Expats love HK for the money

Top News | Charlotte Luo 12 Oct 2018

Expatriates in Hong Kong earn the highest salaries in the Asia Pacific - an average of about HK$1.4 million annually - but Singapore is still considered a better destination for them.

With long working hours and more stress, Hong Kong's overall ranking is 17th while Singapore was crowned the "best place in the world to live and work" for the fourth consecutive year, according to an HSBC survey.

The global Expat Explorer Survey, which comprised 22,318 respondents from 163 countries and territories, found that expats in Hong Kong earn an average salary of US$178,706 (HK$1.4 million), which is US$72,000 more than the average expat globally.

The mainland is next at US$172,678, followed by Singapore at US$162,172.

About 25 percent of expats in the SAR are making more than US$250,000, while 24 percent make more than that in the mainland and 21 percent in Singapore.

Mark Surgenor, head of HSBC's wealth of Asia Pacific, said more markets in the region are providing attractive opportunities for expats.

"Expat destinations like Hong Kong, Singapore and the mainland stand out as magnets for global talent as they strengthen their position as leading international commercial and financial centers with a promise of not only higher earnings but long-term career growth," Surgenor said.

For expats in Singapore, 65 percent said they have more disposable income than they did in their home nations.

Four out of five are confident in the political and economic stability of the country, while 78 percent would recommend Singapore to anyone thinking of a move abroad.

The survey also found that 28 percent of expats who arrived in Hong Kong in the past two years said their income was at least 50 percent higher than before.

Some 61 percent said they have more disposable income than they did in their home country, compared with the regional average of 56 percent. Seventy percent said their tax bill is lower, while 25 percent revealed that their employers cover some of their expenses, such as accommodation, schooling and transport.

Although they may be earning much more than expats in other places, the increase is consumed by the cost of daily life in Hong Kong.

Among the expats surveyed in Hong Kong, 23 percent are working in financial services, 15 percent in education and eight percent in business services, such as accounting or consulting.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com

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