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Basic Economic Summary


Many sectors in China are undergoing extensive digital transformation leading to the rapid development and adoption of technology. This has driven the demand for innovative tech talents with those specialising in data science, artificial intelligence, cloud, cyber security and solutions architecture being most sought after. (Robert Walters’ 2020 salary guide)

Basic Information

  • Local Languages: Chinese (official)
  • Capital: Beijing
  • Major Economic Hubs: Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan (RMB)
  • Population: 1.41 billion (2021)
  • Time Zone: UTC+8 (China Standard Time)
  • Date Format: yyyy/mm/dd

Useful Information

  • GDP Per Capita (in USD): $11,819
  • Exchange Rate (IDR/USD): 0.000070
  • PISA Ranking: 71

Local Universities

Renowned Local Universities:

China has a national exam (“gaokao”) that has 10 million sitting for the exams on an annual basis that determines their placement in the different universities. The table below highlights the top universities that are typically sought after by those taking the "gaokao".

University Ranking
Tsinghua University / 清华大学 Country Ranking: 1

World Ranking: 30

Peking University / 北京大学 Country Ranking: 2

World Ranking: 53

Shanghai Jiao Tong University / 上海交通大学 Country Ranking: 3

World Ranking: 74

Zhejiang University (National Che Kiang University) / 浙江大学 Country Ranking: 4

World Ranking: 79

University of Science & Technology of China / 中国科学技术大学 Country Ranking: 5

World Ranking: 118

You could find further details about universities in China here.

Salary Data

The average salary range below pertains to Beijing Professionals and the ranges change with the region. Please refer to the Robert Walter 2020 Salary Survey for the other regions.

Job Title Average Salary Range (RMB) Average Salary Range (USD)
Accounting Manager 25,000 – 33,333 3,750 – 5,000
Software Architect 41,667 – 108,333 6,250 – 16,250
Data Statistic 25,000 – 41,667 3,750 – 6,250
UI Designer 16,667 – 33,333 2,500 – 5,000
Product Manager 41,667 – 58,333 6,250 – 8,750
Business Development Manager 33,333 – 75,000 5,000 – 11,250

For professionals working in the tech sector in China, 40% expect a 10-20% annual salary increment while 38% expect a bonus of 11-20% of yearly salary.

Talent Sourcing Tips

English Proficiency: Low/Moderate Proficiency

Number of LinkedIn Users (2021): 51,000,000+

Top Local Job Portals: ChinaJob.com, Monster.com.hk, ChinaHot.com

More information about job portals in China can be found here.

Top Recruitment Agencies: Access People Executive Search & Recruitment, Acropolis Associates Executive Search, Antal International – Beijing


Employer Payroll Tax (Beijing)

Type of Tax Contribution (%)
Pension 16%
Housing fund 5%-12%
Work-related injury 0.2%-1.9%
Maternity 0.80%
Unemployment 0.80%
Medical 10%

Ceiling for monthly salary base: CNY 26,541 for pension, unemployment and work-related injury; CNY 29,732 for medical insurance
*Payroll tax rates differ across provinces and can be found here.

Employee Payroll Tax

Type of Tax Contribution (%)
Pension 8%
Housing Fund 5-12%
Work-related injury 0%
Maternity 0%
Unemployment 0.20%
Medical 2% + 3 RMB

Employee Monthly Income Tax

Income Group (RMB) Contribution (%)
0 – 3,000 3%
3,001 – 12,000 10%
12,001 – 25,000 20%
25,001 – 35,000 25%
35,001 – 55,000 30%
55,000 – 80,000 35%
> 80,000 45%

China follows a progressive income tax model. Payroll tax rates differ across provinces and can be found here. The employee income tax can be found here.

Minimum Wage & Payroll

Minimum Wage

Differs provinces, cities and areas. The highest rates are in Shanghai (2480 yuan) and the lowest is at 1120 yuan per month or 10.60 yuan per hour.

Payroll Cycle

Paid on a monthly basis, by the end of the month.


13th Month Salary

Not mandatory, but customary and employees expect to receive it. Bonus is paid on a 13-month basis just prior to Chinese New Year (typically early in February). Taxed in the same way as regular earnings.

Employee stock options

Currently, most official laws and rules are for employee stock plans in listed companies in China. However, employee stock plans in China are intended to be a long-term equity incentive system in which internal employees hold shares of the company, share enterprise surplus, and improve performance.

Another factor to remember is that current Chinese employee stock plans cannot hold more than 10% of total company equity and do not allow employees to own more than 1% of company stocks.

Working Hours & Statutory Leave

Maximum working hours

Standard 8-hour work day, with an average working week no more than 40 hours long and at least 1 day off per week.

Overtime pay

Overtime work is only possible after consultation with any applicable trade union unless the situation is an emergency.

Following Consultation:

Overtime is limited to 1 hour per day, or 36 hours per month.

Overtime pay on weekdays is paid at 150% of normal wages

Overtime pay on weekends is paid at 200% of normal wages

Extra work performed on holidays must be paid at 300% of normal wages

*High-ranking managers are not automatically entitled to overtime pay rates, and may be employed under the alternative Flexible Work Hour system, and they will be paid at normal pay rates for more than 40 hours a week.

Public Holidays

7 public holidays, though some regions may have additional holidays. The dates can be found here.

Annual Leave

Years of Employment Number of Annual Leave
< 1 0
1 – 10 5
10 – 20 10
> 20 15

Sick Leave

Years of Employment Sick Leave Pay (%)
For 6 months sick leave  
<2 years 60%
2-4 years 70%
4-6 years 80%
6-8 years 90%
8+ years 100%
Over 6 months of sick leave  
<1 year 40%
1-3 years 50%
>3 years 60%

Employees must provide a medical certificate.

Parental Leave

Maternity Leave

98 days of maternity leave and an additional 15 days if there are difficulties during labor or multiple births. Paid by Social Security Bureau and is based on average monthly salary over 12 month period before birth, or 3 times the minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Paternity Leave

Range from 7 days to 30 days, differing across provinces.

Offboarding & Termination

Termination Process

Difficult to terminate an employment contract unless by mutual agreement or if an employment contract expires.

Notice Period

30 days notice period for full-time employee, or 3 days if employee is under probation.

Severance Pay

Severance pay depends on whether it is termination with cause or without cause. If with cause, no severance pay is required, otherwise severance pay is required.

Severance pay if required:

One month’s salary for every year of service. If the employer does not want to comply with the 30-day advance notice period, they may pay an extra month’s salary beyond the severance pay requirement. For employees with high salaries within the area, the severance pay is capped at 3 times the local average wage.

Probation period

Not mandatory.

Contract Period Probation (Maximum)
≤ 3 months Probation is not permitted
3 months – 1 year 1 month
1 – 3 years 2 month
> 3 years 6 months


China’s labor laws make it mandatory for employers to provide for insurance in the form of a Social Security System. It essentially consists of 5 mandatory insurance schemes that include:

  • Pension fund
  • Medical insurance
  • Industrial injury insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Maternity insurance
  • A housing fund (only applicable to Chinese employees)

The employer and the employee must contribute monthly to the Social Security Funds that differ based on the income, location, and the industry of the employee making it progressive in nature. 

Further information about the contributions can be found here.


The standard VAT rate in China is 13% with a reduced rate of 5%, 2%, 1.5%, 1%, and 0.5% for certain industries.

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