From mobile phone manufacturers and social media giants to famous international ad agencies and language centers, there are tons of companies hiring foreigners in China. Whatever kind of career you’re looking for, the chances are you can find it and thrive in it in the Middle Kingdom. Here are seven companies hiring foreigners in China.
Source: Brooke Cagle
No. of Employees: 194,000
Jobs for Foreigners: Copywriters, Translators, PR Specialists, Social Media Specialists, Marketing Specialists, E-Commerce Specialists
First on the list and arguably the most famous is Huawei. The mobile phone giant is to China what Apple is to the rest of the world. In the last decade or so, the company has also started to exercise serious clout in the international market. In 2012, Huawei accounted for just 3.3 percent of the global mobile phone market. In 2020, that figured had increased to 20 percent.
Founded in 1987 in Shenzhen by Ren Zhengfei, a former deputy director of the People’s Liberation Army Engineering Corps, the company has certainly suffered some setbacks in recent years. Huawei is currently embroiled in a very public dispute with the US government and has seen its 5G contracts scrapped by the UK, among other countries. Despite this, however, the company is still steadfastly holding onto its international market share and continues to see growth both domestically and abroad.
Huawei employs almost 200,000 people, most of whom report to the main campus to the north of Shenzhen city center. Much more than your average workplace, the Ox Horn campus is, for all intents and purposes, a European-themed model village with one-to-one copies of some of Europe’s most famed buildings. It’s nothing short of the Disneyland of the Chinese tech world.
A whole host of foreigners work on the campus in roles as diverse as copywriting, translating, PR and sales. Despite, and perhaps because of, Huawei’s continued entanglements with the likes of the US government, the number of foreign staff is only likely to continue to grow in the coming years.
No. of Employees: 52,000
Jobs for Foreigners: English Teachers
Although there are countless English language training centers hiring foreigners in China, few are as renowned or as well regarded as Education First, otherwise known as EF. Founded in Sweden and headquartered in Switzerland, EF boasts 52,000 employees spread over 112 countries. But it is in Asia, and China in particular, that the majority of the company’s English language training centers can be found.
So abundant is EF in China that any teacher who has been here a while is sure to have come across the company. Jobs at EF may involve long hours and they may not always be the best paid, but they do provide a safe bet for teachers new to China who are looking for a company they can trust. Also, class sizes at EF tend to be smaller than those at the state schools and other training centers. Kids’ classes are usually made up of no more than 16 students, while adult classes are normally capped at around 10.
No. of Employees: 62,000
Jobs for Foreigners: Copywriters, Translators, PR Specialists, Marketing Specialists
Tencent’s influence can be found everywhere in our daily lives in China. From the way we pay our bills to the games we play on our phones, to the emails we send at work to the messages we send our friends, there’s really no avoiding this tech behemoth.
Through WeChat and QQ, Tencent already has a tight grip on the domestic market. It has, however, long set its sights on replicating that dominance on the international stage. As a result, they are seemingly always hiring foreigners in China, be they copywriters and translators or PR and marketing specialists.
Furthermore, while 2020 saw a lot of companies suffer, Tencent went from strength to strength. With people stuck inside for most of the year, mobile gaming, messaging and online entertainment was more popular than ever. As Tencent keeps expanding, you can expect them to hire more and more foreigners in the future.
No. of Employees: 1,000
Location: Dongguan, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Shenyang, Zhuhai
Jobs for Foreigners: Multi-Subject Teachers
While all major Chinese cities have international schools, it’s sometimes hard to find a school that’s part of a much wider network both domestically and internationally. With 38 locations around the world and five in China alone, QSI offers foreigners the chance to become part of a professional educational operation. While they only employ around 1,000 people in mainland China, as the company plans to open in more cities in the future, opportunities are set to increase.
QSI stands for “Quality Schools International” — a name that the group lives up to. As it is part of a global network, the schools in China have well-established international standards that put it above a number of the smaller international schools operating here. QSI hire foreign teachers across all subjects.
No. of Employees: 60,000
Location: Beijing, Shanghai
Jobs for Foreigners: Copywriters, Translators, Social Media Specialists, Marketing Specialists
Douyin was already massive in China before its parent company Bytedance introduced TikTok to the global masses. The international version of the app has seen an exceptionally rapid rise, having been adopted by millions of users across the world.
While the video streaming platform last year ran into some trouble with the US government, things seem to have settled down now and TikTok continues to expand. This is reflected in the recent and aggressive recruitment of international staff in China. The company’s rate of hiring of foreigners in China is expected to expand further in the near future as the TikTok continues to grow in popularity around the world.
No. of Employees: 5,000
Jobs for Foreigners: Writers, Reporters, Presenters, Translators
China Global Television Network, or CGTN as it is more commonly known, is CCTV’s collection of multi-language television channels. Although state-owned, the group represents the best opportunity for foreigners to work at a massive and well-funded news outlet in mainland China.
With a wide variety of roles available, CGTN provides a fantastic opportunity for foreigners looking to break into the news industry, particularly if they have found opportunities lacking (or very poorly paid) in their home countries. Whether it’s as a writer, reporter, or a presenter, foreigners can press fast forward on their careers and reach senior positions that would take years, if not decades, to attain in the West.
CGTN is the best bet for foreigners in China who want to work in television because, as is the very nature of the industry in the country, there are few other serious players around.
No. of Employees: 24,000
Location: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou
Jobs for Foreigners: Account Managers, Copywriters, Designers
Advertising firms represent an area of much promise for foreigners who are looking for an exciting career in China. Some of the biggest firms in the world have offices in the country, and few come bigger than McCann. Since its founding in 1912 in New York, the group has followed its credo of “Truth Well Told” to maintain its position as an industry leader for over a century.
McCann has three offices in mainland China, located in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The company hires foreigners at all three locations, working in roles such as account managers, copywriters and designers. The group also has offices all over the world, including in Japan, Singapore, Australia, Europe and the US. So, if you can get your foot in the door at one of their China locations, the world really might become your oyster.
What other big companies are hiring foreigners in China? Tell us in the comments box below.
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