Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, according to an annual cost of living report produced by consultancy Mercer.
The finance hub tops an Asia-dominated list with Tokyo in second place, Singapore fourth, Seoul fifth, Shanghai seventh and Beijing in ninth place.
Outside of Asia, European and African cities were among the priciest cities for employees. Zurich ranked third while one you may not have expected – the Angolian capital Luanda – came in sixth.
Currency fluctuations are the dominant reason for Asia topping the list – Hong Kong took pole position from Luanda, reflecting the fall in Angola’s currency. China’s economic growth and efforts to make the yuan an international currency have pushed Chinese cities up the rankings.
“Asia’s cities, especially Chinese cities, have shown strong performance in terms of cost of living rankings, mainly due to currency fluctuations," explains Mario Ferraro, Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
"Companies are moving top talent around the globe in response to skills shortages.”
Mercer uses New York as the base city for all comparisons and measures currency moves against the dollar. The 2018 survey ranked 209 cities across five continents, measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location including housing, transportation, food and clothing, according to Mercer.