Hong Kong remains most expensive expat location

16 Dec 2021

Hong Kong has again been named the most expensive city in the world for overseas workers, whilst 10 out of 20 of the most expensive locations globally are in Asia.

The findings are included in ECA international's latest research report, which reveals Hong Kong remains the most expensive location due to rising prices yet with a growth slowdown in 2020 thanks to the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy.

Trailing Hong Kong on the list are Geneva in second place and Tokyo in third, whilst New York moved out of the top three. “Hong Kong is consistently towards the top of the table and this year was no different with prices increasing by 2.7% overall in local currency," said Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International. "The Hong Kong economy has seen a recovery of sorts after a turbulent few years caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and political and social upheaval before this, and the increase in local prices reflects this.”

The research compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods regularly purchased by people within 480 locations across the globe. Accommodation costs for expatriate employees in 411 locations are also taken into account.

More cities in China rose up the rankings this year, with four making the top 15, and both Shanghai and Guangzhou both part of the global top 10.

“Chinese cities have seen a rise in the rankings on the back of a strengthening of the Chinese yuan and relatively high rates of price increases," said Lee. "The Chinese currency has strengthened against all other major currencies thanks to a rebound in the demand for Chinese goods after a Covid related lull at the beginning of 2020 and this means that these cities are now more expensive for overseas workers compared to previously.

Additionally, inflation in China has also picked up this year thanks particularly to rising fuel prices,” Lee went on to say.

Beijing moved from 18th place last year to 15th, whilst Shenzhen moved from 17th to 11th position.