Surveys fail to flatter life in Hong Kong

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The Independent Travel

While more and more people are coming to visit Hong Kong each year, reports released over the past week suggest that the city is becoming less attractive to actually live in.

First up, a report which ranks the world's cities in terms of cost of living for expatriate residents saw Hong Kong leap 20 places to the 32nd most expensive in the world.

That survey - conducted over the month of September by the human resources consultants ECA International ( - explained Hong Kong's move down to the effect of the weaker euro (home currency for a lot of expats) and the city's own rising rate of inflation.

The city ranked sixth in Asia, one better than last year, but a report released by the United States-based investment analysis and commentary website 24/7 Wall St ( darkens the clouds once again.

That site has landed Hong Kong in the top 10 "most polluted cities in the world" and has pointed to the fact that in a recent Gallup poll, 70 per cent of Hongkongers claimed there dissatisfied with the city's air quality

Certainly not the worst ranking for a Chinese city - Beijing comes out as the world's worst, tied with India's New Delhi - but hardly a selling point for a place that promotes itself as "Asia's World City".

And it's come about in the same week that local papers have made much of a study commissioned by the public policy think tank Civic Exchange which claims more than half of those local who are earning more than HK$60,000 (5,830 euro) per month are thinking of skipping down - because of the air pollution.

However, regardless of the surveys, tourists continue to flock to Hong Kong, with the city this year on target to welcome a record 50+ million people, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Maybe it's because they can still make a quick getaway.

How the cities rank:

Cost of living in Asia: 1, Tokyo; 2, Nagoya; 3, Yokohama; 4, Kobe; 5, Seoul; 6, Hong Kong; 7, Shanghai; 8, Singapore; 9, Beijing; 10, Busan.

The 10 cities with the world's worst air: 1, Beijing, China and New Delhi, India; 3, Santiago, Chile; 4, Mexico City, Mexico; 5, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; 6, Cairo, Egypt; 7, Chongqing, China; 8, Guangzhou, China; 9, Hong Kong; 10, Kabul, Afghanistan.