China has become one of the most popular destinations for immigrants worldwide who are looking for higher salaries and more opportunities, a report released on March 18 said.
The report, prepared by the Center for China & Globalization, shows that 848,500 foreigners lived in China in 2013 after a steady increase of 3.9 percent annually since 2000.
The report cited an independent study commissioned by HSBC, which identified Switzerland, Singapore and China as the top three destinations for a balanced expat lifestyle last year.
“Although it’s a developing country, China provides good salaries, which are attracting more immigrants to work and live here,” said Wang Huiyao, director of the center.
Immigrants in China who earn more than $250,000 annually accounted for 29 percent of the total immigrant population－more than four times the world average of 7 percent of immigrants, the report said. United Nations data show that 232 million people migrated to other countries globally in 2013, up from 155 million in 1990.
Asian countries ranked as the second-favorite for immigrants, after Europe.
Overall, there were 71 million foreign immigrants living in Asia in 2013. Rapid economic development and a lack of skilled labor was cited as one reason for the growth.
“Adventurous expats choose to head to Asian countries for new challenges, which in turn provides more opportunities for their career and a company’s development,” Wang said.
China seeks to attract more foreign experts to work in the country as part of its development. In 2013, around 610,000 foreign experts worked on the Chinese mainland.
The country planned to invite 2 million people from overseas in the five-year period from 2011 to 2015, according to the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs.
In the next five to 10 years, another 500 to 1,000 “top level” foreign experts will be recruited in a program dubbed the “1000 plan” that targets overseas talent.
The administration said in April that China will relax its visa policies and improve the protection of foreign experts’ interests in order to attract more from overseas.