Finance careers: Singapore vs Hong Kong

SINGAPORE: A March 25 (Monday) article quoted a number of individuals in the finance industry as saying that they would choose to live in Hong Kong over Singapore, in large part due to higher living costs in The Little Red Dot.

The piece in efinancialcareers.com says that while income taxes are at 15 per cent in Hong Kong for those who earn US$640,000 (S$862,000) per year, this actually looks “generous” in comparison to Singapore, where people who earn US$89,000 (S$120,000) a year pay 15 per cent taxes, while those who earn US$237,000 (S$319,000) pay 22 per cent.

Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and it made the headlines last year. However, according to the Mercer Cost of Living survey, for expatriates, Hong Kong is the most expensive city, with Singapore coming in second.

Read also: Finance careers: Singapore vs Hong Kong

Interestingly, in 2022, Singapore was only the sixth most expensive city for expats, while Hong Kong was number one. This gap has been closing, especially in the past few years.

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Singapore’s rising costs are one reason why bankers from Hong Kong do not want to move to the Lion City. One of the bankers quoted in the piece said, “It would take a really significant career opportunity to get me to Singapore.”

Not only are living costs too high, life in Singapore is considered to be duller than in Hong Kong.

The man, who is a managing director on the trading floor at a European bank in Hong Kong, said, “Hong Kong is where all the action is. Singapore is more boring – there’s no real excitement there.”

Another is quoted as saying, “The attraction of Singapore has died off. Anyone who wanted to leave has left, and it’s no secret that Singapore has become quite expensive in terms of housing and taxes.

Singapore’s immigration rules there have also been tightened due to their own political issues, plus it’s all small scale in Singapore and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”

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Meanwhile, an equity strategist noted that housing and schooling are more expensive in Singapore than in Hong Kong, giving expats more reasons to choose the latter.

He added that while “In Hong Kong there are mountains, hiking, national parks, beaches and Shenzhen all a stone’s throw away,” life in Singapore would bore him as there’s little to do aside from shopping and eating. /TISG

Read related: More multinational companies choose Singapore over Hong Kong—Bloomberg report