careers in China for foreigners
Foreigners in China

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Top 10 Careers in China for Foreigners
4.3 (85%) 4 votes

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  • Abdul Khalique

    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.

  • feriezer Genet

    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

  • Irumba Racheal

    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

  • Ebenezer omari

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

  • Geoffrey Mulenga

    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.

  • Joseph Varghese

    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.
    Joseph Varghese
    + 44 7451 099 6581

  • Judy Muhavi

    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.

  • Katumba Umar

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

  • Reply

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

  • Samwel Thomas Mbuku

    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.

  • Nagbane Banga

    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.


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

  • james

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

  • Martin

    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.


  • sohaib khan

    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

  • Themba or Clement

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

  • Tessa Bristow

    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.

  • Kumarpalanisamy

    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.

  • Rejoice

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

  • Miniswrang Brahma

    I wish to visit China.