Hong Kong has fallen to 29th position in the global rankings of the most liveable locations for Asian expatriates, and remains the 15th most liveable location in the Asia Pacific region. This was one of the conclusions of the latest Location Ratings survey for expatriate living conditions published by ECA International.
Updated annually, ECA’s Location Ratings system objectively evaluates a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living in over 470 locations worldwide. The system helps companies establish appropriate allowances to compensate employees for the adjustment required when going on international assignment. Factors assessed include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality. The significance of some of the factors assessed, such as distance from home and differences in culture, language and climate, will vary according to where someone originates from. For this reason, ECA takes into account both the home and destination countries when analysing quality of living.
Back in 2013, Hong Kong was ranked 11th worldwide and 9th in Asia Pacific in terms of its liveability for Asian expatriates. However, we have witnessed a gradual decline in Hong Kong’s global and regional rankings to 29th and 15th respectively.”
– Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International
Hong Kong’s fall is due to a combination of internal and external factors.
“We have witnessed improvements of living conditions in several cities in Australia, Japan and New Zealand over the past five years,” said Quane. “At the same time, Hong Kong has continued to suffer from poor air quality levels. Combined with ongoing socio-political tensions in Hong Kong, it has therefore fallen in our rankings over this period.”
Asia Pacific highlights
Singapore continues to top ECA’s global and Asia Pacific rankings, as it has done over the course of the past five years.
“Singapore continues to rank higher than Hong Kong in our rankings owing to environmental factors such as lower levels of air pollution and the fact that Singapore is spared the impact of natural disasters such as typhoons that afflict Hong Kong annually,” said Quane. “However, the gap between the two locations in terms of our rankings has widened over the past five years as the Lion city has been spared from the tensions that we have seen in Hong Kong in recent years.”
Of China’s Tier 1 cities, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou have all seen marginal improvements over the past year in terms of infrastructure. Shanghai has risen by three places in the past year to sit in 107th place in the global rankings and remains the most liveable of the mainland Chinese locations assessed. Shanghai also saw the most significant improvements in China since our last survey.
“The quality of health services, the availability of goods & services and infrastructure have all seen improvements in Shanghai over the past 12 months,“ said Quane. “While there remains a sizeable gap in living conditions between Hong Kong and Shanghai, this is narrowing as living conditions deteriorate in Hong Kong and it falls in our rankings while conditions improve in Shanghai, causing it to rise.”
Macau is still one of the top 20 locations in the region to live in, coming in at 19th position in Asia Pacific. However, it has fallen by one place in the global rankings this year to 82nd position. Taipei remains greater China’s second best location to live in, ranked at 69th globally in 2017, an improvement of two places on last year’s rankings.
Australian locations continue to dominate the regional and global top 10 rankings, with Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney occupying joint second place in both sets. Perth 7th, and Canberra 9th join them at the top of the global rankings. In the Asia Pacific region, the most notable climb in the rankings was Australia’s Darwin. The city rose from 24th place to 15th place in the global rankings as its housing situation has improved. Over the past five years, Darwin has climbed 39 places in our global rankings. Osaka has the best living conditions out of all locations researched in Japan, and is ranked 5th globally.
In India, various cities have seen marginal improvements over the past year, as developments are happening throughout the country. Bengaluru, ranked 174th globally, scores most favourably, followed by Mumbai and Pune (joint 183rd). New Delhi (205th) is the least liveable. Along with Beijing, New Delhi has the worst score for air quality not just in Asia but globally. However, New Delhi has moved up three places from last year’s rankings owing to marginal improvements in other categories. Chennai (195th) is the only Indian city to fall in our global rankings this year, with increasing air pollution and severe flooding responsible for this.
For Asian expatriates going to live and work in Europe, Copenhagen and Bern offer the best quality of living, ranking 9th and 13th in the global rankings respectively.
In North America, Vancouver (22nd globally) remains as the most liveable location, followed by San Francisco (39th). While in Latin America, the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo (121st), scores more favourably for Asian assignees, followed by Chile’s Santiago (132nd).
Dubai (109th globally) is the location in the Middle East which requires the least adjustment for Asian assignees overall.
For Asian assignees going to Africa, Port Louis, Mauritius (114th), affords the best quality of living followed by Cape Town (133rd).
Globally, the hardest locations to adapt to living and working in are the Afghan locations of Kandahar (275th) and Lashkar Gah (276th).
Source: https://www.eca-international.com/, 12 April 2017
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