A story from the Chosun Ilbo from a few weeks ago. I know from experience (the paying end, rather than the receiving end, more’s the pity) that expat employees are a good deal more expensive than locals. It’s all the additional perks. Who knows, maybe some of the costs which make Moscow top of the list might be personal security, not just accommodation costs. Anyway, Seoul is now Asia’s most expensive city:
Seoul Ranked World’s Second Most Expensive City
Seoul has been rated the world’s second most expensive city to live in ahead of Tokyo and New York in one of a slew of such surveys published every year.
The survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting rated 144 cities around the world on some 200 items including housing, transport and food, Bloomberg reported Monday. It shows that a cup of coffee costs US$2.94 including service in Seoul, more than New York’s $2.26 and London’s $1.90. Seoul ranked fifth in last year’s survey.
Moscow for the first time eclipsed Tokyo in the no. 1 spot. Changes in ranking came chiefly from currency fluctuations, though it was a recent property boom that sent Moscow up three spots from last year. Tokyo slipped to third due to the weak yen. Asuncion, Paraguay remains the least expensive city.
Hong Kong was ranked fourth, followed by London, Osaka, Geneva, Copenhagen and Zurich. New York, ranked 10th along with Oslo and was the most expensive city in North America. Beijing and Shanghai were ranked 14th and 20th.
The survey was carried out to help multinationals determine how much to pay their expatriate staff.
A tip to bank HR managers in charge of overseas secondees. Tell them not to go to Starbucks. You can pay them less that way.
Update 7 December 2007. Another Chosun article confirming that Seoul retains the top (ie most expensive) spot in Asia.
Update 18 June 2007: In Mercer’s 2007 cost of living survey, Seoul has slipped to 3rd place. London has overtaken Seoul. Moscow still reigns supreme though. The survey makes Seoul the most expensive city in Asia, closely followed by Tokyo.