5 Biggest Cities In China

You've packed your bags and are prepared to begin your new life in China! One major issue, though, remains: where the heck are you going to live? I've got your back if you need help finding the solution. I have compiled a list of what I consider to be the top five cities in China for expatriates to live and work.


We had a great time in Beijing. Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall are all essential features of modern Chinese cultural identity. It's got fantastic eateries serving cuisines from all around China and the globe, a staggering variety of buildings, and a convenient and inexpensive public transit system.

And despite the pronounced Beijing accent, the city is home to some of the most standard Mandarin speakers in China, making it more simpler to acquire and use Chinese in Beijing than in other places. It's also simple to make plenty of acquaintances and connections because to the city's humongous ex-pat community and its cosmopolitan Chinese locals.

Finally, Beijing's enormous population makes for a thriving labor market where internationals may obtain well-paying work with relative ease in almost any industry.


When compared to other Chinese megacities, Shenzhen is essentially on the cutting edge. It became one of China's most important commercial centers after almost disappearing for the previous 30 years. As a result, it is very cutting-edge and boasts a plethora of western-style conveniences that are uncommon in more traditional Chinese towns.

Shenzhen is a commercial hub with all the perks that come with it, including a robust employment market with high-paying positions and a plethora of options for both international and domestic business owners and workers.

In addition, the coolest international city in Asia, Hong Kong, is only an hour away by train or ferry. Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) and is home to many western services and products that are hard to come by in mainland China. This also makes transferring or changing visas considerably simpler and affordable.

Shenzhen's proximity to Hong Kong means that expatriates working in China can easily travel between the two cities, giving them the best of both worlds: a taste of Chinese culture and access to modern conveniences more often associated with the West. If you needed more convincing to make the move to Shenzhen, here you go.


Chengdu is often referred to be China's "most livable" city. Compared to other Chinese cities, life in this one moves at a more leisurely pace, with more time for tea and mahjong. Also, there is considerable discussion over whether or not it is true, although many foreigners believe that it is more accepting to LGTBQ culture than other cities in China.

As with Beijing, Chengdu's proximity to a wealth of cultural and historical sites is matched only by the city's proximity to dozens of mountains and hiking paths. In addition, the native Chinese cuisine in Sichuan is the greatest I've had anywhere, with its emphasis on spicy chilies and the numbing Sichuan peppercorn that give the food in this region its distinctive flavor.

Although the labor market is not as robust as it is in China's larger cities, it is nevertheless feasible to get well-paying positions. Combining this with Chengdu's much reduced cost of living, significant financial savings are possible for many. For this reason, many foreigners who have jobs in China want to settle in Chengdu.


Xiamen, in Fujian province on China's eastern coast not far from Taiwan, is a tropical paradise. Subtropical weather means it's warm and sunny pretty much all year, and there are many beautiful parks and trails to explore.

There's a robust employment market for English instructors in Xiamen, a well-established international community and a local Chinese populace that's more friendly to outsiders than other more geographically closed-off regions.

One of the largest benefits of living in Xiamen is its closeness to Taiwan, which substantially simplifies and minimizes the expense of keeping or changing visas if you're hoping to remain in China long-term.


Pollution is a serious problem in most major Chinese cities. Kunming is known for having relatively low air pollution levels, while the situation is reportedly improving in China's worst-affected cities.

As a modern city, Kunming now offers has several benefits, such as a robust employment market, an established international population, a slow pace of life, cheap daily prices, and a favorable setting for learning Mandarin. However, many of the aforementioned cities also have similar conveniences, so why choose Kunming?

The province of Yunnan, where Kunming is located, holds the key. Yunnan is a fascinating province in China. Located immediately above Vietnam, it has served as China's main entry point into mainland Southeast Asia for centuries, leading to a very diversified civilization that now includes more than two dozen recognized ethnic minorities.

Kunming, with its beautiful surrounding natural areas, provides a one-of-a-kind and pleasant experience for foreigners interested in learning more about Chinese culture beyond the national Han identity (the main ethnic group).

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