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China is a large country with many big, modern cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin etc. However, in a recent survey, it was found that the cities the Chinese considered most suitable for living were not neccessarily the largest and most modern cities.

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The top ten most livable cities in China

Beijing drops out of top 10 "best city" list: report 2006-01-03 08:55:30     

BEIJING, Jan. 3 -- Beijing is the nation's capital, but according to a recent survey, it does not even rank in China's top 10 cities in terms of suitability for living.

The city came 15th in the list, as compared to third in 2004, due to its bad traffic, high housing prices and heavy pollution.

Coastal city Dalian in Northeast China was selected as China's most suitable city for living, followed by Xiamen, also a coastal city, in East China's Fujian Province.

Following were Mianyang in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and the provincial capital Chengdu; Wuhan, provincial capital of Hubei; Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang; Shanghai; Nanjing, provincial capital of Jiangsu Province; Qingdao in Shandong Province; and Chongqing Municipality.

Beijing was not the only other well-known city to miss the top 10: Tianjin, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Guangzhou also lost out.

The list was compiled last month by Beijing-based polling agency Horizon Group after interviewing 3,434 urban residents aged between 18-65, and 1,604 investors.

The urban habitable index, which takes traffic, environment, social welfare and security into account, averaged 65.7 out of 100 points. "The findings indicated that there is much room for improvement in Chinese cities," the polling agency said.

The agency listed major problems faced by Chinese cities such as shortage of housing supplies, tough job markets, lack of or poor waste water and garbage treatment, and pollution.

Social groups differ over the degree of satisfaction with cities.

" Investors and high-income groups showed a high degree of satisfaction, but low-income groups were generally dissatisfied because of soaring housing prices and grim employment situation," said the polling agency.

The Chinese mainland has about 660 cities and 41 per cent of its population are urbanites. By 2020, the rate is expected to surpass 60 per cent.

(Source: China Daily)

Our comments

We have lived in a number of cities in China and indeed, the large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have never made us comfortable.

Despite the easy availability of modern cafes and supermarkets in these larger cities, somehow, the crowded streets, the traffic congestion, the polluted air, the noise and the hustle and bustle of these cities just made life a bit uncomfortable.

On the other hand, smaller cities such as Xiamen, Qingdao and Dalian had clean streets, regulated traffic, low noise level and minimal pollution, making them ideal for living. In addition, many of these smaller cities has very good city officials, and are easy to work with as they welcome foreigners with open arms.

If you are looking into trade or commerce, you may have no choice but to located yourself in Shanghai or Beijing. However, if you are looking into teaching or setting up a factory, these smaller cities may be more ideal as they offer both better governance advantages as well as better living conditions.

For more information about Chinese way of life and to prevent cultural shock, check out this interesting China Book. Or email us for further information.