5 Reasons Why Side Hustles Can be a Boon for Expats Working in China

5 Reasons Why Side Hustles Can be a Boon for Expats Working in China
Sep 26, 2019 By Degen Hill , eChinacities.com

China is a land full of opportunities, and even if you already have a full-time job, potential side hustles are bound to present themselves. This kind of part-time work can provide a variety of benefits to expats working in China if they learn to manage them correctly. Here are five reasons why side hustles can be a boon for expats working in China*.

Part time jobs in China

*Friendly reminder: Foreigners working in China are technically only allowed to work for the employer attached to their visa. Be discrete if taking on extra work and do so at your peril. If considering taking on a side job, expats working in China should factor in potential earnings, their available time, and the risks vs rewards of such endeavors.

1. Opportunity for extra cash

If your full-time job isn’t quite cutting it in terms of salary, taking on some projects on the side is an excellent way to earn some extra money for your spending pleasure. One of the biggest advantages of side hustles is that different jobs tend to pay in different ways (bank transfer, WeChat, Alipay, PayPal) on their own payment schedules. Some might pay bi-weekly, which can be helpful if you’re impatiently waiting for your monthly salary, while others, such as ad-hoc commissions, will be paid upon completion. The only limit to how much you earn is your time. 

2. Helps diversify your portfolio/resume

Remember that whatever extra projects you take on in China can be included on your resume (unless you’re submitting that resume to the government when applying for a visa, in which case it’s best to leave it off).

As much of the part-time work available in China will be for creative endeavors, such as writing, editing, or graphic design, you can also start to build a portfolio to show to future employers or clients. Once more, if there are skills you have but would like to develop further, casual part-time work is a great way to do that. 

3. Keeps you out of trouble

Whether you work 9-5 in an office or start work as an English teacher in the afternoons, most expats working in China have a bit of time to kill. Instead of binge-watching Netflixs or spending all your hard-earned cash down the pub, why not do something productive and financially beneficial?

While some side jobs can be more time-consuming than others, most expats working in China find they can spare a few hours a week for extra work while still allowing for personal time. If you find your casual employer is starting to increase the workload, this is the time to clarify your availability or ask for more money.  

4. Good networking opportunities

If you’re doing a job on the side, you’re likely working for someone else, and if you are good at what you do, that person/organization can be an important contact to have in the future. You don’t need to be an “official” employee to develop good guanxi with a company or employer.

A single side hustle can lead to many opportunities, especially if you make it known that you’re looking for more casual work. As freelancers are fairly scarce in China, for obvious reasons, you may find yourself in high demand pretty quickly. Additionally, if you’re working for one department of a big company, your supervisor may well recommend you to other departments when similar work comes up. 

5. Something to fall back on in case of disaster

Although most side projects aren’t a reliable source of income, having some extra cash can be extremely valuable if things don’t work out as planned with your full-time job. It’s always nice to have some money coming in, even if it’s not a full-time salary, while you work out your next move. Contacts from your side jobs may also be able to offer you full-time employment or provide leads to other opportunities.

What’s been your experience with side gigs in China? Let us know in the comments below!

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Keywords: expats working in China


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Good informative blog

Apr 11, 2020 16:36 Report Abuse



Avoid " Expert International Education" with jobs in Xiamen / Fuzhou .high schools and colleges. Innumerable problems my wife had with this company and I ended up having to spend a lot of time and money getting her out of there and back to UK. Avoid. China seems to be getting less and less hospitable. Sad

Dec 29, 2019 17:27 Report Abuse



@bigj123 Spongebob is a Chinese woman living in Shanghai who has physically met certain members of this site.

Nov 09, 2019 14:29 Report Abuse



Goods tips for making Extra Bucks in China. Very informative blog.

Oct 01, 2019 02:23 Report Abuse



Why do you come on here and lie about stuff when there are people here that actually know you? Are you incapable of telling the truth?

Sep 30, 2019 09:02 Report Abuse



who? And why was sponge bobs comment deleted? Or did he do it himself?

Oct 05, 2019 22:15 Report Abuse




Sep 27, 2019 18:45 Report Abuse



+10 to your social credit score. Well done, (non)-citizen.

Sep 29, 2019 17:03 Report Abuse