Beijing has beaten out Seoul, Brussels, Singapore, and its US counterpart, Washington DC, to earn a place among the world’s most globally influential cities, a new survey has shown.
The Chinese capital was ranked eighth, ascending into the top 10 for first time, according to the 2014 A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index (GCI) released.
The GCI, conducted every two years since 2008, measures the level of global engagement for 84 cities across five dimensions – business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement.
The result is a comprehensive measurement of a city’s global influence rather than an evaluation that focuses only on business.Beijing’s rise in the rankings was attributed to sharp progress in four out of five GCI criteria: activities of Fortune 500 companies, employees at international schools, number of broadband subscribers, and cultural exchanges between museums.
The Global Cities Index is a tool that business executives can use to identify locations for regional headquarters that have the potential to attract and retain top talent. Many cities are also using the Global Cities Index to benchmark their development initiatives
Another Chinese city in the elite class is Hong Kong, which has remained No 5 for the last six years. This year, however, Hong Kong saw a significant drop in information exchange from No 4 to No 9, and was overtaken by Beijing and London in business activity and by Tokyo and Chicago in human capital.
Although Beijing is still three slots behind Hong Kong, its role as the political and cultural center of China has propelled the capital past Hong Kong in terms of business activity, cultural exchange and political engagement.Still, a more international and educated group of citizens and a better ability to facilitate quick and free information exchange have helped Hong Kong to secure a higher overall score than Beijing.
New York, London, Paris and Tokyo remain the top 4 on the index.
In the middle of the rankings are Shanghai, at No 18, and Taipei, which was No 40. Shanghai, which improved by three places in 2014, attracted a more diverse and talented group of citizens, giving it a comparative advantage over Taipei and Beijing.
The position of Taipei has dropped slowly from No 34 in 2008 to No 40 in 2014. Human capital and business activity are Taipei’s weak spots when compared to its fellow Chinese cities.Three more Chinese cities were mentioned in the top 84: Guangzhou at No 66, Shenzhen at No73, and Chongqing at No 84.
Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong province, had the highest percentage increase in business activity and human capital across the globe, but also had the most significant decrease in political engagement.
Shenzhen had a much lower score in human capital than its twin city of Guangzhou. Human capital measures the size of a city’s foreign born population and international students, as well as the performance of its universities and the education level of citizens.
Southwest China’s Chongqing, was among the cities that have slipped the most in rank since 2008.Over the last six years, Chongqing has experienced both the biggest percentage drop in political engagement as well as the highest percentage increase in business activities.