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Searching for a More Peaceful Life: China’s Most Livable “Second-Tier,” Cities

Apr 18, 2017 Translated by Comments (5)     Add your comment Newsletter

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The extortionate property and living costs in first tier cities are an enormous source of pressure and concern among young Chinese professionals today. This article translated from , explores the growing opportunities that second tier cities have to offer; the evaluations offer rose-tinted views of cities such as Xi’an, but it is an interesting insight into one of the hottest concerns in China today.

Prices are too high, rent is too expensive. This has become a pain for many Chinese people. People living in every corner of China are feeling the economic pressure. However, second-tier cities can be very suitable alternatives. China’s second-tier cities are very livable and each has its own special charm. Here is a list of second-tier cities to consider moving to if the economic crush of living in Beijing or Shanghai is getting you down.

SanyaSanya- Sanya is located in the southern tip of the island of Hainan and is best known for being the city with the best air quality in China. Sanya residents also have the longest life expectancy of anywhere in China with an average of about 80 years. Sanya has been dubbed the “Chinese Hawaii,” and is rated the highest for tourism in China because of Hainan’s beautiful coastal scenery. Sanya is the urban heart and transportation and communication hub of southern Hainan. The city is an important foreign trade port and has made extraordinary strides in urban development.

WuhanWuhan- Wuhan is considered to be an extremely livable city with cheap real estate, and good quality water and environment. These factors have become a major draw for buyers in the area. Wuhan is also known as the “River City,” or “City of 100 Lakes”, due to its large amount of water resources: a quarter of the city’s urban area is on or near water. Wuhan has also become a base for scientific research and higher education and is therefore one of the most developed cities in China, second only to Beijing and Shanghai. In a report of 2014 statistics concerning global urban vitality, Wuhan was ranked number five out of the world’s top ten cities.

HaikouHaikou- Haikou, a seaside city, is noted for its amazing air quality and warm tropical weather. Haikou is known as one of the most desirable cities to live in mainland China. The city is also ranked as one of ten National Environmental Protection Model Cities and as also ranked as one of the best cities for health, tourism, gardens and historical sites.

XianXi’an- In ancient times, Xi’an was known as one of the world’s four major ancient civilizations alongside Cairo, Athens and Rome. Up until now, from an environmental standpoint, air quality index and development standpoint, Xi’an has been called one of the most livable cities in China. Many people stay in Xi’an for entrepreneurial development as has great opportunities for working and living. As the city becomes more and more clean and the sky becomes increasingly blue, the city will become even more beautiful and comfortable.

ChongqingChongqing- Chongqing ranks very highly in various surveys evaluating quality of life in China. This is why the city has been often nicknamed, “Livable Chongqing.” Chongqing is one of five major central Chinese cities and full of history and culture. The city is the upper Yangtze River’s center for economics, finance, innovation, politics, shipping culture, science and technology, education and communications. Chongqing’s urban and rural development will continue in the future as the city steps onto the world’s stage.

ChengduChengdu-A comfortable place to live, Chengdu was dubbed “China’s Low Carbon City,” in 2009. It is located on the eastern Chengdu Plain, a flat area crisscrossed by rivers and characterized by rich soil. Its location has given Chengdu its reputation as a land of abundance. Chengdu is also an historical and cultural cities and one of the top cities for tourism in China.

HangzhouHangzhou- Hangzhou is known for being a “quiet and peaceful,” city despite its urban transformation. The city has been developed around the landscape and many areas seem to still be untouched. Hangzhou has held the title of China’s Happiest City for five years in a row. In 2009 Hangzhou’s World Leisure Expo become a permanent fixture and began to attract the attention of the world’s leisure industry. Hangzhou was named as the “Best Chinese City for Investment,” by the World Bank five years in a row and was named “Best Commercial City in China,” by Forbes five years in a row. In economic output, Hangzhou ranks second out of all of the Chinese provincial capitals and sixth out of all of the cities in mainland China.

NingboNingbo- In 2006, Ningbo was named by the public as the “Preferred Livable City of the Year”. Unlike many dry and parched urban areas in China, Ningbo has water flowing all through the city due to its location on a harbor. The city has also enjoyed flourishing economic development. In 2009, Ningbo’s GDP totaled 4.2 billion Yuan and the city was ranked fourth in per capital disposable income in China. Ningbo’s rich culture is typical of cities in the Yangtze River Delta. It is also a historical and cultural city and the eastern port of the “Maritime Silk Road”.


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Keywords: Second Tier Cities in China Best Cities to live in China

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5 Comments ( Add your comment )


stopped reading after I saw wuhan as a most livable city. Are you forking kidding me? It's a dumpster hellhole

Apr 18, 2017 09:36

I stopped reading after "livable cities."

Apr 18, 2017 14:27

Chengdu low carbon? Is that just a name? It is more polluted on average than Beijing.

Apr 18, 2017 19:31

Many 3rd tier cities are better than the ones mentioned here. Sanya is a tourist trap. You might try Guangxi Beihai. Wuhan is ok because the whole province is dirt poor. So expect your salary to be low too.

Apr 19, 2017 03:20

Too many bad expats that make the other expats look like trash in haikou. no way...

Apr 25, 2017 15:34

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