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Taipei ranked 14th most expensive city in Asia

TAIPEI--The cost of living in Taipei is lower than that of other regional business hubs, making the city more attractive to international businesses, according to the latest survey conducted by consulting firm ECA International.

The survey found that Taipei is now Asia's 14th most expensive location for international assignees, down from 13th last year. Globally, the city is in 69th place, slightly lower than its position at the same time last year.

Southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City meanwhile ranked the 19th most expensive city for expatriates in Asia and 110th across the globe.

“The cost of living in Taipei for international assignees has actually increased slightly since last year — but not as much as certain other cities in Greater China and the region,” said Lee Quane, regional director of Asia at ECA.

“As a result, Taipei has not risen up the ranking since this time last year. Potentially, this makes Taipei a more attractive location for international businesses,” he said in the survey.

Quane said there are signs that Taiwan's economic growth, which has been fairly sluggish, is set to improve in 2014, due partly to the government stimulus package aimed at boosting tourism, promoting innovation and liberalizing foreign investment regulations.

While Tokyo still tops the list of the most expensive locations in Asia for expatriates, globally it has fallen to 10th place on the back of a weaker Japanese yen — a significant drop from last year, when it was the most expensive city in the world for expatriate staff, according to the survey.

During the same period, most major cities in mainland China have become more expensive. Beijing is now Asia's second most expensive location for international assignees, up from 5th place last year. Globally, Beijing is the 15th most expensive location for expatriates.

Shanghai is in fourth place in Asia and 18th in the global results, while Hong Kong is the eighth most expensive city in Asia and 28th in the world, the survey's results showed.

To assist companies with their calculations of employees' pay packages, ECA carries out two cost of living surveys each year, comparing a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 440 locations worldwide.

Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually addressed separately by an expatriate's employer, so these are not included in ECA's cost of living survey.

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