Some food for thought as the city continues the Uber debate—Hong Kong boasts the cheapest taxi fares in the world, relative to its level of income. Using average taxi prices compiled by and GDP data from the International Monetary Fund as of 2014, we find that Hong Kong taxis are far cheaper than other countries with comparable wealth levels:

Taxi fare to GDP per capital.

Taxi fares—like prices of everyday goods—tend to increase with the country’s overall level of economic development but the HKSAR seems to buck against the trend. Normalizing average taxi fares against GDP per capita to obtain a crude measure of “affordability,” we find that Hong Kong tops the world ranking.  (Lower values denote greater affordability.)

Taxi affordability per country.

Japanese taxis are the least affordable in the developed world: Not a surprise given that a ride from Tokyo’s Narita airport into the city center is well-known to cost several thousand Hong Kong dollars! London taxis are notoriously pricey, but less so once the country’s income level is taken into account.

Frank Siu

Frank Siu is a financial econometrician working in the private sector. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he takes a keen interest in local affairs, particularly issues of rising social inequality and deepening political uncertainty. He enjoys curry fish balls and rubik's cubes.