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November 5, 2015

Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong will have to work hard to retain their top city status, says JLL report

Asia Pacific’s three established world cities risk being outshone by emerging cities in the region over the next decade, according to new research from global real estate consultancy JLL in conjunction with the intelligence and strategy firm, The Business of Cities.

Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong make up half of the ‘Big Six’ established world cities and, along with London, New York and Paris, attract world class corporations, talent and more than one fifth of global real estate investment.

However, the report, Globalisation and Competition: The New World of Cities, reveals that a number of cities in Asia Pacific could challenge their dominance. Sydney and Seoul are identified as the most likely to break into this elite group in future. Meanwhile Shanghai and Beijing are considered nearly-emerged, with Shanghai already one of the world’s top 10 financial hubs.

“In order for the ‘Big Six’ cities to maintain their dominance, they will need to execute bold and ambitious urban transformation projects to accommodate growth and stay globally competitive,” says Rosemary Feenan, director of Global Research Programmes at JLL.

“Our research shows that a new world order of cities is evolving, with several emerging cities ready to break from the pack. In Asia in particular, there are strong challenges to the old order from agile higher-value emerging cities like Bangalore, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.”

New Asian power players emerging
Singapore and Hong Kong remain the most business-friendly cities in the world, along with having strong education, innovation and infrastructure credentials. Tokyo, meanwhile, is the world’s third biggest real estate investment market and has recently seen a record-breaking number of tourist arrivals, thanks to visa deregulation and the weaker yen.

However, in the new era of city competition, the rigid hierarchy is breaking down as more cities than ever ‘go global’. The increasingly globalised urban world is changing the geography of commercial real estate and is offering new opportunities and niches for cities outside the old order, says the report.

Taipei, for example, is identified as an emerging world city, a growing financial centre with strong infrastructure and excellent governance. Kuala Lumpur is also considered a competitive megacity, acting as a gateway to the regional markets in Southeast Asia, with its strategic location and dynamic labour markets.

Jakarta and Manila are among the emerging cities making the fastest progress across key indicators, currently seen as ‘high potential, but weakly governed’. These cities, along with Mumbai, are attracting investment and outsourcing activities, although they face a number of challenges relating to infrastructure, governance and quality of life.

Top 10 Emerging World Cities in leading indices*

  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Dubai
  4. Istanbul
  5. Taipei
  6. Kuala Lumpur
  7. Moscow
  8. Sao Paolo
  9. Bangkok
  10. Mexico City

* Benchmark performance across seven major indices

Click here to read the full report

For more information:

Rosemary Feenan

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