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Singapore tops among Asian expats: survey

The Republic is the best place for them to live worldwide; Baghdad ranks last

(SINGAPORE) The Republic ranks as the best place for Asian expatriates to live worldwide, according to the latest survey by human resources consultancy firm ECA International.

Singapore surpasses cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Copenhagen in Asian expatriates’ view, the survey showed. These cities are ranked second, third and fifth respectively in the top 15 locations for Asian expatriate living.

Meanwhile, Kobe (joint third with Melbourne), Yokohama (eighth), Tokyo and Hong Kong (both 15th) are the only other Asian destinations that made it to the top 15 list.

Conducted annually, the Location Ranking Survey compares living standards in 254 locations globally, taking into account climate, air quality, health services, housing and utilities, isolation, social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure, personal safety and political tensions.

‘High quality infrastructure and health facilities, combined with low health risks, air pollution, crime rates and a cosmopolitan population, make Singapore a very appealing location for Asians to live in,’ said Lee Quane, general manager of ECA International.

‘Although we did see a small deterioration in some factors, such as air quality and accommodation in 2007, it still retains its status as being the location with the best quality of living for assignees in this region.’

He explained that Singapore ‘was much more affected by haze in 2007’ compared with the preceding year, causing it to lose points in the air quality category. Meanwhile, ‘recent market developments in en bloc (property sales) had an impact on the supply of standard accommodation’.

Nevertheless, Singapore has consistently been ranked the best location for Asian expats to live for a decade, said Mr Quane, who believes that it will retain that spot despite ‘Hong Kong moving up our rankings’ this year after sliding for several years, due to improved personal security scores and the movements of locations around it.

‘We now see the narrowing in quality of living between Singapore and Hong Kong, but it is unlikely that Hong Kong will match Singapore. The main reason is (Hong Kong’s) air pollution, which is unlikely to go away any time soon,’ he explained.

At the other extreme, Baghdad is the least favourable place for Asian expats to live in, followed by Kabul (Afghanistan), Karachi (Pakistan) and Port-au-Prince (Haiti), due to the locations’ risk to personal security and their lack of suitable facilities, according to the survey.

Source: Business Times 5 Mar 08

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