China: Great for Working Abroad, but Poor for Digital Life
- 87% of expats are satisfied with the state of the Chinese economy (vs. 62% globally).
- 71% of respondents rate their financial situation positively (vs. 64% globally).
- China lands in the bottom 5 for the Digital Life subcategory (57th).
- 38% of expats find it difficult to settle down in China (vs. 22% globally).
- 53% of respondents use expat news or international media to stay informed on COVID-19 (vs. 32% globally).
A Highly Satisfying Working Life
China ranks 22nd in the Expat Insider 2021 survey, receiving mixed results. It performs best in the Working Abroad Index (4th): 59% of expats are happy with their local career opportunities (vs. 45% globally), and a further 87% are satisfied with the state of the local economy (vs. 62% globally). In fact, an expat from New Zealand says their favorite thing about living in China is their “general well-being and job satisfaction”. Moreover, 68% of expats are happy with their job security, compared to 61% worldwide. China also scores highly in the Personal Finance Index (6th), with 71% of survey respondents rating their financial situation positively (vs. 64% globally). Another 86% say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to cover their living expenses (vs. 77% globally).
Low Air Quality & Restricted Online Access
On the other hand, China only ranks 43rd in the Quality of Life Index, which pushes the country lower in the overall ranking. In fact, China lands in the bottom 3 for the Digital Life subcategory (57th), with 69% of respondents saying they do not have unrestricted access to online services (vs. 7% globally). An Australian expat shares: “I do not like having no internet freedom.” The country does not perform much better in the Quality of the Environment subcategory (54th): 46% of expats are unhappy with the air quality, more than twice the global average (20%). Additionally, 19% of respondents are not satisfied with the natural environment (vs. 8% globally).
I do not like having no internet freedom.
Easy to Make Friends
China also performs below average in the Ease of Settling In Index (39th), with 38% of expats finding it difficult to settle down in this country (vs. 22% globally). However, 64% of expats are satisfied with the ease of finding new friends, which is 16 percentage points above the global average (48%). More than half the respondents (51%) describe their friends and acquaintances as a fairly mixed group of expats and locals (vs. 48% globally). Another 35% are mainly friends with other expats (vs. 32% globally), and just 14% have mostly local residents as friends (vs. 20% globally). A Spanish expat shares, “I like the opportunity to interact with the local people and make a bond, because Chinese people are really friendly.”
The Chinese people are really friendly.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Expat Life
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 64% of expats in China are generally satisfied with the official communication on this topic, slightly less than the global average of 66%. More than half (53%) use expat news or international media to stay informed (vs. 32% globally), followed by 42% who rely on social media (vs. 40% globally). Nearly three out of ten expats (29%) say that due to the pandemic, they have decided not to move back home in the near future (vs. 18% globally), while only 10% plan on moving home sooner than originally planned or to yet another country (vs. 11% globally). Lastly, close to half the expats in China (49%) say that the pandemic impacts their lives largely when it comes to personal travel. This is 21 percentage points higher than the global average (28%).