|Screen capture from the app.|
Qlik has created a web-based app for consumers to allow them to compare the cost of living across eight key cities in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Built on Qlik Sense, the Qlik APAC Cost of Living app focuses on living costs in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
The app uses embedded visual analytics to present a cross-section of goods such as property, transport, education, entertainment, utilities, food, restaurants and clothing, in addition to allowing users to view the data by 'budget', 'mid-range' or 'expensive' cost ranges across any category.
|Source: Qlik infographic. While Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Shanghai score below the APAC average on almost every item in the comparison basket, the other cities scored above the regional average in various categories.|
With heat maps, the app can instantly illustrate how the prices of individual items in various countries differ from the APAC average.
“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.”
Beniac added that the app enables storytelling. "You can click deeper into the active data. It is not a static Powerpoint," he said. "This is about discovery, this is about insight."
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 Asia Pacific.
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.
“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.”
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 centre, with property costing US$331 per sq ft to buy and US$1.11 per sq ft to rent. Hong Kong tops the city centre list at US$2,002 per sq ft to buy and US$6.52 per sq ft to rent. On the other hand, if renting in the inner suburbs, then Mumbai (US$0.24 per sq ft), Kuala Lumpur (US$0.41 per sq ft) and Sydney (US$0.9 per sq ft) are the most attractive.
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 organisations now routinely use business intelligence, individuals are seeking ways to use everyday data to analyse 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.
CK Tan, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Asia Pacific, Qlik, said that the mobile-ready app would be of interest to people planning to relocate across countries, or those who want to travel.
The app will be updated at least annually and is likely to see more cities added as well as more categories. While the apps it has created are free, Qlik does not rule out monetisation in the future.Interested?
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. Download the app
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