Setting up an Office in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Cost Comparison of Six Cities

Nov 01, 2017

Setting Up an Office in Asia: A Cost Comparison by City

Choosing an office location can be a messy, complicated process. There are numerous factors to consider, including international accessibility, infrastructure, the local labor pool, and taxes. While many of these considerations are determined by the personal needs of the business, all businesses have one common goal when selecting a space: affordable overhead.


But finding up-to-date information on costs can be difficult, especially when dealing with overseas locations. For companies looking to open an office in the Asia-Pacific region, JETRO has you covered. Here is a breakdown of basic office overhead costs for six of Asia’s biggest cities. To keep things fair, all rates assume an office occupancy of fewer than 50 people. Price per square foot looks specifically at the financial districts for each city.

Comparsions cover office cost per square foot, monthly utilities, and phone plans.

Graph - Cost per Square Foot

Office Space by Cost Per Square Foot (Most Expensive to Least)

No. 1: Hong Kong

Average price per square foot: $264

District: Central Business District

No. 2: Beijing, China

Average price per square foot:  $179

District: Finance Street

No. 3: Tokyo, Japan

Average price per square foot:  $127

District: Marunouchi/Otemachi

No. 4: Shanghai, China

Average price per square foot:  $117

District: Pudong

No. 5: Seoul, South Korea

Average price per square foot:  $68

District: Central Business District

No. 6: Singapore

Average price per square foot: $65

District: N/A

Graph - Utilities Cost

Office Space by Utilities Cost (Most Expensive to Least)

No. 1: Tokyo, Japan

Electricity: Base charge: $14/month; $0.10-0.20/1kWh

Water: Base charge: $3.25-255/month; $0.20-0.60/1m3

Gas: Base charge: $11/month; $0.75-8.15/1m3

No. 2: Singapore

Electricity: Base charge: contract amount x 6.24/kW*; $0.05-0.15/1kWh

Water: Base charge: $2.05; $1.60/1m3

Gas: $0.10-0.15/1kWh

*The contract amount is determined when a company sets a cap amount of electricity spend per monthly period. Even if the company does not spend their cap amount, they will be charged a monthly base charge based on the cap number. 

No. 3: Hong Kong

Electricity: Base charge: $4.15-4.65/month; $0.10-0.20/1kWh

Water: $0.50-1.50/1m3

Gas: Base charge: $2.60/month; $0.03-0.035/1m3

No. 4: Seoul, South Korea

Electricity: Base charge: $4.65-5.20/month; $0.05-0.10/1kWh

Water: Base charge: $0.45-0.70/month; $0.70-1.5/1m3

Gas: $0.010-0.015/1m3

No. 5: Beijing, China

Electricity: $0.10/1kWh

Water: $1.00-1.50/1m3

Gas: $0.40-0.50/1m3

No. 6: Shanghai, China

Electricity: $0.10-0.15/1kwH

Water: $0.70-0.75/1m3

Gas: $0.50-0.60/1m3

Graph - Phone Service

Office Phone Service (Most Expensive to Least)

No. 1: Hong Kong

Installation fee (HKT): $475

Monthly fee (HKT): $174-221 (1-3 lines, $10 discount per line after 5+ lines installed)

No. 2: Tokyo, Japan

Installation fee (SoftBank): $18-95

Monthly fee (SoftBank): $21-30 per line

No. 3: Singapore

Installation fee (Singtel): $75

Monthly fee (Singtel): $14-19 per line

Montly fee (StarHub): $9-15 per line (fewer than 20 staff)

No. 4: Shanghai, China

Installation fee (China Telecom): $48

Monthly fee (China Telecom): $5 per line

No. 5: Beijing, China

Installation fee (China Telecom): $30

Montly fee (China Telecom): $5 per line

No. 6: Seoul, South Korea

Installation fee: N/A

Monthly fee (LG U+): $4 per line

Monthly fee (Korea Telecom): $6 per line

Monthly fee (SK Broadband): $4 per line

Subscription fee (LG U+): 30/month

Subscription fee (Korea Telecom): $72/month

Subscription fee (SK Broadband): $30/month 

Some information is only available upon request. For those, contact the local carrier/supplier to learn more.  All numbers have been rounded to provide estimates for each service/product. 

All amount listed are assumed to be USD.

How Can JETRO Help Reduce Costs for Companies Who Choose Japan?

Companies that want to set up an office in Japan can utilize JETRO’s free, temporary office space while they search for a long-term location. They can also work with JETRO’s staff to identify unlisted office sites as well as apply for government subsidies that can reduce office setup costs.


JETRO’s office space is fully-furnished and comes with a reception area, conference rooms, and an event hall. Office space is free for the first 50 days, after which companies can pay a subsidized rate to stay (provided room is available). To see images of our office space, visit our services page.


JETRO’s Tokyo office space is located in the Akasaka district, a neighborhood home to FujiFilm, Komatsu, Universal Music Japan, and Geneon Universal Entertainment. Akasaka is a 12 minute trip to the Marunouchi/Otemachi districts (including Tokyo Station) and is bordered by Roppongi, a neighborhood known for its lively entertainment scene.


To learn more, contact your regional JETRO office. Companies must go through a qualification process as part of using JETRO's office space services. 

Contact JETRO