Top Jobs & Business Opportunities for Expats in China

One of the most common questions I receive since I’m living in Shanghai is:

What are the opportunities like out there?

Honestly, after two years, my answers have changed with experience and the maturity to see through different industries. China is a hot topic in today’s global economy.

With a middle population of 100 million people and growing, it’s a financial force to reckon with. Also, most global corporations have China as a major key in their expansion as their western markets are slowing down i.e. United States.

I would compare China in 2016 as the US during the industry boom. In a time when the automotive industry was growing and it spawned a completely new industry, that’s what I would say is happening in China now.

So for the people who are looking to get in on the ground floor, I highly recommend coming to China. Here are a few job areas that you can find potential income:

ESL/ Teaching English

Some people feel that teaching English as a Second language is more of a trend now and not to be taken seriously as a career move. But I would argue against this highly.

As the market matures and the qualifications rise, it’s becoming harder to just walk in and get a job. ESL teachers are treated with respect and provided incredible salary and accommodations.

Entry salaries for new teachers average 25K USD but with the cost of living, you’ll still be able to save and travel. If you’re an experienced teacher with specific skills, for example corporate trainer, you can make much more.

For example corporate training, your salary and reach $40-45K USD.


I come across many different people local and foreign who are in some shape way or fashion, involved in the logistics business. I met a young man from New Zealand who says he imports oranges to China and travels to the mainland every couple months, making six figures. Also, for all your Americans, plenty of people have navigated the manufacturing and supplier industry too develops trade companies. Buying wholesale products in China and shipping back to the States to sell on Amazon is also very common. 80% of the products in the US are made in China. If you do some extensive research and find a niche, you too can have an ecommerce business in no time. Even though the Chinese economy is slowing, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. China exported about $173Bn worth of good this April (2016) and imported about $127Bn worth of products.


If you’re an engineer looking for work, please consider coming to China. As the 2nd largest economy in the world, growth and progress is always being monitored. The engineering industry was estimated to reach $28.9 billion for 2015, which is a 4.1% increase from 2014. The different avenues of demand include engineering management, project management, graphic design, civil engineering, city planning and construction.

Travel and Tourism

As of recent years, Chinese tourists have become the most important group in the world economy. According to China Tourism Research Institute, China had 120 million outbound visitors in 2015 and they spent 104.5 billion US dollars, increases of 12% and 16.7% compared with 2014.

Many corporations depend on the Chinese to hit their numbers. Starting a business catering to this specific group is a golden opportunity. Chinese tourists are not looking for the traditional tourist spots and scenes but more local and adventurous excursions.

I recommend getting in contact with hotels and concierge services to help lure in this audience.

In the fourth quarter of 2015, travel agencies organized 13.8385 million visitors to foreign countries, an increase of 29.19% over the same period in 2014.

Come to China, Bro

For those considering a career change, boost, or just want to see something different. I highly recommend the Middle Kingdom aka China. This is place is full of opportunities for all interests and industries. The language barrier can be a bit overwhelming but tier 1 cities have a large international influence so a lot of people will speak English. Safe travels.

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  1. ESL teaching is cool. I get a good salary, free housing and decent hours. The hourly contract will depend on the school. Don’t forget the cost of living will depend on the city too. Also, do your research before choosing a school!