After a detailed survey on the prices of goods and services, salaries and purchasing power in 71 major cities across the world, UBS AG of Switzerland, world's largest wealth manager, announced its 2006 "Prices and Earnings" report on August 9th at Switzerland's local time. According to the report, Shanghai and Beijing rank 60th and 62nd respectively on cost of living; in terms of salary and wages and purchasing power, Shanghai ranks 59th and 58th respectively and Beijing is 65th for both.
Asia has the largest divergence of cost of living.
This global overview of prices and earnings has been around for a few years and is published every three years. It compares the cost of livings in 71 cities around the world with the aid of detailed surveys on prices of 122 goods and services (excluding housing and energy expenditure). Shanghai and Beijing rank 60th and 62nd respectively, and Hong Kong and Taipei, 27th and 40th.
The European cities of Oslo, London, Copenhagen and Zurich, together with Tokyo, are among the most expensive in the world. If taking into consideration the cost of living, London and New York will have an even heavier living burden.
UBS believes that even though the Chinese economy has maintained a relatively high growth rate, the cost of living in Shanghai and Beijing still remain at a relatively low level, mainly because China continues to resist the pressure on currency appreciation. In addition, the price of food, clothing and services in both Beijing and Shanghai are relatively cheap.
Moreover, the Asia Pacific region has the largest gap of cost of living across the world. Tokyo is the world's 5th costliest city, but New Delhi, Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur and some other cities are among the lowest. Singapore, Taipei and the two Central Pacific cities - Sydney and Auckland are in the median.
Earnings ranking: Shanghai is 6 places higher than Beijing
The earning index is calculated basing on the wages and salary and working time of 14 industries. Copenhagen ranks the first, followed by Oslo, Zurich, Geneva and New York. In Chinese mainland area, Shanghai and Beijing rank 59th and 65th respectively.
Tokyo tops the Asian cities by standing at 18th. The second Asian city with highest earning index is Seoul, ranking 32nd. Taipei, Singapore and Hong Kong rank 36th, 38th and 40th respectively.
The survey found out that for the 14 most representative industries, the Western European and North American cities have average salary per hour of 15 Euros (about 153 Yuan), whilst the Eastern European and Asian cities have an average salary per hour for 3-4 Euros (about 30-40 Yuan).
35 minutes' working to buy a Big Mac.
In terms of purchasing power, Zurich claims the leader across the world. Shanghai and Beijing rank 58th and 65th respectively. Asian cities that head the list of purchasing power are: Tokyo, 24th, Taipei, 33rd, Seoul, 37th, Singapore, 40th, and Hong Kong, 45th.
The report particularly introduced an index of "working hours required to earn the money to purchase a Big Mac" so as to describe the relationship between prices and salaries and to assess the purchasing power of employees. On global average, every 35 minutes of work can make the equal amount of money required to buy a Big Mac hamburger. But the working hours differ greatly in different regions.
In Tokyo, 10 minutes of work is needed to buy a Big Mac hamburger, which ranks the first in the globe; the United States and the North European cities are the second and the third. For the Chinese cities, the time required to buy a Big Mac in Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing are, from the shortest to the longest, 17, 20, 38 and 44 minutes respectively.
Asia has the longest working hours
The report shows that in the recent 30 years the Europeans have continuously reduced their working hours in exchange for more leisure time. Instead, the Americans and Asians seem to be more concerned about their income growth. Asians have the longest working hours.
Based on a 42-hour week, Asians have 60 more working days than the employees in Paris (only 1480 hours per year) or in Berlin (1610 hours per year). Among the 71 cities, most hours of all are worked in Seoul, and, the least in Paris.
By People's Daily Online