Top 10 most attractive Chinese cities for expats in 2019

â–²Decorations of the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) are seen at the west entrance of the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai) in east China’s Shanghai, Oct. 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Hefei, Nanjing, Chengdu, Qingdao and Suzhou were the top 10 most attractive Chinese cities in the eyes of foreign talents in 2019.

The ranking was given as part of the Charm China survey activity, featuring a foreign expert team that included eight Nobel Prize winners and one Turing Award winner.

“Charm China – The most attractive Chinese cities in the eyes of foreign talents” is held once a year. While displaying the features of Chinese cities that attract talents, the survey also tries to explore the value orientation of foreign talents and guide cities to construct a comprehensive environment that will attract more high-level overseas talents to work in China.

Shanghai ranked first for eight years in this activity. The city also ranks first in policy, government, working, living and science and innovation environment. At the same time, it almost swept first place in 23 second-level indicators.

Since the implementation of the work permit system for foreigners in China in April 2017, Shanghai had issued about 188,000 work permits for foreigners by December 2019, ranking first in terms of both quantity and quality of imported foreign talents.

The holding of the  China International Import Expos has also given more foreigners an incentive to work in China.

In 2019, Shenzhen ranked third, up two places from 2018. Guangzhou, which did not make the top 10 in 2018, entered the top five, putting on an outstanding performance in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

According to the sixth national census, South Korea ranks first in terms of the number of foreigners living in China. The largest number of foreigners in Guangzhou are from South Korea. 

Guangzhou is the trade and logistics center of South China, where customers can buy high quality and inexpensive “made in China” products such as electronic products, leather goods, cosmetics and clothing. 

The Yangtze River Delta Urban Agglomerations topped the list of 39 cities, with Shanghai, Hangzhou, Hefei, Nanjing and Suzhou making up half of the top 10. Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu Province, which did not make the top 10 in 2018, took seventh place this time.

As in previous years, China’s improving economic prospects remain the most important factor in attracting foreign talents, with 50.9 percent of those surveyed responding positively. In the activity, 56.6 percent of respondents said they hope to live and work in China for as long as possible, reflecting the strong desire of foreign talents to stay in the nation.

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