Shanghai remains attractive for expats

Expats have voted Shanghai as the world's fourth-best city for an international career in a survey that highlighted its financial package, food and culture as the major attraction.

Expats have voted Shanghai as the world’s fourth-best city for an international career in a global survey that highlighted the city’s financial package, diversified food and local culture as the major attraction.

The HSBC Expat Explorer survey found foreigners working and living in Shanghai earned an average annual salary of US$202,211, more than double the global average level. It was even higher than other financial hubs like Hong Kong (US$148,410), Singapore (US$117,904) and Tokyo (US$132,508). 

Only Mumbai (US$217,165), San Francisco (US$207,227) and Zurich (US$206,875) paid higher salaries than Shanghai.

Conducted by YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm, and commissioned by HSBC Expat, the survey looked at a range of factors that expats take into account when deciding to move abroad. It surveyed 27,587 expats from 159 countries and regions in 52 cities through an online questionnaire in March and April 2017.

Of those surveyed in Shanghai, 15 percent work in financial services, 18 percent in education and 12 percent in manufacturing.

The expats said the city was easy to integrate into. A good 60 percent of them have been learning or speak the local language, which is higher than that in Singapore (45 percent), Hong Kong (40 percent) and Bangkok (52 percent).

The city also won high marks for the local food scene, with 43 percent of the overseas respondents in Shanghai claiming that they would recommend it for its excellent food and restaurants — considerably higher than those living in London (26 percent) and Hong Kong (35 percent).

San Francisco was ranked as the best city in the world for expat job opportunities, while Mumbai was the best destination for high expat earnings. Zurich stood out for those looking to increase their disposable income.

“It is no secret that the world’s global cities rely on expat talent to drive their economies,” said Dean Blackburn, head of HSBC Expat. “The financial and technology hubs of the US and the UK are the most attractive for ambitious expatriates eager to push their career to the next level.”

Blackburn added that some cities are a treasure trove of new experiences while others serve as hubs for expats to explore. Expats should plan ahead, he said, to make sure they achieve their ambitions abroad.

Special Reports