He Guoqiang is a native of Xiangxiang, Hunan. He joined the Communist Party of China in January 1966 and joined the work force in September 1966. He graduated from the Inorganic Chemistry Department at the Beijing Institute of Chemical Engineering where he had majored in Inorganics. With his university education, he holds the title of ''Senior Engineer''. He was first assigned to work as a technician at the synthesis division of the Lunan Chemical Fertilizer Plant in Shandong. During his eleven years there he eventually made his way up to party branch secretary. Eventually became an official at the chemical industry department at the Shandong provincial government, ascending through the ranks to become party chief in Jinan, the capital of Shandong, in 1987. He was transferred to become Governor of Fujian between 1997 to 1999, and then as the party chief of Chongqing until 2002. He moved to national politics that year, becoming the head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China, overseeing personnel.
He was elected to be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee at the 17th Party Congress, heading up the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, in charge of stamping out corruption with party officials, replacing Wu Guanzheng. He was ordered by President Hu Jintao to go into earthquake areas in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.