Hong Kong has raced up the cost-of-living league alongside a host of Asian cities to become one of the 15 most expensive cities in the world to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Its survey, conducted every two years, finds Hong Kong ranked 14th among 131 cities worldwide, moving up eight places. The city is ranked 4th in Asia - behind Japan's Tokyo and Osaka, and Singapore.
Tokyo also reclaims the title of the world's most expensive city after being overtaken by Zurich in Switzerland last year. India's Mumbai and Pakistan's Karachi are both ranked the least expensive cities in the world.
Susan Evans, an analyst at the EIU in Hong Kong, said the city's rising property prices were not included, but added: "The unrelenting growth in real estate costs feed into higher prices for everything else," she said.
For multinational companies looking to relocate expatriate workers to Hong Kong, it meant attracting staff to work in the city had become harder, Evans said. Singapore was ranked even higher, however, at number six.
The study analyses 400 price points for 160 different products and services in 140 cities. These include the cost of bread, wine, branded cigarettes and unleaded petrol.
Jon Copestake, editor of the global cost-of-living report, said Asian cities had been "rising [up the list] on the back of wage growth and economic optimism", while most of Europe had seen relative declines because of economic austerity measures and currency fears.
Mainland Chinese cities, which were listed separately from Hong Kong in terms of country, saw living costs climb significantly in the past year, fuelled by rising wages, increased consumer demand and tighter currency controls.
Shanghai, up 11 spots from last year, was the priciest mainland city, followed by Guangzhou and Shanghai's neighbour, Suzhou .
Tianjin also jumped seven places to make the list as fourth most expensive city in the mainland.
Beijing was ranked 54th in the world, and Taipei 60th.
"Gradual appreciation of the yuan over the past few years and rising GDP per capita has contributed to rising costs of living in these cities," Evans said.