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    Hire Employees in China - Overview

    China is Asia’s — and one of the world’s — strongest economies. China is an innovation and tech capital, with a well-educated and highly-skilled workforce.

    China is a prime location for hiring overseas staff, but in doing so it is crucial to follow chinese labor laws and employment ettiquette.

    In this guide we set out everything you need to know about hiring employees in South Korea.

    Map of China

    Facts & Stats



    1.4B (Labor Force 746.5 million)

    Capital City


    Languages Spoken



    Renminbi (RMB)

    GDP per capita


    Ease of Doing Business

    31st in the world

    Minimum Wage

    16 RMB/hour on average by region

    Average Wage

    46 RMB/hour

    Paid Leave

    10-15 days

    China: Business Environment

    Business outlook

    In 2020, China’s GDP grew by 2.2%. Considering the global pandemic slowdowns, and comparing this with other countries, this is not a bad figure. In 2021, China recovered from the pandemic well and grew by 8.2%. In 2022, GDP is forecasted to slow again to around 3.2%. However, considering global economic disruption, China still remains an economic powerhouse.

    China is the second largest economy in the world, and it is a great place to open and expand business. If you want to access an Asian market, a start in China is the right place to look. Companies from all industries, especially technology and eCommerce are attracted by the favorable business market in China. 

    Expanding your business into China is not an easy affair. Horizons is the only global PEO with a direct presence in Mainland China. Our in-country staff of 40+ are looking forward to helping you with all your employment needs in China.

    Business regulation

    China has relatively strict labor laws that help to protect both employees and employers. It is important to understand your obligations as an employer before hiring.

    The main labor laws in China relate to things like parental leave, sick leave, termination notice periods, severance, and working hours. For more information, our in-country staff at Horizons would be happy to consult. We have experts that will make sure your company is in compliance with Chinese labor laws.

    Business culture

    Doing business in China is attractive, however it can come with some challenges that Horizons can help you navigate. Accessing local markets can take a lot of local knowledge. Horizons has over 40+ in-country staff in China to help with the local business culture and is the only global PEO to have such a benefit.

    Chinese laws and local compliances can be complicated and can change depending which province you are conducting business in. There can be a high level of bureaucracy for companies to comply with local license, permits, and tax registrations.

    Companies must lay down detailed employment contracts, provide appropriate employee benefits and insurance, and adhere to the Chinese wage requirements. For a foreign company to do this all on their own would be a challenge. A PEO like Horizons can offer personalized solutions for expanding or starting business in China.

    Recruiting employees in China

    Recruiting employees in China – Overview

    When starting a business in China, it is generally recommended to hire Chinese staff instead of foreign staff, however Horizons can help with hiring both Chinese staff and foreign staff for your company’s expansion or start in China.

    For foreign businesses starting out in China, it often makes more sense to use a recruitment agency in China to identify and secure top local talent. Having the local staff can really make a difference when trying to secure top-notch talent for your business quickly.

    Most important recruitment tools in China

    • LinkedIn
      No, LinkedIn is not a Chinese platform. However, there are nearly 41 million Chinese users by now.
    • 51job
      51job is the most popular job website in China. It has over 81 million users by now and it a Chinese platform.
    • WeChat
      WeChat is China is not only used for instant messaging. It is also a common place to list local jobs.

    Interviewing employees in China

    Interviewing employees in China – Overview

    Each interview will start off with a handshake greeting. However, it is not uncommon for both parties to make a brief bow to each other. When stating names, it is common to state the surname first. In addition, the interviewers/employers should also state their titles. It is common for some ‘break the ice’ questions to be asked, like how they are doing or what interests them about working in China. The interview will conclude with a handshake and information on next steps in the process.

    Can I ask the candidate’s previous salary in China?

    You are allowed to ask a candidate’s previous salary; however the candidate does not need to disclose that information to you. Generally, it is not recommended to ask a candidate their previous salary.

    What is the typical salary increase at a new job in China?

    Usually, salary increase at a new job in China will go up 3% to 6% annually. This can be depended on several factors, like performance.

    Onboarding employees in China

    Onboarding employees in China – Overview

    Onboarding employees in China can be a bureaucratic challenge. There are various labor laws and tax regulations that differ regionally. In addition, things like social security and minimum wage are various throughout mainland China as well. This is why it is strongly recommended to seek the advice of a trusted global PEO like Horizons. Our over 40+ local staff in China can help to managed hiring, onboarding, and paying your team. Our experts are here to help in your potential lucrative endeavor in China.

    Best remote working tools to use in China

    While China does have internationally popular remote working software like Microsoft Teams and Monday, there are additional options to explore that may be more popularly used. For example, Jira and Hiver are popularly used throughout mainland China.

    Holiday season in China — 2024

    National public holidays in China in 2024 include:

    DateHoliday name
    January 1New Year’s Day
    February 10-16Chinese New Year
    April 4-6Qingming Festival
    May 1-3Labor Day
    June 7-9Dragon Boat Festival
    September 15-17Mid-Autumn Festival
    October 1-7National Day


    There are benefits to hiring freelances in China. You will not need to worry about as many payroll, social security, and legal compliance laws as if they were your employee. However, hiring freelancers has the risk of them being able to quit anytime and work for other companies, potentially prioritizing other work over yours.

    It can be difficult to hire foreigners in China, however it is not impossible. First of all, fixed-term contracts are mandatory for expat employees.

    It is important to note that when hiring foreigners in China companies must meet certain requirements set out by the Chinese government, the employees must meet strict recruitments, and in certain areas, like Shanghai, foreigners must participate in a tiered points system to qualify for a work permit. Engaging with a PEO like Horizons can smooth the process of hiring, onboarding, and paying a foreign employee.

    In China it is extremely rigorous to set up a subsidiary or branch office. A PEO like Horizons offers any foreign company with intentions to expand globally with the convenience of turning into its subsidiary in China, instead of going through the rigorous process and legal challenge of forming a legal entity in China.

    It is possible to go at in alone and post jobs to WeChat and LinkedIn, however China is a very complex country with many regional variations. Horizons has over 40+ local staff in China that understands the ins and outs of the Chinese employment market. Engaging with a global PEO like Horizons is highly recommended to get top talent in China for your start or expansion without needing to deal with legal or payroll mistakes. Our experts will help you hire, onboard, and pay your employees in China, all personalized to your needs.

    Hiring in China, Made Easy

    Your business can easily hire employees in China without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

    Success stories from businesses we’ve helped enter and grow in new markets.

    Client Testimonials

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