Many foreigners enjoy living in China because everything is so much cheaper, but all those 5-star hotel nights, bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 and 500 guest wedding banquets really start to add up after a while.
Or at least that’s what the latest wealth report from private Swiss bank Julius Baer says. This is the second year that Julius Baer has released a (luxury) lifestyle index looking at the prices of over 20 high-end goods and services in 11 cities across Asia. For the second year in a row, Shanghai came out on top!
Many goods and services originating from Shanghai can cost two times what they would elsewhere in Asia. For instance, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 in yellow gold would set you back $38,884 (258,000 RMB) in Shanghai, compared to just $28,491 in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, some La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare (50ml) is going to cost you $1,537 (10,200 RMB), over $200 more than the average price in other cities.
Along with watches and high-end skin cream, Shanghai also has the most expensive hospital stays, botox treatments and cigars.
And if you are thinking about throwing yourself a wedding banquet at one of the top hotels downtown and inviting 500 of your closest friends, forget about it! That’ll cost you an arm, a leg and $137,684 (913,560 RMB). In Bangkok, the same thing will set you back just $28,251. Still, though, at least it’s not as outrageous as Tokyo ($148,674).
Shanghai also ranks as the second most expensive property market (way behind Hong Kong) and the second most pricey place to buy a BMW 7 series (behind Singapore). It’s also ranked number two in ladies’ handbags, ladies’ shoes and men’s suits. Apparently, Julius Baer hasn’t visited the fake market.
Our fair city remains at number one despite prices for luxury items falling across the board, (Attention ladies: botox treatments are now 29.8% cheaper!), though the price of tooth implants has skyrocketed 10%. The only things that are reasonably priced in Shanghai these days? Five-star hotel suites (5th) and lawyers (8th).
As for the other cities in the report, Singapore overtook Hong Kong to become the second most expensive city in Asia as Hong Kong loses favor with Chinese tourists. Tokyo jumped up from 7th to 4th, and if you’re looking to live large for cheap, try out Mumbai!
3) Hong Kong
10) Kuala Lumpur
Of course, even if you’re not living a life of luxury, Shanghai isn’t exactly cheap. It regularly ranks as the most expensive city for expats in Asia, even if they stay away from cigars and pianos.