Suzhou makes list of most expensive cities

According to a survey by ECA International Suzhou has been ranked as the 20th most costly Asian city for expats to live in.

The list; which puts Suzhou slightly ahead of Xi’An, Wuhan and Nanjing and behind Dalian, Chengdu and Chongqing; lists both Beijing and Shanghai in the top 10 (#7 and #8 respectively).

A lot of friends of mine in China, but outside of Suzhou, are often a bit surprised when I tell them that Suzhou’s got a large expat population. I think because Lonely Planet (erm, rather Rough Guides, now that LP is banned) tends to paint Suzhou as a quaint day-trip from Shanghai, people tend to assume that no one would come and live here.

In fact, Suzhou’s expat population is massive, and concentrated. For a city that is, by Chinese standards, quite small, there is a large number of expats. And, as they’re mostly concentrated to the very Western-esque Suzhou/Singapore Industrial Park (SIP), where prices continue to skyrocket, it’s little wonder why Suzhou made the list.

H/T to Shanghaiist for bringing the survey to my attention. Kenneth Tan makes an excellent point in the article that really… these lists are all bunk anyways:

IMHO, all these “costliest” rankings and “quality of life” rankings are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the new world. Jaded expats like ourselves (and we aren’t even strictly speaking an “expatriate”, more like a “half-pat”) now know better that it isn’t going to get more or less costly for ourselves just because these guys tell us so. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and we’re all living different lifestyles, so really, one-size-fits-all rankings just don’t cut it anymore. Do these consultants know it? Sure they do. But we doubt anything’s going to stop them from spending more man-hours and money every few months coming up with a different ranking to make it to the news (and blogs like this one). Sigh.

Here’s the complete list anyway:

Asia 2007 City Country World 2007
1 Seoul KOREA REPUBLIC 7
2 Tokyo JAPAN 13
3 Yokohama JAPAN 18
4 Kobe JAPAN 27
5 Hong Kong HONG KONG [sic] 79
6 Taipei TAIWAN [sic] 94
7 Beijing CHINA 95
8 Shanghai CHINA 100
9 Singapore SINGAPORE 122
10 Guangzhou CHINA 147
11 Jakarta INDONESIA 153
12 Shenzhen CHINA 156
13 Shenyang CHINA 158
14 Qingdao CHINA 159
15 Tianjin CHINA 160
16 Dalian CHINA 162
17 Chongqing CHINA 166
18 Bangkok THAILAND 168
19 Chengdu CHINA 169
20 Suzhou CHINA 171
21 Xi’an CHINA 172
22 Wuhan CHINA 175
23 Nanjing CHINA 176
24 Mumbai INDIA 177
25 New Delhi INDIA 178
26 Xiamen CHINA 182
27 Chennai INDIA 186
28 Hyderabad INDIA 189
29 Metro-Manila PHILIPPINES 191
30 Kolkata INDIA 193
31 Pune INDIA 214
32 Hanoi VIETNAM 195
33 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA 197
34 Vientiane LAOS 198
35 Karachi PAKISTAN 203
36 Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM 204
37 Bangalore INDIA 205
38 Colombo SRI LANKA 212
39 Islamabad PAKISTAN 213

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