Singapore tops list of best cities for Asian expats: survey


Singapore’s low crime rate, clean air and solid infrastructure helped the city-state top a list as the best city in the world for Asian expats to live in for the fifth year in a row, a survey showed Wednesday. Three Australian cities — Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra — took up spots in the top five while Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo in Japan made it into the top ten, according to ECA International, a human resource consultancy for multinationals.

But Singapore — well known for its squeaky clean, safe streets — claimed the spot as best place in the world for Asian expatriates for the fifth year running. “Singapore is consolidating its position at No 1 — it’s continuing to improve,” said Lee Quane, ECA’s Hong Kong based general manager.

“I can’t find another city that matches it in terms of personal security and safety. Singapore is pretty much the safest place in the world.”

With more Asian expatriates being sent overseas for work, the ECA’s survey can help determine suitable compensation packages and hardship allowances for expat employees.

The ECA report is based on expat surveys and country data for 254 locations globally on areas such as climate, air quality, healthcare, infrastructure and political locations. Language and proximity to home are also among the top concerns among expatriates around the world.

“Asia is improving at a far greater rate than anywhere else,” Quane said, adding that cities in China and India had rapidly climbed up the rankings.

Within Asia, the gap between Singapore and Hong Kong has widened over the last five years.

“We have seen more and more companies and expatriates say they would prefer to relocate to Singapore because of the better facilities,” Quane said. That’s despite the fact that Singapore ranks lower than Hong Kong in terms of press freedom and recreation, he said.

The Hong Kong-Singapore rivalry is heating up as the Chinese territory’s air pollution worsens, pushing it down on the global ranking list from five years ago.

The Southeast Asian city-state is working to improve its image as a place for fun and entertainment, with new restaurants and bars springing up and two multi-billion dollar casinos on the way.

Quane added that one of the most interesting findings in the survey was Macau which, thanks to heavy investments by casino resorts and a fast growing tourism industry, had climbed to 56 in the global ranking for Asians, up from 80 just five years ago.