Expat Interviews


Thailand, Vietnam increasingly popular with British expats

by Ray Clancy on October 24, 2014

Countries in the Far East are becoming increasingly popular for British expats due to lower costs and a higher standard of living, new research says.

In a new survey, many expats pointed out how cost effective it is to live in countries like Thailand and Vietnam as they get more value for their money than in Britain.

Thailand

Countries like Thailand and Vietnam can be very cost effective for expats

Around two thirds of expats say that they associate Thailand and Vietnam with a higher quality of life, (69% and 62%, respectively) in the 2014 Expat Explore survey from HSBC.

Some 72% of those living in Thailand and 75% in Vietnam said they have higher levels of disposable income and 69% and 64%, respectively, say their chosen host country is a culturally interesting place to live.

Whether it’s enjoying Thai New Year or the Vietnamese Tet-Lunar New Year festival, both cultures offer plenty to do for almost any budget. Here, recreation also comes at a price cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world.

These two Asian countries topped the tables in this year’s survey for affordable fun, with 50% of expats living in Thailand and 49% in Vietnam spending less on going out to visit local restaurants, theatre, music bars or general night life compared with the global average of 23% who said the same.

But it’s not just about a good night out. Expats in Thailand and Vietnam are among those most likely to find that they are travelling more since becoming an expat, making the most of small islands nearby and transport links to other parts of the east.

This is particularly the case in Vietnam, where 79% said they are travelling. 68% said the same for Thailand, which is significantly higher than the global average of 58%.

Asia is also the place to be for higher earning expats in 2014, as the world’s highly mobile force of successful expats look for new opportunities. Expat respondents in Asia are the most likely to earn over a quarter of a million dollars, with 14% of expats in Asia earning over $250,000 a year compared to only 5% in Europe.

Within Asia, China, which ranks first in the Expat Economics league table, is by far the leading destination for these high flying expats. Over four times as many expats in China (29%) earn over $250,000 a year compared with the global average of 7%.

The survey findings also reveal that these higher earning expats are quick to capitalise on new opportunities and are flocking to Asia, where growth is expected to take off in the coming years, according to World Bank figures.

Some 65% of those earning over $250,000 a year said they have been expats on more than one occasion. Nearly half, 47%, said they relocated to pursue new job prospects, compared with the global average of 38%. 24% also moved to improve their earnings, compared to the average of 20%.

As well as earning more, this group is also settling into the new culture, with 66% saying they found acclimatising to the local culture easy, compared with a global average of 60%. More than a third, 34%, said their social life has improved since moving, compared to a global average of 28%.

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