If you are setting up an Asian outpost for your business, Karachi is the bargain-basement option and Beijing is increasingly becoming a splurge.
Beijing ranked as the 15th most expensive global city for expatriates in 2013, up from the 21st in 2012, according to the latest cost of living report from consulting firm ECA International. That means it's now the most expensive city in Asia after Tokyo.
Interestingly, Tokyo -- which ranked as the most expensive city in the world last year – slipped to No. 10 in this year's list. Caracas, Venezuela, is now the No. 1 most expensive city worldwide, according to the report.
Cost of living calculations take into account food, clothing, drink, tobacco and other daily expenses. Accommodation costs are not considered in this measure.
Beijing's rise and Tokyo's fall in the ranking are a result of the weakening Japanese yen and the rising cost of almost everything in China, said Lee Quane, the Asian regional director of ECA International, in a statement. “Living costs in Chinese locations have increased in recent years, making China a more expensive location than some of its neighbors for companies looking to set up operations in the region," he said.
Looking at the costs of basic items, it's not hard to see why Tokyo and Beijing rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 most expensive cities in Asia. Grabbing a beer at a bar in Beijing will cost you about $9.70 in Tokyo and $9.28 in Beijing, according to the report. A loaf of bread will run you $6.33 and $6.76, respectively.
Islamabad and Karachi, Pakistan, checked in as the least expensive cities in Asia, according to the report.