Hua-yen Yang was sent to China when only six months old where received his preliminary education in the schools of Chung Shan District, Kwangtung and was later graduated from Honolulu High School in 1904, after which he entered Armour Institute of Technology. He received a Chinese Government scholarship in 1907 and entered Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, where he received his Bachelor of Philosophy degree in civil engineering in 1908, then he went to Lehigh University and received his mining degree in 1910, after which he took a post-graduate course in mining geology at Columbia University and received a Master of Arts in that subject in 1911.
He worked as mining engineer for the Eele, Peacock and Kerr Coal Company in 1911-1913, then returned to China in 1913 and was made technical expert to Kwangsi provincial administration, which position he retained until 1915, when he was made civil engineer for the Szechuen Hankow Railway. Also he was assistant chief engineer of the Hanyehping Coal and Iron Company, Ltd., at the Tayeh Iron Mines, Hupeh in 1916.
Hua-yen Yang worked as chief engineer of the Company from 1917-1920 and English secretary to the Board of Directors of the Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank for two years and organized the China Union Company, Ltd., in 1920 and the Union Motors in 1925, the latter Company being the only Chinese firm that is a direct representative of foreign motor cars and trucks. He was president and general manager of Union Motors.