Where in the world does an iPhone cost $3,700? Where can you find a $2 pack of Marlboro cigarettes? How about a $10 Starbucks latte grande? Five-star hotel accommodations for $100 a night? Answers: Russia for the iPhone, South Africa for the Marlboro smokes, Oslo for the Starbucks latte and Mexico City for the fancy hotel suite.
These are just some of the interesting findings in an annual Deutsche Bank survey of what things cost around the world. And what they suggest is that there are huge variations in prices for goods, and they don’t necessarily correspond to levels of wealth or poverty.
“Hong Kong is exorbitantly expensive if you want to rent office space but cheap if you want to buy a Big Mac,” writes Sanjeev Sanyal, in the second annual “Random Walk” survey of world prices for popular consumer goods. (In case you’re wondering: A Big Mac costs $2.13 in Hong Kong compared to more than $9 in Venezuela, but renting prime office space in the Chinese administrative region is $193 a square foot, the world’s highest price.)
The survey also looked at the monthly cost of maintaining a foreign office. Mexico City is the cheapest location on the list at less than $4,000 a month, while Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Edinburgh and Paris all topped $10,000 a month. For business school graduates hoping to land a job in one of these company bureaus, INSEAD in Paris and Harvard Business School still remain the ones most likely to earn those grads top-drawer salaries — enough to afford a $3,700 iPhone.