Taiwan still has the lowest cost of living among the 4 Asian Dragons

Tonghua night market.in Taipei, Taiwan
PHOTO: The Straits Times

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan has been ranked 34th in a new survey of the cost of living worldwide, up two places from a year ago.

The mid-year report by crowd-sourced database Numbeo puts Taiwan ahead of countries including Greece and Spain, which ranked 37th and 39th respectively.

Regionally, Taiwan was found to have a lower cost of living than the three other Asian Tigers of Singapore (10), South Korea (19) and Hong Kong (21), while Japan came in ahead of all of them at No. 8.

Taiwan was ahead of most other Asian countries such as Malaysia (79), Indonesia (80) and the Philippines (92).

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are collectively known as the Four Asian Tigers (and Four Dragons in Chinese) as they were the first newly industrializing countries in the region and, as such, have higher levels of education and development than elsewhere in Asia.

The website calculates cost of living by using the prices of a basket of items, as contributed by users living in each country. This is then combined with a similarly sourced rent index to find a country's overall cost of living.

Among the items looked at are a McDonald's combo meal and a domestic beer.

The figures for Taiwan are accurate enough: NT$120 (S$5.40) for the Mickey D's and NT$50 for the beer. This compares to NT$91 and NT$54 in Manila and NT$130 and NT$93 in Seoul, according to the site.

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