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Tokyo is number one among
the richest cities in the world

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers

11 March 2007: Greater Tokyo stands unrivalled in the world. For many years to come, the Japanese capital together with its surrounding urban areas will remain the richest and largest city in the world. Research published by PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC) in March 2007 places the Japanese capital at the top of the world’s richest cities between 2005 and 2020. In its own research on the world’s largest cities between 2006 and 2020, City Mayors also ranks Tokyo number one in the world.

Overall, the PWC research emphasises the economic significance of the world’s largest cities. The top 30 such cities ranked by GDP accounted for around 16 per cent of world GDP in 2005 and this share rises to around 25 per cent for the top 100 cities.

• At present, the mega-cities of the major developed economies continue to lead the global GDP rankings, with the top six in 2005 being Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris and London.

• These mega-cities are of a scale comparable to many national economies. The Tokyo and New York urban agglomerations, for example, have estimated GDPs at purchasing power parity rates (PPPs) broadly similar to those of Canada or Spain, while London has a higher estimated GDP at PPPs than Sweden or Switzerland.

• None of the projected top 30 fastest-growing large cities in 2020 are from the major advanced economies, with emerging economy cities rising up the rankings.

• Five emerging economy cities are currently in the top 30 ranked by GDP (Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro), but projections suggest that all of these cities except Rio will move up the global rankings by 2020 while fast-growing cities such as Shanghai, Mumbai, Istanbul and Beijing will move into the global top 30 by then.

• Three Indian cities are projected to rise into the top 100 in the GDP rankings between 2005 and 2020, while China and Brazil each have two new entries in the top 100. Ten of the 30 fastest growing large cities in the period 2005-20 are projected to be from China and eight from India.

• London is projected to grow somewhat faster than rivals such as Tokyo, New York, Chicago and Paris, moving up to fourth place by 2020, but other ‘old Europe’ cities, including Rome, Milan and Berlin, appear likely to slide down the rankings as the emerging economy cities of Asia and Latin America rise.

John Hawksworth, head of macroeconomics at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said that within the developed world, it seemed likely that the most successful cities of the future would be those that had comparative advantages in intangible business, financial and consumer services that were not so easily emulated by the rising stars of China, India or Brazil. “A larger global market can still be of great benefit to those ‘old Europe’ cities that are likely to slide down the relative GDP rankings. Historic capital cities such as Rome, Vienna and Berlin, for example, should benefit from increased tourist revenues from the residents of cities in the emerging economies, while London and Frankfurt should benefit from the increased financial services trade and Paris and Milan should find new markets for their fashion industries,” he explained.

Thomas Hoehn, head of the economics practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, added that the general increase in cities’ GDP across the world was good news, not only for emerging market economies. “Cities of the established developed economies should see this as more of an opportunity than a threat. It gives them opportunities to specialise in areas where they have potential comparative advantages in fast-growing global markets,” he pointed out.

Tables: Richest cities in 2005 | Richest cities in 2020

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Related research


UBS survey (2011): Most expensiv and richeste cities (Intro) | World's most expensive cities (table) | Richest cities by personal earnings (table) | Richest cities by purchasing power (table | The iPod index |

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

Mercer survey (2011): Most expensive cities

EIU survey (2012): Most expensive cities

Introduction | 150 richest cities in 2005 | 150 richest cities in 2020 | Europe's richest cities |

Mayors with exceptional courage, compassion and competence sought for the 2016 World Mayor Prize
The 2016 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be awarded to mayors who have accepted and successfully managed the challenges posed by migration but are also convinced of its longterm benefits. They will be leading a city where past and/or more recent immigrants have contributed to the city’s society, economy and culture. The City Mayors Foundation will also consider mayors for the honours whose communities has shown exceptional resilience during the recent arrivals from disaster-torn regions of the world.

If you are convinced, like us, that the world’s cities have greatly benefited from immigrants, whose perseverance in the face of hardship and often prejudice has created the civic societies that we value and enjoy today, we invite you to nominate a mayor for the 2016 World Mayor Prize.

At a time when there are some 60 million refugees worldwide, mayors to be considered for the World Mayor honours will need to have shown exceptional compassion, courage and competence. Compassion for people who have travelled great distances to find safety. Courage to fight prejudice even in the face of unpopularity. Competence to leverage the value and potential each person offers society.

By taking part in this year’s World Mayor Project you are also voicing your support for all those cities that have had to bear the brunt of the recent influx of migrants and refugees.

Previous winners and runners-up include the mayors of Calgary, Ghent, Bilbao, Perth, Mexico City, Oklahoma City, Cape Town, Zurich, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Athens, Mississauga and Tirana. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.