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China Daily Website

Expats rank Chinese cities

Updated: 2012-04-11 14:04
( xinhua)

BEIJING - The results of the "2011 Amazing China- The Most Attractive Chinese Cities for Foreigners" survey are released. Expats chose Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and others as China's 10 most attractive cities for foreigners.

More than 180,000 expats living in China participated in the survey through both paper and online voting, and about 1,000 were surveyed during the second half of 2011 about their opinions on 18 aspects of Chinese cities. There are about 600,000 expats living in China, according to the 2010 national census.

Expats rank Chinese cities

Twenty cities emerged out of 353 Chinese cities (excluding Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan) as candidates. Based on the results of both paper and online ballots, a list of the top 10 cities was compiled.

The cities that made the top 10 list are: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Chongqing, Xiamen and Hangzhou.

The "2011 Amazing China" survey is the only Chinese city ranking based on the votes of expats in China. Votes were cast by expats in a wide array of professions and social ranks, including Nobel laureates and Chinese Friendship Award recipients and foreign employees based in China.

The survey collected opinions on four major indicators: policies, administration, working conditions and living environments of each candidate city. Each of the four indicators was further broken down into three to six subcategories, where expats were invited to choose up to three of their favorite cities.

The top two cities - Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China, and Shanghai, China's economic and financial hub - led other cities by large margins as they swept the top two positions across all but one of the 18 categories. Beijing scored at the top in 13 categories and ranked second in the other five; Shanghai led in five categories and second in some of the other 12 categories. Xiamen was ranked second in the category of "Natural habitat environment".

Meanwhile, living environment - one of the four major indicators - shaped the city rankings to a great extent. Cities with high inhabitability and well-conceived city planning tended to end up high on the list, while those facing environmental problems seemed less attractive to foreigners. In addition, low performance in the category "International education for children" suggests that expats find it difficult for their children to receive education in a given candidate city.

Foreigners polled in the survey cited pollution and traffic as the main challenges for Chinese cities. Air pollution and traffic congestion are seen as prevalent across many cities in China. However, expats are aware of the efforts underway by local governments to improve environmental conditions.

The voting and survey were conducted by International Talent, a monthly magazine under the auspices of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), which covers foreign talents' life and work in China. A panel of eight experts was set up to design the indicators and determine the weight of votes. Horizon Research Consultancy Group, a leading Beijing-based research company, carried out statistical analysis of the votes. International Talent will publish a research report on the findings.

Thirty prominent foreign experts, including Nobel laureates, and recipients of the Friendship Award—the highest honor given to expats for their contribution to the nation’s social and economic progress—and leading researchers in their respective academic fields were invited to offer their insights on the opportunities and challenges for Chinese cities to grow into a better place to work and live.

"Be ing is a wonderful city and with its history, culture and Olympic venues, is an excellent capital city that has a charm that is special and unique. The strong efforts being made to improve air quality and traffic control will make Be ing even more enjoyable," said William Peter Poirier, vice president of Westinghouse Electric and recipient of the 2009 Friendship Award.

"Shenzhen is my home, and it is one of the most remarkable cities I know. People throughout the city -from the Party secretary and mayor to other government officials to business leaders to ordinary citizens - have welcomed me with kindness and understanding. The city is a model of innovation, experimentation, internationalization, and commitment to global values. The world needs more cities like Shenzhen,” said Jeffrey Lehman, chancellor and founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen and recipient of the 2011 Friendship Award.

The National Outline for Medium and Long Term Talent Development (2010-2020), issued in May 2010, recognized the importance of talent in shifting the nation's development pattern. The document also said the government would attract more overseas top-notch experts and professionals to work in China in the next 10 years.


Beijing ranks first in 13 categories and second in the other five. Improvement should be made in working conditions.


The second most attractive, is famous for its fashion and international character, but scores relatively low in living environment.


The third most attractive, dynamic, comes in last for "Natural habitat environment".


The fourth most attractive city, impresses with its fast-paced urban life.

Wuhan stays in fifth place for its great potential and low cost of living.

Guangzhou comes in sixth with its rich commercial atmosphere.

Suzhou ranks seventh with balanced development but underperforms in "Administrative process of foreigner affairs".

Chongqing blazes its way to the eighth position and is appreciated for its efficient administration.

Xiamen earns the ninth spot with its exceptional living environment.

Hangzhou rounds out the top 10 with its strong tourism.


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