. Most of the jobs are offered by foreign-invested enterprises or international firms but also there has been an increasing number of Chinese companies hiring expatriates, State-owned companies included.

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Building a career in China is such a plus on your resume, and the experience comfortably places you on the international marketplace map. Besides there being so many careers in China for foreigners, expats are fascinated by the thought of working in the world’s fastest growing economy and an opportunity of being able to experience a completely different culture. As much as working in a cross-cultural environment isn’t a walk in the park, choosing to work in China demonstrates your willingness to work in a new culture and your flexibility in experiencing a different market. Some of the most interesting careers in China for foreigners are in the following fields.

1. Teaching English

This is perhaps the most common and stereotyped job in China. English teachers are found far and wide in China from the cosmopolitan megacities like Beijing and Shanghai to small villages in Tibet. English teaching jobs are available at high schools, universities and also at a growing number of private language schools. Ideally, they are advertised through email or telephone contacts either directly by the school or a placement agency. Some of the placement agencies match the foreign teachers with Chinese schools, provide pre-departure training and only charge a modest fee for this service. Some of the international teaching opportunities can also be found at major job fairs. The candidates require a government-issued public school teaching certificate and should plan on attending the fair to participate in on-site interviews.

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English teaching jobs also frequently require that you are a native speaker and have an English teaching certificate like the TEFL( Teaching English as a Foreign Language).Having a master’s degree will not only increase your chances of finding a job but also your salary. Professional teaching is one of the most lucrative careers for foreigners in China, and it’s highly marketable especially for individuals with advanced degrees. The international schools in China pay some of the best salaries you’ll find anywhere, and the universities keep looking for qualified teachers to lead math, science or history courses in English-medium programs. In fact, there is a significant increase in graduate schools that run programs in English thus if you have a specialized degree and some English, this is exactly what you need to propel you to the next career level.

2. IT Jobs

China’s Information Technology business is booming, and small and medium-sized technology enterprises offer many employment opportunities in the IT sector for expats especially in the Southern coastal city of Shenzhen, Beijing’s Zhongguancun Hi-Tech Development Zone and Shanghai. The Chinese government is highly committed to developing the technology industry and with such rapid developments, most often than not they run short of IT professionals with a myriad of job openings in IT and related field not being filled.

For instance, the Chinese Internet has always operated on different standards and principles something entirely distinct from the global market. With that, more and more big Chinese websites and companies are seeking to create an international market. This directly makes IT one of the in-demand careers in China for foreigners since they will need skilled Western foreign IT masters to achieve this. An example would be Alibaba, which is the Chinese answer to Amazon or eBay, has hired a huge team of foreign IT, Marketing and Design specialists to enhance their global presence.

3. Engineering / Specialized Technical Skills jobs.

It might sound absurd since China has one of the highest numbers of engineers graduating from the universities yearly, but with the rapid growth in industrial production, they fall short of skills in some areas. There are newer, highly-specialized fields such as automotive, oil and gas, clean energy and general heavy industries in China which the universities find it hard to train in and this is where they outsource talent. Additionally, foreigners lend companies and project an air of prestige since they have a higher level of hands-on experience with globe-spanning projects thus are highly valued and in demand to work on Chinese-designed infrastructure projects.

4. Marketing/Creative Field jobs

Marketing as well as another creative field in China such as design and content related e-commerce are fast growing and also one of the careers in China for foreigners since there is a high demand for foreign nationals with the relevant skills. In this field, there are two main companies, the Chinese companies looking to improve their global presence and image and the foreign companies looking for experienced China hands to help them penetrate the local market. It is the perfect field for individuals with genuine curiosity, language skills, and strong critical thinking skills since it entails bridging the gap between two business cultures.

5.English Editor/ Writer/ Journalist

This is perfect for individuals with a strong command of the English language and grammar. Beijing alone has a plethora of state-run English newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, news portals which blast the message to the world. Working in such organizations is great since it helps you expand your network and lay the groundwork for future opportunities. Also, corporations are looking for English speakers for legal document translation, technical writing and coherent correspondence with overseas clients.

6.Trading company sales manager.

Sales managers primarily basically focus on handling sales for corporate clients, but they can also be in charge of directing sales teams. It is very imperative that you have an understanding of Chinese business customs and etiquette for its vital for success in this industry. Most trading companies in China hook up the suppliers with Western buyers hence look for aggressive sales foreigners to help in facilitating the business and outing their products out, and if you are good enough, with strong sales and management skills, you can increase your chances of landing new accounts.

7.Accounting and Financial jobs

There is a myriad of opportunities in the accounting and financial sector of China. They range from foreign bank executives to advanced financial controller. The Chief Financial Controller is one of the in-demand careers in China for foreigners and requires not only vast knowledge on financial policies but also a mix of Western and Chinese business experience. Also, after China entered the WTO at the end of 2001, it gradually opened and expanded its financial sector thus the demand for financial talents has kept increasing.

8.Hotel management jobs

It’s beyond doubt that China’s tourism industry is booming, and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. According to WTO, by 2020, China will be the largest tourist country in the whole world. This is a clear indication that the hospitality industry will keep expanding, and the demand for foreign talent will rise. In China, the reception personnel are very few but with their new-found status as a fast-rising tourism economy, more and more jobs are created hence perfect for foreigners with relevant skills wishing to build their careers in China.

9. Advertising jobs

China’s advertising industry has been on the rise, and they are constantly looking for new faces with a different outlook. The creative instinct and high amount of energy and drive are the prerequisites for such a job. Foreign and Chinese companies are fighting a dog-eat-dog battle for the Chinese market; hence, the different ad agencies are always looking for new faces to work in this fast-paced, highly-competitive environment.

10. Translator

Many companies are localizing their content into English and require native-English speakers to do that. Some of the companies include Gaming, IP law, and Energy. You can also work as a freelance translator where you will not be locked in a single location and set your working hours. You must be good in public speaking skills, rich in vocabulary, idioms, and colloquial expressions.

Working in China is such an amazing, character-building challenge. There are tons of careers in China for foreigners, and whether it’s an internship or a full-time job, the impact is insurmountable. You will stand above any other candidate in your field not only because of your rich job experience but also because of your character and ability to deal with individuals from different cultures. Working in a foreign land is quite eye-opening but working in China is a blessing.

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41 Comments
  • Avatar
    M.Angelica Struve
    Reply

    How about the opportunity to work in the medical field .. Hoe dose one go about working in a hospital ir clinic . what do I need to accomplish this

  • Avatar
    Roleen Moodley
    Reply

    How does one get a student visa in China…

  • Avatar
    Kenanao Cordelia Rangaka
    Reply

    I AM LOOKING FOR A JOB IN CHINA

  • Avatar
    Ankit Koirala
    Reply

    Can we work in hotel sales in china being basic chinese speaker

  • Avatar
    PAULEEN LIM
    Reply

    Hi,

    We are an established recruitment company in Singapore since 1996 and we have offices in India and philippines as well . I came across your website and wanted to explore your interest for us to cooperate together . We have sent Indian Engineers to work in China and if you have requirements / jobs, we can source for suitable candidates to send them to work in China too.

  • Avatar
    Ms.Cho Zin Thant
    Reply

    I’m interest in Chinese job.

  • Avatar
    Bonface murigia
    Reply

    Thank for this wonderful information, am already in china a foreghner from africa so almost finishing my contract hear as an artist, but still willing to stay find for a job.

  • Avatar
    ALAZUMAH RAYMULUS BOM-IB
    Reply

    Hi Sir, a Ghanaian in the West of Africa. A young boy of age 26. And please help me with a job in China. But i will better if put me the technical aspect .

  • Avatar
    Jehan
    Reply

    How about housemaid?

  • Avatar
    Sunshine Samuel
    Reply

    Hello.. This is samuel from Nigeria.. I love to work there in china right now. Seeking for a on hotel management ,hospitality or translator, and also I will love to learn and improve my Chinese …Thanks

  • Avatar
    NAMUTEBI SUZAN
    Reply

    Hi am a Ugandan. Am looking for a job in China. I wish i can get one I really love to work in China cuz that’s my dream

  • Avatar
    Muyanja Bashir
    Reply

    am looking for a job in china

  • Avatar
    Suzanne
    Reply

    This is Suzanne here, i am a chinese from Malaysia. wish to get a chance to work in China in field of hotel management

  • Avatar
    Jui Chen
    Reply

    Hello. My name is Jui. I absolutely would love to work in China one day.
    Thank you.

  • Avatar
    Thomas
    Reply

    You can’t work in any position if you didn’t do the same job at least two years before, or if you get a masters degree in the related field. And you can’t switch careers. So don’t think you’ll be entering as an English teacher and then see what’s next as nothing will happen.

  • Avatar
    MUHAMMAD AJMAL
    Reply

    I need any job in china. I spent 6 months in tianjin china. And i can know and speaking chinese . now i want job in china please help me .

  • Avatar
    Serena Van Harmelen
    Reply

    Hello. I am canadian. I can speak Manderin, and french. Although English is my native language.
    I am a CPA, CFA. Graduated with an accounting and economic degree, as well as a certificate of international business. I also have an MBA of Finance From UCLA Andson school of Business.
    I would like to work in beijing, China in financial industry. Also learn and improve my chinese. Please advise what kind of job opportunities may have there. Thank you.

  • Avatar
    ABDUL BASIT
    Reply

    I wanta job in china like teaching , modeling , night club jobs , I’m already in china if anyone know so plz inform me

  • Avatar
    Collins Oyewumi Ikuejawa
    Reply

    Thank you for this eye opener. I am considering relocating from Nigeria to China or South Korea. I am an Accountant with degree and doing my MBA also, with passion for teaching / lecturing. Your write up has revealed to me I have lots of opportunities in China. Than you.

  • Avatar
    Ouafi
    Reply

    Bonjour
    Ayant plusieurs années d’expérience en installations et maintenance des équipements médicaux notamment les équipements de radiologie médicale,je souhaite trouver un emploi en chine.
    Je me tiens à votre disposition pour tout renseignement complémentaire.
    Cordialement.

  • Avatar
    Reply

    […] There are a plethora of other fascinating jobs available for foreigners in China that include: Sales and marketing, hospitality and hotel management, engineering, translation, and trade. Find out more here. […]

  • Avatar
    Abdul Khalique
    Reply

    Hello, I am English teacher at Chengdu China. If someone will pay me more than this school then I will join that school. Feel free to contact with me through email.

  • Avatar
    feriezer Genet
    Reply

    i graduated both applied physics and civil engineering and i have exprienced specially in teaching and come from east africa , ethiopia .so, i want teach this field in china please help me

  • Avatar
    Irumba Racheal
    Reply

    Am a 26 years old Ugandan female with a diploma in journalism and mass communication. Am currently working as a waitress. Am looking for a job. Thks

  • Avatar
    Ebenezer omari
    Reply

    Good morning sir please am from Ghana in West Africa and i want to live and work in China so please help me.thankyou

  • Avatar
    Geoffrey Mulenga
    Reply

    Iam a male Zambian interested to work in the field of Security and International Relations. I have a Double Bachelor Degree in Criminology and International Relations with Monash University. This passion has made me to apply for the job in china through your office . Kindly, help as am ready to move at the time convenient to my prospecting employer. I thank you.

  • Avatar
    Joseph Varghese
    Reply

    Mr. Khlystov
    I am, Joseph Varghese,a highly accomplished Country Head / General Manager having expertise with sales, marketing,credit management,consulting and P&L responsibility , leading people across multiple sectors and countries in UAE, India and W.Africa . My hands on expertise include setting up new organisations, creating polices, manage daily operations, budgets, strong administrative management and in ensuring commercial feasibility. An effective trainer cum mentor with lead, manage and retain policy ensuring increased market share having visible brand value with CSR.
    Currently I am in London and looking for a break in China and look forward to hear from you.
    regards
    Joseph Varghese
    + 44 7451 099 6581

  • Avatar
    Judy Muhavi
    Reply

    From a few items read, I’ve gained an interest of joining China Country on the side of Hospitality, but I’ve no clue in their requirements, second is no network to link there. Thank you sound welcoming and generous people.

  • Avatar
    Katumba Umar
    Reply

    I live in East Africa (Uganda), can you recruit me as an English teacher.

  • Avatar
    Reply

    […] to Laowai Careers, the top 10 jobs for expats that don’t require massive amounts of experience […]

  • Avatar
    Samwel Thomas Mbuku
    Reply

    Am very interested to work in China. Kindly facilitate. Am an expert English teacher and there are very many openings to me even s translators job fits.

  • Avatar
    Nagbane Banga
    Reply

    Hi, I’m Hubert, a Togolese gentleman with Bachelor’s Of Arts (English Language). I have taught English as Foreign Language in Togo for four years. I’m currently teaching French as Foreign Language in Ghana for about four years now. I’m very fluent at both English and French.
    How can I get a Job as English Teacher in China?
    Sincerely Regard.

  • Avatar
    JEREMIAH APPIAH
    Reply

    I am young energetic Ghanaian who wish to work in China. I am a teacher by profession

  • Avatar
    james
    Reply

    i study accounting can i get accounting or relevant jobs in china and if yes what are the requirement ?

  • Avatar
    Martin
    Reply

    Good day

    My name is Martin van Deventer, age 44 years, White, Married with 2 Kids age ( Justin ) 7 years and ( Alex ) 11 years and residing still in South Africa.

    I would like to find out about and possible vacancy. I would like to move dew to the political struggle and want to give my family a better live and opportunity in education and in life. We are struggling and things are getting worse here in South Africa.

    I am prepared to do any work that is available.
    If you would consider to employ a foreigner then i would appreciate it in giving me a opportunity.
    Feather more i would need assistance with relocation as well with visa. Passport is already in place.
    I know it is asking a lot of assistance and the cost is high for what needs to be done but willing to sign a contract for paying it back.

    Regards

  • Avatar
    sohaib khan
    Reply

    i wanna apply for esl job , i am pakistani and graduated from china as a doctor , plz let me know if there is any job available

  • Avatar
    Themba or Clement
    Reply

    Hi Good day,am working as an operator in coca-cola company looking for any job in engineering

  • Avatar
    Tessa Bristow
    Reply

    To whom it may concern

    I am looking at the possibility of a career move to China preferably Shanghai area as my partner is based there .

    I have 12 years hospitality experience and have spent the last two years working in Transportation and logisitcs as a director of a trucking company in Northern Mozambique where – China has many interests including agricultural, timber and tobacco exports .
    With this knowledge and back round I am interested to see if some one like me would be of interest in China with worth while positions available for me to consider the move .

    I would appreciate any advise or feedback on what is available and what might be required.

  • Avatar
    Kumarpalanisamy
    Reply

    Dear sir
    I come from India. I have two years of experience in English teaching field. My IELTS SCORE IS OVERALL 5.Can I get job at college schools in Tibet.And now I learn basic Chinese at Yunnan college in Kunming.

  • Avatar
    Rejoice
    Reply

    I’m looking for environmental health jobs .what do l do

  • Avatar
    Miniswrang Brahma
    Reply

    I wish to visit China.