Monday, Oct 22, 2012
Asia is fast becoming a top destination for professional people and executives who go abroad for their companies, their careers and their bank accounts: the expatriates.
And Europe is largely a place for retirement in the sun, especially France and Spain, although Britain and India also came up as ideal choices for retirement, the results of a recent survey showed.
Five Asian economies ranked in the top economies for economic attractiveness, and four in the top 12 for overall expat experience.
"Asia is increasingly coming to the fore as a top destination for both financial opportunities and life experiences," said Mr Dean Blackburn, the head of HSBC Expat.
Singapore is now a top destination, and China is moving upwards rapidly as an attractive place to live and work.
An exception in Europe is Germany, which draws young people boosting their careers, notably in technology industries, and Britain, which ranks highly for its culture and entertainment.
These are among the main findings of a vast annual survey of so-called expats by HSBC, published this month.
Finance companies managing personal wealth take a close interest in expats who have high earnings and savings and need advice on investment and tax.
The results of the survey draw a global expat landscape in which the so-called "soft", but critical, resource of brainpower and special skills are being increasingly pulled towards emerging economies.
The expat sun seems to be rising in the East and retiring in the West. But expats, in general, are feeling the chill of the cold winds of economic downturn, particularly in Spain.
China leapt up to seventh place this year from 19th last year, the survey said. Two thirds of expats in China reported a "marked improvement" in their financial situations.
But to raise families in the great outdoors, Canada and Australia scored strongly; for safety for children, Hong Kong was ranked the highest, and for culture, London remained attractive, particularly with a boost from the royal wedding and the Olympic Games.
For easy living and in view of retirement, France and Spain offer, above all, sunshine.
The Middle East is high on the list for young people seeking high earnings, but families have difficulty integrating, children spend much of their time on computer games and expats who go there retain strong links with home.
Germany attracts young people keen to develop their careers, with a strong accent on the technology sector, but it is not a popular place for retirement.
Many expats in Europe are likely to stay where they are, despite economic uncertainty.
In particular, a high number of expats stay to retire, notably in France and Spain.
The survey came up with two lists of 30 economies ranked according to the overall expat experience and to the overall economic situation for expats.
These threw up some strong contrasts.
For overall expat experience and lifestyle, first came the Cayman Islands, followed by Thailand, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico and Switzerland.
Last came Japan, Vietnam, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and India.
First for economic considerations came Singapore, followed by Bermuda, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands, Mexico and China. Next to last came France, Kuwait and Britain, and, last of all, Italy.
The survey, the fifth of its type, is described by HSBC as the biggest in the world of expats.
It was carried out by the British YouGov market-research organisation on the basis of questions put to 5,339 expats.
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