- Download our Guangzhou Schools Guide
Guangzhou is a thriving business hub and a surprisingly diverse environment. The city is one of China’s largest seaports and is well situated to be a key manufacturing and export centre. With a growing economy, back on track after the pandemic, working in Guangzhou is an attractive prospect for expats.
Job market in Guangzhou
Manufacturing is especially known for attracting expats, but the automotive, petrochemical and electronics sectors are also key to Guangzhou's economy. High-tech assembly industries have drawn a great deal of foreign interest and lured a number of international companies to the city. Many of these companies, in turn, hire expats for senior positions.
Guangzhou boasts a diverse job market, and there are opportunities in the trade and logistics sectors, as well as banking industries. Hospitality and tourism have historically been attractive industries, but are still recovering from Covid-19, although the ever-popular expat occupation of teaching English as a foreign language continues to thrive. English-speaking expats may also find themselves working in communication, media and marketing fields.
Finding a job in Guangzhou
As China’s economy moves towards private ownership and away from state-owned businesses, more jobs are made accessible to expats. Some businesses have started turning to expats from elsewhere in Asia who are willing to work for lower wages. Being able to speak Mandarin is increasingly important for foreigners wanting to get ahead of the competition.
Expats often find jobs in textiles, mining, oil, engineering, hospitality, construction, shipbuilding and IT industries. The country's substantial international trade has also meant that the demand for English teachers remains high.
Work culture in Guangzhou
Working in Guangzhou has its challenges, and cultural differences aren't always easy to navigate. The Chinese business community is fairly insular and Chinese businesspeople tend to work with those they know. When meeting new business associates, it takes time and effort to build strong relationships, and meetings may be quite long due to this. The language barrier may be another obstacle for expats who don’t speak at least some Mandarin.
Expats working in Guangzhou may find themselves under a lot of pressure to perform, and while Chinese workweeks vary, they are usually long. The working hours and workload tend to be more demanding than many expats are used to.
►Working in China provides a broad insight into the major expat industries in China
►For more on workplace matters, read Doing Business in China
"I am happy to be working for a Western boss that has Western expectations. I have heard horror stories from others. One thing to be aware of is that most people take an after lunch-nap. Most companies turn off the lights and rest for an hour or so. That was weird for me to get used to." Read more on working in Guangzhou from this expat interview with Seth.
Are you an expat living in Guangzhou?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Guangzhou. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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