Surveys

Asian Cities Are World’s Strongest Economically - Report

Tara Loader Wilkinson, Editor Asia, 14 March 2012

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Three-quarters of the world’s economically strongest
cities are based in Asia, proving once again the ongoing power shift from West
to East, according to a new report.

Fifteen out of 20 of the top cities are based in
Asia while 12 are in China, according to the ranking of 120 of the world’s
major cities commissioned by US lender Citi and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In terms
of overall competitiveness, Singapore ranked first in Asia and third globally.

The
report, entitled Hot Spots, ranks the most competitive cities in the
world for their ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists.

The ten
most competitive cities in Asia are: Singapore (3rd globally), Hong
Kong (joint 4th), Tokyo, (6th), Seoul (joint 20th), Auckland (36th), Taipei
(joint 37th), and Beijing (39th).

“Asia’s
economic rise is clearly reflected in the economic strength of its cities,”
said Citi Asia-Pacific chief executive Stephen Bird. “Cities are engines of
global growth that are transforming the landscape of investment, talent and
business.”

In terms
of 'economic strength,' the most highly weighted category, 15 of the top 20
cities are in Asia. Twelve of these cities are in China. Tianjin, Shenzhen and Dalian top the
list, while nine other Chinese cities rank in the top 20. Singapore (15th),
Bangalore (16th), Ahmedabad (19th) and Hanoi (joint 20th) complete the top 20.
The top 32 Asian cities are all forecast to grow by at least 5 per cent
annually between now and 2016. Twelve of them will grow by at least 10 per
cent, forecast the report. 

West still holds appeal

While
Asian cities are the strongest economically, US and European cities are the
most competitive overall, said the report.

“Economic
dynamism is definitely rising elsewhere, especially in Asian cities, but US and
European cities have legacy advantages that give them a strong competitive
edge,” said Leo Abruzzese, the EIU’s
global forecasting director. “In particular, these developed cities are better
at attracting top talent from across the world.”

The most significant advantage that developed
country cities hold is their ability to develop and attract the world’s top
talent.

European
and American cities dominate the human capital category of the index, as they
are able to continue to attract capital, businesses, talent and tourists
despite concerns over ageing infrastructure and large budget deficits. It will
be key for these Western cities to harness their legacy advantages and global
connectivity to continue to compete and succeed against fast-growing emerging
market cities.

The ten
most competitive cities in the world are: New York (1st), London (2nd),
Singapore (3rd), Paris and Hong Kong (joint 4th), Tokyo, (6th), Zurich (7th),
Washington, DC (8th), Chicago (9th), and Boston (10th).

For Hot
Spots
, the EIU developed a “Global City Competitiveness Index” that
measures cities across eight categories of competitiveness and 31 individual
indicators. Categories include economic strength, human capital, institutional
effectiveness, financial maturity, global appeal, physical capital, social and
cultural character and environment and natural hazards. A city’s overall
ranking in the benchmark index is a weighted score of the underlying
categories. 

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