Survey: Expats prefer Taiwan over Hong Kong

The South China Morning Post has reported that Hong Kong’s overall ranking in the Expat Insider survey, published by expatriate networking website InterNations, fell further than all but two of 66 other countries this year – from 26th to 44th place. The new ranking marks a dramatic drop for the city from 10th place just two years ago while Taiwan, a new entry in the survey last year, topped the poll.

Hong Kong ranked a dismal 59th for work/life balance. This was largely dictated by its lengthy working hours (the average expat works 48.5 hours per week). By comparison, Taiwan earned fifth place for the same factor. But Hong Kong did achieve a respectable 24th place for overall job satisfaction as it’s a city where most expats have relocated to for new career ­opportunities.

In addition and since last year, the survey found that Hong Kong:

  • Fell from 24th to 42nd place in the survey’s Personal Finance Index section.
  • Fell from 37th to 48th in terms of how expats viewed the friendliness of the local population.
  • Five out of six expats in Hong Kong continue to feel that the language barrier here causes them –problems (compared with less than one in two expats living abroad worldwide). Nevertheless, almost seven out of 10 expats said they could get by without ­knowing Cantonese.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Taiwanese in Hong Kong group said he thought the popularity of Taiwan among expats probably reflected that many of those surveyed were well-paid professionals enjoying a good quality of life in a country where the cost of living is lower than Hong Kong:

“Taiwan is usually friendly to expats – they are a rare animal. The people in this survey are probably high-ranking officials in various fields; their lives will be brilliant. Taiwan has a very low crime rate, the food is great, the coffee shops are everywhere, and the health care system is good.”

The spokesman added that he would likely move home to Taiwan – if it offered him the same career ­opportunities as Hong Kong.

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