Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore Most Expensive Business Cities

Tokyo maintains its position as the most expensive location in Asia and worldwide for international assignees, according to the latest survey conducted by ECA International. The gap between the Japanese capital and other locations in the region is widening. A year ago the difference in cost of living between Tokyo and Hong Kong was 45%; now it's 55%.


Japan is also home to the next three most expensive locations in Asia, namely Nagoya, Yokohama, and Kobe.


Korean locations have moved up and down the rankings in recent times following the fortunes of the fluctuating won, with Seoul having risen from 7th to 5th position within Asia and 56th to 22nd place globally between surveys.


Hong Kong is the 6th most expensive location within Asia. The SAR has slipped from last year’s 5th position as a result of Seoul’s rise in the ranking. The rebounding of the won means that cost of living for assignees to the South Korean capital has risen above Hong Kong for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.


Globally, it is a different picture: Hong Kong has risen back up to 32nd position after dropping a year ago to 52nd place. Over the last year it has moved above a number of eurozone locations where the currency has weakened including Munich and Rome.


Like Hong Kong, Taipei has been pushed down the regional ranking from last year’s 10th place to 12th position as a result of the rise of the Korean cities surveyed. Globally, however, Taipei has risen from 100th to 82nd position, overtaking several cities in the USA.


The strengthening of the Singapore dollar against major currencies, together with rising prices have contributed to the location’s ongoing rise up the ranking which saw it enter the Asian top ten last year rising again this year from 9th to 8th position. Globally, Singapore has moved from 79th position to 42nd.


Malaysian locations have seen some of the largest uplifts in cost of living between surveys. A stronger ringgit coupled with price rises has pushed Kuala Lumpur up from 36th to 31st position within Asia and from 207 to 185 globally. Similarly, stronger currencies have also catapulted Bangkok and Jakarta up the rankings by 37 places and 70 places respectively.





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