Thu, Dec 07, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Taipei is home of earnest savers: report

HSBC POLL Residents of the nation's capital registered the highest savings-to-income ratio among the cities surveyed, with their savings accounting for 30 percent of income

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Encouraged by their parents from childhood on, most Taipei residents are earnest savers who deposit money regularly, a survey released yesterday by HSBC Ltd showed.

The Asian saving behavior survey polled 3,000 adults in Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur between April and August to understand their saving patterns and mindset as a reference for the financial group's product development and services, Tiffany Wu (吳裕民), senior vice president and head of marketing of HSBC Taiwan, said during a press conference.

The survey found that 56 percent of people living in Taipei regularly save their money, 47 percent of residents in Shanghai said they deposit their money occasionally, while 44 percent of those living in Hong Kong said they try to save money.

Taipei residents also registered the highest savings-to-income ratio among the cities polled in the survey, with their savings accounting for 30 percent of their income, Wu said.

The finding falls in line with government statistics, which show Taiwanese savings in proportion to the GNP has grown from 23.91 percent in the first quarter to 30.12 percent this quarter, reaching NT$9.2 trillion (US$285 billion).

Among the six cities, Seoul residents surpassed all the others by saving an average of US$720 per month, followed by Tokyo's US$538 and Taipei's US$449. Shanghainese trailed behind by only depositing US$86 monthly.

Kuala Lumpur consumers were the most optimistic, with 60 percent expressing confidence in their potential to save. On the opposite end of the spectrum were Shang-hai and Tokyo residents, where 70 percent of the respondents said it was difficult to increase their savings.

The report showed that inflation and rising interest rates were the major factors affecting Asians' saving behavior, while political instability was also singled out as a key factor in Shanghai and Tokyo.

For Asian savers, retirement and children's education were the main motivators.

With the exception of Shanghai and Tokyo, respondents had low expectations of the government's mandatory pension programs, prompting over 40 percent of respondents to start saving for their retirement. Over 60 percent said their governments could only cover one-third of their retirement needs.

Chinese family traditions prevailed again as over 60 percent of residents in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur believed children should take care of the elderly. Such expectations were quite low in Seoul and Tokyo, the report showed.

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