Best Chinese cities for expat alternatives to Beijing

Published:  14 Feb at 6 PM
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Expats wishing to settle themselves in China but who don’t like the idea of Beijing’s smog, crowds and fast, expensive pace of living might like to consider a few smaller, more laid back Chinese cities.

Whilst Beijing is China’s expat hub for foreign starts-ups and lifestyles, not every new arrival in this ancient land wants to experience its high cost of accommodation and living, the lack of pure air and the massive crowds. For those considering a move to China, Beijing isn’t the only option, and there are many advantages in settling for a less chaotic location.

Smaller cities have all the amenities, a reduced cost of living and renting and fast, easy access via the country’s amazing rail network to the rest of the huge country as well as around town. There’s a more noticeable sense of community, and it’s easier to meet up with locals and explore China’s fascinatingly rich cultural heritage.

The port city of Qingdao in Shandong province offers a great work environment along with favourable living conditions. It’s a hub for international finance and is rated as one of China’s top ten cities for liveability. Architecturally, it’s an interesting fusion of German and Chinese styles. For a romantic location with a high standard of living, Xiamen is a great choice. Set in Fujian Province, it boasts a mild climate and low pollution levels and is a hub for international trade and foreign investment.

Souzhou’s nickname is the ‘Venice of the Orient’ for its numerous canals and rivers, and its stunning gardens are areas of supreme natural beauty. It’s a favourite with Western expats for its 2,500 years of history as well as its friendly people and IT services. The former Imperial capital of Nanjing is widely known as a hub for tourism, education, transport and research as well as being important for textiles and minting. It’s an important centre for Chinese culture due to its ancient past.

Hangzhou’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage contributes to its appeal for expats wanting to experience the real China. It’s crossed by the Grand Canal, enjoys the nickname of ‘heaven on earth’ and , even although it’s an industrial hub, its scenic beauties are spectacular. The former market town of Shenzhen’s position on the Pearl River Delta has brought growth and success to the region, especially in the high-tech sector.

Of all China’s second cities, Guangzhou is the favourite, attracting expats from all over the world to its culinary delights and cultural events. Also on the Pearl River, it’s just 75 miles from Hong Kong and enjoys a warm climate.

Source: Expat Focus
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