Friday, July 25, 2008

Expats Rank S'pore As World's Best Place To Live

Source : The Straits Times, July 25, 2008

Poll of foreigners in 49 locations puts the Republic ahead of US, HK

SINGAPORE has emerged as the best place to live in the world in a survey of more than 2,000 expatriates by HSBC Bank.

The Republic also ranked first for quality of accommodation and second for luxury living.

COMING UP TOPS: Singapore takes the top spot for having quality accomodation and ranks No. 2 for luxury living. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Its closest rival, Hong Kong, was ranked fifth overall, though it took top spot in terms of an expat's ability to earn and save.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States came in as joint second-best overall destinations, with Belgium next in the rankings.

HSBC's Expat Explorer survey - a first for the bank - interviewed 2,155 expats across 49 countries and territories to rank places based on living standards, the ability to earn and save, a country's popularity, and the level of luxury experienced.

HSBC's survey, released yesterday, comes after human resources consultancy Mercer ranked the Republic the fifth most expensive Asian city for expats - up a notch from a previous survey.

ECA International, also a human resources consultancy, ranked Singapore as the best place for Asian expatriates to live worldwide earlier this year.

In a separate survey, it found that Singapore has become a more expensive place for expats to live, but that it is still cheaper than Hong Kong.

The Republic jumped 17 places to land at the 114th spot in a global survey of the costliest cities for expatriates, on the back of higher inflation and a stronger Singapore dollar in the past year.

But despite rising living costs, especially in housing, Singapore remains competitive with its Asian neighbours such as Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, and other global financial centres such as London, said Mercer.

HSBC's head of consumer banking in Singapore, Ms Wendy Lim, said there are an estimated 300,000 expats residing here.

The safe environment and relatively low taxes make it 'an ideal location for expats to grow and protect their savings and investments', she said.

Other countries such as Britain and France scored poorly as expat destinations in the survey, especially on accommodation and luxury. The UAE was the most luxurious destination, followed by Singapore and India.

Project manager Pham Nguyen Hung, 34, a French-Vietnamese expat living in Singapore, said he was not surprised at the survey results.

Singapore, US cities such as San Francisco and New York, and Hong Kong are among his top picks.

'It's hard to compare cities directly, because each of them offers different lifestyles. But I agree Singapore has quite a high quality of life, and its accommodation standards are among the best,' he said.

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