Best Asia Expat Destinations: Salary, Cost of Living, Taxes



Thinking of moving in January? Five of Asia Pacific’s largest financial hubs’ cost of living rankings.

Bloomberg ranked Tokyo first in 10 categories, including income increases, rent, personal taxes, and education costs. The Japanese capital has affordable international school fees, stable rents, and a $50,000 Tesla Model Y Performance.

Hong Kong, which has lost expats since the pandemic, was second, followed by Shanghai and Sydney. Singapore, which just became the world’s most costly city due to foreign labour, finished sixth.

1. Tokyo

Finance manager’s annual pay: $98,094 (based on Michael Page 2023 projections)
Michelin-starred restaurants: 183
Taylor Swift, Coldplay concerts: Yes

Many living expenditures are lower in Tokyo than other financial hubs. Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than other cities, which will please foodies.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is giving global top earners a fast pathway to permanent residency. Recent increases in the city’s foreign worker population may not be surprising.

She stated, “Japan is very clean, the pollution level is really low, which was important because my youngest was only two when we arrived. “People are really respectful, and we wanted that for the kids.”

Language has hindered many. The city’s income tax is very hefty.

2. Hong Kong

Finance manager’s annual pay: $92,307
Michelin-starred restaurants: 78
Taylor Swift-Coldplay concerts: No

Hong Kong’s appeal has declined since the outbreak. China’s tighter supervision and tough Covid regulations led overseas enterprises to reduce hiring.

Geopolitics may deter some potential residents, but Hong Kong boasts the lowest personal income tax rate and highest predicted pay increase of the five destinations. That increases take-home money.

The administration wants to recover the city’s international financial hub position. Hong Kong leader John Lee has cut foreign home buyer charges and introduced a visa plan for high-earners. China’s policy makers met with Hong Kong bankers this month to boost confidence.

Related link: The Best Places In Asia To Move Your Staff

3. Shanghai

Finance manager’s annual pay: $53,439
Michelin-starred restaurants: 51
Taylor Swift-Coldplay concerts: No

Shanghai’s harsh Covid Zero rules during the pandemic drove expats away. Some firms pulled money out of China due to economic and geopolitical concerns. President Xi Jinping vowed “heart-warming” commercial reforms, including visa-free access for six nations, to attract international investment.

Shanghai has lower rents, dining, and medical costs, making it the best place to buy a Tesla Model Y Performance. However, international school prices have increased and the city has high taxes.

4. Sydney

Finance and accounting plant manager’s annual pay: $114,189
Chef Hat restaurants: 141
Taylor Swift-Coldplay concerts: Yes

Sydney, far from other financial centres, offered the lowest income increase for professionals in early 2023 and hefty taxes.

The high expense of living is offset by good public schools for youngsters. Sydney’s taxes and immigration issues were drawbacks.

Sydney lacks a Michelin guide yet has many restaurants: 141 establishments have Chef Hats, the top local dining honour.

5. Singapore

Finance manager’s annual pay: $84,109
Michelin-starred restaurants: 55
Taylor Swift-Coldplay concerts: Yes

After the epidemic, wealthy people have moved to Singapore, where 30% of the population is foreign, for its low taxes and safety. Prices rose as a result.

The city-state is the most costly area to own a car, and a Tesla costs over $200,000. Singapore home rentals are growing in price. The island ranks second in global prime rental growth behind Lisbon.

Some were turned off the city-state by the cost of housing and private schools. Singapore can’t accommodate everyone moving there due to visa restrictions.

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