At least half a million Hong Kong people, about one-sixth of the SAR's workforce, are employed on the mainland, Beijing Youth Daily said. More than half of them were working full time, while the remainder crossed the border to work for at least six months of the year. Most worked in the cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. The reasons for the trend, which was said to have been accelerating over the last two years, were worsening employment prospects in the territory and the narrowing of salary differentials for managers.
A similar process is happening in Japan, where thousands of middle-aged workers are looking for job opportunities in China. The level of unemployment among Japanese men in the 45-54 age bracket rose from 1.2 per cent in 1991 to 3.7 per cent last year. The number of Japanese males in China for longterm stay climbed 23 per cent year-on-year to 28,349 in 2001, according to Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.