This study assesses how four types of mobility, which are analysed simultaneously, are associated with the current research output quality and visibility of academics working in the city-based higher education systems of Hong Kong and Macau. Transnational educational mobility is associated with the academics' educational path, whilst intrasectoral job mobility, intersectoral job mobility and transnational job mobility are related to their professional careers. The research output, quality and visibility of academics are based on three indicators pertaining to the publications of these academics in international, peer-reviewed and indexed journals: the number of publications, the cumulative SCImago journal rank of these publications (which measures quality from an output perspective) and the citations obtained by these publications (which measures visibility). The results show that different mobilities have different effects on research output, quality and visibility, and that often these effects can be beneficial to one indicator but concurrently detrimental to another. Nested analyses of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM academics, and by sex, offer further insight into the associations of these mobilities with knowledge output and outcomes. Copyright ©Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.