How Many Foreigners Work In China

China's economy is the world's second-largest, and it's difficult to compete with. The country's economy has boomed over the last two decades, making it a desirable location for those looking for work outside of their own country. China's big population and stable economy have made it an attractive destination for many overseas employees. Today's blog post will focus on the topic of international labor in China. We'll explore the most sought-after fields for international workers, the key locations where they're concentrated, and the policies that international employees should be cognizant of.

Foreigner Employment Statistics

There is no single answer when it comes to how many foreigners work in China. According to official statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the number of foreign employees in China has been steadily increasing over the past few years. In 2019, the number of foreign-invested enterprises in China reached 2.2 million, and the number of registered foreign employees exceeded 745,000. The vast majority of foreigner workers in China come from the United States, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom.

The most popular industries for foreigners are manufacturing, finance, science and technology, transportation, and IT. In the manufacturing sector alone, there are more than 250,000 foreigners working in China, as this is one of the most competitive sectors in the country. As for finance, there are more than 70,000 foreign experts in the banking and insurance industries. In the tech sector, there are now close to 70,000 foreign specialists in the field.

Cities With Largest Number of Foreigners

Not surprisingly, the cities with the largest number of foreigners working in China are the major economic hubs. Shanghai is home to the highest number of foreign expats, with an estimated 100,000 living and working in the city. Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen are also popular destinations for foreign workers and are home to over 90,000 foreigners each.

In addition to the major cities, there are also several smaller cities that have attracted a large number of foreigners. Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou have all become popular destinations for foreign workers who are looking for jobs in sectors such as finance, IT, and manufacturing.

Foreigner Work Policies

Foreigners looking to work in China need to be aware of certain policies and regulations. In general, foreign employees are required to obtain a work permit, which requires them to submit to a background check. The cost and processing time for a work permit varies depending on the region, but it usually takes several months and several thousand Yuan. In addition to a work permit, foreigners may also need to obtain a residence permit and a visa depending on their length of stay.


China has seen a steady growth in the number of foreign workers over the last few years. With a base of more than 745,000 foreign employees, China is one of the most attractive countries in the world for job seekers. The most popular industries for foreigners are manufacturing, finance, science and technology, transportation, and IT. The cities with the most foreigners are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and several other smaller cities. Understanding the policies for foreign employment is important for those who are looking to work in China.

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