A new regulation regarding foreigner work permits have just been announced by China's State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs on their official website. According to the post, foreigners applying for a work visa renewal must do so 30 days ahead of the expiration date listed on their permit.
Previously, this process was far more laxed, with most expats being told that as long as the application process is started "some time" before their visa expires, they would have no problems.
This is set to change come Feb 28, 2018. After said date, all foreigners must start applying for a work permit renewal 30 days before the permit is set to expire. Failure to do so will mean your application being rejected, in which case you will have to start a new application for a new work permit.
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