We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
- Walt Disney

Many expatriates from across the world make the decision to relocate to China for career development opportunities. It is suggested that executives actively seek employment in China due to a lower cost of living, a rich cultural environment and a completely different way of life. However, many expatriates also return from China after working in the country for a few years.

Interestingly, many successful Chinese nationals are reported to be leaving China, to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Moreover the Economist indicated, "A study issued jointly last October by the Bank of China and the Hurun Report, a wealth-research firm, found that among survey subjects with assets worth at least 10m yuan ($1.6m), 14% had already emigrated or started on the paperwork. An additional 46% said they were considering it." The reasons for both expatriate and national employees moving out of China are complex, however, some have cited their reasons for leaving the country as high pollution, low food safety and alienation.

Executives moving into China can expect a high quality of life: the "average life expectancy in Beijing last year stood at 81.12 years" (The Economist). This statistic is higher than many western countries, such as The United Kingdom and U.S. cities, such as New York. Equally, executives can expect good company benefits and fair compensation by working in this region. However, many report that there is still an underlying hostility towards expatriate employees. Moreover, some expatriates have noted that although living and working in China for decades, they still experience both isolation and no assimilation.

Overall, the benefits of relocating to China are still apparent. Executives are constantly looking for new challenges and new experiences. China is a thriving economy and culturally vibrant. Just as Chinese nationals see benefits in working outside of China, more expatriates will flock to China to seek opportunities. China will continue to look more and more appealing to global executives as a place to both work and live.

This article was written by Helen Langley of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

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