China's financial hub - Shanghai - has pipped 30 other cities in the country to become the nation's most popular city.
A survey, co-conducted by Gallup Consulting, a global consultancy, was launched in April via an online questionnaire circulated among foreigners living in the Chinese mainland. A total of 7,980 foreigners took part in the survey, China Daily reported.
Every city needed to be judged by at least 200 foreigners to make the sample valid for scientific research, according to Wu Tao, chief consultant of Gallup Consulting China.
Thirty Chinese cities were rated in 12 categories - attractiveness, culture, environment, citizen qualities, security, traffic, individuality, integrity, government efficiency, investment value, development potential and internationalisation level.
Shanghai and Beijing came out with flying colors in terms of the general impression among foreigners. Chengdu was ranked third on the list.
'While China has overtaken Japan to become the second-biggest economy in the world, it remains unknown how foreigners think of Chinese cities. The survey was conducted to give a comprehensive, scientific and objective evaluation of some cities,' Meng Jian, director of the International Public Relations Research Centre of Fudan University, which co-conducted the survey with Gallup, was quoted as saying.