Is Chengdu the Happiest City in China?
30 May 2023

Chengdu has been awarded the title of ‘China’s Happiest City’ for 14 consecutive years. Each year a national poll is conducted featuring more than 10 million people from across the country, ranking cities based on indicators such as income, quality of life, tourism, employment, environment, public security, education, and transport. Although 10 million is a tiny fraction of the country’s overall population, there must be some truth in the survey as Chengdu keeps ranking top annually. Thus ‘Happy City’ has become an important name card of the city and is certainly a great feather in Chengdu’s cap and has been used to boost its tourism. 


As the latest first-tier city in China, Chengdu is developing rapidly and becoming more and more international. It is becoming more widely known by both people in China and abroad. Let’s look into reasons why Chengdu is considered the happiest in the middle kingdom. 


According to the classical definition of urban happiness one aspect of a city’s happiness can be recognized and perceived from a city’s identity. There’s no doubt that Chengdu has its own identity. When you think of Chengdu, you think about the pleasures of spicy Sichuan Cuisine, the cute pandas, the leisurely and relaxed pace of life, the teahouses, mahjong, Sichuan Opera, the emblematic Hibiscus flowers, the Gingko Trees in the Autumn, and the song by Zhao Lei named after the city itself. The city and the word ‘Chengdu’ conjures up a special feeling so definite and pure that it must be experienced. 


As the economic and technological hub of southwestern China, Chengdu provides an excellent standard of living for its more than 20 million population, for locals and foreigners alike. More and more people are coming to Chengdu to work, live and study, from other parts of China and from around the world. One reason is the property prices is a lot lower here than compared to other tier one cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. You can rent two apartments in Chengdu for the price of one in those other major cities. Big companies move their offices and operations to Chengdu because of the lower rent fees. 


Chengdu also boasts convenient and excellent transport links, and along with other major metropolises now has two international airports since 2021 with the opening of Tianfu International Airport to join Shuangliu Airport. Not to mention its modern metro system with the first line opening in 2010, now with 12 lines, and still expanding. There’s a metro station literally ever 15/20 minutes away so you will never get lost - taking you to and from many notable tourist attractions in the city, to the Chengdu Panda Base, Chunxi Road, Tianfu Square, Jinli, Wide and Narrow Alleys, Wenshu Monastery, Dufu Cottage and Global Centre. Chengdu also offers great opportunity to explore wider Sichuan. 


When I first came to Chengdu over six years ago, I kept on hearing about this slow, leaisurely and relaxed lifestyle that Chengdu has to offer. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like this during rush hour or when you’re working. But after several years of being here I’ve found that this lifestyle is born from the city’s culture: 


Sichuan cuisine is world renowned, known for its spiciness, but also has plenty of other flavours, and brings undeniable joy to the city’s inhabitants. Friends, families and colleagues like to slow down with a spicy hotpot or chuan chuan so they can eat and socialize at the same time. On weekends, you’ll find teahouses and mahjong parlours bustling with locals drinking Chinese tea, plentiful people relaxing in parks and by the riverside, gatherings on the side of streets playing cards or chess. At night the fashional youth let their hair down at bars and clubs with lively late night entertainment. During these times life seems to slow down and enjoyment is the focus. Now I see - people in Chengdu like to live life well. 


With more development to come, the future of Chengdu is promising. Is Chengdu the happiest city in China, well, you’ll need to come here to find out yourself. 


We have plenty of wonderful job opportunities in Chengdu and Sichuan, check out our jobs board via the folllwing link:  


If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email to [email protected]

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