An experienced administrator, Oertai came from a warrior family of the Bordered Blue Banner. He was fluent in both Chinese and Manchu, and kept the emperor informed of his progress via secret palace memorials. Appointed governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces in 1726, he worked to confiscate lands from the Miao people, breaking the power of their chieftains, and incorporating the people into the Qing population registers as Qing subjects. Those who surrendered to his forces were often granted official posts, but still lost their land, while those who resisted were generally killed.
In 1728, he was then appointed governor-general of Guangxi province in addition, so as to oversee campaigns against the native peoples there as well. Having achieved a degree of success in both regions, he returned to Beijing in 1732 and was appointed to a post in the Office of Military Finance. Along with Zhang Tingyu, he thus became one of the emperor's most trusted advisors, succeeding Prince Yinxiang and Jiang Tingxi, who had recently died, to that position.
- Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China, Second Edition, W.W. Norton & Co. (1999), 88-89.