Career Advice

China’s Emerging Tech Hubs Create Huge Demand

Paul Brown

China’s bid for global technology dominance is being realised in its emerging hotspots, attracting the brightest talent locally and abroad.

With Shanghai once seen as the leading China tech city, dynamic new centres for innovation and development are skyrocketing. To the North, near Beijing, there’s Tianjin and Dalian. And to the South, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

China has plans, big plans

Early Chinese tech ventures were often emulated versions of Western success stories: eBay and Amazon (Alibaba), AOL and Facebook (Tencent), and Google (Baidu).

Now ‘super apps’, like Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay, have turned the tables introducing features that US companies are racing to replicate.

With initiatives like Made in China 2025 and the Digital Silk Road, China has prioritised efforts to become a global technology superpower. These grand schemes have created an appetite for around 4 million graduates every year.

Lifestyle and opportunity: Attracting the brightest new tech talent

The young, emerging tech cities with their youth-skewed demographics are a powerful magnet to those wanting an accelerated career path balanced with a vibrant lifestyle.

In the South’s Greater Bay Area, plans for collaboration between Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, with their proximity to Hong Kong, aim to drive the formation of a tech hub to rival the USA’s Silicon Valley.

Their surging economies are also attracting the biggest tech companies in China – homegrown ‘unicorns’ such as Tencent and Huawei are established in Shenzhen.

Such high-flying companies are a crucial drawcard for graduates, who rate the opportunity to learn and develop in these environments as their #1 motivator.

But there’s more to life than work…

What’s it like living in: Shenzhen?

Until the late 1970s, Shenzhen was a small fishing town bordering Hong Kong with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants. In 1979 the Chinese government decided to start an experiment and declared Shenzhen the country’s first Special Economic Zone.

40 years later ‘China’s Silicon Valley’ has become a hub for scientific and technological advances, with giant names in the deep tech industry like Tencent, BGI, BYD, ZTE and Huawei making Shenzhen their home. The city now has a skyline punctuated by skyscrapers and a population of over 13 million.

With most of that growth coming from mainly new, young workers life in the modern metropolis is fast-paced and exciting. Locals enjoy a huge variety of activities and events including sports, music, culture and nightlife. Clean air, great weather year-round (and easy access to the beach). Mix it up with a quick trip to Hong Kong, only 15 minutes away by High-Speed Rail.

Shenzhen is a melting pot for ambitious and creative minds – a roller coaster ride full of fun and adventure.

What’s it like living in: Guangzhou?

Guangzhou is South China’s largest seaport, sitting northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River.

It’s a city where old meets new – a gleaming, futuristic skyline is flanked by 2,800 years of history seen in its temples and pagodas.

The urban centres offer a highly charged lifestyle of concerts, clubs and cuisine. And escape from the frenetic pace can be found in surrounding lush gardens, hiking trails and rivers.

Ever since blueprints for the Greater Bay Area were unveiled, Guangzhou has taken steps to transform itself into a China AI innovation powerhouse. Gaming giant NetEase has set up shop there and, with other major players moving in, it aims to become the largest base of robot production in the country. Over three consecutive years, Forbes ranked it as the best commercial city in mainland China.  

What’s it like living in Tianjin?

120km north-east of Beijing, Tianjin is China’s fifth largest city – located where the Ziya and Yongding rivers meet.

Consisting of 13 districts and 3 counties it boasts a rich diversity to explore. Each district has an individual personality with unique culture and cuisine. Though steeped in history, the city’s youth kick off their social life in countless downtown trendy nightclubs and craft breweries.

For those aspiring to a tech career, Tianjin offers a good cost of living combined with a wealth of opportunity. Tianjin was recently announced as one of China’s five new AI innovation zones – along with Shenzhen and Guangzhou – each with different research priorities. The newly constructed innovation zone in Tianjin’s Binhai New Area will promote breakthroughs in the application of AI in smart manufacturing, smart ports, smart communities, and other key areas.

What’s it like living in: Dalian?

Dalian is the second largest city in Liaoning Province, and the largest port in northern China. Though a young city, Dalian’s status as a former colony of both Russia and Japan offers an eclectic mix of architectural styles.

The mild climate makes the many beaches clustered along the southern and eastern sides of the Dalian Peninsula, a popular destination for anyone wanting to take a dip or simply sunbathe. Dalian offers a dazzling range of entertainment, from the dozens of KTV bars and the huge range of restaurants to the annual Dalian Beer Festival.

One of China’s 11 “National Software Industry Bases” the Dalian Hi-tech Zone was established in the 1990s.  It is home to Dalian Software Park, the leading development company in the PRC and home to hundreds of top-tier tech companies, including several on the Fortune Global 500 list.

Many graduates have found work here, mostly in application software development. Today, Dalian is the most established information technology outsourcing city in the PRC.

What’s it like living in: Beijing?

Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back over three millennia. It has grown to become the world’s most populous national capital city, with over 21 million residents.

It has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal.

That’s all very well for history buffs, but for the younger inhabitants Beijing is famous for its jumping nightlife with a profusion of bars, hot night clubs, and KTV. This is a fast-paced, dynamic, cosmopolitan megacity with wonderful things hiding behind every corner.

Home to the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world, Beijing is the “billionaire capital of the world” with the highest number of billionaires living in the city.

According to KPMG’s Technology Industry Innovation Survey, four of China’s major cities make the top 20 leading tech centres worldwide. As a key China technology hub, Beijing has nabbed a Top 10 spot in the list, earning a reputation through advancements in quantum computing, AI, big data and 5G.

The Chinese capital has become a leader in the development of software and platform business encouraging many Chinese-born US graduates to bring their talents back to Beijing instead of Silicon Valley.

Like to kickstart your career in China’s booming Tech Industry?

Technology is transforming all our lives – developments in robotics, automation, artificial intelligence and big data are creating the careers of the future. Digital careers need intelligent, analytical minds, people who want to make a difference; graduates who desire to be at the forefront of change.

Regardless of your degree subject, we believe all graduates possess the skills to fuel an exciting career in technology. Here at FDM, we recruit, train and deploy talented individuals who are looking for a diverse and exciting career in technology. We welcome graduates from all degree backgrounds to apply for our award-winning Careers Programme. FDM is a FTSE 250 employer operating across Asia-Pacific, the UK, mainland Europe and North America. We provide various opportunities for our consultants to work in technical roles alongside some of the world’s biggest brands.

Currently, we have over 3,500 consultants working in a variety of roles including Business Intelligence, Data Analytics and Business Analysis.

The hottest tech companies in China’s hottest tech hubs

FDM is one of the world’s leading IT Graduate Employers securing tech jobs in China with top-tier clients.

Our China Graduate Programme gives you the opportunity to secure a coveted graduate role as soon as you complete your degree. It doesn’t matter what you studied or what your background is, we offer award-winning training that will prepare you for a career in technology and business with some of Asia’s most renowned organisations.

We are constantly expanding, particularly within the China technology market and are seeking high-calibre bilingual (English with Mandarin) IT and business consultants to work closely with our clients in mainland China. We have a variety of specialist disciplines that you can train in, including Technical Business Analysis, Software Development and Technical Operations.

How the China Graduate Careers Programme Works

When you join the FDM training academy, you will have the opportunity to receive the relevant training and qualifications needed to succeed in a career in tech. After successfully completing your training, you will work with one or more of our clients during the two-year programme. 

Our award-winning Careers Programme allows you to become an expert within your field as you will gain transferable skills and receive full support and mentoring throughout your time with us. 


“This placement is my dream job, in my home country.”

Kary earned her university degree in London, but through FDM’s Graduate Programme gained new experiences and growth as an individual in Tianjin. You can read her story here.


See if you qualify – all degrees welcome

We focus on hiring adaptable and ambitious individuals with a passion for technology; it is your drive that matters, not the details of your degree. That’s why we welcome candidates from all disciplines and universities, no experience needed. 

Let’s get the ball rolling

What are you waiting for? You can find out more here – or submit your application here.