Is Shanghai simply too welcoming for expats

Is Shanghai simply too welcoming for expats

Is Shanghai simply too welcoming for expats

Approximately 150,000 expats call Shanghai home, with a recent report attempting to explain why the city is such a draw for foreigners and why they stay.

The report suggests most expats arrive after being lured by attractive job offers, and once they’ve settled in they become fascinated by the duality of the giant city. Foreigners seem to find it exotic but not totally alien and ultra-modern with a hint of China’s ancient history, with all arrivals wanting to take advantage of the country’s economic boom and be part of its success without straying too far outside the expat comfort zone.

In many expats’ minds, it seems Shanghai is truly the Paris of the East, offering a lifestyle in which money can be made at the same time as enjoying an exotic culture. Because of all this, it’s surprising that the majority of incomers don’t stay for very long, moving on to other destinations within a year or so. Perceived wisdom suggests it’s the alien culture that’s the impenetrable block which ends the Shanghai dream.

On the other hand, when asked what makes them want to stay a good number of expatriates mentioned friendly locals, great food, job opportunities and a diversity of enjoyable events, much as expats would answer anywhere in the world. Homesickness doesn’t seem to exist within expats’ reasons for going or staying, even although China really is the other side of the planet from most home countries. The report reveals around 50 per cent of foreigners in Shanghai have difficulties with Chinese culture, but many others are fascinated by the vast land’s incredible history.

For many expats, Shanghai offers the best of both worlds with high salaries for professionals and liveable amounts for others as well as high-quality apartments at reasonable prices compared to the West. It’s not yet a perfect city, but those committed to staying realise the country is developing at an exceptional rate. Perhaps the problem is that China is trying too hard to welcome foreigners, whether they arrive for a short term stay or settle and don’t plan to ever leave. China needs positive PR to spread the word it’s now back and rising fast, with expatriate acceptance and compliments part of the deal.

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