Hong Kong has tumbled 52 places and is now only the 93rd most liveable location for overseas workers coming from elsewhere in East Asia, being overtaken by major Asian cities such as Seoul and Taipei. This was one of the conclusions of the latest Location Ratings survey published by global mobility experts, ECA International.
“The scale of Hong Kong’s fall in our rankings is unprecedented and is a consequence of ongoing socio-political tensions in the city,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International. “Not only are the heightened political tensions worrying for expats living in the region, protests that have regularly taken place since mid-2019 have had a negative effect on areas of everyday life which are often taken for granted. This includes disruptions to Hong Kong’s transportation infrastructure and a rise in crime rates since the protests began.”
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 490 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; natural phenomena; 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.
Singapore has once again finished top of the rankings for East Asian expats. Singapore has been top of the rankings every year since 2005.
Quane said: “Singapore has consistently featured at the top of our liveability rankings for Asian expats for well over a decade and this year is no different. Singapore boasts excellent infrastructure and amenities across the board, as well maintaining low crime rates and a large expatriate community, meaning that Singapore stays in the top spot and most likely will do for the considerable future.”
Elsewhere in the region, Australian cities saw drops in the rankings after liveability scores worsened in every location. However, all seven Australian cities in the list still feature in the top 30 destinations for East Asian workers.
Quane explained: “Nearly all of the Australian locations in the rankings dropped this year due to a rise in the threat level posed by potential terrorism. After numerous foiled plots in recent years, the official threat level was raised to ‘probable’ and this has therefore been reflected in the overall liveability scores for Australian locations. However, it should also be pointed out that Australian cities still occupy the upper ranks of our ratings; with Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide all staying put in the top ten.”
In contrast, Thai and Vietnamese cities all saw significant improvements to their score and rose in the rankings as a result.
“Liveability has improved in Thai and Vietnamese locations due to the economic growth that both countries are seeing currently. As Vietnam develops and invests in better infrastructure, living standards have improved for locals and expats in the country. Meanwhile, for the Thai locations in our list, the success of the recent peaceful democratic elections means that cities in the country have seen an improvement in the political situation too – something that inevitably improves liveability levels for expatriates” explained Quane.