8 Jul 2019
Cost of living in Asian Cities
After accepting the appointment and settling down in the host country, assignees have to face the real challenge – the new life. Not only the culture and environment are different among the Asian countries, but the cost of living is also different. Most westerns may misunderstand that all Asian countries have a low living cost, but that is not the truth. According to the Big Mac index in 2018, you need to spend US$4.26 in Singapore for a Big Mac, but you only need to pay US$2.24 for one in Taiwan. Such a difference could probably blow your mind.
Even though the monthly expense may not be as high as that in your home country, you may need to reallocate the expenditure. Take Hong Kong as an example, the rent there is the highest among all Asian cities so you may need to allocate most of your spending on the rent. If you are going to take the assignment working in Hong Kong, you better make sure that your company provides you accommodation or housing allowance.
If you are assigned to Japan or Korea, you may pay more attention to the spending on groceries. According to the price aggregation website, Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index 2019, Seoul of South Korea and Tokyo of Japan are 97 and 89 respectively ranking the highest and the second-highest in grocery index. Since the index is based on the cost of living in New York (100), you can simply imagine the spending on grocery in Seoul is just 3% less than that in New York.
Some Asian countries indeed have a high cost of living, yet, some are not. Asian countries like Vietnam and Cambodia have a relatively low cost of living. You can probably pay only a buck for a local lunch. The cost of living varies significantly based on which Asian cities you are in.