This Place Was Just Named the Best for Expats in China

By Bridget O'Donnell, September 14, 2017

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Yet another survey naming China's best places for expats is now available, and you'll never believe which one topped the list!

(Okay, maybe you will).

Shanghai once again came in at number one on the list, which measures regional competitiveness for attracting international talent, reports SHINE. The ranking was compiled by the Center for China & Globalization and the Institute of Development Studies of Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, and measured the country's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Competetiveness was measured according to three main factors: the number of expatriates, career development and living environment.

Shanghai

Beijing placed second and "Guangdong province" (which includes the southern cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen) came in at number three.

Shanghai earned top marks for career development of international talent thanks in part to a number of new visa policies that were implemented last year. Among the new policies included one which allowed graduates of renowned institutions to earn a work permit without prior work experience. Coverage was also expanded for the foreigner's permanent residence card (AKA the "green card") and some senior executives over the age of 60 were also granted work permits.

READ MORE: China Just Made it Easier for Foreigners to Get Work Visas

Commending Shanghai's career development, the report noted:

“Shanghai was among the first batch of opening-up areas in China, and always had a good reputation among international talent. Last year Shanghai introduced 30 new rules on human resources, offering sound policy support for development of international talent. Further development and innovations made in the free trade zone will lift the city's attractiveness to international talent.”

In terms of living environment, Shanghai didn't fare as well, placing behind Guangdong, Beijing, Jiangsu and Shandong, respectively. Maybe that's because the cost of living in the 'Hai is just so expensive.

READ MORE: Shanghai Most Expensive City For Expats in Asia

Beijing, meanwhile, ranked ahead of Shanghai in terms of the number of expats, according to the report. It's unclear how this ranking was chosen, though presumably the number was assigned by ratio rather than actual size as the most recent census figures available (from 2010) indicate that Shanghai actually had a population of over 100,000 more foreigners than Beijing:

China expat population

READ MORE: Breaking Down China's Expat Population

While the new ranking is certainly good for Shanghai, the report overall was much more grim for China's place in the global market. The report noted that China is less competitive than other more developed countries when it comes to attracting foreign talent, and has seen a significant outflow of talent. The number of expats in China is also said to be considerably smaller than that of other countries.

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