SINGAPORE -- Singapore has been rated the top city in Asia for quality of life in a report by the international human resources consulting firm Mercer released this month.
The next five cities were all Japanese: Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya. Asia's top 5 remained unchanged from last year.
The Mercer 2015 Quality of Living report surveyed over 440 cities worldwide and took account of factors such as political stability, crime, medical services, education, housing, public infrastructure and utilities.
The annual survey is widely used by multinational companies to determine compensation and hardship allowances for employees working overseas.
Singapore is rich in public transport and the kind of luxury condominiums favored by expatriates. English is also widely spoken and the education standards on offer privately are among the highest in Asia. While Japan has high quality public services, including transportation, the language barrier remains a key issue for expatriates.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong came 7th followed by Seoul and Taipei. Kuala Lumpur was 10th, ranking second in Southeast Asia.
China's failure to make the top ten was attributed to high levels of air pollution and unstable supplies of clean water.
In South Asia, Colombo was rated top followed by Hyderabad and Pune in India. Business centers such as Mumbai and New Delhi fell down on water supply, pollution, traffic and overpopulation.
"The assignment policies of some international businesses may be based on an assumption that Asia-Pacific is a homogeneous region, but this is certainly not the case," said Mario Ferraro, Mercer's global mobility leader for Asia, the Middle East and Africa, in the report, adding: "A number of Asian cities are working hard to improve their reputation as locations of choice for foreign investment."