Shanghai is set to challenge New York City...



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Chinese cities set to challenge the old
order of New York, London and Paris

The Global Cities Index by A T Kearny
and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

12 April 2012: New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo remain today's leading global cities, but an analysis of key trends in emerging cities suggests that Beijing and Shanghai may rival them in 10 to 20 years. The authors of this year’s Global City Index (GCI) say that shifting political and economic powers favour cities in China and, to a lesser extent, India.

• Top global cities
• Asia
• Emerging cities
• Germany
• BRIC countries
• China
• India
• Africa
• Latin America
• Information and politics

Despite the financial turmoil of the past few years, New York and London have consistently led the rankings in all three (2008, 2010 and 2012) editions of the Global Cities Index. Paris and Tokyo, although they alternate positions this year, are always far above the rest of the top 10, while changes in ranking among cities in the middle section of the GCI are more volatile—primarily because of the proximity of these cities' scores. This year, for example, Boston (15) rises four places and San Francisco (17) falls five places, although the changes in their absolute scores are not as dramatic. Likewise, although Brussels and Washington replace Sydney and Singapore as top 10 cities, their absolute scores remain quite close.

These are among the highlights of the 2012 Global Cities Index, a joint study performed by A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The Global Cities Index, conducted every two years since 2008, provides a measure of global engagement for 66 cities across five dimensions: Business Activity, Human Capital, Information Exchange, Cultural Experience and Political Engagement. The 2012 Global Cities Index was developed by A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The world's top global cities
Rank 2012
Rank 2010
Rank 2008
Cities
1
1
1
New York City
2
2
2
London
3
4
3
Paris
4
3
4
Tokyo
5
5
5
Hong Kong
6
7
6
Los Angeles
7
6
8
Chicago
8
10
9
Seoul
9
11
13
Brussels
10
13
11
Washington DC
11
8
7
Singapore
12
9
16
Sydney
13
18
18
Vienna
14
15
12
Beijing
15
19
29
Boston
16
14
10
Toronto
17
12
15
San Francisco
18
17
14
Madrid
19
25
10
Moscow
20
16
17
Berlin
21
21
20
Shanghai
22
22
33
Buenos Aires
23
20
21
Frankfurt
24
26
n/a
Barcelona
25
24
26
Zurich
26
29
23
Amsterdam
27
23
24
Stockholm
28
28
30
Rome
29
27
27
Dubai
30
31
n/a
Montreal


Asia
All editions of the Global Cities Index have featured at least three Asian cities in the top 10, demonstrating the stability of Asia's relevance on the world stage. In addition to Tokyo, other Asian cities, including Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Beijing, and Shanghai, represent up-and-coming metro areas that will further accentuate the ascendance of Asian cities.

Most promising emerging cities
1 Beijing
2 Shanghai
3 Taipei
4 Chongqing
5 Shenzhen
6 Guanzhou
7 Bogota
8 Dhaka
9 Ho Chi Minh City
10 Bagalore
11 Kolkata
12 Mumbai
13 New Delhi
14 Bangkok
15 Jakarta

Germany
As a country, Germany is a strong economic performer and the only European country with three cities ranking in the top half of the Index. On the other hand, no German city has ever been ranked among the top 10 global cities. One of the linchpins of the Global Cities Index has been the notion that globalization represents a transfer of power from national states to a network of global cities. The world today is more about cities than countries, and a place like Seoul has more in common with Singapore and Hong Kong than it does with smaller Korean cities (see sidebar: Relational City Thinking). In this model, Germany is an exception, in that Berlin (20), Frankfurt (23), and Munich (31) represent a network that should drive continued national success.

BRIC countries
Cities in the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—are working their way to the top of the rankings at varying paces. However, when only business activity is considered, the top BRIC cities are clearly on the rise. For example, Beijing (6) and Shanghai (7) both rank among the top 10 for business activity, while Mumbai (19) shows the greatest business activity improvement among the top 35 cities, jumping 11 positions. This rise is neither sudden nor surprising as BRIC cities also performed well in the business activity category in previous studies. Rather, it demonstrates a compelling trend: BRIC cities are on the rise because of their strength in business activity rather than other dimensions that make for a well-rounded global city, such as culture, human capital, and political activity. It's not hard to imagine that this strong performance in business activity will motivate future development in the other dimensions.

China
A thriving economy, a growing middle class, and infrastructure investments are likely to continue pushing Chinese cities toward a larger global presence. As expected, Beijing and Shanghai have the highest strength scores in the GCI analysis, and three other Chinese cities are grouped in a second tier. Of all emerging cities worldwide, those in China may be the most likely to move up in future rankings. (With a strengthening healthcare system, Beijing may be the likeliest of all.) One caveat, however, is that as China improves its small-particle pollution reporting, the outlook for Chinese cities could be impacted.

India
Indian cities are also in the high-potential quadrant, but they show a more balanced positioning of strengths and vulnerabilities. The economies of Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai still lag behind those of Chinese cities. Indian cities may thus rise in future rankings, although not as quickly as Chinese cities, where the ease of doing business is improving more rapidly.

Africa
Weak economic development and significant vulnerabilities are likely impediments to African cities that seek relevance on the global stage. Nairobi and Lagos are among the most vulnerable cities. A growing middle class gives Johannesburg a comparatively better position.

Latin America
Thanks to improvements in infrastructure and reductions in instability and corruption, Bogota, Colombia, is the one non-Asian city in the high-potential quadrant. However, other Latin American cities seem likely to exhibit different future behaviors. For example, Brazil's Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro appear poised to maintain their global positioning, with balanced opportunities and risks. Caracas, Venezuela, with its economic problems, increasing instability and corruption, and deteriorating healthcare system, occupies a more vulnerable position.

Information and politics
Of all the dimensions that drive differences among cities, there is less variance in information exchange and more in political activity. The gap between top cities and average ones in information exchange is relatively small as access to broadband and TV news, the presence of news bureaus, and lack of censorship are distributed fairly evenly around many global cities. The often heard statement that technology makes the world flat appears to be true. On the other hand, the biggest gap between top and average cities comes in the political activity dimension, where just a few cities, chiefly - and not surprisingly - Washington, New York, and Brussels corral the majority of world action in international organisations, embassies, think tanks, and conferences.





...for the top spot in the Global Cities Index


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