The majority of Malaysian locations saw their location scores improve and rise in the liveability rankings for Asian expatriates, while Singapore takes the top spot as the most liveable location, having claimed the top spot every year since the liveability rankings began in 2005.
George Town and Kuala Lumpur have risen to 97th and 98th in the rankings respectively, according to the latest Location Ratings survey published by global mobility expert, ECA International.
“Unsurprisingly for many, Singapore once again remains the most liveable location in the world for expats relocating from elsewhere in East Asia,” said Lee Quane, regional director of Asia for ECA International.
“Several factors make Singapore the ideal location, such as access to great facilities, low crime rates, good quality healthcare and education, as well as a large expat population already living in Singapore.
“Although many cities in Asia offer similar benefits to overseas workers, Singapore remains the top location, and it does not look like it will drop in the rankings any time soon.”
Among other highlights is Hong Kong dropping 12 places, making it the joint 41st most liveable city for expats coming from elsewhere in Asia.
Quane added: “Hong Kong has slipped down our rankings in the past year due to the disruption and considerable damage caused by Typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018.
“Although there was no loss of life, Mangkhut was the most devastating storm experienced by Hong Kong.
“The cost of the resulting damage to buildings and infrastructure is estimated to be around US$1 billion.
“Therefore, Hong Kong’s liveability score has decreased to reflect the difficulties caused by Typhoon Mangkhut.”
Hong Kong experienced the most significant fall in liveability rankings among all locations surveyed in Asia.
Globally, Hong Kong’s drop in rankings is second only to Managua, Nicaragua, which experienced major socio-political changes in 2018.
“The fall also marks the continuation of a long-term trend, which has seen Hong Kong fall steadily from its highest ranking of 11th place in 2013.
“Meanwhile, many Chinese cities have risen in the liveability rankings, as they continue to develop.
The majority of Malaysian and Thai locations saw their scores improve and rise in the liveability rankings too.
Bangkok is the highest rated Thai city, sitting at 89th place, whilst George Town and Kuala Lumpur have risen to 97th and 98th in the rankings respectively.
“Both Thailand and Malaysia continue to develop and improve their infrastructure, resulting in steady improvements in their liveability scores over recent years.
“In particular, advances in road and transport infrastructure have improved access to areas in these countries that were once considered far more remote.”
Japanese cities continue to perform strongly, with all four of the Japanese locations included in the rankings featuring in the top ten.
This is despite Osaka’s score dropping slightly due to the effects of Typhoon Jebi, which caused significant damage to the city.
Quane said: “Japanese cities have always performed strongly in our Location Ratings rankings, and this year is no exception, with Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Yokohama all in the top 10 locations for Asian expatriates.
Despite Typhoon Jebi hitting Osaka and southern Japan in early September and causing widespread disruption and casualty to the region, Osaka remains joint fifth in the rankings – only a slight drop from third last year.”
The only other Asian location to experience a drop in liveability ranking as significant as Hong Kong was Colombo in Sri Lanka, which fell 12 places to 194th overall.
“In recent months, there has been considerable political instability in Sri Lanka owing to a constitutional crisis over the Prime Minister’s position.
“This led to a significant amount of violent unrest, in addition to other unrelated ethnic violence earlier in 2018. However, the situation now has cooled slightly, and we may see a score reduction in the next survey.”