QUALITY OF LIFE

Hong Kong ranked 70th in world for quality of living - way behind rival Singapore

Pollution and traffic problems leave Hong Kong ranked 70th in global survey of 230 cities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 March, 2015, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 March, 2015, 6:22pm

Hong Kong offers the best quality of living among cities in China, but falls behind main competitor Singapore and major Japanese centres, according to a survey.

Hong Kong ranked 70th - one place higher than last year - among 230 cities assessed in an annual quality of living survey by consulting firm Mercer.

The survey measures living conditions based on 10 categories, including political stability, economic environment, medical, education, transport and recreation provisions, housing and the natural environment.

Vienna tops the rankings, which are dominated by European cities. Zurich, Auckland and Munich complete the top four, while Vancouver is fifth - the highest-ranking city in North America.

Singapore, which fell one place to 26th globally, continues to be the top location in Asia-Pacific rankings. Also beating Hong Kong in the region are five cities in Japan: Tokyo (44), Kobe (47), Yokohama (48), Osaka (58) and Nagoya (61).

Connie Leung, a consultant at Mercer, said quality of living in Hong Kong remained at a relatively good standard compared to most other nearby cities in the region, but "the air pollution and road traffic in its major CBD areas continue to be a concern".

She said the city's efficient banking services, effective public services and reliable transport system enabled it to rank above other cities in China.

"The wide variety of food, leisure and entertainment options, as well as a vast choice of high-quality consumer goods, also set Hong Kong apart," she said.

Hong Kong is followed in the region by Seoul (72), Taipei (83), Taichung (99), Shanghai (101) and Beijing (118).

Pollsters note that Cheonan (98) in South Korea, Taichung (99) in Taiwan, and mainland cities Xian and Chongqing (both ranked 142) are emerging business destinations.

"Their main challenges to improving quality-of-living standards are clean water provision and air pollution," the survey said.

"However, advances in the telecommunications and consumer sectors have had some positive offsetting effects on their ranking."

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Hong Kong also fared well in Bloomberg's misery index. The survey examines forecasted unemployment and the change in the consumer price index of 51 countries to assess levels of misery or happiness.

Hong Kong was among the top 20 happiest economies, in 17th place. Thailand's combination of low unemployment and low inflation put it in first place followed by Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

China rose two places from last year to become the seventh most consumer-friendly economy, according to Bloomberg' s calculations.

Venezuela topped the list of the most miserable nations, followed by less gloomy outlooks for Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine and Greece.

Venezuela's inflation rate of 78.5 per cent sent it to the top of the unfortunate index as the country struggles against a shortage of basic necessities.

Ukraine could expect to see higher levels of unemployment in 2015 as tensions with Russia-backed rebels continue to affect the nation's economy, the index measurements found.