BECOMING A FOREIGNER: THE BEST PLACES FOR ASIAN EXPATRIATES

I am an Asian expat. I have been working outside of my native Philippines for nearly three decades now, mostly in Hong Kong and a few years in the 1990s in Malaysia.  I have also traveled for business and pleasure across Asia, from China to India to Indonesia, Japan, Korea Thailand and Vietnam.

So surveys of expat life like HSBC’s Expat Explorer: Achieving Ambitions Abroad are interesting to me. I imagine, from talking with CFOs across Asia, that information about the pros and cons of working in abroad are interesting to finance professionals too.

A CFO attending the CFO Innovation Asia Forum in Singapore once asked me for advice about accepting an offer to work in Myanmar. That Southeast Asian country is not included in the latest HSBC survey because there were fewer than 100 respondents living there who participated in the study (out of 26,871 respondents from 190 countries currently living away from their home country).

I told the CFO Myanmar is probably going to be an interesting experience, provided she is single and paid highly enough such that she could save more than if she were to remain in Singapore. But if Myanmar were part of the HSBC survey, she could have gleaned more information about the level of disposable income, political stability, work/life balance, lifestyle and other aspects of living and working in that frontier economy.

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