Hong Kong named most expensive Asian city for expats, and second most expensive globally: survey

Photo (for illustration): Myriam Tsen-Kung/Coconuts Media
Photo (for illustration): Myriam Tsen-Kung/Coconuts Media

In news that won’t surprise anyone who’s recently bought a coffee in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong was just named the most expensive city in Asia for expats, and second most expensive city for overall.

ECA International released the findings of its annual Cost of Living survey today, which saw Hong Kong leapfrogging over previous titleholder Tokyo to be crowned the priciest place to live in the Asia-Pacific region, its highest position since ECA’s rankings began.

Overall, Hong Kong has jumped up seven places from the global rankings to become the second most expensive city in the world for expats, beaten only by Luanda, the capital city of Angola in southern Africa.

“Over the past few years, the [Hong Kong] dollar has appreciated against most major currencies, owing to its peg to the US dollar, which has pushed up the price of goods and services relative to those in locations whose currencies have weakened against the greenback,” said Lee Quane, ECA International’s Asia director. “For companies who send staff into Hong Kong and provide cost of living allowances to protect their purchasing power, they will likely need to increase them to ensure that their employees’ buying power remains protected.”

ECA International (which stands for “Employment Conditions Abroad”) has been conducting research into the cost of living for expatriate employees for over 45 years. It carries out two main surveys a year to help employers calculate cost of living allowances, based on the cost of day-to-day goods and services like groceries, household goods, and leisure services, from over 460 cities worldwide.


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