5 of The Best Paid Industries for Expats in China

5 of The Best Paid Industries for Expats in China
Aug 06, 2019 By Alistair Baker-Brian , eChinacities.com

While teaching English remains the most popular job for expats in China, those with experience in other professions can find much higher salaries in the Middle Kingdom. From Shenzhen to Beijing, Shanghai to Xi’an, expats working in tech, finance, marketing, and other lucrative industries can pursue what some might call the “Chinese dream”. Below are five of the best paid industries for expats in China.

Best paid industries for expats in China

In each of the below sections, I have listed the typical requirements for the industry as well as a salary range. Note that these results are based on positions that have recently been available on eChinaCities.com and other recruitment websites. They are not necessarily representative of all similar roles in China.

Technology and manufacturing

Cue clichés about China being the “factory of the world”, although there’s some truth to this. While the southern metropolis of Shenzhen is well known for its abundance of positions in the technology and manufacturing industries, opportunities are also available in other Chinese cities.

Those with an engineering background or similar will find it easiest to enter this field in China, while specialist product knowledge is often crucial. One position I came across for a “General Manager of Manufacturing” at a sheet metal company in Guangzhou offered a salary of RMB30,000-50,000 (USD4,344-7,240) per month. The ad, however, specified a minimum of 15 years experience and intermediate/advanced Chinese language skills as a necessity.

Product design

Closely linked to the aforementioned technology and manufacturing industries, product designers are also in high demand in China. This is unsurprising given the sheer scale of manufacturing activity in the country.

One Shanghai-based company that advertised for a “Packaging Design Expert” offered between RMB50,000 and RMB100,000 (USD7,240-14,480) per month, making it one of the highest paid positions I came across while researching this article. It requested a college degree and just five years of experience in a related field, although candidates would no doubt require a whole lot more to reach the top end of that scale.


Within greater China i.e. mainland China, Macau, and Hong Kong, the latter has historically been one of Asia’s biggest financial hubs. In more recent years, however, Hong Kong has been rivaled by Shanghai, where expats can now find finance jobs in abundance.

One such Shanghai opening for a “Finance Manager and Senior Accountant” in a private equity real estate firm listed a salary at a whopping RMB70,000 (USD10,129) per month. However, another  recruitment website I visited suggested the average was closer to RMB29,000 (USD4,196) per month. Many other positions I saw within the industry simply listed the pay as “competitive.”

The requirements I saw listed were inevitably high to match the salaries. Candidates were expected to have 5-7 years experience working in finance, a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, and a chartered accountant qualification. Proficiency in spoken Chinese was also commonly listed as an advantage but not necessarily a requirement.

Marketing and e-commerce

Also intertwined with the technology and manufacturing sector, marketing and e-commerce is one of the best paid industries for expats in China. These kind of jobs tend to be available in first-tier cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Those with foreign language skills will find this industry particularly welcoming, as will those familiar with Western e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Ebay, and Wish. Those with writing skills and the ability to produce blogs and promotional materials are also in high demand.

One job I saw in Guangzhou offered between RMB10,000 and RMB50,000 (USD1,448-7,240) a month, which admittedly is a rather large range. Requirements included a native level of English, with an MBA noted as preferred. For this role, candidates were also expected to have specialist knowledge of cosmetic products. In my experience, however, “specialist product knowledge” does not take precedence over other skills. An “interest in the industry” is perhaps a good way to describe the requirements of most marketing and e-commerce jobs in China.

Education consultancy

Education consultancy is an alternative industry for those who want to avoid, or are bored of, teaching in China. The increase in Chinese students who want to study abroad has led to a high demand for consultants specializing in overseas college admissions. These positions tend to be limited to American and UK citizens who have a BA or higher from a top 100 college in their home country. Why? Because that’s where most of the students want to go.

Many of the positions in this industry are clustered around Shanghai and Beijing, where China’s wealthiest citizens reside. One such job in the former offered RMB40,000-45,000 (USD5,792-6,516) per month. Education consultancy may be restrictive in terms of the pool they hire from, but for those that make the grade it can be very lucrative indeed.

While these jobs may not seem immediately attainable for some reading this article, if you want to come to China as a fresh graduate, there are still plenty of opportunities waiting. Once you get some experience under your belt and add in an MBA or some language skills, the “Chinese dream” will be well within reach. In its push to attract talent from overseas, the Chinese government will no doubt be offering well-paid jobs to expats for a long time to come.  

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good article

Sep 05, 2019 16:07 Report Abuse



I think the numbers are exaggerated. Starting salary is 50k, but then again, after tax, the employee will only probability take home less than 40k (due to the high tax bracket: about 35%). So even with those high numbers, not so much after taxes. Foreigners pay taxes, but won't get any benefits in return (ie. state health care, and the biggest one: pension). Health care will be provided by the employee, privately.

Aug 13, 2019 09:04 Report Abuse



nice article

Aug 07, 2019 19:30 Report Abuse