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Here are the world's most popular destination for the world's expats, as revealed by the latest HSBC International Expat Explorer survey:
Although one-third of China-based expats have seen an increase in the cost of everyday items, the actual cost of living is very low compared to other expat countries; over two-thirds of expats agreed that most everyday items in China were cheaper than in their country of origin. However, luxuries did not score very highly for expats based there; property ownership and owning nicer or more cars than in their home nation scored particularly low with only 5% owning a nicer car or more cars and 16% owning their own.
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9. Hong Kong
Although expats in Hong Kong are spending considerably more than average on items such as accommodation (60%) and food and drink (66%), only 7% of expats based in Hong Kong believe they pay higher tax in their country of residence than in their country of origin (28% on average).
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Just under three quarters of expats choosing to live in the Philippines chose the country for career and financial prospects (compared to just 18% for Spain). The Philippines came sixth highest for income, and sixth highest for luxuries.
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Compared to last year's survey, Qatar was the biggest faller in the Gulf, dropping five places from second to seventh in 2009. Qatar boasts the highest number of expats being able to save more than in their country of origin (92%), but higher salaries have resulted in these countries having to spend more too, 63% of expats spending more in Qatar compared to their country of origin.
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A whopping 77% of Bermuda’s expats work in the financial sector. The island nation is second-highest in HSBC’s ‘Wealth Hotspot’ league, but falls to 16th when it comes to luxuries.
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Singapore acts as an attractive location for high earners, which is unsurprising as ittops the economic league table on income score with nearly half (45%) of expats earning over $200,000 per annum compared to the worldwide average of just 21%.
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Expats in the UAE ranked 4th overall when it came to luxury. Common perks for expats living in the UAE include more cars (63% in UAE vs. 29% overall), more exotic holidays (57% vs. 46%), nicer and larger properties (58% vs. 50%) and domestic help (57% vs 37%). In addition, expats benefit from much lower tax costs, with almost all (94%) of expats based in the UAE paying lower tax than in their country of origin.
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Bahrain rose an impressive five places in this year’s survey, from eighth to third. It is the biggest riser among the Gulf countries. 100% of expats in Bahrain agree they have more disposable income than they did previously, while 97% said they had no plans to relocate.
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2. Saudi Arabia
35% of expats in Saudi Arabia work in the financial sector, the second highest after Bermuda. A total of 85% of expats moved to Saudi Arabia primarily for career and money prospects. In addition, 92% of expats in Saudi say they have more disposable income than they did previously.
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1. Russian Federation
Expats in Russia remain the wealthiest in the world, with 36% of expats in Russia earning over $250,000. This number has actually increased over the past year – 30% of expats based in the country earned over $250,000 in 2009.