Many expatriates think Taiwan (right) is a better place to live than Hong Kong. Photo: iStock
Many expatriates think Taiwan (right) is a better place to live than Hong Kong. Photo: iStock

Hong Kong ranked a mediocre 56th out of 178 cities in the world as the best place for expatriates, according to InterNations, which surveyed 18,000 expatriates around the globe.

The former British colony ranked far behind other members of the Four Asian Dragons. By comparison, the survey results placed Taiwan 2nd, Singapore 5th, and South Korea 41st.

This year’s results meant Hong Kong dropped 23 places in the rankings, largely due to the cost of living, which was ranked 68th out of 178 nations.

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live on the planet, and has had the dubious honor of having the least affordable housing for eight years in a row.

Housing is in desperately short supply, meaning that Hong Kong citizens with a net worth of US$1 million often live humbly in small apartments of no more than 400 square feet (37.2 square meters).

Worse still, Hong Kong people work a higher-than-average 46.8 hours per week.

By comparison, Taiwan was listed as being among the three expat destinations that were “breakout stars” in this year’s report, in second place just behind Bahrain and ahead of Ecuador.

Retaining its spot as the No.1 in terms of quality of life since 2016, Taiwan is rated especially highly for its affordable health care (96%) and personal safety (98%). It also took third place for personal happiness, and fifth place for both travel and transport and health and well-being.

Despite these factors, Taiwan is known for its low salaries. Newly-qualified university graduates earn an average of NT$27,850 (US$904) per month. But despite low salaries on the island, expats may still be better off after all expenses have been taken care of.