John McGlynn, the Hearts manager, last week described McGowan's link with a move to Asia as "pure speculation".
However McGowan's agent, Lou Sticca, has indicated a deal is close to take the 23-year-old to China, and told SBS' The World Game: "Ryan will be on his way to China to talk to a leading club there within 48 hours with the full permission of Hearts."
He went on: "A transfer fee has been agreed in principle and it's a matter of Ryan having a look around and considering personal terms.
"There has been interest from a number of clubs but the offer from China is the one Ryan is looking at most closely."
Hearts' financial woes have been well publicised and with players entering the final six months of their contracts, McGlynn could see many of his established first-team players depart this month.
As well as Australia international McGowan, Scotland defender Andy Webster and captain Marius Zaliukas, a third defender, are all out of contract come the end of the season.
- Sports & Recreation