HONG KONG RANKED 71 IN QUALITY OF LIVING LIST

19 February 2014

Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Singapore is the city with Asia’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2014 Quality of Living rankings, in which European cities dominate. Vienna was once again named the city with the world’s best quality of living, Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place respectively, with Munich in fourth place. Vancouver (5) was the highest-ranking city in North America while Dubai (73) takes top spot in the Middle East and Africa and the city of Pointe-à-Pitre (69), Guadeloupe, topped the Central and South America list.


Hong Kong is in 71st position in the Mercer rankings. Singapore, which is ranked 25 globally, is the only Asian city ranked in the top 30, with the four Japanese cities of Tokyo (43), Kobe (47), Yokohama (49), and Osaka (57) making up the Asia top 5. Dushanbe (209), Tajikistan, was named the lowest-ranking city in the region.


“Asia has a bigger range of quality-of-living standard amongst its cities than any other region. For many cities, such as those in South Korea, the quality of living is continually improving. But for others, such as some in China, issues like pervasive poor air pollution are eroding their quality of living,” said Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer.


With their considerable growth in the last decade, many second-tier Asian cities are starting to emerge as important places of business for multinational companies. Examples include Cheonan (98), South Korea, which is strategically located in an area where several technology companies have operations. Over the past decades, Pune (139), India has developed into an education hub and home to IT, other high-tech industries, and automobile manufacturing. The city of Xian (141), China has also witnessed some major developments, such as the establishment of an “Economic and Technological Development Zone” to attract foreign investments. The city is also host to various financial services, consulting, and computer services.


“Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents. To ensure that expatriate compensation packages reflect the local environment appropriately, employers need a clear picture of the quality of living in the cities where they operate,” said Parakatil.


Mr Parakatil added: “In a world economy that is becoming more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial and business centres are working to improve their quality of living so they can attract more foreign companies. This year’s survey recognises so-called ‘second tier’ or ‘emerging’ cites and points to a few examples from around the world. These cities have been investing massively in their infrastructure and attracting foreign direct investments by providing incentives such as tax, housing, or entry facilities. Emerging cities will become major players that traditional financial centres and capital cities will have to compete with.”


Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium. A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations, whereas a mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country. Mercer’s Quality of Living reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for over 460 cities throughout the world; the ranking covers 223 of these cities.


Notes for Editors

Mercer produces worldwide quality-of-living rankings annually from its most recent Worldwide Quality of Living Surveys. Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. Comparative quality-of-living indexes between a base city and a host city are available, as are multiple-city comparisons. Details are available from Mercer Client Services in Warsaw, at +48 22 434 5383 or at www.mercer.com/qualityofliving.


The data was largely collected between September and November 2013, and will be updated regularly to take account of changing circumstances. In particular, the assessments will be revised to reflect significant political, economic, and environmental developments.


Expatriates in difficult locations: Determining appropriate allowances and incentives
Companies need to be able to determine their expatriate compensation packages rationally, consistently and systematically. Providing incentives to reward and recognise the efforts that employees and their families make when taking on international assignments remains a typical practice, particularly for difficult locations. Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium:


  • A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations.
  • A mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country.

 


A quality-of-living allowance is typically location-related, while a mobility premium is usually independent of the host location. Some multinational companies combine these premiums, but the vast majority provides them separately.


Quality of Living: City benchmarking


Mercer also helps municipalities assess factors that can improve their quality of living rankings. In a global environment, employers have many choices as to where to deploy their mobile employees and set up new business. A city’s quality of living standards can be an important variable for employers to consider.


Leaders in many cities want to understand the specific factors that affect their residents’ quality of living and address those issues that lower their city’s overall quality-of-living ranking. Mercer advises municipalities through a holistic approach that addresses their goals of progressing towards excellence, and attracting multinational companies and globally mobile talent by improving the elements that are measured in its Quality of Living survey.


Mercer hardship allowance recommendations


Mercer evaluates local living conditions in more than 460 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:


  1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
  2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  3. Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  4. Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
  5. Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc)
  7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
  8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
  9. Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

 


The scores attributed to each factor, which are weighted to reflect their importance to expatriates, allow for objective city-to-city comparisons. The result is a quality of living index that compares relative differences between any two locations evaluated. For the indices to be used effectively, Mercer has created a grid that allows users to link the resulting index to a quality of living allowance amount by recommending a percentage value in relation to the index.


Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2014 – Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities by Region

 
Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities – North America
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


5


VANCOUVER


CANADA


2


14


OTTAWA


CANADA


3


15


TORONTO


CANADA


4


23


MONTREAL


CANADA


5


27


SAN FRANCISCO


UNITED STATES


  


 


 


 


1 (lowest in region)


122


MEXICO CITY


MEXICO


2


70


DETROIT


UNITED STATES


3


67


ST. LOUIS


UNITED STATES


4


66


HOUSTON


UNITED STATES


5


65


MIAMI


UNITED STATES


 


 


 


 


Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities – Central and South America
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


69


POINTE-À-PITRE


GUADELOUPE


2


72


SAN JUAN


PUERTO RICO


3


77


MONTEVIDEO


URUGUAY


4


81


BUENOS AIRES


ARGENTINA


5


93


SANTIAGO


CHILE


  


 


 


 


1 (lowest in region)


221


PORT-AU-PRINCE


HAITI


2


181


TEGUCIGALPA


HONDURAS


3


176


CARACAS


VENEZUELA


4


175


SAN SALVADOR


EL SALVADOR


5


170


MANAGUA


NICARAGUA


 


 


 


 


Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities – Europe
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


1


VIENNA


AUSTRIA


2


2


ZURICH


SWITZERLAND


3


4


MUNICH


GERMANY


4


6


DÜSSELDORF


GERMANY


5


7


FRANKFURT


GERMANY


  


 


 


 


1 (lowest in region)


191


TBILISI


GEORGIA


2


189


MINSK


BELARUS


3


180


YEREVAN


ARMENIA


4


179


TIRANA


ALBANIA


5


168


ST. PETERSBURG


RUSSIA


 


 


 


 


Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities – Asia (excluding Australia and New Zealand)
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


25


SINGAPORE


SINGAPORE


2


43


TOKYO


JAPAN


3


47


KOBE


JAPAN


4


49


YOKOHAMA


JAPAN


5


57


OSAKA


JAPAN


  


 


 


 


1 (lowest in region)


209


DUSHANBE


TAJIKISTAN


2


208


DHAKA


BANGLADESH


3


206


ASHKHABAD


TURKMENISTAN


4


204


BISHKEK


KYRGYZSTAN


5


202


TASHKENT


UZBEKISTAN


 
Top 3 Cities - Australasia
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


3


AUCKLAND


NEW ZEALAND


2


10


SYDNEY


AUSTRALIA


3


12


WELLINGTON


NEW ZEALAND


 


 


 


 


Top 5 and Bottom 5 Cities – Middle East and Africa
 

Regional Rank 2014


Overall Rank 2014


City


Country


1


73


DUBAI


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


2


78


ABU DHABI


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


3


82


PORT LOUIS


MAURITIUS


4


85


DURBAN


SOUTH AFRICA


5


90


CAPE TOWN


SOUTH AFRICA


    


 


 


 


1 (lowest in region)


223


BAGHDAD


IRAQ


2


222


BANGUI


CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC


3


220


N’DJAMENA


CHAD


4


219


SANA’A


YEMEN ARAB REPUBLIC


5


218


BRAZZAVILLE


CONGO


       

The information and data obtained through the Quality of Living reports are for information purposes only and are intended for use by multinational organisations, government agencies, and municipalities. They are not designed or intended for use as the basis for foreign investment or tourism. In no event will Mercer be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance of the results obtained through the use of, or the information or data contained in, the reports. While the reports have been prepared based upon sources, information, and systems believed to be reliable and accurate, they are provided on an “as is” basis, and Mercer accepts no responsibility/liability for the validity/accuracy (or otherwise) of the resources/data used to compile the reports. Mercer and its affiliates make no representations or warranties with respect to the reports, and disclaim all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind, including, representations and implied warranties of quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.


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