Expats are pretty satisfied with life in China, survey says
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Expats are pretty satisfied with life in China, survey says

Posted by | April 25, 2018 |

A survey on expat life in China published by eChinacities

Job website eChinacities recently conducted a comprehensive survey made up of hot-button questions that look more like common icebreakers for any awkward expat conversation in China. ‘Hey, so are you satisfied with your life here? How long do you plan on staying here? What do you like most about China?’. In a noble quest to grapple with these head-scratchers, eChinacities interviewed roughly 1,049 expats from 153 countries to get their perspective. Here are the results.

How satisfied are you with your life in China in general?

The main conclusion of the survey is that foreigners are mostly quite content with their lives in China. When asked how satisfied they were, 65 percent answered ‘moderately satisfied’ with 35 percent choosing ‘very satisfied’. When asked to elaborate on their answer, they mentioned low cost of living, hospitality and good opportunities for career development as the main reasons.

How long do you plan on staying in China?

Answers seemed pretty split among the time limits given, however a considerable percentage of expats would be happy to remain in Beijing for 3 to 4 years, not to mention the 25 percent that gamely answered they would be happy to live in China for as long as possible.

What do you like most about China?

If you feel safe in China, you’re not the only one, proven by the fact that 58 percent of the interviewees referred to safety when asked what they liked most about China. Slightly falling behind were travel opportunities, culture, people, food and cost of living.

What do you dislike most about China?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, lack of internet freedom and pollution (surprise, surprise) were pinpointed as expats’ main dislikes. Supposed poor manners were also identified as a major source of irritation.

What has been the biggest challenge for you in China?

By far, the biggest challenge to living in China was identified as the language barrier. However, 91 percent said they can speak at least ‘a little’ Chinese, while more than 11 percent said they speak it ‘fluently’. Around 86 percent said they found it ‘moderately easy’ or ‘easy’ to integrate with locals, although more than 13 percent said they found it not easy at all.

That said, over 84 percent of interviewees said they socialise with a ‘mixture of Chinese people and expats’ or ‘mainly Chinese people’, and only 10 percent rated their social life in China as ‘poor’. A resounding 84 percent also said they found it ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ easy to connect with the expat community in China.

How did you find your job?

Finding a job doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge in China, with 35 percent of respondents claiming they found their position by word of mouth, compared to 30 percent who succeeded in surfing job websites. There are also 23 percent and 12 percent who made good use of agencies and social media respectively.

How satisfied are you with your current job in China?

Of those currently working in China, a whopping 93 percent of respondents were broadly satisfied with their jobs. Way to go China.

Though China’s diverse expat community can in no way be generalised, this survey does offer interesting insight into what some of the broader concerns troubling expats are, as well as the limited timespan many foreigners end up staying in China. So how satisfied are you with living in China? And do you agree with the results of the survey? Sound off in the comments below.

Want to know what it’s like to be a woman in Beijing? Hit ‘Read more’ for the results of our Women’s City Living survey.

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