Hu joined the Communist Party of China in 1983. He worked first as Commissioner and Secretary General of the party provincial association of Tibet Autonomous Region, and then, from December 2006 to May 2008, as First Secretary of the Communist Youth League. After that, he was from 2008 to 2009 governor of Hebei province. Since 2009 he was secretary of the Party Committee of the CPC in Inner Mongolia. In December 2012, he was appointed as the successor of Wang Yang to the party secretary of Guangdong.