Shenzhen or Guangzhou: Where to Teach?

As we all know, China is one of the most influential countries in the world. Given its significance, China also has a large job market that is inviting more and more expats.

Additionally, jobs for educators in China are increasing daily due to the opening of many Western education establishments.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the appeal behind two of China’s most important cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. By the end of the article, you’ll be aware of distinguishing qualities amongst both cities which will help you in deciding your preferred teaching destination.

Intro to Shenzhen 

On the east bank of the Pearl River in the southern province of Guangdong and immediately north of Hong Kong is Shenzhen. The city is the fourth most populated city in mainland China.

History remembers Shenzhen as a small fishing village as well as a border city that only served as a customs stop for Hong Kong from China. In the past 40 years, the city grew at a rapid pace making it one of China’s vital port cities. Today, Shenzhen is the world’s fourth busiest container port.

The city is regarded as China’s Silicon Valley because of its position as a leading global technology center. Moreover, multinational firms such as Huawei and Tencent were founded in Shenzhen. Shenzhen is also considered a special economic zone. Thus the city’s economic significance encourages the birth of more small-scaled software houses and manufacturing companies.

The city is home to prestigious educational institutes such as Shenzhen University and Southern University of Science and Technology making it the 28th largest scientific research output of all the cities in the world.

Intro to Guangzhou 

Also located in the southern province of Guangdong is Guangzhou. The city is located near the head of the Pearl River in southern China. It is also the capital of the Guangdong province. 

Guangzhou has a unique geographical position of being the meeting point of the inland rivers of China and the sea. The location makes it one of China’s main commercial and trading. Historically, the city acted as a major port for the Silk Road. Today it is one of China’s largest cities and a vital port.

The city is the host of the annual Canton Fair. It is the oldest and largest trade fair in China and is one of the most expensive real estate markets. Guangzhou is an important international city hosting around 65 foreign representatives.

Guangzhou houses numerous important institutes such as Sun Yat-sen University, South China University of Technology, Jinan University to name a few. This helps the city maintain high output for scientific research. 

Reasons to Teach in Guangzhou

  1. Capital City of Southern China

Guangzhou as the provincial capital hosts most countries’ embassies. This makes traveling in and out of the country a bit easier. The decision to live in Guangzhou over Shenzhen is made easier because the latter has no embassies.

  1. Affordability

Guangzhou, when compared to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, is much more affordable to live in. Statistically, the cost of living in Guangzhou is 26% cheaper when compared to the cost of living in Shenzhen. When compared to Hong Kong, living in Guangzhou is nearly 48% cheaper.

  1. A Mix of Antiquity and Modernity 

Guangzhou has preserved a lot of its old city districts and landmarks. While traveling through the city you can find historical sights like the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall or the Yuexiu Park, both of which are located in the Yuexiu district.

  1. Proximity to Hong Kong

Guangzhou is only a 2-hour train ride away from Hong Kong which is one of the most developed cities in the world. Since Hong Kong has an established expat community it has a diverse mix of people. Spending the weekend in Hong Kong may open networking possibilities. 

Reasons to Teach in Shenzhen 

  1. Transportation

Shenzhen has a great transport system. There is an international airport that facilitates local and international travel. Railways connect the city to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and the rest of China. Shenzhen also has a well-developed Metro system which makes inter-city travel cheap and accessible.

  1. Natural Attractions

Shenzhen has many beaches and parks. The government has invested in these attractions. Shenzhen Bay Park is one of the most beautiful parks in all of China and is a hot tourist attraction.

  1. Cleaner Air

Since 2017, Shenzhen has switched to battery-powered buses. Additionally, nearly 99% of the city’s taxis are also battery-powered. This has cut carbon emissions by nearly 440,00 tonnes a year. Shenzhen’s air is cleaner than most Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.

  1. Proximity to Hong Kong

As Shenzhen is neighbors with Hong Kong, the city has a high-speed rail for those interested in visiting the neighboring city. Going to Hong Kong from Shenzhen takes anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour.


If you’ve made it this far, you’ve successfully developed an understanding of what both of these Chinese cities have to offer in terms of living standards. Both are well-developed cities that offer an expat community as well as a metropolitan living experience.

Shenzhen has a dynamic labor market due to being a technological city. Expats are hired in many different fields of technology such as design, marketing, and sales. Shenzhen jobs for expats also include a variety of teaching jobs. Overall, Shenzhen also has a great lifestyle featuring socializing, traveling, and shopping which makes it a viable teaching destination.

Similarly, Guangzhou also has a vast labor market that accommodates foreigners. Guangzhou jobs for expats are diverse offering positions in banking, trade, education, and even positions in embassies. Guangzhou is one of the fastest-growing cities in China and one of the most productive too. Living in Guangzhou is made amicable due to the travel opportunities, sensuous parks, and ideal climate.

Due to China’s growing economy, more jobs are available to expats. If you’re willing to learn Mandarin and have a marketable skill, moving to China is a good option. Shenzhen and Guangzhou are two great living options available to you with a lot of job prospects.

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