Study in Singapore or Hong Kong?

Why you should consider the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach  - 6 November 2018 -  As two of the world's busiest port cities and Asia's well-established financial hubs, numerous comparisons have been drawn between Singapore and Hong Kong. Let us look into some of the differences that may help students decide where to further their education abroad.

Paying the price for quality living

Both Singapore and Hong Kong are consistently ranked among the world's best places to live in, with Singapore topping Mercer 2018's annual list   and ECA International shows' 2017 annual survey for the 18th year as the most liveable Asian city. Quality does come at a price. So it's not surprising that both cities are also on the list of expensive places to live in, with costs in Hong Kong pegged by at 10% higher than Singapore. Backing this is Mercer's findings which puts Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world for expatriates , while Singapore places fourth.

  • Housing in Singapore is close to 40% cheaper than in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's real estate is known to be the most expensive in the world. While the monthly rent for a furnished 45m2 studio in a normal area would cost about US$1,426 (HK$11,191) in Singapore, a comparable unit in Hong Kong would set you back by US$2,184 (HK$17,140). Electricity and gas about 30% cheaper in Singapore, though internet fees are higher by about 30%. If sharing, off-campus student accommodation rates for a single bed with cleaning and utilities included would start from approximately US$523 (HK$4,107) in Singapore and from US$675 (HK$5,300) in Hong Kong.

Costs aside, other factors such as variety of accommodation choices, pollution and area/population density should also be taken into consideration. Generally, Singapore fares better in these areas, especially if you prefer living in a less congested environment with better air quality.

  • Food in Singapore is cheaper overall than in Hong Kong

  Among the items compared were the cost of 12 large eggs -- US$2.93 (HK$23) in Singapore vs. US$4.46 (HK$35) in Hong Kong; a basic lunch in the business district -- US$8.79 (HK$69) in Singapore vs. US$11.85 (HK$93) in Hong Kong; and bread for two -- US$1.78 (HK$14) in Singapore vs US$2.04 (HK$16) in Hong Kong.

  • Public Transportation on par for Singapore and Hong Kong

Singapore is often labelled as the most expensive city, but that's only if you plan to own a car considering all the additional taxes and premiums one needs to pay on top of the vehicle's selling price. While buying a car seems cheaper in Hong Kong, soaring parking fees have caused many car owners to feel the heat. As reported by South China morning post, the price of a parking lot in residential areas could outperform home prices and costs an average of HK$1.4 million . Otherwise in both cities, public transport costs on buses, trains and taxis are affordable and almost on par with each other. For instance, a monthly public transport ticket would cost around US$69 (HK$543) in Singapore and US$66 in Hong Kong.

World-class education that gets you ready for the future

According to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) index, Singapore's education system is ranked #1 in Asia and #5 in the world in preparing students for the future . Hong Kong comes in at 14th place. Key factors supporting Singapore's top ranking are its pool of effective teachers and beyond classroom initiatives to help students make connections between concepts learned and practical real-world applications.

Students looking to study for an internationally recognised degree will find no shortage of options available in both Singapore and Hong Kong. Both cities have universities that are ranked among the world's top 50 . Students wishing to enhance their proficiency in English though will find that Singapore, being the #1 most English-proficient city in Asia, has a far greater edge than Hong Kong whose English standards have been on a continuous decline, according to EF Education First's annual index. 

In Singapore, universities and institutions are also known to partner top overseas universities to offer their programmes locally, making it possible for students to pursue a UK, US or Australian degree in the country. Popular choices include the University of Birmingham (UoB available under SIM GE) with programmes taught 100% by UoB lecturers; and the University of London (UOL available under SIM GE) which interestingly has established its largest pool of first-class honour students in the UOL network. 

Potential career opportunities for graduates

Lured by business-friendly policies, politically stable environments, excellent infrastructure and a constant inflow of global talent, many multinational corporations have chosen to base their regional headquarters in Singapore and Hong Kong.

With its longstanding reputation as a banking and finance hub, aided by its proximity to China, Hong Kong seems to enjoy greater financial activity with many more banks calling it home. However, Singapore has surpassed Hong Kong to be the world's third most dynamic financial centre based on Global Financial Centres Index 2016 rankings. In addition, Singapore's position as a gateway to Asia and its push towards innovation and technology has made it the undeniable choice for technology and pharmaceutical firms such as SAP, Facebook, Pfizer and GSK to set up their regional headquarters.

Graduates looking to stay on and build their careers in either city should also be aware of the differences between Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Hong Kong's Mandatory Pension Fund (MPF). While CPF contributions are higher for both employees (20%) and employers (16%) compared to MPF (5% each), members can use it for a variety of purposes such as housing, children's education, medical and hospitalisation care, annuity and investment. The MPF, on the other hand, is purely for retirement needs and may be less comprehensive in taking care of its members' immediate and long-term needs.

Understanding such information may help students decide which city is more suited for them for overseas study, career advancement and perhaps permanent residence. To learn more about your education options in Singapore at SIM GE, please visit here or contact Robert Kong at +65 9115 4307, email