The Centre for Future Studies has just released its annual Natwest-sponsored Quality of Life index. The research aims to rank expat destinations and drills down to the individual factors that are both attracting and dissuading expats from settling in specific countries. And, while Australia continues to top the charts as the most popular expat destination, the real surprise is China’s monumental rise up the charts.
Whilst China has yet to break into the top 3 expat destinations, it successfully leap from position 11 to position 5 in the space of a single year. This goes to demonstrate not just how much of a rising power China is on the world stage but also paints a very optimistic future as it succeeds in attracting high-level expatriate workers to further bolster their economy.
The real question is how this transformation has occurred so quickly. What does China have going for it that helps it to rank so highly in this recent research? What are expats living here finding quite so appealing about the expat experience in China?
The research suggests that to start with the financial aspects of living in China are highly respected. Overall, 71% of the expats surveyed in China stated that their primary reason for relocating were the current job prospects that China offers.
A rapidly growing economy like this is creating opportunities unmatched anywhere else, and is facilitating greater job satisfaction and higher salaries than comparable jobs in other expat destinations. 87% of the surveyed expats living and working in China reportedly now earn significantly more than they did in their home country.
However it’s not just the financial aspects of life in China that is helping it to win fans from around the world.
Whilst the Chinese are typically known for their polite, if rather reserved, culture, this seems to be suiting expats down to the ground. Half of all the expats surveyed claim that they are experiencing a better quality of life in China. Apparently the friendly locals is a key ingredient in this satisfaction with life.
China also boasts a highly developed and reliable infrastructure, which makes getting around this huge country a breeze. 48% of expats living in China claim that the public transport system is particularly attractive; particularly those Londoners who have been used to the underfunded and overcrowded London tube system.
That said, China still has some way to go in order to beat Australia to the top of the charts. After all, the climate is supposedly the most important thing to expats living in Australia. 82% of respondents to the survey claim that it’s this weather that makes Australia so appealing. This, in turn, leads to a better quality of life and better work/life balance and, according to the research, better overall health
Expats in Australia are also typically wealthier than they were in their home country and as a result rate the state of Australia’s economy particularly highly.
China will of course struggle to match Australia’s climate but at least at present it seems this growing economy is rapidly gaining fans from around the world. It will be interesting to see how China ranks this time next year, and whether this explosive popularity can be maintained in the longer term.