Best Cities to Live in China

Best Places to Live in China

China is indeed the most technologically advanced country. China has World’s largest population. With 6.3% of the World’s total landmass, China is the third-largest county. With its unique and attractive culture, it is one of the oldest civilizations.

From Tea crop to Space, China has undoubtedly conquered all. China is indeed like a box of happiness chocolate that has everything for everyone.

If you look upon the internet for “Best places in China,” generally the result shows Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Apart from these cultural hubs, China also has places where nature blooms at its peak.

Before looking for “Best places to live in China,” Let’s look at some of the other essential information, you should know.

Where do Most Foreigners Live in China?

Most of the foreigners in China choose “Shanghai” to live. Shanghai is the cultural, corporate, political, and diplomatic hub of China. 

According to the world population review, Shanghai has 150,000 officially registered ex-pats. Jing’an District is the most famous and central place for foreigners in China.

Is China a Good Place for Foreigners to Live?

Yes, China is one of the safest and ideal places for foreigners to live. The Global Institute For Peace has placed China as the 26th safest country in the World. 

On the contrary, the U.S.A. and the U.K. are placed at 71th and 38th, respectively.

Most of the places in China are extremely safe for travelers. The safety standard is just like Newyork city or London city. Forbes has placed China at #3 among the best Asian countries of 2021.

How many U.S. citizens live in China?

According to the result of the Seventh national census, 845,697 foreigners are living in China. As per the official published report in 2018, more than 72,000 U.S. citizens live in China.

Most U.S. citizens choose to live in Shanghai and Beijing.

With vast land, China’s northern part can feel alienated from the southern region and vice versa. So, we have done a lot of research and picked up the best cities in no particular order because taste may vary.

Have Fun.

9 Best Places to Live in China

There are the following best 9 places to live in China:

1. Hangzhou – it’s all about History, Culture, and Scenery

  • Province: Zhejiang
  • Population: 8.7 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 112,268 (USD 17,067)

An old Chines is saying “上有天堂, 下有苏杭,” that can be translated into “The Skies Have Heaven, And The Earth Has Suzhou And Hangzhou.


Hangzhou is famous for its centuries-old history and preserved natural beauty. It is the most prosperous city in Zhejiang province. 

This centuries-old city of China has maintained a beautiful combination of old traditions and modern living styles. You can enjoy serene views as well as explore the nightlife here.

West Lake, Lingyin Temple, XiXi national Waterland park, and the infamous Leifeng Pagoda are some of this city’s most popular destinations.

2. Xiamen – Picture Perfect Sandy Beaches

Province: Fujian

Population: 3.5 million

GDP per capita: CNY 77,392 (USD 11,765)

Xiamen is located in the southeast part of China. Most of the city consists of an Island. In the early 1980s, it was one of the first four cities opened for particular foreign investment.

Due to many foreigners living in the city, it is a plethora of Culture and World-class universities.

Xiamen – Picture Perfect Sandy Beaches

In 2006, Xiamen was chosen as the second most suitable city for living in China. It was also the “Most Romantic City of China” back in 2011.

Gulangyu island, Xiamen Botanical Garden, Zhongshan Road Walking Street, and Xiamen University are the top attractions of Xiamen.

Can you swim in the sea in Xiamen?

Yes, swimming is not prohibited in Xiamen Bay. Pearl Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Xiamen. Mountains on three sides surround it. 

Related: Top Hotels in Kuta Bali

3. Kunming – City of Eternal Spring

  • Province: Yunnan
  • Population: 6.4 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 46,814 (USD 7,116)

Kunming is one of the least polluted cities in China. It is the Home of many universities, Cultural landmarks, Museums, and important economic institutions. 

Kunming – City of Eternal Spring.

Kunming is the largest and Capital city of Yunnan Province. It is also home to Krast wonders.

Yunnan province is full of cultural and regional diversity. It is just like a bit of World in vast China.

Where do most tourists visit Kunming and the area around it?

The top attractions to visit in Kunming are Kunming Dragon Gate, Green Lake, Xishan Forrest Park, and Shilin Stone park.

The number of tourists super pass to 5 million in 2020 to the stone forest only. According to data released by management officials, Yearly revenue eared by tourism surpass 10 billion Yuan.

Already fall in love with majestic China, Have a quick look at this beautiful video of China.

4. Quingdao – Little Europe in China

  • Province: Shandong
  • Population: 8.7 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 96,524 (USD 14,673)

Outside China, This city is known for its Beer (Tsingtao). Due to its German colonial background, many old victorian style buildings can be seen here.

This city is perfect for Beaches, Seafood, Beer, and a solid Western Feel. In 2011, Qingdao was ranked #1 as the “most liveable city” by The Chinese Institute of competitiveness.

Quingdao – Little Europe in China

An annual Beer Festival is held here sponsored by the State to promote tourism here. In 1984, this city was also opened for foreign investment. It is also home to “Haier Corporation,” which is a major corporation giant.

Qingdao Beer Museum, Laoshan Scenic Area, May fourth Square, and Badaguan Scenic Resort are Top Sights in Quingdao.

5. Nanjing – A little bit of Everything

  • Province: Jiangsu
  • Population: 8 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 119,957 (USD 18,241)

Nanjing is the top pick by ex-pats- in China. This city provides a beautiful blend of almost everything, be it culture, History, Chinese Cuisine, or World-class Education.

Nanjing – A little bit of Everything.

Due to its bustling and growing economy, this city has many advanced technical institutes. The ratio of University students is highest here as compared to the rest of China.

Nanjing is famous for mountains and waters such as Fuzimiao, Ming Palace, and historical landscapes. There are also various Western-style pubs, Dance clubs, and restaurants that serve equally delicious food.

What happened in the Chinese city of Nanjing?

On December thirteenth, 1937, the Japanese imperial army soldiers attacked Nanjing and killed almost 40,000 to 150,000 people. This horrific incident is also known as the Rape of Nanjing.

There is also a Memorial hall and museum built by the government here in memory of this event.

6. Shenzhen – Shopping, Spending, and Make it BIG!

  • Province: Guangdong
  • Population: 10.3 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 164,664 (USD 25,039)

Shenzhen is the best place in China for ex-pats. With the Shenzhen stock exchange and central economic zone, it is one of the major financial cities of China.

Shenzhen – Shopping, Spending, and Make it BIG!

With sky rock buildings, great night clubs and major financial companies, Shenzhen has got it all. This city is also close to Hong Kong, and this perk is just a cherry on top.

This city of China has excellent international vibes, and it is the best place in China for foreigners to connect. Weather is typically warm here all-around year due to sub-tropical proximity.

Is it safe in Shenzhen?

Shenzhen is a safe city for foreigners according to western standards. Violent crimes are rare in the city. In 2019, Shenzhen was listed among the top 100 safest cities in World.

Economic gurus like Bussiness Insiders are betting on Shenzhen, China, as the next big shot in financial hubs. In 2016, Bussiness Insider compared Shenzhen to the G.D.P. of Singapore city.

7. Zhuhai – Chinese Riviera with Portuguese Heritage

  • Province: Guangdong
  • Population: 1.5 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 129,926 (USD 19,757)

Zhuhai was named the most liveable city in 2014 by the Chinese Academy of social science. This city was also established for special economic zones in the early 1970s.

Zhuhai – Chinese Riviera with Portuguese Heritage

Although this city has a small population, the quality of life is very high here compared to the rest of China. This city is also referred to as the Chinese Riviera.

This city was built for economic production, but rapidly it grew itself as an environmental city. Tourism is significant here.

How many tourists visit Zhuhai?

Tourism is vital here. In 2017, Zhuhai had 3.18 million overnight foreign tourists. 

According to the HKTD research report, despite Covid-19, the city welcomed 9.6 million overnight tourists, with 360,000 from overseas only in 2020.

Related: Beaches in Maldives

8. Beijing – The Forbidden City with Gardens of Heaven

  • Province: Beijing municipality
  • Population: 19.6 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 99,214 (USD 15,086)

Beijing is the most famous city in China. This city is also home, away from home for many foreigners living in China.

Beijing - The forbidden city with Gardens of Heaven

Beijing has been the capital city of China for almost 700 years. It is a giant with its strong cultural, economic, political, and financial institutes.

The great wall of China, The Forbidden Palace, The Heavenly gardens, and The summer palace are the most visited places in Beijing.

How many foreigners are living in Beijing?

Beijing is also the Financial Capital of China. It is home to 52 fortune 500 companies. According to Aetna International, Beijing is the best place for ex-pats to work in China.

According to data from “The Beijinger,” in 2020, 63,000 foreigners lived in Beijing city.

9. Shanghai – Concrete Jungle with 161 Lush Green Parks

  • Province: Shanghai municipality
  • Population: 24.2 million
  • GDP per capita: CNY 97,555 (USD 14,834)

Shanghai is the most vibrant and livable city in China. This city has a lovely combination of traditional Chines and western buildings, giving a very warm look.

Shanghai - Concrete Jungle with 161 Lush Green Parks

The French Concession, The Bund, Nanjing Road shopping area, City God Temple, and Yu Garden are famous sites.

How many foreigners are in Shanghai?

Shanghai is the home of more than 150,000 official foreigners. These numbers are based upon a report issued by “officials.” In 2019, around 361 million tourists visited Shanghai from mainland China.

Number of Foreigners living in Shanghai from the U.S.A., Japan, and South Korea in 2017.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, Shanghai received 236 million domestic visitors in 2020.


China is an innovative land. From breakthroughs in Textile, Medicine, Bio-engineering, and Technology, China has become an integral country.

Its controlled economy and many investment opportunities make it a beautiful combination of eastern and western style marketplace.

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