Beijing Second Most Expensive Expat Location

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Beijing 2nd Most Expensive Expat Location

ECA International’s latest cost of living survey has ranked Beijing as the second most expensive place in Asia for Expats.

Beijing came in just behind Tokyo in the ranking of Asian locations and took 15th place in the global listings.

On an international basis Tokyo is the 9th most expensive expat location.

Over the last year the difference in the cost of living between Tokyo and Beijing (as measured using the ECA’s cost of living basket) has dropped from 38% to 8%.

According to a representative for ECA International; ‘Although the Chinese government has allowed the Renminbi to appreciate steadily against the US Dollar and food and oil process in China have been rising, Beijing’s jump up the ranking is largely due to Japanese locations becoming so much cheaper because of the weaker Yen. Nevertheless, living costs in Chinese locations have increased in recent years, making China a more expensive location than some of its neighbours for companies looking to set up operations in the region’.

Lee Quane, ECA International’s Regional Director, also added; ‘Hong Kong’s position – up one place in the Asian ranking and four positions globally, has remained relatively stable. As in many parts of the world, inflation here has slowed over the past year while the Hong Kong Dollar has not appreciated against the major currencies to a greater extent than other currencies in the region.’

Hong Kong is now Asia’s 8th most expensive region.

Shanghai came in 4th and Singapore came just behind Hong Kong at 9th.

However, the ECA International survey also highlighted that the cost of living basket they use to produce their ranking doesn’t include living costs like rent, private travel expenses, utilities or school fees. Whilst these costs were often covered by expatriate employers in the past, immigration packages have become less comprehensive in recent years. If the expenses outlined above were included in the calculation Beijing’s lower housing costs would take the region below both Tokyo and Hong Kong in the regional list.

To get a different perspective we asked Numbeo, a global cost of living calculator, to produce a price comparison between Tokyo and Beijing based on a range of everyday costs and these were the results –

A meal in a basic restaurant would cost $4.92 in Beijing and $9.21 in Tokyo

A litre of milk would cost $1.76 in Beijing and $1.96 in Tokyo.

A loaf of bread would cost $1.64 in Beijing and $1.96 in Tokyo.

1 Litre of gasoline would cost $1.31 in Beijing and $1.47 in Tokyo.

Basic utilities would cost $65.63 per month in Beijing but $189.46 in Tokyo

Rent on a 1 bed flat would cost $820.33 in Beijing and $1,321.78 in Tokyo

What do you think? Do you think the cost of living in China is rising?

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