Benchmarking cities of the future

Rapid growth will propel Asian cities into the most competitive destinations for business in the world, a new study finds, although North America and Europe will retain their appeal.

A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit has benchmarked the future competitiveness of cities around the world, finding that North American and European cities are likely to retain their dominance, but the growth of cities in Asia will have a massive role to play in the future. As global businesses increasingly plan strategy from a city, rather than a country perspective, the new report -  commissioned by Citigroup - gives crucial insight into the role developed cities will play in the global economy and how emerging municipalities are likely to disrupt the market.

North American and European cities are among the world’s most competitive today and are likely to retain their advantage until 2025 despite concerns over ageing populations, infrastructure, indebtedness and slow growth, the report finds. New York and London are rated as the world’s two most competitive cities in 2025, while cities in the US, Canada and Western Europe account for 21 of the top 30 cities.

The development of Asian cities will become a big consideration for expanding businesses. Rising incomes and urbanisation in China and India has propelled the two countries to the top of the City Competitiveness Index, which measures how fast a city grows, how rich or poor its citizens are and how well a city is integrated into the global economy. There are nine Chinese and seven Indian cities in the top 20 spots of this category, with Delhi and Tianjin topping the list.

Elsewhere, African cities lag most on competitiveness, while major cities in Latin America improve theirs. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre will have improved their competitiveness significantly in 2025, although Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are the only cities to feature for Africa.

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