Thursday, August 26, 2010

Singapore best global city ranking slips

SINGAPORE -- Singapore slipped a notch in a ranking of the best global cities around the world, but remains among the top rungs.

It is now in eighth place, down from seventh in 2008, when the list was previously done.

New York retained the top spot and was followed by London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Rounding off the top 10 were Sydney and Seoul.

A total of 65 cities across the globe, with populations of more than one million each, were analysed by the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine, consulting firm A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The resulting index, out in the magazine's latest issue, measured how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its borders — “its influence on and integration with global markets, culture, and innovation.”

It tallied how a city stacked up on measures such as business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement.

The data collected included the number of Fortune Global 500 companies headquartered there, the size of its capital markets, and the flow of goods through airports and ports. Factors such as the number of think tanks, political organizations and museums were also considered.

Said the magazine: “Taken together, a city's performance on this slate of indicators tells us how worldly — or provincial — it really is.”

It did not give the specifics for why Singapore slipped in the list. But a check showed that Chicago edged itself into sixth place — up from eighth in 2008.

In an article accompanied by a picture of the Marina Bay Sands resort, the magazine noted that one-fifth of the world's cargo passes through Singapore's ports, making the Singapore Strait “a highly strategic passageway, and sometimes bottleneck, for global trade”.

It also cited Singapore when noting the trend of alliances among “agile cities ... reminiscent of that trading and military powerhouse of the late Middle Ages, the Hanseatic League along the Baltic Sea”.

Abu Dhabi and Singapore, it said, have developed into a new commercial axis.

Indeed, bigger is not necessarily better: “The most advantaged city of the future could well turn out to be a much smaller one,” it said, citing Singapore as a “hard-charging up-and-comer.”

“Their efficient, agile economies can outpace lumbering megacities financially, while also maintaining a high quality of life,” it added.

With almost five million residents, Singapore is not top of the list in terms of population — it is ranked 38th on that measure.

“But its GDP is much higher than that of larger cities like Cairo, Lagos, and Manila. Singapore boasts a per capita income of almost US$50,000, one of the highest in the world, roughly the same as America's or Norway's,” the magazine noted.

“With one of the world's three largest ports, a zippy and safe subway system and an impressive skyline, Singapore is easily the cleanest, most efficient big city in all of Asia.”

As posted in The China Post 

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