Sydney conquers Asia-Pacific in Cities of Opportunity report
July 29, 2011 by Egi SEPTIADI
Seven years ago, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Partnership for New York City started asking what New York had to do to remain competitive on the world stage. That resulted in the Cities of Opportunity report. This year just saw the release of the 4th edition. This time around, they ranked 26 cities around the world, with a third of them located in the Asia-Pacific region. Curious as to whether your city is one of the chosen ones? Below is a run down of the Asia-Pacific cities that made it into the list.
26. Mumbai (India)
Mumbai (or formerly known as Bombay), is the most populous city in India and fifth most populous city in the world. It is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Even though it is the lowest ranked city in the report, Mumbai has a few strengths: It ranks number one for sustainability (a third of India electricity consumption is provided by renewable energy). Their few other strengths are: recycled waste, city carbon footprint, attracting FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), and their skyscraper construction activity.
You will expect they have a longer list of weaknesses because Mumbai ranks last out of all the cities evaluated. They are almost the bottom for everything: Cost (last), technology readiness (2nd last), intellectual capital and innovation (2nd last), health, safety, and security (3rd last), ease of doing business (3rd last), demographic and livability (3rd last), lifestyle asset (3rd last).
19. Shanghai (China)
Shanghai is the most populous city in China and is one of the world’s major financial centres. It aims to be a global finance hub and international shipping centre.
Competing nationwide, Shanghai has similar strengths with Beijing: Transportation and Infrastructure with Shanghai’s mass transit coverage, miles of mass transit track, traffic congestion, and skyscraper construction activity overcoming Beijing’s. But overall, Shanghai loses to Beijing at 3 ranks below the latter.
Generally, Beijing and Shanghai share similar major problems, but Shanghai has another significant major downside: Demographics and Livability, with Shanghai ranking in the bottom two after Moscow. This indicator defines the Shanghai population’s happiness state, whether people are satisfied and productive and whether their businesses are busy and making money. Basically, the study shows that Shanghai has a low happiness state because of their low working age population and a low rank for thermal comfort.
17. Beijing (China)
Have you heard of Peking? Yup, Peking is another name of Beijing. Beijing is a metropolis in Northern China and the capital of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) where it is recognized as the political, educational and cultural centre of PRC.
Beijing has different kind of strength than Hong Kong. Its Transportation and Infrastructure is top-notch with accessibility from airport to CBD areas ranking number one while the cost of public transport in Beijing is considered the second most affordable, where it ranks 2nd among 26 countries. Furthermore, their incoming/outgoing passenger flow is ranked 6th and their aircrafts movement is positioned 7th among 26 countries.
Beijing ranks 7th last for Health, Safety and Security issues. This indicator has five sub-categories. Among them, Beijing ranks 3rd last for their political environment and 5th from bottom for their end-of-life care (reported on China Daily). As for the Cost indicator, Beijing has a serious problem in purchasing power where they rank 3rd last, after Mumbai and Mexico City. Within the Cost indicator, they rank 5th last for total tax rate, 6th from bottom for cost of living and 7th last for business trip index where stability, healthcare, culture and environment, infrastructure, and cost factor in.
16. Seoul (South Korea)
Seoul, capital and largest city of South Korea, is also one of the largest cities in the world. It is economic, political and cultural centre of the country.
Seoul is strong in Transposrtation and Infrastructure where cost of public transport and airport to CBD access are their forte. It means if you are a foreigner on a short business trip in Seoul, you do not need to worry about the transport from International Airport to your client’s office at the CBD area, because you can simply use the public transport due to its improved accessibility. Both of them are positioned 5th among the other 26 countries.
Although Seoul has an affordable public transport, their living cost is still relatively high. It can be seen from their purchasing power. The Seoul population in general has a relatively low purchasing power compared to other countries on the list. Seoul is positioned 10th last in purchasing power. It means their hourly payment rate per commodity price and rental rate ratio is low, thus Seoul needs to either increase their hourly payment rate or decrease their commodity price and rental rate. Seoul also fares quite badly in lifestyle asset and sustainability. Seoul ranks 5th last for lifestyle assets, with major problems for sports and leisure activities, as well as green space as a percent of city area and hotel rooms. While for sustainability, Seoul or to be precise South Korea as a country have not consumed much renewable energy yet until date.
14. Tokyo (Japan)
Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is the seat of the Japanese government and the imperial palace, and the home of royal family. It ranks number fourteen among 26 cities, number four in the Asia Pacific region, and third in Asia.
As a high-class metropolitan city in East Asia region, Tokyo has a competitive advantage over other countries in Transportation and Infrastructure. Within Asia Pacific region itself, Tokyo is positioned 1st for their Transportation and Infrastructure. Among nine criteria from the score board, three stood out: Aircraft movements, Incoming/Outgoing Passengers Flow, and Skycraper construction activity. This time around, Tokyo joins London, New York, Paris and Chicago in the top five for incoming/outgoing passengers flow.
It is no secret that Tokyo has a high cost of living and according to the PcW report, Tokyo is 1st among the listed countries in living cost, means it has the highest living cost across the 26 countries. Furthermore, the cost for a business to find real estate in Tokyo is relatively high as well, it ranks 3rd. Despite their cost, Tokyo also has problems with sustainability. It is ranked 5th last for renewable energy consumption and 6th from bottom for recycled waste.
10. Hong Kong (China)
Hong Kong, one of two special administrative regions (SARs) of China, beats two other cities from PRC: Beijing and Shanghai.
Hong Kong shares the same strengths as Singapore: Ease of Doing Business, where ease of hiring and flexibility of visa travel are the highest among others and both cities share the same scores. For Hong Kong, the Labour Department provides free recruitment assistance to employers and placement service to job-seekers through a Job Vacancy Processing Centre, a Telephone Employment Service Centre and 11 Job Centres (including two employment and guidance centres for new arrivals) distributed all over the territory, while visa travel in Hong Kong is governed here. We can see that Hong Kong loses to Singapore in ease of entry, where on the previous assessment Hong Kong was placed 1st. Their flexibility of visa travel is also up to 1st place from 3rd the last time.
Hong Kong follows Singapore as well in term of its weakness: Sustainability. Although Hong Kong ranks three rungs up in renewable energy consumption, the city has worse air pollution than Singapore.
9. Singapore (Singapore)
Singapore city is Singapore country. Singapore is only a dot if you look at the Asia Pacific map. But regardless of its small area as a city, Singapore is positioned first within the Asia region in the report, meaning Singapore gives the most opportunities among Asia countries in this Cities of Opportunity leaderboard.
Singapore has the highest point for Ease of Doing Business, according to the report. Drilling down to the sub-categories, it tops the field for ease of hiring, ranks 2nd for ease of starting a business, 6th for rigidity of hours, and 5th for ease of firing. But due to the recent election result in Singapore, will some policies within the countries change and affect the ease of doing business in the country? Will it be driven towards or away from supportive regulations to nurture on-going or start-up businesses? We’ll soon find out.
Singapore has the lowest point for Sustainability. Among the sub-categories in this indicator, Singapore has the worst score for renewable energy consumption. But in terms of air pollution, due to Singapore’s policy about air pollution especially with regards to motor vehicles, they are considered cleanest among 26 countries.
5. Sydney (Australia)
Sydney is located in New South Wales, Australia. As the largest and most populous city in Australia, Sydney is the number one city among the graded cities in Asia Pacific region.
Sydney attained the most number of points in the Intellectual Capital and Innovation category. They are strongest in Libraries with public access, followed by percentage of population with higher education and intellectual property protection. Extrapolating from here, we can say that Sydney has a supportive environment for a new startup or ongoing business.
Sydney has the lowest point for technology readiness, where software and multimedia design development and design is their weakest link. This would be a major critical loss if Sydney does not have any significant improvements in the future. But outside of Sydney, it might be seen as an opportunity to penetrate the market.
Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? Do share your thoughts!
Find out more about SGE’s research arm: SGE Insights, providing customized in-depth research reports to help you navigate the business of technology in Asia.
About The Author
Egi SEPTIADI - SGE Alumnus - Intern
Egi is currently pursuing Chemistry at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. While not mixing compounds in the lab, the Indonesian is always on the hunt for recommended "makan" (Malay for "eat") places for local food. But the true blue foodie admits that "as long as the food tastes good, he'll go for it".Read other posts by Egi SEPTIADI