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Hong Kong 15th on Best City for Asian Expatriates To Live

Singapore is best city for Asian expatriates to live: survey

Associated Press – Updated on Mar 04, 2008 – SCMP

Singapore has topped a list of cities around the world offering Asian expatriates the best quality of life, followed by Sydney, a survey from a human resources consultancy said on Tuesday.

UK-headquartered ECA International’s annual location ranking, which compares living standards in 254 international locations, found that Singapore is an ideal place for Asians to live in because of the quality of its infrastructure and health facilities.

The city-state’s low health risks, air pollution, crime rates and cosmopolitan population added to its appeal, Lee Quane, ECA International’s general manager in Hong Kong, told The Associated Press.

Mr Quane noted, however, that while Singapore scored consistently well in most of the 15 categories used to asses each location, it saw a deterioration in some factors.

“Air pollution last year was slightly higher than 2006, primarily due to the haze last year,” Quane said. Haze from forest fires in neighbouring Indonesia has become a major problem Singapore, where air quality levels have worsened every year during the dry season.

Sydney came in second, followed by Melbourne, Australia, and Kobe, Japan, which tied for third place in the ranking that combines data collected by ECA International with results of a survey of expatriates.

While Sydney and Singapore scored similarly well in criteria such as pollution levels, the quality of goods and services available, transport and infrastructure, the Australian city’s geographical distance from Asia made it a less favorable location than Singapore, Lee Quane said.

“For Sydney, Japanese or Chinese assignees will have to travel relatively long distances, and so it’s much more difficult to maintain contact with family,” Lee Quane said. He added that cultural differences were also a factor.

The fifth-best city for Asian expats was Copenhagen, Denmark, the survey found, followed by Canberra, Australia (6th), Vancouver, Canada (7th), Wellington, New Zealand (8th), Yokohama, Japan (9th) and Dublin, Ireland (10th).

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong and Tokyo were tied at 15th place.

Hong Kong made improvements in personal security and healthcare infrastructure but air pollution was likely to remain a problem, Lee Quane said.

“People feel safer in Hong Kong than they have in recent years,” he said. “But looking at the main reason why Hong Kong still lags behind Singapore is the issue of air pollution.

Mr Quane noted, however, that Hong Kong scored better than Singapore in one respect: the media.

“In news and media, we regard Hong Kong as much more free and fair than in Singapore,” he said.

The survey showed that Baghdad, Iraq, remains the least favorable place to live for Asian expats, followed by Kabul, Afghanistan and Karachi, Pakistan, because of the high risk to personal security and lack of suitable facilities for expatriates.

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