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Taipei ranks 13th most expensive city in Asia for expats

A report by Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) International has ranked Taipei as the 13th most expensive city in Asia for expatriates.

The report also noted Taipei was overtaken by the Southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with the two cities surging from 13th and 16th last year to 11th and 10th place, respectively.

Both Seoul and Singapore also dropped two spots to seventh and eighth respectively, making way for the cities of Beijing and Shanghai which now occupy positions five and six in Asia. The four Japanese cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe occupy the first four positions, which are unchanged from a year earlier. Hong Kong dropped two spots to number nine in the 2012 ranking.

Worldwide, Taipei occupies the 74th position, sliding six spots from its 2011 ranking. Kaohsiung saw the biggest fall in Asia, plummeting 26 places to number 128 in the global rankings.

Most of Asia's main centers saw an improvement in their positions from a year earlier. Singapore jumped six spots to occupy the 32nd position, while Hong Kong came in at number 36, up 11 positions from last year, but still not back to its previous best position of 34. Seoul however slid six spots down the world ranking to occupy the 29th position.

A sharp rise in the price of goods commonly bought by expatriates combined with a strengthening yuan has propelled Chinese cities up the rankings. Shenzhen and Guangzhou, ranked 55th and 56th worldwide, now have a higher cost of living than central London (ranked 62nd globally). Beijing shot up 28 positions in the rankings and is now the 20th most expensive city in the world for expats. Beijing and Shanghai's rise in the rankings have seen these cities pass other well-known locations such as Rio de Janeiro (31st), Paris (34th) as well as Manhattan (40th).

Tokyo continues to reign supreme as the world's most expensive city largely thanks to the strong Yen and despite small price increases. Oslo, Norway, occupies the second position while Nagoya rounds out the top-three list, unchanged from 2011.

ECA International conducts a twice-yearly survey evaluating the cost of a basket of basic day-to-day goods and services across 400 world cities. The survey enables multinational companies to define location-appropriate remuneration for their assignees. The calculation included items such as groceries, clothing and basic services, while it excluded other costs such as accommodation, utilities and tuition-fees.

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