Bangkok has dropped by 11 places to be in 34th position in the global Cost of Living rankings, as its tourism-dependent economy struggles to recover from the pandemic, according to the latest Cost of Living research published by ECA International.

In the face of a similar situation, the Vietnamese city of Hanoi has fallen by 20 places to be the 115th most expensive location in the world – falling out of the global top 100 altogether.

“Cities that had typically experienced high levels of tourism and overseas visitors before the Covid-19 pandemic have sunk in the rankings since the start of 2020, as their economies continue to take a hit from the heavy restrictions imposed around international travel.

These effects are reflected in the significantly weak baht and dong, as compared to the euro, as well as the low rental prices in properties primarily targeted at foreigners. As demand for these properties fall, Bangkok and Hanoi have thus seen rents drop over the past 18 months.”

Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia at ECA International

Asia Highlights

  • Singapore is now the 13th most expensive location for expatriates globally, as the Singapore dollar weakens against the yuan.
  • Chinese cities make a strong showing as the country’s economy rebounds, with Guangzhou and Shanghai both among the global top ten
  • Traditional tourist havens Bangkok and Hanoi continue to fall in global rankings amidst heavy restrictions around international travel

Singapore has dropped by one place to be in the 13th position in the global Cost of Living rankings, but remains in the top ten most expensive locations for expatriates to live and work in Asia.

Quane said, “With prices in Singapore remaining stable over recent months, any changes in the costs for expatriates living and working in the country would be largely dependent on currency changes. Consequently, as the Singapore dollar has been weaker than the yuan in the last 12 months, this has caused Singapore to fall behind Shenzhen and Guangzhou in our global rankings.”

Elsewhere, Hong Kong has once again been named as the most expensive location in the world for expatriates to live and work in.

Quane said, “Despite falling rental prices and the Hong Kong dollar weakening against currencies such as the euro and yuan, the city has retained its spot as the most expensive location in the world for expatriates. While New York was a strong competitor to Hong Kong – having placed 2nd in last year’s global rankings – the struggling U.S. dollar allowed Hong Kong to retain its top spot among the global rankings, while bumping New York to 4th place.”

Meanwhile, the majority of Chinese cities rose in the latest rankings, with Guangzhou joining Shanghai in the global top ten for the first time. Shenzhen and Beijing are also placed among the top ten most expensive cities in Asia, and the top 20 globally.

Quane said, “The yuan enjoyed a strong year as the Chinese economy bounced back quickly from the pandemic, making most locations in the country more expensive for overseas workers as compared to previous years. The Pearl River Delta continues to be an attractive option for many international businesses, while Guangzhou and Shenzhen remain expensive for overseas workers due to high rental costs and the growing demand for property in these cities.”

Top ten most expensive locations for expatriates – Asia

Location2021 global ranking2020 global ranking
Hong Kong11
Tokyo, Japan23
Seoul, Korea Republic89
Shanghai, China910
Guangzhou, China1013
Yokohama, Japan1111
Shenzhen, China1215
Beijing, China1618
Taipei, Taiwan2129
Top ten most expensive locations for expatriates in Asia

Top ten most expensive locations for expatriates – Global

Location2021 ranking2020 ranking
Hong Kong11
Tokyo, Japan23
Geneva, Switzerland34
New York, USA42
London, UK56
Zurich, Switzerland67
Tel Aviv, Israel75
Seoul, Korea Republic89
Shanghai, China910
Guangzhou, China1013

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get notified of our weekly selection of news

You May Also Like

Why Apple is Looking to Vietnam to reduce its reliance on China

Currently, more than 90 percent of Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, are made in China. Experts suggest that Apple’s heavy dependence on China brings potential risks, especially when the US-China trade war shows no signs of de-escalating.

Thailand ranks 101st in global corruption index

According to Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, Thailand’s ranking in terms of perceived levels of corruption increased by 9 spots, moving up from 110th in 2021 to 101st out of 180 nations.

Thailand’s dangerous gambling addiction

A shadow economy worth billions of dollars a year is formed by illegal casinos, internet betting shops, underground lotteries, and pop-up bookmakers that accept wagers on everything from cockfighting to Muay Thai.