M’sia 19th preferred expat destination

In its aim to attract quality investments into the country moving forward, Malaysia squeezed itself into the top 20 of preferred living place for expatriates, according to the Expat Explorer survey conducted by banking group HSBC.

Topped by Switzerland with Singapore at the second place, the survey ranked Malaysia in the 19th position, just on top of Belgium.

The survey findings showed that cost effective and affordable high quality accommodation are the main factors for Malaysia to be expatriates’ favourite.

“Expats looking for a challenge are among the most likely to head to Malaysia. 49% of expat respondents told us this reason motivated their move.

“The need to look for a new challenge was the most popular reason for expats to move to Malaysia, followed by better job prospects,” HSBC said in statement.

The Expat Explorer survey was completed by 9,288 expats from over 100 countries through an online questionnaire, conducted by YouGov on behalf of HSBC Expat, in April and May 2014.

The survey showed larger culture change in level of expats making Malaysia their home, with over a quarter (27%) of Malaysia-based expats surveyed this year originally from the United Kingdom.

Although nearly half of expats in Malaysia (47%) said they find the local language difficult, expats who make Malaysia their home seem to embrace the sense of adventure, with over half (56%) trying to learn and use the local language, despite its difficulty.

Malaysia’s vast number of attactions also proved worth as 70% of expats surveyed said they have been traveling more since embarking on an expat life in Malaysia while 57% describing Malaysia as a culturally interesting place for them and their families.

“Many also find that Malaysia is cost-effective as well as being an exciting destination. Respondents report that accommodation is easy to find, higher quality and relatively inexpensive.

“Finding accommodation is described as easy by 63%, over half (54%) say it is of a higher standard than they enjoyed in their home country and 34% are now spending less on housing than before.

Utilities are another area in which expats are saving. 37% of respondents said they are now spending less on these bills.

Overall, the survey showed that the Asian region emerged as the best region for financial well-being, with nearly one fifth (19%) of expats earning over US$200,000 per annum and 65% saying they have more disposable income since relocating.

China is home to the largest proportion of high-earning expats in the world, with nearly two-fifths (38%) earn over US$200,000 per annum and over three quarters (76%) have more disposable income than they did at home.

Elsewhere in Asia, around a quarter of expats in India (24%) and Hong Kong (23%) earn over the US$200,000 per annum mark, with 56% and 63% respectively saying they have greater disposable income than before.