Shanghai is apparently now the most expensive Asian city for expatriates according to a new ranking, beating off competition from Seoul and other Chinese cities.
According to ECA International, their bi-annual Cost of Living survey showed that Shanghai had moved up from third place in December. Beijing is ranked second followed by Seoul which traded places with Shanghai.
“Some may be surprised to see Chinese cities feature so high up the ranking,” said Lee Quane, Asia regional director at human resources consultancy ECA International.
ECA’s calculations of living costs are based on a basket of daily goods, such as food, household goods, leisure services, clothing, restaurant prices as well alcohol and tobacco. The calculations are carried out in US dollars.
“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 recognized quality brands wherever possible in order to make like-for-like comparisons,” Quane said.
As the cost of living calculations assume that all salaries are paid in US dollars, the steady appreciation of the renminbi over the past few years will also have influenced the rise of mainland Chinese cities in the rankings.
The high cost of living doesn’t seem to have scared people away, however, with Shanghai consistently being ranked as the most attractive city for expatriates in recent years.
By Dominic Jackson