New Delhi: Thailand has become a major destination for many Chinese citizens who are looking for a change of scenery and lifestyle amid the pandemic. China imposed one of the world’s strictest Covid restrictions, keeping millions of people under prolonged lockdown. This sparked a desire for freedom and adventure among the young generation, who found Thailand to be an attractive and accessible option.
Reasons for Choosing Thailand
Several factors make Thailand appealing to the Chinese migrants. Some of them are:
- Social media influence: Influencers on popular platforms in China showcase the benefits of living in Thailand, such as affordable international schools, exotic locations, and low-cost healthcare. They portray Thailand as a paradise that offers something for everyone.
- Easy visa process: Thailand offers a variety of long-term visas, including one-year language courses, that are relatively easy to obtain compared to other countries. The cost ranges between $700 to $1,800.
- Cultural familiarity: Thailand has a long history of cultural and economic ties with China, and hosts the oldest and most significant ethnic Chinese community in Southeast Asia. There are an estimated 7.1 million people in the country who consider themselves Chinese.
- Experimentation: For many Chinese, Thailand is seen as a convenient and safe country to try out living abroad, without committing to a permanent move. They can enjoy the freedom and diversity of Thailand, while still maintaining their connection to China.
Statistics and Trends
The growing interest in migrating to Thailand can be seen in the online behavior of the Chinese. According to Chinese language media, the number of people searching “migration” has surged, reaching 510 million a day in October, while “migrate Thailand” was searched more than 300,000 times in a single day in late January.
According to the Real Estate Information Center of Thailand, the Chinese already rank as the largest group of foreign buyers of property in Thailand, with more than 3,500 units purchased in 2022 at an average price of $150,000 each.
According to a report, 5 million or 50 lakh Chinese citizens have arrived in Thailand in the last year. Many of them come on study visas, enrolling in online Thai courses at local universities. For example, about 500 Chinese people started an online Thai course at Payap University in Chiang Mai earlier this year.
Thailand has emerged as a popular destination for many Chinese youth who are looking for a change of pace and lifestyle amid the pandemic. The country offers a range of advantages, such as an easy visa process, social media influence, cultural familiarity, and experimentation. The trend of Chinese migration to Thailand is likely to continue, as the demand for freedom and diversity grows among the young generation.