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Working in China: Requirements, Work Culture, & Employment Market

working in china

The recent years have witnessed more companies and even individuals from the West and Europe shift to APAC countries, especially China. But why has the country found this new audience of people who are interested to work in China? The answer is quite straightforward when we look at the country’s progress. China is one of the largest economies in the world, with many calling it the next superpower! A large number of Western countries are setting up their hubs in China, and the country has become the largest incubator for startups globally. 

Work in China: The Chinese Employment Market

Asia is becoming the global headquarters for multinational companies, with a massive number of companies clustered in China. Thus, the Chinese employment market remains active with new job opportunities in a wide range of industries. Sectors like banking, finance, accounting, education, and tourism have a huge demand for foreign talent. It leads to many foreign nationals seeking job opportunities to work in China and be a part of its global evolution. 

Generally, international companies in China employ foreign workers. They hold roles such as marketing for the company and improving its global image, setting up a business in foreign markets, identifying the right market strategies, etc. However, when it comes to hiring foreign employees, many companies face issues due to the stringent processes and visa requirements applicable to work in China. In this guide, we’ll tell you the key things foreign workers need to know to work in China.

Current Market Situation in China

China is a booming economy. It has a wide range of work opportunities due to new businesses entering the market almost every day. A large number of foreign employees hold specialized jobs in accordance with their high qualifications. Also, most of them work for international companies having a base in China.

Popular Job Functions and Industries

As of 2019, the service sector and the industry sector have the highest distribution of the workforce in China. Around 47.4 percent and 27.5 percent workforce are distributed in these sectors respectively.

Sectors like education, healthcare, tourism, banking, and financial services continue to demand foreign employees for their qualifications, language expertise, and diversity. Consumers are also realizing their unique demands, causing a higher demand in the marketing and advertising sector. 

Hiring Foreign Workers in China

In China, corporate establishments with domestic business status are allowed to hire foreign employees. These organizations can either be Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise (WFOE) and Joint Venture (JV). These kinds of businesses can hire local employees, as well. However, businesses that operate their Representative Office (RO) in China can only hire foreign employees with the help of a licensed PEO in China. 

Eligibility Requirement to Work in China

Article 7 of the Rules for the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China, lays down the eligibility requirement for foreign individuals who wish to work in China:

  • He or she must be 18 years of age or older and in good health;
  • The person must have professional skills and job experience required for the work of intended employment;
  • He or she must not have a criminal record;
  • The person must have a clearly-defined employer;
  • The person must hold a valid passport or other international travel documents in place of a passport.

Finding the Right Work in China

Most companies prefer to hire candidates who are multilingual and have a strong command of Mandarin and one or more foreign languages. Multinational companies often look for employees who are able to speak Chineses as well as English due to its global popularity. 

However, most companies look for employees with prior experience in a Chinese foreign firm for top-level management positions when it comes to skills and knowledge. For other technical know-how, skill sets, language, and cultural familiarity are given high preference.

Skills such as technical or IT skills, financial skills, experience in manufacturing processes, marketing for the international audience, accounting management, etc., have a high weightage. Additionally, legal professionals who know about WTO rules, international trade and arbitration laws, etc. are in demand.

Foreigners who are multilingual can also work in China at managerial roles and other roles such as teaching, hospitality, tourism, etc.

Language Requirements to Work in China

Having knowledge of HSK level Mandarin is also hugely beneficial for foreign nationals. HSK1 and HSK2 are the beginner’s level; HSK 3 to 4 are intermediate level; HSK5 and HSK6 are considered as advanced levels of Mandarin. The higher the person’s level, the higher the chances of getting a job in China.

However, multinational companies also look for fluency in English, Spanish, etc. when choosing a foreign candidate. Foreign companies having a base in China especially look for fluency in English when hiring a foreign national in China.

Housing and Accommodation in China

Real estate in China’s major cities and business hubs is also on the rise. There are numerous budget-friendly options for foreign nationals to choose from. Foreign nationals working in China can find fully-furnished living spaces and rent furniture as per their requirements. Additionally, high-end serviced living complexes come with benefits like fitness centers, concierge, helpers, and swimming pool at an additional cost. 

Work in China: Key Points to Remember

  • The working policy in China for foreign employees is different in different cities.
  • Foreign employees can seek a lock-in period of up to 5 years through an employment contract.
  • Tax benefits, employee benefits, and other compensation benefits are applicable to foreign employees as well, as laid down under the Chinese labor laws.
  • Foreign employees can work in a particular district or city only for which they have obtained a work visa.

Horizons has an extensive network of businesses that look to hire fresh and experienced talent for global expansion in a number of countries, including China. By acting as their China employer of record, we connect businesses with the right employees. 

We also help companies manage their overseas HR and payroll functions effortlessly and prepare them for international markets. Our global presence has equipped us to match quality talent with the most suitable roles. Contact us today to join our network and be a part of our global database. 

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