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The rising level of competition for jobs in Beijing and Shanghai is leading to many expatriates trying second tier cities like Chengdu and Hangzhou for work instead.
Locals returning from the West come armed with valuable experience and better skills, giving them the ability to apply for the top jobs.
As a result these smaller cities, which still have more than one million residents, are becoming important business hubs in their own right, reports the Telegraph.
It also has the added bonus for many expats of not having to be in the huge metropolises, where there are congestion issues and a high demand for good quality accommodation.
In Beijing, for example, many expats are put off by the air pollution caused by high volumes of traffic, which has seen a large number move away.
Luke Parsons, a British expat working in Shanghai, told the news provider: "Cities such as Chengdu, Hangzhou and Dalian now have sizeable expat populations.
"Pointers to this are the number of English language blogs appearing in these cities as well as international schools and medical centres now springing up."
Industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing are growing quickly in many of these cities, with Wuhan and Chongqing also becoming hotspots for expats looking for good opportunities.
The Chinese government has responded well to this new trend and has started to focus resources on improving infrastructure in second tier cities.
This has led to building projects at airports and railway stations to put ambitious plans into action and large scale upgrades to roads.
Hospitality jobs are also a growing area in these cities as qualified staff are needed to work in the hotels and conference halls used by these industries.
Retailers such as H&M and Zara are not being slow at moving in either as they are keen to tap into this thriving market.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis, founding partner of tax firm Dezan Shira & Associates, said: "Second tier cities are exactly those that must be explored to capture the new opportunities that China now offers. The new China will belong to those prepared to be adventurous."
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