Bye, bye big cities - white collars want to flee

08:35, March 30, 2010      

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Soaring housing prices and the high cost of living in major cities are pushing some people to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

The first-tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have long been the first choice among enthusiastic young people, but a new online survey indicates that more than half of white-collar workers are eyeing other cities where life is "more comfortable" and has "less pressure".

The survey was conducted by Digitimes magazine and Data 100 Market Research Company in February.

Among those who had been in first-tier cities for more than three years, 55 percent said they would choose to leave in the next few years. Increasing stress and sky-high housing prices were the main reasons.

Rather than staying in big cities, respondents said they would like to seek personal development in second- and third-tier cities such as Hangzhou, Qingdao and Xiamen, which promise huge potential during the country's economic development.

Compared with first-tier cities, 41 percent of the 635 respondents think there are more opportunities for personal development in smaller cities, and 37 percent said the move would allow them to afford an apartment.

"Yes, I'm ready to leave any time to a city where I don't need to worry about housing prices every day," said Sarah Pei, 29, a marketing assistant in Shanghai who earns a monthly salary of about 7,000 yuan ($1,000).

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