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Hong Kong loses spot ‘as most enticing city in China’ for East Asian expats

Hong Kong loses spot ‘as most enticing city in China’ for East Asian expats

Hong Kong was placed 92 in 2022 ranking of more than 500 cities by global human resources consultancy, falling several spots below Taipei.
Hong Kong has lost its status as the most attractive city in China for East Asian expats, according to a ranking by a global human resources consultancy, which placed the financial hub at 92, several spots behind Taipei.

The city fell 15 places in the 2022 ranking of more than 500 locations, according to a study released by ECA International on Wednesday. The result marked the second year Hong Kong had dropped in the list.

Other cities in the region also featured in the ranking, including Taipei at 77, as well as Macau at 97 and Shanghai at 128.

The study ranks each city’s liveability based on various factors such as education, access to social networks, infrastructure, air quality, as well as personal safety and political tensions.

“Hong Kong’s maintenance of measures to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 during 2022 stood in contrast to peers both regionally and globally,” said Lee Quane, the consultancy’s regional director for Asia.

“Continued quarantine restrictions, the limitation of access to recreational activities and other social-distancing measures persisted throughout 2022 which put Hong Kong in a less favourable position compared with other locations.”

The city was previously in lockstep with mainland China’s zero-Covid strategy, with Hong Kong’s population at the end of June 2022 dropped 1.6 per cent to around 7.29 million from a year ago, amid a period of stringent anti-epidemic policies.


Hong Kong was ranked 77 in 2021 and 58 the year before that. The city’s worst score of 93rd place was in 2019, which featured a tense political climate resulting from anti-government protests.

ECA International said it expected the city would recover this year thanks to the rollback of coronavirus policies but warned a full return to pre-pandemic living conditions was unlikely.

Hong Kong was also likely to continue lagging behind regional rival Singapore, which held on to first place as the world’s most liveable location for overseas workers from East Asia for the 21st year in a row.

“Singapore relaxed social-distancing restrictions earlier than other locations, facilitating a return to pre-pandemic norms and contributing to the fact that it retained its position at the top of our rankings and increasing its lead over other places in terms of its liveability relative to other locations,” Quane said.

“Hong Kong’s fall was reflective of changes in the political environment witnessed through recent Legislative Council and the election for Hong Kong’s chief executive,” he said, adding the one-contender poll for the top job had highlighted the slow pace of democratisation in the city.

Tokyo came second in the 2022 after moving up one place from the year before and replacing Wellington, New Zealand, which fell to third place.
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