If you feel like you’ve been seeing a lot more foreign faces in Shanghai lately, you’re not imagining things. According to the Shanghai Foreign Experts Affairs Administration, the city has attracted a whopping 174,000 expats—19,000 more than two years ago.
While it comes as no surprise that Shanghai, arguably the most foreigner-friendly and international of all Chinese cities, is such an expat hotspot, the city has also received extra help from a city government willing to pay top-dollar for foreign experts.
In an interview with Shanghai Daily, the administration’s deputy director Huang Weimao said that in 2013, over 10 million yuan (US $1.63 million) was spent on funding 160 initiatives to bring more foreign professionals from all sectors to Shanghai.
These successful recruitment programs, such as the “Thousands Talents program” which aims to recruit 1,000 top-level professionals from high-demand fields, helped bring in a total of 7,503 foreign experts last year.
About half of the 174,000 expats who now call Shanghai home have lived in the city for at least one year and work in a variety of fields from education to creative design. The other 86,000 expats work for Chinese and foreign enterprises.
By Lucy Wang