View of Lujiazui financial district with Shanghai Tower, SWFC and Jin Mao Tower
According to a survey on the cost of living in the world, which gives the rise of the Yuan as the main cause, Shanghai is the most expensive city in Asia and the 7th most expensive in the world for expatriates.
Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou are ranked 8th, 9th and 14th respectively, even surpassing New York’s famous district Manhattan, which ranked 15th in the survey by ECA International, a London-based consulting firm. Beijing is the second most expensive city in Asia.
Manhattan is the only US “city” listed in the top 20, with behind it another Chinese city, Shenzhen, in 16th place.
Four Swiss cities are also among the most expensive – Zürich, Geneva, Bern and Basel – and two African cities – Luanda, Angola and Kinshasa, in the Congo – which are respectively 5th and 6th.
“Despite the Yuan’s depreciation against the US Dollar over the summer, it has strengthened against most other major currencies, making Shanghai the most expensive city in Asia for Expatriates, “said Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia.
“This reflects the general trend seen in China, with Chinese cities gradually rising in our rankings over the past few years. It is likely that large Chinese cities will remain expensive destinations for mobile executives in the foreseeable future, “he added.
“Shanghai and Beijing are on average more expensive than Manhattan for most foods, although fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive in Manhattan. International clothing brands are much more expensive in Beijing and Shanghai than in Manhattan, while eating at a restaurant is much cheaper,” said James Davis, director of marketing and communications at ECA International.
ECA International investigations are based on a basket of day-to-day goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates, such as grocery products such as dairy products, meat and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, As well as household items, general and recreational services, clothing, restaurants, alcohol and tobacco.
According to Davis, 500 grams of ground coffee costs 22.66 dollars in Shanghai, compared to 14.52 dollars in Manhattan. Similarly, a costume costing 676.67 dollars in New York is worth 1110.49 in Shanghai.
The marinara sauce is cheaper in Shanghai if you do it yourself. A kilo of tomatoes in Shanghai costs half of what it is worth in Manhattan.
“I find that food and other living expenses are relatively cheap if I only use Chinese products and eat at local restaurants but if you have the smallest urge for imported goods or international restaurants, Usually it’s quite expensive, “said Elizabeth Oppong, an American who worked in Shenzhen.
“I have reduced the costly habits like Starbucks and shopping in international stores,” she said.
Travis Joern, an expatriate in Shanghai for the Canada-China Business Council, tries to stick to local products. “For foreign food products, you are paying the extra import duties, but for local food, it’s quite affordable,” he said.
All Chinese cities climbed in the ranking from the previous year. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong are all in the top 10 while they were 12th, 13th and 26th last year. Guangzhou went from 30th to 14th place, and Shenzhen climbed 29 places, going from the 45th to the 16th.
The Manhattan area also grew strongly from 38th to 15th place.
According to ECA, the rise in the US dollar between surveys has resulted in a rise of US cities in the ranking. Miami thus gained 62 places to move to the 71st.
“Although the prices of our commodity basket have fallen in some US cities, the rise in the US Dollar means that it is increasingly expensive for companies to move their personnel to the United States, “Said Michael Witkowski, vice president of ECA International New York.