balance is not just something that interests the priveleged few in the
west. The first criterion workers in Shanghai or Beijing now look at
when choosing a job is a balanced lifestyle, writes Shaun Rein, MD of
the China Market Research Group in this BusinessWeek article.

Five years ago, the most important criterion was salary. The changed
priorities speaks volumes for how China's job market has evolved in the
coastal cities.

Although China's first-tier cities have large worker populations,
labour costs are not as low as many as multinationals expect and high
turnover is a growing problem.

Second-tier cities offer a much better opportunity for companies
seeking to acquire employees with relevant skills that stay with
companies for the longer term, says Reid, who is regular reader of EngagingChina.
When asked what their main criteria were for choosing a job, workers in
second- and third-tier cities still choose salary as the most important
factor followed by job security.

The rest of the BW article argues that China's second- and
third-tier cities are a much better bet than the big metropoli on the
coast, particularly for western companies hoping to tap into China's
consumer boom.

While these cities are not familar names to decision-makers and
board directors in the west, they will become the engine for growth in
the future. For example, some 50m residents live in the cities of
Chengdu, Wuhan and Chongqing — more than the entire populations of
Canada and Australia combined — and they have average disposable
incomes that are increasing 15% a year and reached $1,550 in 2006.

Consumers in these less-developed cities like to flaunt their newfound wealth, argues Reid.

An executive from L'Oréal recently told Reid that its fastest sales
in China are coming from Guizhou, a city in a province that's the least
visited by foreign tourists in all of China. When DaimlerChrysler's
luxury Maybach 62 (see photo) was launched in Harbin, it sold out. See our
earlier story for more on luxury cars in China.

EngagingChina has previously written about the attractions of Chongqing and other second-tier cities in this story

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