Shanghai, Beijing Unseat Seoul as Most Expensive Cities in Asia for Expats

Shanghai and Beijing now rank as the two most expensive cities for expats in Asia –outpacing Seoul, which dropped from the top spot down to third. This according to human resources consultancy ECA International’s bi-annual Cost of Living survey.

This also marks the first time that China has four of her cities in the top five, with Hong Kong and Guangzhou at fourth and fifth, cementing China’s new place as the priciest.

China, expensive?

According to Lee Quane, Asia regional director at ECA International, people are often surprised to see Chinese cities ranked as expensive spots for expat workforces.

 
 

“It is of course possible to buy many items cheaply in China. However, when comparing cost of living for the purposes of expatriate packages, as we do, we look at internationally recognised quality brands wherever possible in order to make like-for-like comparisons,” said Quane.



“Over the past few years the availability in China of these usually more expensive items have increased, pushing up the overall cost of goods in our shopping basket. A strong renminbi has also put upward pressure on costs for many companies sending staff into China.”

ECA’s calculations of living costs are based on daily goods, including items such as food, household goods, leisure services, clothing, dining out and other items such as alcohol and tobacco. The calculations do not include rent, utilities or car expenses and school fees which tend to be covered by separate allowances.

 
 

Rounding out the top in Asia were Busan, Tokyo, Shenzhen, Singapore and Port Moresby.

Cost of Living in Tokyo Drops with Weakening Yen

Tokyo, a city that long topped the Asia Pacific rankings, this year dropped to 7th regionally and 16th globally. This is attributed to the significant weakening of the yen making items cheaper to buy for those converting from another currency.

Seoul, slipped to the third in Asia, but saw its ranking rise globally by six spots to become the 10th most expensive city for expats in the world.


Top 30 most expensive cities worldwide for international assignees

Country

Location

Global rank 2015

Global rank 2014

South Sudan
Juba
1
9
Angola
Luanda
2
3
Switzerland
Zurich
3
4
Switzerland
Geneva
4
5
Switzerland
Bern
5
7
Switzerland
Basel
6
8
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kinshasa
7
19
China
Shanghai
8
18
China
Beijing
9
20
Korea Republic
Seoul
10
16
Norway
Oslo
11
2
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
12
29
Norway
Stavanger
13
6
China
Guangzhou
14
34
Korea Republic
Busan
15
35
Japan
Tokyo
16
11
Guinea
Conakry
17
43
China
Shenzhen
18
47
Singapore
Singapore
19
31
United States of America
Manhattan
20
39
Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby
21
57
Denmark
Copenhagen
22
10
Korea Republic
Ulsan
23
49
Israel
Tel Aviv
24
21
Israel
Jerusalem
25
25
China
Dalian
26
78
Gabon
Libreville
27
14
Japan
Yokohama
28
24
United States of America
New York
29
69
United States of America
Honolulu
30
63

You can see more at www.eca-international.com

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