If there were a ranking for popular Time Out Shanghai topics, articles about Shanghai’s global rankings would probably rank higher than Shanghai’s rankings on UBS Investment Bank’s Prices and Earnings report. But that’s a good thing.
Beyond coffee, McDonald’s Big Macs, iPhone X’s and haircuts are also insightful metrics for comparing the cost of living between cities. The Prices and Earnings report took the average costs of these goods and services and divided them by the net hourly income of 15 different professions, of every earning level, to find how many minutes or hours of work they require to buy.
In Shanghai, you can, on average, buy a Big Mac with 53.4 minutes of work, an iPhone X with 306.1 hours of work, a men’s haircut with 255 minutes of work or a women’s haircut with 340.4 minutes of work. Going by Big Macs and iPhones, Shanghai ranks pretty low (59th and 55th, respectively) in this metric. Shanghai haircuts, on the other hand, are pretty cheap in comparison, with working time for men’s haircuts ranking eighth and women’s ranking 25th.
Going by the ‘working time’ metric, it would appear that Shanghai’s average salaries are lower while the costs of these particular goods and services are higher when compared to most cities in the report. Still, Shanghai’s cost of living manages to be on the lower scale of the survey, probably thanks to cheaper goods and services that are not big macs and iPhones.
Among the 13 Asian cities included in the report, Shanghai has the sixth lowest cost of living, lower than Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo being the highest. So, uh, yeah, not bad but there’s room for improvement. Luxury and property probably won’t be getting any cheaper, so, ahem, how about a pay raise?