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Sun rises in the East and retires in the West for expats, survey suggests

PARIS--Asia is fast becoming a top destination for professional people and executives who go abroad for their companies, their careers and their bank accounts: the expatriates.

And Europe is largely a place for retirement in the sun, in France and Spain, although Britain and India came top as ideal choices for retirement, a recent survey shows.

An exception in Europe is Germany — which draws in young people boosting their careers notably in technology industries — Britain, which ranks highly for culture and entertainment.

These are among the main findings of a vast annual survey of so-called “expats” by HSBC bank, published in October. Finance companies managing personal wealth take a close interest in expats who have high earnings and savings and need advice on investment and tax.

The survey draws a global expat landscape in which the so-called “soft” but critical resource of brainpower and special skills is being drawn increasingly to emerging economies.

The expat sun seems to be rising in the East and retiring in the West.

But expats in general are feeling the chill of the cold winds of economic downturn, particularly in Spain.

Five Asian countries ranked in the top countries for economic attractiveness, and four in the top 12 for the overall experience of being an expat.

“Asia is increasingly coming to the fore as a top destination for both financial opportunity and life experiences,” said the head of HSBC Expat, Dean Blackburn.

Singapore is now a top destination, and China is moving rapidly upwards as an attractive place to live and work.

China had leapt up to seventh place this year from 19th in 2011, the survey said. Two-thirds of expats in China reported a “marked improvement” in their financial situations.

But to raise families in the great outdoor life, Canada and Australia score strongly, for safety for the children Hong Kong ranks most highly, and for culture London remains attractive particularly with a boost from the royal wedding and Olympic Games.

For easy living, and also in view of retirement, France and Spain offer above all sunshine.

The Middle East is high on the list for young people seeking high earnings, but families have difficulty in integrating, children spend much of their time on computer games, and expats who go there retain strong links with home.

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