Bolstered by its economic stability, its legal and political framework, Shanghai demonstrates its importance as a global growth center.



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London remains number one
but the future belongs to Asia

A survey by MasterCard

10 June 2008: London remains the world's best financial and commercial city, the future, however, appears to belong to Asia and Eastern Europe, whose cities represent the fastest rising regions in the latest commercial and financial research by MasterCard. Shanghai had the largest jump in overall rank - moving eight places from 2007 to 2008 - bringing it into the top 25 of this year's index and demonstrating the growing importance of Asian cities to a progressively urbanized global economy. Moscow, a gateway for the fast-growing Eastern European region, showed the greatest improvement in actual Index score and had the most significant gain on London year-over-year.

Further confirming the importance of Asia and Europe in the global economy, this year's study also marks the displacement of Los Angeles from the top 10, making New York and Chicago the sole North American cities in the top grouping. The decline of Los Angeles in rank is due, in part, to factors around its role in the global financial services network, as well as the rise of European cities in the area of knowledge creation.


The world's best financial cities
2008 Rank
2007 Rank
City
1
1
London
2
2
New York
3
3
Tokyo
4
6
Singapore
5
4
Chicago
6
5
Hong Kong
7
8
Paris
8
7
Frankfurt
9
9
Seoul
10
11
Amsterdam
11
16
Madrid
12
14
Sydney
13
12
Toronto
14
15
Copenhagen
15
19
Zurich
16
17
Stockholm
17
10
Los Angeles
18
*
Philadelphia
19
*
Osaka
20
25
Milan
21
13
Boston
22
*
Taipei
23
24
Berlin
24
32
Shanghai
25
20
Atlanta
26
30
Vienna
27
26
Munich
28
18
San Francisco
29
21
Miami
30
29
Brussels
31
31
Dublin
32
27
Montreal
33
*
Hamburg
32
22
Houston
35
*
Dallas
36
23
Washington DC
37
28
Vancouver
38
33
Barcelona
39
*
Düsseldorf
40
35
Geneva
41
34
Melbourne
42
36
Bangkok
43
*
Edinburgh
44
37
Dubai
45
44
Tel Aviv
46
*
Lisbon
47
43
Rome
48
45
Mumbai
49
41
Prague
50
38
Kuala Lumpur
51
*
Moscow
52
40
Budapest
53
39
Santiago
54
42
Mexico City
55
*
Athens
56
48
Sao Paulo
57
46
Beijing
58
47
Johannesburg
59
49
Warsaw
60
*
Shengzhen
61
*
New Delhi
62
*
Bogota
63
*
Buenos Aires
64
*
Istanbul
65
*
Rio de Janeiro
66
*
Bangalore
67
*
St Petersburg
68
*
Jakarta
69
*
Riyadh
70
*
Cairo
71
*
Manila
72
*
Chengdu
73
*
Chongqing
74
*
Beirut
75
*
Caracas
*Cities not included in last year's MasterCard research

Key findings from the MasterCard survey:
Asia: Eight Asian cities assume positions in the top 25 Centers of Commerce. Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Sydney, Hong Kong, Osaka, Taipei and Shanghai rank among the top 25 Centers of Commerce, confirming Asia's prominent role in the global economy. Shanghai jumps eight spots to secure its place among leading global cities. Shanghai, among the world's most populous and fastest-growing cities, moves into the top 25 from number 32 in 2007. Bolstered by its economic stability, its legal and political framework, an increased quality of life and China's booming economy, Shanghai demonstrates its importance to both Chinese and Asian economies as a global growth center.

Europe: London maintains its stronghold as the number one Center of Commerce. With a strong and secure economy, vibrant financial markets and a legal and political framework that supports high levels of international trade, London again secures the top spot in the Centers of Commerce Index in 2008. The city significantly outperforms its rivals in most dimensions, with livability as the most prominent area for improvement when compared to other top cities.

Madrid continues to be a financial leader, rising to the top five Centers of Commerce in Europe. Madrid continues its upward trajectory as a key European city, rising from its 2007 spot at number 16 to number 11 globally and from number 6 to the number 5 spot in Europe. Madrid's stable GDP, exchange rate and strong bond market, coupled with a high standard of living, place this city in the company of Europe's most prominent cities: London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

Amsterdam emerges as an important European city. A historically innovative financial center, where the concept of stock ownership was invented, Amsterdam rises to become the number 4 city in Europe in the global top 10. With one of the world's most stable economies, high standard of living and strong legal and political framework, Amsterdam's rise illustrates the continued importance of Europe as a dominant global player.

Moscow improves the most in actual Index score. This gain is reflective of Moscow's rising economy and role as a source for key commodities in Eastern Europe. As the city with the most significant gain on London year-over-year, it demonstrates the rising role of Eastern Europe in the global economy.

Latin America: Latin America continues to become more global and more competitive. Seven cities in Latin America placed among the top 75 Worldwide Centers of Commerce, with Santiago leading the region as a result of its strong business climate and stable legal and economic system. Sao Paulo also scores well and sits among the top 20 cities globally in terms of financial market volume.

Bogota claims its position as one of the world's top five advancing cities. Bogota's stabilized economy and increased quality of life make this one of the cities to watch in Latin America.

Middle East: Strong business climate makes Dubai the leader in the Middle East. As the region's air and cargo traffic hubs, Dubai claims a flexible business climate that makes it optimal for growing companies. Dubai's political and legal framework also makes it a compelling city for conducting global business in the Middle East.

North America: New York and Chicago maintain regional primacy. The only two North American cities in the top 10 globally, both New York and Chicago benefit from strong financial markets and a strong U.S. business climate.

Vancouver is the world's most livable city. In addition to Vancouver, two other Canadian cities, Toronto and Montreal, also reside in the top 20 cities for livability, which evaluates personal freedom, climate, leisure activities and other quality-of-life factors.

Los Angeles drops from top ten. The fall of Los Angeles to number 17 in 2008, compared to number 10 in 2007, is, in part, due to factors around its role in the global financial services network, as well as the rise of European cities in the area of knowledge creation. However, the city ranks number 4 in the North American region behind New York, Chicago and Toronto.

Methodology: The MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index is compiled from research by a panel of eight independent economic, urban development and social-science experts from leading academic and research institutions around the world, led by Dr. Michael Goldberg, Program Director, MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Program. To form the Index, the panel identified 75 cities around the world that met their initial criteria. Cities were then rated on seven key dimensions as follows:
• Legal and political framework
• Economic stability
• Ease of doing business
• Financial flow
• Business center
• Knowledge creation and information flow
• Livability
The process entailed measuring a number of carefully weighted, relevant indicators and sub-indicators that aggregate available data on region-specific procedures, costs and ratings, as well as criteria related to quality of life, access to technology, city livability, transportation/logistics and knowledge creation and creativity. The panel evaluated a total of seven dimensions comprised of 43 indicators and 74 sub-indicators to derive an Index score for each city, a process that exceeds traditional measures used to gauge worldwide financial and business activity.

Related research
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ECA International survey (2011): Introduction | Table: World | Table: Europe | Table: Asia |

Mercer survey (2011): Most expensive cities

EIU survey (2012): Most expensive cities

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THE LARGEST CITIES IN THE WORLD AND THEIR MAYORS 2010
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Cities by size: 1 to 150 | 151 to 300 | 301 to 450 | 451 to 550 |
Cities in alphabetical order: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |
Cities by countries: A to D | E to L | M to R | S to Z |


London has been praised for its flexibility and strong global financial connections


On other pages
London no longer favoured by real estate professionals
Moscow and Istanbul are ranked first and second, respectively, among this year’s top real estate markets in Europe for both investment and development prospects. Hamburg and Munich held the third and fourth spots as top investment markets, and the two cities switched places as the third and fourth top development markets. Paris, which held the top investment rating in past years, slipped slightly, taking fifth place for investment prospects and sixth place for development prospects. London fell to 15th place.

According to the real estate forecast, Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2008, published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. the changes in the top markets suggests a desire by industry professionals to branch out of “Old Europe” cities and “investigate new markets and diversify current holdings and developments.”

One of the sharpest rating drops among the European markets occurred with London, a long-time favourite that fell to 15th place for investment prospects and 13th place for development prospects. That city, more than other markets in the report, is experiencing declining economic conditions similar to those in the US, including a drop in consumer spending, falling house prices, a rise in personal indebtedness, worries over home repossessions, and turmoil in the financial sector. More