SOURCE: A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney

April 02, 2012 08:30 ET

New York, London, Paris and Tokyo Are Top Global Cities in 2012 A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index

Beijing and Shanghai May Rival Top Global Cities in 10 - 20 Years

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Apr 2, 2012) - New York and London remain the world's most global cities, while major emerging-market cities strengthened their ability to challenge global leaders in the next 10 to 20 years, according to the 2012 A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index which was released today in collaboration with Bloomberg.

The Global Cities Index, conducted every two years since 2008, provides a unique measure of global engagement for 66 cities across five dimensions -- Business Activity, Human Capital, Information Exchange, Cultural Experience, and Political Engagement. The 2012 Global Cities Index was developed by A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Rachel Bronson, Chicago Council on Global Affairs Vice President of Studies noted, "While most other city rankings limit their focus to business or quality of life measures, the Global Cities Index provides a holistic look at what differentiates cities in generating, attracting and retaining global capital, people, and ideas."

The 2012 edition of the Global Cities Index includes the Emerging Cities Outlook 2012, a forward looking measurement of emerging cities that have the potential to improve their global standing in future years. Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei top this newly introduced perspective,

Mike Hales, A.T. Kearney partner and study co-leader commented, "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."

Findings from the 2012 Global Cities Index
Despite the financial turmoil of the past few years, New York and London have consistently led the rankings in all three editions of the Global Cities Index. Paris and Tokyo, although they alternate positions this year, are always far above the rest of the top ten. The top four cities demonstrate that having a balanced portfolio of strengths across several dimensions of globalization allows these cities to hold their positions at the top of the Index despite the recent global financial turmoil.

The attached table provides the complete rankings for the world's top 35 cities.

Asian cities continued to perform well in the Global Cities Index, with at least three Asian cities featured in the top ten in all three editions of the Index. These results demonstrate the stability of Asia's significance on the world stage.

Germany is the only European country with three cities ranking in the top half of the 2012 Index, although no German city has ever been ranked among the top 10 Global Cities. One of the linchpins of the Global Cities Ranking is the notion that globalization represents a transfer of power from national states to a network of global cities. Germany demonstrates this concept with Berlin (#20), Frankfurt (#23), and Munich (#31) representing a network of cities that should drive continued national success.

Cities in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) continue to work their way to the top of the Index at varying paces. Similar to their performance in prior Index rankings, the BRIC cities' rise is driven by their strength in business activity, rather than the other dimensions that make for a more well-rounded global city. Strong business activity should drive future development of the other dimensions, leading to the development of cultural institutions and international policy institutes.

Findings from the Emerging Cities Outlook 2012
The Emerging Cities Outlook gauges each city's rate of change by measuring factors that will affect the future of two Index dimensions: Business Activity and Human Capital. These two dimensions drive a city's capacity to attract, retain and generate flows of ideas, capital and people. The rate of change is measured because it can be an indicator of future movement rather than current status. Change is also captured using factors that reflect both strengths and vulnerabilities. The top cities in the Emerging Cities Outlook can expect to move into the top rankings of the Global Cities Index within the next 10 to 20 years.

Emerging Cities Outlook 2012

  1. Beijing
  2. Shanghai
  3. Taipei
  4. Chongqing
  5. Shenzhen
  6. Guangzhou
  7. Bogota
  8. Dhaka
  9. Ho Chi Minh City
  10. Bangalore

Chinese cities are better positioned to improve because thriving economies, a growing middle class, and infrastructure investment are pushing these cities toward an increased global presence. Beijing and Shanghai have the highest strength scores in this analysis.

Indian cities are showing potential, but they have a more balanced positioning of strengths and vulnerabilities. Kolkata, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai are grouped near the center of the ranking because the trends in their economic indicators still lag those of Chinese cities.

African cities will struggle to gain global presence in the foreseeable future because weak economic development and significant vulnerabilities are critical impediments. Nairobi and Lagos are among the most vulnerable cities in this analysis. A growing middle class gives Johannesburg a comparatively better position in the ranking.

Latin American cities hold varied positions in the Outlook ranking. Bogota ranks seventh due to improvements in infrastructure and reductions in instability and corruption. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro appear poised to maintain their global positioning, with balanced opportunities and risks. Caracas, impacted by negative economic factors, increasing instability and corruption, presents a more vulnerable position.

Andres Mendoza-Peña, A.T. Kearney principal and co-leader of the study, commented, "To improve their performance, today's and tomorrow's leading global cities will need to stay on top of changes in the many dimensions that constitute global leadership."

For a copy of report summarizing the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index go to

2012 A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index and the Emerging Cities Outlook
The A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index ranks cities according to metrics across five dimensions including Business Activity, Human Capital, Information Exchange, Cultural Experience, and Political Engagement. The Emerging Cities Outlook captures the rate of change across eight leading indicators, grouped into strengths and vulnerabilities, for cities located in countries that the World Bank has classified as medium-or low-income. These eight factors are most likely, over time, to influence a city's capacity to attract, retain and generate flows of ideas, capital and people. A panel of academic and corporate advisors participated in the development of both the Global Cities Index and the Emerging Cities Outlook to inform and test the rankings.

About A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a global team of forward-thinking, collaborative partners that delivers immediate, meaningful results and long-term transformative advantage to clients. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors on CEO-agenda issues to the world's leading organizations across all major industries and sectors. A.T. Kearney's offices are located in major business centers in 39 countries.

About The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Founded in 1922, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organizations in the United States. Independent and nonpartisan, The Chicago Council is committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. Through its Global Chicago and Global Midwest initiatives, the Council examines global cities and urbanization issues, addressing specific topics such as attracting human capital, investing in infrastructure, and increasing global engagement, with special attention given to Chicago. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has worked with A.T. Kearney to publish the Global Cities Index in 2008, 2010, and 2012. For more information, please visit

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