New visual analytics app dethrones Singapore as most expensive city in APAC

Tokyo ranked as most expensive of eight APAC cities, closely followed by Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore, according to a new Qlik app

SINGAPORE – JUNE 15, 2016  
Qlik® (NASDAQ: QLIK), a leader in visual analytics, has developed a new web-based app for consumers that allows them to quickly and easily compare the cost of living across eight key cities in Asia Pacific (APAC) – Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

Built on Qlik Sense®, the Qlik APAC Cost of Living app uses embedded visual analytics to enable users to uncover insights into the cost of living across different cities in the region. The app incorporates a broad cross-section of goods such as property, transport, education, entertainment, utilities, food, restaurants and clothing, in addition to allowing users to select ‘Budget’, ‘Mid-range’ or ‘Expensive’ across any cost category. 

“With the constant fluctuations in Asian economies and changing consumer price indices (CPI), getting to grips with the cost of maintaining a certain standard of living before you move somewhere can be difficult,” said Phillip Beniac, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific for Qlik. “The Qlik APAC Cost of Living app takes the pain out of the process by using visual analytics to compare the average cost of living in various cities. Easy to assimilate visual representations enable expatriates, as well as local residents, to compare selected APAC cities side by side, and drill into the data to find out how their city of choice stacks up against the rest.”

Deeper insights with visual analytics: Tokyo most expensive, Hong Kong, and Sydney close behind

Using heat maps, the Qlik APAC Cost of Living app instantly illustrates how the prices of individual items in various countries differ from the APAC average, with red highlighting the costliest and blue denoting the least expensive. A ‘Highs and Lows’ page enables users to track prices of particular items – from alcohol and entertainment to clothing and household essentials – across APAC, and literally watch the colors change.

Japan’s most populated city, Tokyo, takes the overall title as the most expensive city, with costs 39% higher than the APAC average. However, delving deeper into the data reveals that all is not how it may seem. For example, looking only at the ‘Expensive’ category of items shows that Hong Kong usurps Tokyo as the most expensive city to live the high life. At the other end of the spectrum, exploring ‘Budget’ costs shows Sydney elevated in the rankings to second behind only Tokyo, showing that Australia’s sparkling harbor jewel is no place to try and live on a budget.

“APAC is well regarded as an attractive location for expats and also sees a great deal of mobility from within the region, with potential to accelerate due to recent initiatives such as the Asian Economic Community formed in December 2015,” commented Professor Wong Poh Kam, National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.

“Part of this attractiveness of the region is the perceived low cost of living in various countries. However, cost of living standards can often be misunderstood unless people have access to a good level of detailed information that informs them what it will cost to live their particular lifestyle. For example, not everyone wants or needs to own a car, which can be a particularly expensive proposition in some APAC cities, especially Singapore and Tokyo, where the public transport network is already extensive,”

With so many variables to choose from in the app, some of the most interesting insights include:

·       Although Shanghai’s cost of living data places it 11% lower than the APAC average, it is the most expensive city to stay in shape, with a monthly gym membership costing US$157 and a session with a personal trainer costing US$393. In contrast, although Seoul has a similar overall cost of living to Shanghai coming in at 10% lower than average, a monthly gym membership will set you back just US$30, while a personal trainer session costs only US$72.

·       While Sydney is known for being a gourmet paradise, it is also the priciest place in APAC to eat out in hotel restaurants, with a meal for two costing up to US$247. That is about twice what it costs in Shanghai (US$133) or Tokyo (US$116), while Seoul is the cheapest choice (US$53), followed by Mumbai (US$61) and Hong Kong US$70).

·       In terms of finding a place to live, Kuala Lumpur is most attractive option for people who like to live in the city center, with property costing US$331 per square feet to buy and US$1.11 per square feet to rent. Hong Kong tops the city center list at US$2,002 per square feet to buy and US$6.52 per square feet to rent. On the other hand, if you are interested in renting in the inner suburbs, then Mumbai (US$0.24 per square feet), Kuala Lumpur (US$0.41 per square feet) and Sydney (US$0.9 per square feet) are the most attractive choices.

·       The app also casts light on some enormous cost disparities. For example, the cost of sending one student to an international school in Shanghai (US$45,229) is the equivalent of sending 22 to an international school in Mumbai (US$2,016).

“In the same way that organizations now routinely use business intelligence, individuals are seeking ways to use everyday data to analyze and derive insights into what’s going on in their lives. The Qlik Cost of Living app is a great example of how you don’t have to be a data scientist to get useful insights from data, by using visual analytics,” added Beniac.

The Qlik APAC Cost of Living app built on Qlik Sense, is based on data collected from varied sources including desktop research as well as surveys of regional retail chains and hotels. The app is available at

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