Beijing makes debut on top 10 list of ‘globally engaged’ cities

DESPITE the smog and heavy traffic, Beijing has made it into the top 10 of the world’s most global cities for the first time.

The Chinese capital was ranked number eight in the biennial Global Cities Index (GCI), published by global management consulting firm AT Kearney, jumping from number 14 in previous years.

The improved performance was attributed to an increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies, international schools, broadband subscribers and museums.

And Buenos Aires becomes the first Latin American city to join the top 20, based on the strength of its human capital and cultural scene.

Dublin dropped one in the rankings, from 44, which it has held since 2008, to 45.

New York and London remain the world’s most global cities, while select emerging-market cities strengthened their ability to challenge global leaders in the next 10 to 20 years.

The GCI examines a comprehensive list of 84 cities on every continent, measuring how globally engaged they are across 26 metrics in five dimensions: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement.

The 2014 edition of the GCI also includes the Emerging Cities Outlook (ECO), a forward-looking measurement of emerging cities with the potential to improve their global standing in the next few decades.

Jakarta, Manila, Addis Ababa, Sao Paulo and New Delhi are the top five in this category.

Consistent with previous editions of the GCI, New York, London, Paris and Tokyo lead the ranking.

Among the top 20 cities, seven are in the Asia Pacific region, seven are in Europe and six are in the Americas.

Cairo is the leading city in Africa, remaining in the top 50 despite Egypt’s political and economic turbulence.

Since the GCI was launched in 2008, just 23 cities have occupied the top 20 positions. The next 20 positions (from 21 through 40) have been filled by 28 different cities, and 33 cities have cycled through positions 41 through 60.

Prominence Istanbul posted the largest jump, from 37th to 28th, as Turkey’s commercial capital recovers its prominence as a centre of political, business and cultural activity at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, Boston and Zurich fell the most, dropping six positions from 15th to 21st and from 25th to 31st respectively. While much of Boston’s decline is attributable to a change in the metric that assesses the richness and quality of its culinary offering, the Index said the level of political engagement and its music and theatre scene have also failed to keep up with those of other cities.