6 of the Most Popular Jobs for Expats in China – and How to Get them

6 of the Most Popular Jobs for Expats in China – and How to Get them
Nov 28, 2019 By Alistair Baker-Brian , eChinacities.com

Jobs for expats in China are plentiful, but landing something solid is easier said than done. The golden days of expat life, when almost all foreigners were accepted with open arms, are over, and the Middle Kingdom is now much more discerning about who it admits. In this article, I’ll lead you through some of the most popular jobs for expats in China and the general requirements applicants will face for each.

The Basics

Before getting into the most popular jobs for expats in China, it’s definitely worth mentioning some basic requirements for foreigners looking to work in the Middle Kingdom. As a minimum, you will need a BA degree and at least two years’ experience in an industry relevant to the one you’ll be working in. The latter is easier to circumvent than the former, but the hoops you’ll need to jump through do not end there. You will also need to get your degree certificate authenticated by the Foreign Office and the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country, for example. Read more about exactly what you’ll need for your work visa here.


By far the most popular industry for expats in China, education reigns supreme. The Chinese demand for children and adults to improve their English has led to a growth in evening and weekend ESL training centers, which employ native, and in some cases non-native, English speakers. If you prefer a regular working week, you might be more inclined to apply for teaching jobs at public schools, international schools or even universities.

While a formal teaching qualification is not necessarily required for ESL training centers, teaching experience and an English-teaching certificate such as a TEFL or CELTA are usually the minimum requirements for a work visa. Those wanting to teach other subjects at an international school will likely require a formal teaching qualification.

If teaching is not for you, education consultancy is another option. The growth in Chinese students who want to study overseas has created a demand for expats to proofread and guide college applications. Such jobs, however, often come with an important requirement: a degree (sometimes MA-level) from an American or British university, the more prestigious the better. This is perhaps not unreasonable given that most of the education consultancy market caters to Chinese students wanting to study in the United States or the UK.

Copywriting/Proofreading & Editing

Growth in industries like hi-tech in Shenzhen and fashion in Guangzhou have created a demand for expat copywriters in China. In particular, companies require expats to write content such as product listings, blogs and social media posts about their products and services. As the content is marketed to overseas customers, companies require speakers of numerous languages, native or otherwise.

Some jobs state that a degree in marketing or business is preferred, although usually the focus of your degree is not a deal-breaker. Knowledge of the product you are writing about is an obvious advantage (you don’t have to be an expert), and an understanding of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also helpful; i.e. how to get your content to rank more highly on search engines.

Proofreading and editing are also popular jobs for expats in China. Chinese companies with an international outlook often require native speakers of various languages to edit content to maximise its promotional potential.

I recently found a job as an English editor at a magazine covering history, culture and current affairs in Beijing. Other state-run and private media outlets in China also require foreign editors to help make content more readable for an English-speaking audience. Generally applicants for these kind of jobs are required to be native English speakers or have a very advanced level of English and to show an interest in the topics covered. As well as pretty much any degree, you will likely need writing samples. It is therefore a good idea to pick up some freelance writing work or start your own blog if you don’t have prior experience.


Marketing and sales jobs for expats in China are similar in many ways to copywriting positions in that they tend to be focused on foreign trade. They also tend to be focused on specific overseas markets — e.g. companies will employ English speakers for the US and UK markets, French speakers for the French market, Japanese for… you get the picture. Language skills are therefore key.

Also useful is knowledge of how different sales platforms operate. The main e-commerce sites tend to be Amazon, Ebay and Ali Express, among others. Candidates who have knowledge of each platform’s rules and how to optimise product listings for better sales performance will immediately be at an advantage when applying for sales and marketing jobs in China. But remember, there’s nothing a few YouTube videos can’t teach you.

Tech and Manufacturing

This is perhaps the most specialised job category mentioned in this article. That is to say, such jobs are usually only open to those with a background in the industry. Overseas companies that have factories in China (you probably don’t need reminding that this is fairly common) recruit English-speaking staff to perform duties such as production line management, project management and product design.

Generally candidates require a BA degree in engineering or a related subject as a minimum. Work experience in a similar position and some specialist knowledge of the product or industry in question are also usually listed as requirements. Some jobs also state “conversational Chinese” as preferred, as foreign hires will often have to communicate with a local team, but this is usually secondary to expertise.

Opportunities await

The jobs listed above are some of the most popular industries for expats in China but are by no means representative of all the opportunities that await. What other common expat jobs have we missed? Let us know in the comments section below.

Hot New Jobs recommended for you
International School PE teacher
Prime international Academy
  • 17,500 - 22,000 CNY /Month
  • Guiyang
  • Full Time
ESL teaching position available
Guangzhou College
  • 10,000 - 12,000 CNY /Month
  • Guangzhou
  • Full Time
Full time Native teacher in Wuhan
Wuhan 21st Century Education Investment Co., Ltd
  • 15,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Wuhan
  • Full Time
Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
Muffy's International Kindergarten
  • 25,000 - 28,000 CNY /Month
  • Beijing
  • Full Time
A-Level Physics Teacher
Guangdong experimental high school international curriculum
  • 16,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Guangzhou
  • Full Time
Kindergarten English teacher
Freinet Education Center
  • 12,000 - 18,000 CNY /Month
  • Hangzhou
  • Full Time
Technical Expert
Shenzhen Zhiqu Technology Limited
  • 10,000 - 18,000 CNY /Month
  • Shenzhen
  • Full Time
Basketball coach
Chengdu Wutong sports culture communication co., LTD
  • 13,000 - 17,000 CNY /Month
  • Chengdu
  • Full Time|Part Time
Social Study History teacher
Shanghai Tianjiabing Secondary School
  • 20,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
Quality Assurance
Changsha Sunvelly Technology Co.,Ltd
  • 10,000 - 15,000 CNY /Month
  • Changsha
  • Full Time
View More Jobs

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on eChinacities.com without written permission from eChinacities.com constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: jobs for expats in China


All comments are subject to moderation by eChinacities.com staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



I recalled reading an article, someone graduated from a top ranking university scores better to obtain a resident permit in long term.

Nov 24, 2020 09:12 Report Abuse



for expats in China, education reigns supreme. The Chinese demand for children and adults to improve their English has led to a growth in evening and weekend ESL training centers, which employ native, and in some cases non-native, English speakers. If you prefer a regular working week, you might be more inclined to apply for teaching jobs at public schools, international schools or even universities

Apr 12, 2020 00:25 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 17:23 Report Abuse



I should also add: STOP SPAMMING ME ECC ! I have exchanged numerous emails with the various ECC address about NOT wanting to be spammed - yet ECC continues to do so. PLEASE STOP.

Nov 29, 2019 16:32 Report Abuse



congratuations on changing the terms and conditions of using ECC without flagging it, as any customer aware web-site would (slow hand clap). AND i can see that you too can generate lists that have been repeated ad nauseum on this site, so you can manage a 'copy/paste' action. For non-Chinese, any job that is copy-writing, sales, marketing, proof-reading, etc. unless you are brought in by a foreign company you will be grossly underpaid and exploited, and most likely not in on a Work visa, but employeed illegally - See Degan Hill's article where he/she promotes illegal work. Likewise unless you are an experienced/senior professional in the tech industry, you are unlikely to be employed. It would be more probable that you will be exploited unless you have a cast-iron contract. RIP ECC with your acceptance of so many spam accounts and basic disregard of your target audience.

Nov 28, 2019 22:55 Report Abuse