How to Hire & Pay a Remote Worker in China 2023

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In today’s digital era, remote work and global talent acquisition are on the rise. China, a global powerhouse, is a prime destination for employers seeking diverse and skilled talent in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance. However, the process of hiring and compensating workers in China can be tricky. Failing to comply with Chinese employment laws and tax practices poses a significant risk. Incorrectly classifying your workers can lead to fines and penalties. But, don’t worry there is a solution to navigate these challenges the right way. 

This concise guide is your solution if you want to learn how to discover remote talent, hire and compensate remote employees, and convert an independent contractor into a full-time employee.

Recruitment in China

Where to find remote Talent  in China

Wondering where to discover remote talent in China?  Finding candidates for remote work is a great way to tap into a global talent pool. There are several popular job listing platforms in China, where employers and job seekers can connect. In addition to established platforms like LinkedIn and freelance websites, tapping into China’s extensive network of WeChat groups and leveraging your professional connections can also be effective ways to discover remote talent in the country. You can find employment opportunities on some popular  Chinese job platforms

Most of the Chinese job websites are in Chinese.  While browsing job websites is one route to take, it can be a bit time-consuming and challenging if you can not speak Chinese. But we can also support you in posting your job offer in that language, so you don’t need to know Chinese. Fortunately, there are alternative approaches to consider. 

Recruitment services offers a versatile solution for sourcing remote talent in China, tailoring their services to a company’s specific needs. They can handle various tasks, from listing job vacancies on multiple platforms to identifying qualified individuals, engaging with potential candidates, coordinating interviews, extending job offers, and aiding in salary negotiations. Some agencies even assist with the onboarding documentation of recruiting employees. HROne has a vast network in China, linking us to professionals, industry experts, and diverse contacts. This network enables us to locate executives, managers, and specialized professionals.

Our team boasts a deep understanding of the Chinese market and excels in crafting compelling job postings to pinpoint the ideal candidate for any organization. HROne’s expertise and extensive talent pool enable us to find the most suitable professionals for any corporate requirement.

How to Hire Remote Employees in China

Hire employees with your own company in China 

If you already have a company in China, you can hire employees through a PEO. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is like a trusted partner for businesses looking to simplify HR. PEOs are great for small and medium-sized companies. They help with hiring and make HR tasks, like handling paychecks, benefits, rules, and taxes, much easier. This teamwork lets companies focus on what they do best. It’s important to know that while PEOs take care of HR stuff, the company remains responsible for legal and day-to-day matters, like registering the business in the places they hire. 

Embracing a partnership with a PEO in China is a smart move for businesses, and the benefits are simply enticing. You can gain access to expert HR knowledge, affordable employee perks, and insurance solutions. This means you can focus on what truly matters – your core business.

But the advantages don’t stop there. PEOs take care of compliance, minimizing legal risks and simplifying complex regulations in China. They offer flexibility to adapt to changing workforce needs and are your safety net for liability issues, payroll, and HR practices. With a PEO by your side, you’re not just dealing with a vendor; you have a trusted partner who’s invested in your success.

At HROne, we’re a bit different from many PEOs and EORs. You see, most of them ask for a minimum number of employees, but not us. We’re all about flexibility.

payroll in china

Hire employees through an EOR 

Now let’s talk about another way to hire remote employees, which is the Employer of Record (EOR). It’s like having a helpful partner when your business wants to hire people in new places where you don’t have a legal presence. This partner, the EOR, takes care of HR stuff like welcoming new workers, paying them, dealing with taxes, and benefits, and even helping with unemployment claims. This way, you can expand your business worldwide without the hassle of setting up shop in every location. You stay in charge of your day-to-day operations while the EOR handles the HR side of things.

Worried about complex compliance and tax rules in China? Don’t be! Your EOR has it all covered, ensuring your company follows all the rules.

Saving costs is a priority, and EORs are your money-saver. They cut your expenses on legal, HR, and admin work, plus they offer expert insights on payroll, benefits, HR compliance, and risk management. 

But what’s even cooler is that they help you manage risks when doing business in China, providing local expertise and compliance solutions, so you can focus on what you do best and tackle the market with confidence. 

Still unsure which one to choose? Now, here’s the thing: if you want to hire someone in a country where your company isn’t legally established, you’re in EOR territory. Some global employment partners might tell you to set up your own legal entity before hiring, and that’s the PEO route. They’re often called “global PEOs.”

Setting up your entity can work, but it takes time and money. If you’re after a quicker and often more cost-effective solution, especially when hiring just a handful of employees in a specific country, EOR is the way to go. It’s a smoother process. Recruiting in China can be a bit tricky because their laws are quite different from the rest of the world. So, it’s important to partner with a reputable company to avoid potential scams or legal issues. 

The consequences of misclassifying employees as contractors

Misclassifying employees as contractors is when a company categorizes individuals who should be considered employees as independent contractors. This classification error can lead to legal and financial issues such as paying taxes. When companies don’t pay the taxes they owe for their workers, it causes two big problems. First, regular employees lose important benefits and protections they should have. Second, the responsibility for paying these taxes often falls on the people working as contractors, and this means the government doesn’t get the tax money it needs.

What makes this even trickier is that many contractors who have been classified incorrectly don’t know they have to pay taxes, or they don’t pay them correctly and on time. This is becoming a bigger issue because more people are working in China. The penalties for getting worker classification wrong depend on a few things, like how big your business is and how long you didn’t provide the right benefits and pay taxes. It’s a complex problem with serious consequences.

The Chinese government imposes a range of penalties on companies that wrongly classify their workers. These consequences vary from minor financial setbacks for occasional errors to harsh punitive measures for repeated misclassification. What’s particularly concerning is that the consequences don’t stop at financial fines. In certain cases, misclassification could lead to an even more serious outcome: a complete halt to your business operations in that state or country, or potentially being banned from conducting business there altogether. The danger of misclassification cannot be overstated, making it imperative to get worker classification rights to avoid these dire consequences.

How to Pay Remote Employees in China

Paying remote employees in China involves several important considerations: 

1. Tax Concerns: Not properly handling income tax for your Chinese workers can pose risks. It’s vital to understand the tax distinctions between full-time employees and contractors in China.

2. Permanent Establishment Risks: Paying employees or contractors directly may trigger the need to establish a legal entity in China, a process mandated by the Chinese government.

3. Lack of Relationship Protection: Without formal employment or business relationships, managing remote workers can be challenging, leading to potential issues with performance, confidentiality, and intellectual property.

4. Social Security: Enrolling employees in China’s social security system is mandatory. If you don’t comply, it can affect your employees’ willingness to join your company.

To avoid these concerns, consider alternative solutions when engaging remote workers in China. To address this, you have two main options which we have mentioned in more detail above: establish a business entity within China or what’s commonly known as an Employer of Record (EOR).

Employers of Record function as an excellent solution, somewhat like an accommodating umbrella under which your international hires can work comfortably. Additionally, they take on the essential responsibility of calculating and deducting the necessary taxes.

One of the advantages of using an EOR/PEO is that you no longer need to concern yourself with currency matters. You can make payments in your own currency, and we’ll take care of the rest. 


How do I convert an independent contractor in China to a full-time employee?

If you’re thinking about changing a contractor into an employee,  it’s important to understand how this change is regulated under Chinese laws. When this happens, the employee will be protected by Chinese labor rules. The employer must do certain things, such as:

1. Making a written employment contract with the employee.

2. Giving the employee at least the minimum wage, breaks, holidays, and following the working hour rules.

3. Keeping the employee safe and providing the conditions set by labor laws.

4. Offering all the benefits mentioned in labor laws.

5. Following the legal rules when ending the employment.

6. Giving the employee the severance payment required by the law.

If you don’t know how to do this process or don’t want to take the risk you are always welcome to ask about our PEO/EOR services. 

Key takeaways 

Navigating the process of hiring and compensating remote workers in China can be tricky because of different labor laws and tax rules. If you classify workers incorrectly, you can get fines, so it’s crucial to get it right. To find remote talent in China, you can use job websites, WeChat groups, and your professional network. 

Opting for the streamlined solutions of an Employer of Record (EOR) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can simplify the hiring process, offering benefits like HR expertise and cost savings. Handling payments directly as a foreign company may trigger compliance issues, including tax concerns and social security obligations.

If you’re in the market and seeking an associate to assist you, feel free to contact HROne. We offer versatility, in-depth expertise, and budget-friendly options tailored to your preference between EOR and PEO solutions.

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