High living cost may impact expatriates’ willingness to work in Hong Kong

Thursday, 10 Jan 2019

Hong Kong is the second most expensive location in Asia for expatriates to live, behind only Ashgabat, and sixth most expensive globally. Tokyo overtaken and now fourth most expensive location in Asia, down from first. Singapore is back into the global top 20 most expensive locations, after dropping out in 2017.

Hong Kong has continued to rise in cost of living rankings in recent years and is now the sixth most expensive location in the world for expatriates. 2018 was another strong year for the Hong Kong dollar and this has seen it rise from ninth overall last year to sixth, leapfrogging locations such as Tokyo and Oslo where the respective currencies have been slightly weaker.

In mainland China, all 14 of the Chinese cities surveyed remain in the global top 50, with Shanghai leading the way as 14th most expensive location globally.

Developing Chinese cities such as Dalian, Chengdu and Nanjing are now firmly established in the global top 50 alongside Beijing and Shanghai and it is likely that they will remain expensive destinations for mobile employees for the foreseeable future.   

Taipei, Taiwan’s most expensive city, and Macau also continued their rise in rankings to 31 and 25 respectively — consolidating the upward trend in the cost of living in greater China relative to other locations globally.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s regional rival Singapore returned to the global top 20 most expensive locations for expats, after briefly dropping out last year.

The Singapore dollar has performed strongly this year, making the city state more expensive for visitors and overseas workers. This has resulted in a slight rise in the rankings, up three places to become the 18th most expensive location in the world. Singapore has long been considered one of the most expensive cities for expats to live and work in and this looks set to continue. However, the cost of living is still below that of other major Asian locations with large expat populations such as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Thai cities were among the biggest risers in the rankings, with Bangkok rising 32 places and entering the top 100 most expensive locations for the first time. 

Expatriates Hong Kong

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