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Survey: Shanghai costly for foreigners
2015-06-23
By Li Qian

A SURVEY has confirmed what most foreigners living in the city have suspected for months!

Mercer’s 21st annual Cost of Living Survey revealed that Shanghai was the most expensive city on the Chinese mainland for expatriates.

Shanghai jumped four places to become the world’s sixth costliest city for foreign workers, followed by Beijing at seventh, which also jumped four places from last year. The jump in the rankings is being attributed to a stronger Chinese currency.

Three of the top 10 costliest cities in the world are in China. Hong Kong edged up to second place with its currency pegged to the US dollar. The survey covered 10 Chinese cities, including Taipei.

The US consulting firm surveyed 207 cities and measured more than 200 items of costs, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

The costliest city for the third straight year is Luanda, the capital of oil-rich but poverty-stricken Angola.

Two costal cities in south China, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, moved up to 14 (17) and 15 (24), respectively.

Five other Chinese cities also moved up significantly — Chengdu from 71 to 29, Shenyang from 54 to 21, Qingdao from 48 to 24, Nanjing from 47 to 26 and Taipei from 61 to 41.

“Chinese cities jumped in the ranking due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, principal at Mercer.

Mercer found all Asian cities — except Japanese cities and Singapore — move up the rankings.

Singapore remained in fourth place, but Seoul rose from 14 to 8, while Tokyo, regularly rated as one of the world’s most expensive cities, dropped four places to 11 as the Japanese yen weakened against the dollar.

Kate Bravery, Global Solutions Leader, Talent Business at Mercer, said the living costs in Asian markets has been high for many years.

“The Asian growth story will continue and we don’t expect increased living costs to significantly impact companies’ plans to expand into Asia.

“The continuous influx of foreign investment and, with it, foreign talent, is one of the contributing factors driving up the cost of living,” Bravery said.

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