Hao Haidong would make a name for himself by rising through the ranks with Bayi FC and would personally see his career flourish with the advent of full professionalism within China where he would sharpen his skills as a prolific goalscorer. On 31 July 1994, Hao was involved in an on-the-pitch brawl with Craig Allardyce, son of English manager Sam Allardyce, in Bayi's league match with Guangdong Hongyuan. This resulted in Hao and Allardyce receiving a half-year ban by the Chinese Football Association and thus Hao was not allowed to play for the Chinese national team in the 1994 Asian Games. While his personal performances with Bayi remained impressive, the club were not genuine title contenders and he would transfer to reigning league champions Dalian Shide at the beginning of the 1997 league season for a club record fee of 2,200,000 yuan at the time.
His move to Dalian Shide would be a huge success and he would win the league title and Chinese FA Super Cup as well as also personally winning the Golden Boot and Golden Ball award in the 1997 season. The following season, Hao would continue to add to his medal collection with another league title and more personal awards while barely losing the Asian Club Championship as well. While Hao would be applauded for his football achievements and was even starting to be known as the "'Chinese Alan Shearer"', he would also show a darker aspect of his game after being fined for attacking a player on 15 March 1998 and was suspended for two games. This would also be followed by a year suspension by the Asian Football Confederation for spitting at a referee during the Asian Cup Winners' Cup. Due to the suspension, Hao would miss out on much of the 1999 league season, however this wouldn't hinder him at all and his prolific goalscoring would continue to see him win several more league titles, the Chinese FA Cup and the Asian Cup Winners' Cup runners-up medal. His stature within Dalian Shide would be so high that when then manager Milorad Kosanović left the club, Hao was immediately brought in as a caretaker to manage the team during the absence of a full-time manager.
In January 2005, Hao was nearing the end of his career and had a chance to play abroad as English Championship side Sheffield United were increasingly interested in gaining access to a potentially lucrative footballing market and saw Hao as a symbolic first step in achieving this. Dalian Shide would release him as a gesture of goodwill following his record of good service towards the club and Sheffield United decided to make the transfer symbolic when Hao joined them for a record low transfer fee at the time by signing for £1 in 2005. Hao joined Sheffield United in January 2005 where he suffered from injuries and worked mainly as a coach in Sheffield's academy before deciding to end his playing career and retire.
Hao enjoyed a stellar international career by playing at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is the record top goalscorer with 41 goals for the Chinese national team. Hao is considered to be the best striker from China in the past two decades.