High Living at Very Low Cost in Karachi & Mumbai

A worldwide cost of living survey of 131 major cities has found that big South Asian cities of Dhaka, Delhi, Karachi and Mumbai are among the ten least expensive in the world. In other words, foreign visitors, expatriate businessmen and overseas investors can live better for less in South Asia, particularly in Karachi which is the cheapest on the list, just one rank below Mumbai, India.

The survey conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) compared more than 400 individual prices across 160 products, including food, clothing, transport, rents and private schools.

India and Pakistan’s cheap labor and land costs are making the area “attractive to those bargain-hungry visitors or investors willing to brave some of the security risks that accompany such low prices,” the survey said, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Swiss city of Zurich remained the world’s most expensive, Tokyo was the runner up, with Singapore now listed as the world’s 9th most expensive city. Singapore was listed as the 6th most expensive last year, but remarkably was ranked 97th in 2001.

Here's how EIU describes the world cost of living survey methodology:

"More than 50,000 individual prices are collected in each survey, conducted each March and September and published in June and December. EIU researchers survey a range of stores: supermarkets, midpriced stores and higher priced specialty outlets. Prices reflect costs for more than 160 items in each city. These are not recommended retail prices or manufacturers’ costs; they are what the paying customer is charged. Prices gathered are then converted into a central currency (US dollars) using a prevailing exchange rate and weighted in order to achieve comparative indices. The cost-of-living index uses an identical set of weights that is internationally based and not geared toward the spending pattern of any specific nationality. Items are individually weighted across a range of categories and a comparative index is product using the relative difference by weighted item."

The cheapest cities on the EIU list are dominated by Asian and Middle Eastern cities. The latter of these is due, in part, to the use of price controls and the pegging of currencies to the US dollar. The former seems to have a more structural basis, with cheap labor and land costs making India and Pakistan incredibly attractive to those bargain hungry visitors or investors.

Currently, there are over 300 foreign multinational companies, including American and European companies, with operations in Pakistan. And more are coming every year in spite of ongoing security concerns and current economic slowdown. Almost all big international brand name American and European companies operate in Pakistan.

Here's an excerpt from a US government website on America's commercial presence in Karachi, Pakistan:

"U.S. firms have a strong presence in Pakistan. More than 70 wholly-owned U.S. subsidiaries are registered with the American Business Council (ABC) and American Business Forum (ABF) in Pakistan. There are also hundreds of local firms representing U.S. firms in the market. Leading U.S. businesses in Pakistan include Citibank, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, NCR, Teradata, Pfizer, Abbot, Eli Lilly, Wyeth, DuPont, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Chevron, 3M, IBM, Apple, Monsanto, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominoes Pizza, and Caterpillar.

Despite security challenges and common emerging market concerns about intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, contract enforcement, and governance issues, the Pakistan market offers many attractive trade and investment opportunities in a broad range of sectors: among others, energy (power generation); transportation (aerospace and railways); information and communications technology; architecture, construction, and engineering; health; environmental technology; agricultural technology; safety and security; franchising; and services."

Jon Copestake, the editor of the EIU cost survey report, explained that these cheap cities “have been cheap for a long time.” “Even though local inflation is high, it’s coming from a very low base, so it’s only a slight rise in the cost-of-living index,” he said.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Karachi 4th Cheapest for Expats

WEF Study Finds India's Air Most Toxic in the World

Karachi's High Development Index

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

Eleven Days in Karachi

Citymayors website

Karachi Demographic Trends Worry MQM

Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

Karachi: The Urban Frontier

Do Asia's Urban Slums Offer Hope?

Orangi is Not Dharavi

Climate Change Could Flood Karachi Coastline

Karachi Fourth Cheapest For Expats

Karachi City Government

Karachi Dreams Big


Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Dawn report on scuba diving in Karachi:

Meet Yousuf Ali of the Karachi Scuba Diving Centre (KSDC) and his daughter Rosheen – both teach people how to scuba dive and snorkel in Karachi. A breezy hour-long drive from the city and on towards the Mubarak Village is where the duo take Karachi’s adventure seeking crowds.

From Mubarak Village, people are taken to Charna Island on a boat, where they can experience diving, snorkeling and exploring the extensive marine life the Arabian Sea has to offer. However, as Ali explains in the video, the operations of an oil refinery are about to start in the area, which might just destroy this marine haven.

The KSDC has been in existence for the last 30 years, they promote environmental protection of all kind, especially underwater protection, and take groups for reef cleaning and conservation of the extensive coral reef life down below.

Recently Ali has worked with the WWF to catalog the different kinds of species the sea has to offer – they have compared the species cariation off the coast of sandy beaches versus rocky beaches in the country as well.

View the video to see exclusive footage of the various fish species, corals, plants and other marine life and hear the stories of beginners, amateur and veteran divers of the city.

Riaz Haq said…
Here's an ET report on Pak team winning a regatta in Karachi:


Karachi Boat Club (KBC) successfully defended their title at the International AREA-FEARA Regatta Trophy when the team outpaced clubs from India and Sri Lanka in the men’s fours event, while the women’s team bagged silver medal in the coxed-fours event at the Paoay Lake in Manila.

KBC clinched the title for the eighth time in a row at the tournament that featured nine countries and more than 100 rowers in nine events that ran through January 13 to 20.

Captain Arif Ikram, whose team comprised of Benney, Khurram Khwaja and Asghar Ali said the excitement of winning the trophy is still the same for him as it was eight years ago. The 12-member squad returned to Karachi on Friday after the win.

“We have been competing in this event for the past eight years now,” Ikram told The Express Tribune. “I hope our win would also motivate other amateur rowers in the country to do better. With this win we have showed them that there is plenty of scope in this sport. Meanwhile, there is a lot of activity on the local front as well so we are prepared to compete with the best clubs in the region.”

The KBC squad won six medals in the eight events of the tournament. Apart from the gold and silver medal in the fours event, the men’s team also won bronze in men’s pairs, single scull and fours race in the AREA (Amateur Rowing Association of the East) Trophy while women’s team won bronze in the AREA Women’s Double Scull event.

The women’s team consisted of Alizeh Premjee, Shehla Sajjad Gokal, Aleena Abid and the 14-year-old Salma Rabia Arif, who was also the youngest participant in the eight-day competition. Meanwhile, India’s Calcutta Rowing Club took the AREA Super Masters Trophy.

KBC will be preparing for the Asian Schools Championship in July and later a team will participate in the World Masters Championship in September in Italy.

“This is going to be the first time that our rowers will take part in the World Masters and we will start preparing for the event at least six months before the competition.”

Riaz Haq said…
Here's The Hindu on Shobha De's visit to Islamabad:

Shobhaa De, author and columnist, said here on Friday that she had not encountered even a moment of hostility in Pakistan. It was all hospitality and no hostility, she added.

Ms. De is here to attend the second Islamabad Literature Festival organised by the Oxford University Press.The three-day festival, which will showcase some of the best writers in Pakistan, has Ms. De, Ritu Menon, writer and publisher, and a group performing Dastangoi, an Urdu storytelling art form, from India.

Ms. De had attended literature festivals in Karachi and Lahore, but this is her first visit to Islamabad. To start with, she said she had been keen on visiting the capital since it was a city which was neither here nor there. An Indian diplomat had told her it was like a small European city, but at first glance, it seemed more like Chandigarh.

She arrived to a warm welcome, and hoped that every city in Pakistan would have a literary festival.

If it had not been for the festival, she would not have been able to visit here. It was an important moment for her. The festivals she had attended in Pakistan were liberal, progressive and relaxed, and stood for all that was good for the region.

Opening the festival, Zehra Nigah, writer, said it was important for people to read and enjoy books.

She told The Hindu that it was important to hold such festivals and people were enjoying them despite the prevailing conditions.

Aamer Hussain, writer, and Asif Farrukhi, festival organiser, spoke.

Riaz Haq said…
#Karachi, #Mumbai, #Delhi among cheapest major world cities to live in. #India #Pakistan

http://pull.db-gmresearch.com/cgi-bin/pull/DocPull/13432-2381/99524599/DB_RandomWalk_2015-04-14_0900b8c0898020b1.pdf …

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