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New York, Tokyo, London, Paris: Best Cities of Opportunity? Maybe Not!


NEW YORK - Emerging cities such as Shanghai and Singapore may outperform traditional metropolises in the new knowledge economy, based on a global study released by the Partnership for New York City and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The study, Cities of Opportunity: Business-Readiness Indicators for the 21st Century, examined 11 major cities using nine indicators and 32 variables, such as broadband capacity, transportation infrastructure, diversity and working age population.

Cities studied include Atlanta, Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Toronto. The nine indicators are cost, intellectual capital, technology IQ and innovation, transportation assets, demographic advantages, financial clout, ease of doing business, lifestyle assets, and safety and security.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, benchmarks such as port capacity and manufacturing capabilities were the driving forces for success among global cities,” said Dennis Nally, U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “But we believe that new forces will drive a city’s business competitiveness in this new century and our study examines those more modern and relevant assets. Interestingly, each of the cities in our study ranked at or near the top in one or more categories and no city dominated across categories. Civic leaders may want to seize the opportunity to capitalize on existing urban assets and invest in lagging areas.”

“We define competitiveness and business readiness to determine which global cities are also cities of opportunity, that is, cities that not only are centers of commerce and investment but also magnets that draw companies engaging in global trade. In doing so, we came across some findings we expected, and some that surprised us,” according to Charles Prince, Chairman and CEO of Citigroup and Co-Chair of the Partnership for New York City.

London, New York, Paris and Tokyo received the highest rankings in the areas of intellectual capital, transportation assets and financial clout, as one would expect of these more established global cities.

In the areas of cost, ease of doing business, and demographic advantages, up and coming cities such as Atlanta and Toronto ranked near the top, as did Los Angeles, Chicago and Singapore.

New York dominates the financial clout indicator, while Tokyo is the leader in technology IQ and innovation. London is the top-ranked city in intellectual capital while Paris leads in lifestyle assets. Shanghai scores highly in developing recreational space, while Frankfurt tops the list in terms of safety and security. Atlanta dominates the cost indicator, and Chicago emerges as an up-and-coming global city in a number of indicators, including cost and demographic advantages.

“While London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo are well positioned at the moment, each faces challenges to their pre-eminence from emerging global cities, since all the cities examined claimed an achievement in at least one variable, and some in several,” said Victor Ganzi, President & CEO of Hearst Corporation and Co-Chair of the Partnership for New York City.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Mr. Nally added that the study can serve as a blueprint for cities around the world that want to compete with these established and emerging stars. “The study shows how the 11 cities stack up and where each of them may want to make investments. But it also shows others what they need to do to compete for business and to grow into Cities of Opportunity themselves. Established cities can’t rest on their laurels. Global demographic trends of population and GDP growth, as well as urbanization are working against them. In fact, a relative decline in global standing seems inevitable. Within this paradigm, ’intangible’ assets such as those addressed in our study play an essential role in maintaining their competitive position.”

Other cities that were not included in this study, such as Milan, Johannesburg, Sao Paolo and Tel Aviv, are also considered global cities, but did not have comparable data. As data becomes available for these cities and others, they will be included in any future editions of this report.


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