Is India the new China for expats

Published:  28 Oct at 6 PM
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As China falls fast as regards popularity with expats, the recent HSBC survey suggests India may be the new number one for those looking for business opportunities amid exotic surroundings.

It seems the expat world is changing even faster than the real world, with formerly popular destinations such as Hong Kong and mainland China tumbling down the lists published by annual surveys. As fast as China falls, India is surging upward, with its overall rank now higher than that of the USA as well as China.

So, what’s so special about this teeming sub-continent? In the three crucial parameters, experience, economics and family-friendliness, as well as in their various sub-parameters, India has made huge advances over the past few years. Although it’s not yet topping the expat all- time favourite of Singapore, this year’s high rankings suggest things are going to get even better.

Almost two-thirds of foreigners working in India who took the survey said they had confidence in the country’s economy, and over half expressed similar feelings about its political stability. Working life and lifestyle in general was also rated highly by respondents, especially when compared with Asia-Pacific in general.

Those with families gave India a gold star as regards relationships, ensuring its top ranking as number 16 for child care and education against China at 30 and the USA at 34th place. Raising a family in India is considered better by far than in the US and especially in China with its lowly score of 41 out of 47 countries in the HSBC survey.

Expats praised India as a destination for career progression, with three out of every five respondents saying they were sure their future job prospects would improve due to their work experience in the country. Over half added they’d been given more chances to acquire new skills than in their home countries.

The country’s positive survey results may not have come as a surprise to expat entrepreneurs already doing business in India. As many as 11 per cent of those surveyed had arrived in the country specifically to set up a business, with India now attracting more expat entrepreneurs than Middle East states such as Bahrain and the UAE. Half of respondents rated India as a better business start-up destination than either China or Oman.

Making money to support long-term financial goals such as university education for children is far easier here, according to 38 per cent of expats who responded to the survey. Living costs are far lower than in many expat locations, making saving and investing for the future a reality rather than a dream.
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