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Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:07
Where rich Asians pay the most for a luxury lifestyle
By Bloomberg
Tuesday, December 04, 2018, 18:07 By Bloomberg

If you’re a high-net-worth individual in Asia into fine dining, wine, jewelry and luxury skin cream, best not to live in Shanghai.

The Chinese city overtook Hong Kong as the most expensive for a basket of luxury goods and services on a price-weighted basis, according to Bank Julius Baer & Co’s annual Wealth Report Asia, which tracks spending by the region’s rich.

Shanghai has also grown more pricey on a relative basis to buy property (although Hong Kong is still most expensive in that regard), hire a lawyer or purchase watches and handbags, the report found. Kuala Lumpur retained its claim as the least-expensive city in Asia -- Malaysia’s capital is the best place to pick up a piano, indulge in cigars or book a hotel suite.

This photo dated Nov 22, 2016 shows the entrance of a Gucci store in Shanghai. (JOHANNES EISELE / AFP)

His & Hers Index

The report, in its eighth year, also introduced a new His & Hers Index to compare the cost of luxury goods for men and women in an attempt to answer the question: Is there a pink tax? Or, does it cost more for a woman to look good versus a man?

It will perhaps come as no surprise to anyone that women’s items cost more on average, with Seoul being the most-expensive city for both male and female luxury goods. This is largely owing to an excise tax of up to 20 percent on certain imports.

On average, it costs US$2,158 more to purchase Julius Baer’s Hers Index relative to the His Index, although the differential is lower -- by US$126 -- when a wrist accessory is excluded. The Hers index is skewed higher due to the Cartier Love Bracelet, a diamond-paved and white gold adornment that costs around US$48,143 in Shanghai (or US$41,818 in Kuala Lumpur).

At the other end of the spectrum, Jakarta is the cheapest overall for men’s luxury items while Mumbai is where you want to be shopping if you’re a lady.

READ MORE: Big-name luxury brands lower prices as tariffs drop

Pedestrians walk past the local flagship store of Italian luxury lingerie brand La Perla in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on Feb 21, 2018. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

In Hong Kong, Julius Baer’s basket of goods and services rose by 2.2 percent in 2018. It’s the most-expensive city in Asia to buy residential property or take a business-class flight. However, despite its reputation as being pricey, items such as skin cream, ladies’ shoes and men’s suits are actually relatively inexpensive.

Julius Baer defines high-net-worth individuals as people with a net investable wealth of US$1 million or more, excluding property that is their main residence. Data for the survey was collected during the period from June 2017 to July this year.

ALSO READ: China's young shoppers breathe new life into luxury market 

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