Top Emerging Markets for Expat Relocations Revealed

A recent survey of 116 multinational corporations has revealed that India and China are the most popular emerging market destinations for expatriate relocations.

The survey, which was conducted by relocation company Cartus, revealed that the “BRIC” countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China are set to remain the most popular destinations for expatriate transfers over the next two years. Of the multinational companies surveyed, 53% revealed that they would be relocating the highest number of employees to China and 45% said that they would be relocating them to India. Brazil (34%) and Russia (22%) were ranked third and fourth, respectively.

Top Ten Relocation Destinations

The top ten countries that multinational companies are intending to move international transferees to over the next two years:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Brazil
  4. Russia
  5. United Arab Emirates (UAE) (10%)
  6. South Africa (9%)
  7. Mexico (8%)
  8. Malaysia and Saudi Arabia (6%)
  9. The Philippines and Vietnam (5%)

Of the top ten destinations, the Philippines, South Africa, and Vietnam have never previously appeared in the top 25 most common locations for relocation assignments, according to Cartus’ clients’ move patterns. Discussing the results, Kevin Kelleger, President and CEO of Cartus commented: “Corporations worldwide are clearly sending their employees to an unprecedented array of new locations that will pose an even broader range of challenges, both for mobility programs and assignees on the ground.

“In addition, the strong growth in international relocations underscores the need for global organizations to assess candidates very carefully to make certain they have the leadership and business skills that make them the right fit for the assignment.”

The Importance of Emerging Markets

The Cartus survey revealed that 68% of those companies surveyed felt that emerging markets played a significant role in their business strategy and that they were more important than some of the more traditional markets. When questioned as to their motivations for relocating employees to emerging markets, 68% of the companies surveyed revealed that they did so in order to provide “local leadership” and 64% disclosed that a common reason for relocation to emerging markets was the need to provide “project-based expertise”.

Discussing the results, Matt Spinolo, the executive vice president of Cartus, said: “Our 2011 emerging markets survey pointed to a broad range of locations into which companies expect to have relocation volume over the next two years.

“Of particular interest is the fact that respondents identified more countries in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) than in any other region. Of these, the greatest proportion is represented by countries in Africa. While we are already seeing these appear more frequently in our own client patterns, many of them have not been among the more familiar destinations for assignments in the past.”

For the full results and a copy of the Cartus “Mobility Challenges in Emerging Markets” survey, visit and click on the “Emerging Markets Pulse Survey”.