Shanghai expats earn about twice as much as the worldwide average

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/5 18:53:39

Growth city

Shanghai expats earn $202,200 annually on average, ranking fourth after Mumbai, San Francisco and Zurich, according to a latest survey released by HSBC Tuesday, reported by Knews.

The survey was based on responses from over 27,000 expats across the world.

David B. Allen from Canada is running his own company in Shanghai and also working as a freelancer on the side. His income is about half of the newly released statistic, but he is confident that his income will grow in the near future.

"It seems to double every year for the past four years. So I expect it will still grow," Allen told the Global Times.

Allen called Shanghai a growth city. He told the Global Times that he is working in the industry of finance and this industry is evolving quickly.

"The country is [also] quick to adopt new technology," he said.

Although he earned more when he was working in Canada, he had to work double time to earn that much there.

Julio, a marketing manager in Shanghai, was eager to see a rise in his income with a relatively lower income, but he said he loves the job because it brings to him many opportunities, such as making business trips and attending conferences.

Expats in Shanghai earn about twice as much as the worldwide average, Knews reported. However, it seems Shanghai still lags behind other large international cities such as New York and London in terms of job opportunities.

But Allen found there are many job opportunities in Shanghai, as he is considering moving to the next level of his career. He even planned to learn Chinese to gain access to more job opportunities.

But Julio noticed that job opportunities for foreigners in China are now fewer than before. "More Chinese people take positions that before were for foreigners. Sometimes they are more skilled," Julio told the Global Times.

Love for Shanghai

Shanghai ranked first in the 2016 "most attractive Chinese cities for foreigners" list issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.

According to the HSBC survey, expats enjoy life in Shanghai not only for financial reasons but also because Shanghai has a multicultural environment. Respondents said it was easy to fit into local society. Knews reported that about 60 percent of respondents are learning or have learned Chinese, which accounts for the highest among all Asian countries.

"Shanghai is different from other international cities because it has a lot of activities for expats and a big beautiful community," Andrea Paredes, who has been working in Shanghai for one year, told the Global Times.

In addition to various activities, Julio told the Global Times that he finds that it is very convenient to live in Shanghai. "Everything is ready to access, like services and products," he said.

"What I like best about Shanghai is the ambition and drive of its people. This city works hard and it motivates me to want and do more," Allen told the Global Times.

Allen said people and culture are what he will consider when choosing a place to pursue his career. "I want to be in a growth country, growth city, growth industry, growth job."

An expensive city

According to, Shanghai is the most expensive city in the Chinese mainland based on a Worldwide Cost of Living Report for 2017 issued by The Economist Intelligence Unit in March 2017. Although incomes are high, will it be sufficient for a life in Shanghai?

Paredes said that her income is similar to the statistics. "Life can be affordable but you have to work a lot," said Paredes, who also has part-time jobs on the side.

"Shanghai is expensive, but has both cheap and expensive options," Julio told the Global Times, adding that he finds life in Shanghai comfortable.

"Rent is very high for comfortable home," David told the Global Times, which is a problem for him because he is used to living in rural areas where he had a bigger home.

This story was written by Chen Zeling.

Photo: VCG



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