Looking for a job in China to get you on your way? Many foreigners use a job in China as a gateway to entering the market; building some business relationships; and starting their long term career.
Or maybe you’re just looking to work in China for the experience? To put on your resume that you spent some time in China and helped a company expand globally.
Whichever reason – both are good ones. Today we will go over some of the more popular jobs foreigners get in the Chinese market. Hopefully there are a few that interest you!
Update: We Have a Job Board
Since we wrote this blog post – a lot has changed – we now have our own job board to help you find business jobs in China and other parts of Asia.
Its free, and you can list your job or your resume today at jobs.globalfromasia.com. Let us know what you think, and we hope to change your life and career for the better! Jiayou!
English Teacher (Anything in Education Industry)
Do you like to teach? Specifically, English? This is always a hot industry. Chinese people love to learn and improve their life through continuous education. Plenty of Chinese are learning English later in their career – to expand their business and network to the overseas market.
So when you’re in China and ask a foreigner what their job is, I would say well over half of them will say they are an English teacher. Plus, it pays well and you can even do it part time while you focus on your own business or your true passion.
As a native English speaker, you have an advantage even without teaching skills. Why? Because Chinese students want to learn from a Native English speaker. One is to learn the actual language, but the second reason is they want experience in having a conversation with a foreigner. They are often shy to speak English, intimidated by Westerners who speak fast and direct to them. So while you may not have the best experience in teaching English to someone, just by your being there and having a conversation with them is helpful (believe it or not!).
Don’t want to be an English teacher? I understand you. The crazy thing is I know friends who start up businesses, such as swimming schools in China. It is to teach kids how to swim – but as his business model adapted, it incorporated learning English while taking swimming courses. His business has boomed!
Same for me when doing business events and training courses in China. They do go for the actual content, but a strong second reason is to surround themselves with English speaking business people.
So teaching English is still the top job in China, huge demand and so many different angles and industries to apply it to.
Internet Marketing (English)
As Chinese manufacturers struggle to differentiate their businesses in the global economy, they are desperate to get Native English speakers to help them grow their brand and overseas reach. What you and I may think is simple, the Chinese factory has no clue (just browse some of their 1995 style iFrame and Flash websites for example).
How to find a factory to work with? I always say it takes a little bit of creativity and outreach. They all would die to have a Westerner build out their English website and marketing strategy – the issue is can they afford it? Or even if they can afford it, are they willing to budget that?
So the struggle as I have spent almost a decade here is that Chinese business owners still haven’t properly valued the cost and expertise of doing quality English internet marketing.
Willing to work for less? Then the Chinese factory and business owner will love you. Although I hope you don’t sell yourself too short – you are adding a ton of long term value to their business and you should sell yourself at the proper value.
But there is a light of hope, I have seen Chinese businesses crack open their wallets more for quality internet marketing. The real challenge is after the sale, servicing a Chinese client takes a lot of upkeep. They will often ask you for more services than you agreed for, and want to keep in touch on a high frequency.
So test it out, or just work on a fixed monthly salary or retainer for a full time or part time work schedule. Doing it as an agency takes a lot of brand and trust building.
Sales and Overseas Business Development
Similar to marketing above, but worth a separate line – Chinese business owners, just like any business owner, will easily pay for sales. I have seen more and more Westerners carrying Chinese business cards with the title of Overseas Business Development.
In the past this used to be a fresh Chinese graduate with a Business English degree, but nowadays it is Westerners!
Why? I would say it is again the global competition level that has picked up a couple notches and also Chinese businesses have more cash on hand. And those that are willing to try probably see the results. Having a sales or business development from the target country you are trying to sell to is like night and day. They know the culture, they have contacts there already, and they can get a huge jumpstart to a local Chinese sales hire.
So if you’re a networker and willing to help grow a Chinese company’s reach and growth in your home market – send some cold emails to some Chinese companies. Or better yet, come to China and meet them at various trade shows and industry events. Be a good salesperson and make your pitch compelling and impossible to say no to.
You could also structure the deal where you are a joint venture partner in their overseas expansion in your target country. This may take time to negotiate, but I have heard quite a few Chinese business owners who are open to this kind of business structure.
Programmer, in English!
Programming is hot everywhere in the world. If only I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I can find them a programmer!
So in China, the demand has far outgrown the supply. As the Chinese government pushes the economy forward towards startups and innovation, technical demand is also going sky high.
While a programmer won’t have trouble finding work anywhere in the world – if you’re willing to take a trip over to China, you will have plenty of jobs to choose from.
Don’t speak Chinese? As a programmer, the Chinese company is most willing to compromise. Other Chinese developers can normally type English, and you can chat with them on Skype or QQ chat during the workday. So a Chinese company can accept 0 Chinese skills if you really are a talented programmer.
Salary may not even be too bad – as the Chinese startup scene is heating up with funding, so are salaries. Everyone is begging to get top technical talent, so don’t sell yourself short!
Places To Search for Jobs
Where are some good resources to find jobs in China? Depending on what city, you may need to go to good old Google and search for a local English classifieds website in that city.
Here are a few we know of:
- Ours : Jobs.globalfromasia.com! 🙂
- Shenzhen Party’s Job board (For Shenzhen)
- Here DG (For Dongguan)
- Smart Shanghai (For Shanghai)
- The Beijinger (Beijing)
This is not a full list of places to search for jobs, but just some I know of over the years. Please add more in the comment section below.
A Reader’s Job Hunt
I got a long Wechat message from a listener of our podcast that I feel is worth sharing as others might be experiencing the same.
I hope you are well? I really enjoy listening to your Global From Asia podcasts. I also enjoyed the talk you gave for Abnet some time back on e-commerce. Wonderful that there are people like you out there who are passionate about sharing their experiences.
I was just wondering if I could ask your advice about something. I have a Norwegian friend who is moving to Shenzhen in June as her boyfriend has recently moved here for three years with his work. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics Engineering and a Masters degree In Technology Management. She is looking for job opportunities in Shenzhen.
She has contacted some recruitment agencies, but it is always helpful to speak to people who have been working here for many years and who have specialised knowledge about certain industries. As an expert on cross border business and e-commerce, would you happen to have any advice about the job opportunities in Shenzhen for someone with my friend’s qualifications? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. I understand that you have moved to Thailand now? Nonetheless, I take it that you are still very active with cross-border trade with China. Any tips you can offer for my friend would be very much appreciated!Carol
I’m so happy you enjoy the podcast! Makes me happy to hear from people who benefit from the content I put out there.
You’re right I’m in Thailand now. For finding a job in Shenzhen – I think I have some older episodes in the archives about it – there was definitely one about finding a job in Hong Kong.
But outside of the shenzhenparty.com/jobs, I really don’t know more than the pure networking by going to industry specific events.
Maybe ask Davide, a recent guest on the show – he got a job with a Chinese FBA seller and talked about it on the podcast.
We do have other blogs that could serve as your friend’s guide when she finally moves to Shenzhen:
We will do our best to update the Shenzhen blogs. Maybe your friend can share her experience to us.
Wish I could be of more help, I do wish your friend the best in finding a suitable job in Shenzhen.
Want to Connect With Others On Your Job Hunt in China?
Hope today’s guide helped you out. We also have a private job board in our Global From Asia club. Connect with others in the business community in China and learn from the experts. We will do our best to match you up with quality jobs in China and introduce you to some influential business players in the market.
Or, leave a comment below! Let’s get the conversation started. Have you found a job in China already? Nervous if they are legitimate or not? That is always a concern, and hard to really verify. Coming over to China is a big jump, but take it with an open mind and be ready for anything.
I look forward to chatting with you, and best of luck on your job search in China!