ECA INTERNATIONAL’S annual Cost of Living Survey reveals Taiwan is quickly climbing the ranks as an expensive city for expatriates and business travelers.
In the Asia-Pacific rankings, Taipei climbed 12 places from 26th place last year while Kaohsiung is now the 18th most expensive city in the region.
“The New Taiwan dollar has strengthened against several major currencies since our previous survey, contributing to cost of living there rising relative to many locations globally – particularly second-tier cities in China,” ECA International Asia regional director Lee Quane said.
“Companies who send staff into Taiwan and provide cost of living allowances to protect their buying power, they will likely need to increase them to ensure the buying power remains protected.”
Meanwhile, Hong Kong overtook Tokyo to nab the title of Asia’s most expensive city for expats. Quane explained this is in large part due to the appreciation of the HK dollar against major foreign currencies following its pegging to the US dollar.
While Singapore is relatively stagnant compared to last year’s rankings, major Malaysian cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown and Johor Baru fell in global rankings.
“The continued weakness of the Malaysian ringgit is responsible for Kuala Lumpur’s decline in the rankings, as well as Johor Baru’s status as the location with the second-lowest cost of living in the region,” Quane said.
“Cities in Malaysia continue to rank amongst those with the lowest cost of living for international assignees in the world, and have even become marginally cheaper over the past five years.”