A Place to Live

Singapore stays 'most liveable'.

A Place to Live

Asia Pacific

The latest Location Ratings survey published by global mobility experts, ECA International has again placed Hong Kong outside the top 25 locations for expatiates. It has only managed joint 28th most liveable city for Asian Expatriates.

Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International said: “Hong Kong has failed to see an improvement on its score from last year and continues to suffer from long-term air quality and pollution issues which has seen it stay in the low position in the rankings.”

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 480 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 impact of some of the factors assessed will vary according to the home location of the assignee.

Elsewhere in Asia, the majority of Chinese cities have performed in a similar fashion and fallen in ECA’s rankings. Beijing saw the biggest drop, falling 10 places to 134th on the list.

“With only a few exceptions, Chinese cities saw a drop in their liveability scores for expats,” said Quane. "This was mainly due to the increase in internet censorship and the ban on virtual private networks (VPNs) in the past 12 months, as well as the worsening pollution in a number of Chinese locations included in the survey.”


The most liveable city for Asian expatriates this year is Singapore. Quane explained: “Singapore has traditionally sat at the top of the ECA rankings and this year is no different. This is due to a combination of factors such as low crime rates, easy access to good quality schools and healthcare and lower levels of pollution than a lot of other locations in the region”.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur features at a lowly 126th in ECA’s rankings for Asian expats. “In the last five years Kuala Lumpur has seen a drop in the rankings, falling from 25th to outside the top 100 in the last five years. One of the main causes for this is that whilst other locations have improved their air quality, the high levels of pollution in Kuala Lumpur, coupled with relatively high rates of petty crime, have seen the city slip down the rankings.”

“However, the Malaysian capital scores well in categories such as utilities and the availability of housing so there are still positives for any Asian expatriate moving to Kuala Lumpur.” Quane said.

Outside of Asia, Australia leads the way for Asian expats with Brisbane as the second most liveable location and Sydney and Adelaide in joint third.

Quane explained “Australian cities always tend to perform strongly in terms of liveability for Asian expats due to the excellent facilities and infrastructure, as well as the generally low levels of crime and air pollution.”

In Europe, Copenhagen leads the way in 10th place whilst London lags behind in joint 67th. New York is similarly low in the rankings as the joint 82nd most liveable location for Asian expatriates.



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