Eyes on China – future of Global Mobility in China


China Global Mobility report provides detailed research on employee relocation into, out of and within China by both China and non-China based companies.

China has gone from a low-cost producer of goods to an equal player in technology, strategy and development in the last decade. The rise of China as a partner in the global economy has created new opportunities for multinational companies and the internal population.

Growth in global mobility

China remains the number one destination for mobility in the Asia Pacific Region with the rapid expansion of companies, yet is one of the most challenging.  Domestic growth has been fuelled by China’s global economic success, but many cities are still far from “world-class” with regards to the level of their goods and services.

This survey by Lexicon Relocation and Chinese HR organisation Enfovia divides Chinese cities into four tiers in order to understand the complications, amenities and benefits from each location.

Tier 1 Cities

Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are the only cities considered “world-class” or having access to all the amenities one would expect including robust medical facilities. However they are becoming more expensive to live and operate in.

This has led to both home-grown and foreign countries to turning their attention to the Tier II and III/IV cities for potential growth opportunities. They are beginning to open up, not just to the Chinese home-grown companies with local national employees, but to the expatriate within China.

Tier II Cities

Non-China HDQ companies are drawn to these locations with lower labor and operating costs and increasing consumer spending. These include:  Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shenyang, Suzhou, Tianjin, Xi’an, Wuhan and Wuxi.

Tiers III/IV Cities

These are less developed county-level capitals such as Foshan, Jiangmen, Hefei, Quanzhou, Jiaxing, Xining, Baoding, Kunshan, Zhongshan, Wenzhou, Zhengzhou and Kunming.

Key challenges identified

One of the largest problems the survey found facing internal relocation in China, for both Chinese and foreign nationals, was cultural difference. The disparate cultural identities across China has created a rich tapestry of a nation, but offers unique challenges for moving local nationals from the cities and regions where they are from into new places.

Language barriers exist across China, as well, which further impacts the domestic movement of employees. Companies wishing to have robust internal relocation must be looking to address the cultural changes based on regions.

Some of the other discoveries uncovered by the research include personal career development, education concerns and safety/security. Concern about job prospects on repatriation are also a concern, however guaranteeing jobs upon repatriation may be on the rise to encourage employees to take up offshore assignments.

You can download the full research report here.