KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Kuala Lumpur is back among the 100 most liveable cities for Asian expatriates in ECA International’s latest location ratings survey, rising 28 spots to 98th.

The Malaysian capital had fallen to 126th position in last year’s survey with the global mobility expert citing air pollution and petty crime as among the reasons for its drop from 25th spot over some six years.

According to the latest survey, George Town is placed higher than Kuala Lumpur in the 97th spot.

ECA International regional director for Asia, Lee Quane, said both Malaysia and Thailand continue to develop and improve their infrastructure, resulting in steady improvements in their liveability scores in recent years.


“In particular, advances in road and transport infrastructure have improved access to areas in these countries that were once considered far more remote,” he said.

Bangkok is the highest rated Thai city, rated 89th.

Singapore is once again the most liveable location for Asian expats, taking the top spot for the 14th year in a row, ahead of Japanese and Australian cities.


After Singapore, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide are the next most liveable cities, followed by Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo in Japan.

The capital cities of Wellington and Canberra take eighth and ninth place, while Perth caps off the top 10 most liveable cities for Asian expatriates.

“Unsurprisingly, for many, Singapore once again remains the most liveable location in the world for expats relocating from elsewhere in East Asia,” said Quane, adding that their access to great facilities, low crime rate, quality healthcare and education, as well as existing expat community contributed to their ratings.

“Although many cities in Asia offer similar benefits to overseas workers, Singapore remains the top location, and it does not look like it will drop in the rankings any time soon,” he said.

Hong Kong has dropped 12 places and is now the joint 41st most liveable city for expats, slipping in the past year due to the disruption and considerable damage caused by Typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018.

“Australian and New Zealand locations always tend to score well for Asian expatriates, due to the high level of infrastructure and facilities. This is also because they are geographically closer to the home locations of Asian workers as compared to cities in Europe or further afield,” said Quane.

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is the most liveable European location for Asian expats, and joint for 10th place overall.

Meanwhile, many Chinese cities such as Beijing, Nanjing and Xiamen have risen in the liveability rankings, as they continue to develop.

The ECA International's location ratings system measures the quality of expatriate living conditions in over 480 locations around the world, to arrive at a fair and consistent assessment of the level of difficulty the expatriate will experience in adapting to a new location.

Factors evaluated include climate, availability of health services, housing and utilities, isolation, access to a social network and leisure facilities, infrastructure, personal safety, political tensions, and air quality.