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Shanghai heads list of expats' favorite cities
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Shanghai maintains the highest quality of life on Chinese mainland for Asian expats, but environmental pollution problem is still a concern, according to the latest survey.

The Location Ranking Survey, conducted by one of the world's largest human resources organizations, ECA International, ranked Shanghai in 11th place in Asia and 78th in the world in terms of expat living conditions.

The city retained its top spot among the 13 cities in Chinese mainland that included Beijing, Nanjing, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen.

The annual survey compares living standards in 254 locations around the world according to categories including climate, air quality, health services, housing and utilities, isolation, social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure, personal safety and political tensions.

Overall scores are used by ECA member companies to establish allowances to compensate staff for the difficulties of living abroad.

Hong Kong, Taipei and Macau took the top three places in China, with Shanghai in fourth place, the survey reported.

Nanjing, capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province was rated second to Shanghai on the Chinese mainland.

The study showed second-tier cities were moving up the ranks while first-tier cities moved down. For instance, Shenzhen surpassed Guangzhou and Xiamen to become the fifth preferred place to live in, but Beijing dropped five places globally.

Lee Quane, general manager of ECA International in Hong Kong, said that as the availability of consumer goods in Chinese cities continued to improve, along with better health care and recreation facilities, Chinese cities would continue to rise in the ranks.

However, drawback factors that worked against Chinese cities included pollution, Quane said.

"Pollution levels in China remain very high, as this is an unfortunate consequence of China's development," he said, adding that high levels of pollution were partly responsible for Beijing's fall this year.

Concerns over the quality of Chinese products also remained.

Globally, Singapore remained the favorite destination for Asian expats while Baghdad came bottom of the list.

(Shanghai Daily March 7, 2008)

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