How are expats treated in China?

For foreigners, China is a great place to get a job. Now is a perfect moment to start a career in China, since the economy is flourishing and new jobs are being created every day. Despite the abundance of employment options, foreigners in China must be on the lookout for a number of potential stumbling blocks in their professional lives.

Being unable to communicate in Chinese.

In order to succeed in China's business world, particularly at the top levels, you must first decide whether or not you are willing to learn the language. No, I don't simply mean basic Chinese communication. To be clear, I'm referring to a level of Chinese that allows you to confidently converse about topics that are likely to be very technical and detailed. It's time to reevaluate your expectations of working in China, if the answer is no.

There's a limit to how far you can go with a rudimentary knowledge of Chinese. That may be enough for some people, and that's just OK. But if you want to rise through the ranks of business in China, you'll need to study frequently with a professional instructor, practice every day at work and at home, and master those HSK examinations as quickly as possible.

Big decisions in Chinese enterprises are made and discussed in Chinese, not English. Unless you're fluent in Putonghua, you won't even obtain a seat at the table.

Being unwilling to put in extra hours.

Generally speaking, foreigners have a better time dealing with overtime in China. While it may be necessary for us to do so, and it may still be more than we would ever do (particularly unpaid) in our home countries, most of our local colleagues work greater hours than we do on a typical day.

This isn't a problem in many of the roles that foreigners often occupy. You may not be at danger of losing your job in the short term if you don't put in the additional hours, since Chinese executives are aware that they cannot push foreigners to the same amount. The problem is that managers are expected to work around the clock, practically until the task is done. In order to succeed in these high-level roles, you must be able to or willing to accomplish this.

The question to ask yourself is how much you really desire the job. What's the monetary value of that profession to you? You'll have to start working as hard as your Chinese colleagues if you want to have a chance.


It doesn't matter how well you speak Chinese or how many hours a week you put in. Nepotism is still pervasive in China's private sector, just like everywhere else in the globe. Employees from the same province or university, as well as family members, may be hired and promoted by certain firms.

This is a difficult problem to solve. There are two options, but it may be wiser to choose neither. Identifying the cliques and social groupings is one way to become involved. As a foreigner, this may not be achievable despite your best efforts. The second step is to bring up the matter with the appropriate individuals in the company's hierarchy. Unfortunately, if you use this approach, it might have the opposite effect and further isolate you from your peers.

When dealing with nepotism, it may be helpful if you focus more of your efforts on conquering the hurdles that you can control.

Let the right job find you!

Job search function
Recruitment function

Global job opportunities for Chinese companies

GEOR provides 100,000+ jobs for foreigners in China and around the world.
Employment Solutions
Free legal advice
Get professional foreign-related legal advice

Worldwide Talent Acquisition

GEOR provides a global human resource labor management platform tailored to your requirements. We will connect you with top-notch international talent while ensuring your hiring processes align with local labor regulations. Access Talent Globally through our International Recruitment Solutions.

Explore Chinese Job Vacancies

As a top-tier provider of recruitment outsourcing services, we offer expat job opportunities in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, whether you're in Asia Pacific, Europe, or the Americas. For additional career opportunities and job listings in China, please log in or register to access more detailed information.
GEOR Global Recruitment is an industry-leading recruitment outsourcing service provider, we are committed to achieving compliant and efficient global recruitment for all kinds of companies around the world. We provide one-stop human resource solutions for digital global employee recruitment and management for Chinese overseas enterprises with our technology platform and professional services, and aspire to become a global human resource labor management platform, which mainly provides foreigner recruitment, foreign talent recruitment, overseas talent recruitment, foreigner job search, foreign talent network, foreigner recruitment network in China, foreign talent recruitment platform, foreign talent job search platform, foreigner talent Recruitment in China, Overseas Foreign Talent Recruitment, Foreign Talent Job Hunting in China, Foreign Talent Headhunting Service, Overseas Foreign Talent Job Hunting, Foreign Talent Intermediary Service, Foreign Talent Recruitment Platform, Foreign Talent Job Hunting Platform and so on. The company has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Ningbo, Qingdao and Changsha. Our global market experts provide a range of customized recruitment solutions based on your needs. Whether in Asia Pacific, Europe or the Americas, we will match you with the best international talent and ensure that your recruitment practices comply with local labor laws. Our experts have a unique insight into all aspects and every step of the overseas recruitment process. We offer our experience and expertise in everything from inquiring about interviews and developing offer letters to onboarding employees. By leaving the complex hassles of overseas recruiting in our hands, you can save more time and focus on your company goals of global expansion success.

Overseas Employment Agencies and International Recruitment

Whether you're looking for job opportunities abroad or planning to hire foreign talent, our guide has all the information you need. Explore the latest job openings, receive expert agency recommendations, and learn how to secure employment overseas. Don't miss out on global career opportunities; discover trustworthy international employment services right here.