TAIPEI - Taipei's cost of living ranked 26th in Asia and 89th globally, according to a report released by ECA International, a company that specializes in researching living conditions around the globe.
Taipei's ranking dipped one place in the Asian region and dropped 11 places globally. While the cost of living in Taipei only dipped slightly compared with other Asian countries, fluctuations in exchange rate resulted in a larger drop on a global perspective.
Taipei's lower cost of living is attractive from the standpoint of international companies that intend to establish offices overseas, the report says.
According to Lee Quane (關禮廉), ECA International's regional director for Asia, the weak New Taiwan dollar makes it more costly for Taiwanese businesses to dispatch employees to Europe, but makes it less costly for European companies to send employees to Taiwan, as long as payments are not made in New Taiwan dollars.
Tokyo Still Ranks Top in Asia
Within the Asia region, Tokyo (11th globally) is still the most expensive location for expats to live, followed by Seoul (16th globally) and Shanghai (18th).
Tokyo lost the world top spot in 2013, and is out of the global top 10 for the first time in a decade.
Economic policy and fiscal changes launched by the Japanese government, such as the increase in sales tax from 5 to 8 per cent, have led to a significant increase in prices in Japanese cities. However, the yen's continued depreciation against major currencies over the year has contributed to its relatively low cost of living and fall in the rankings, the report says.
Surge among Chinese Cities
Chinese cities have surged up the list in recent years. Just five years ago Shanghai and Beijing were barely in the top global 50, but now they rank 18th and 20th respectively. They are ranked third and fourth in Asia, over all Japanese cities except Tokyo.
Hong Kong ranked eighth in Asia and 29th globally, overtaking Singapore's ranking of ninth place in Asia and 31st place globally.
ECA carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees' spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 440 locations worldwide.
Living costs for assignees are affected by inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which can have a significant impact on assignee remuneration packages. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA's cost of living basket.