Source: The Telegraph
Britain is a “second-rate power” which has been in decline for a century – yet London remains the most influential city in the world.
Those are the startling findings of a list of the globe’s most “necessary” cities, compiled by the business magazine Forbes.
London and New York topped the global list of the world’s most influential cities, although largely thanks to history, tradition and “inertia” – they are the most dominant principally because they always have been.
The British capital clinched top spot in part thanks to its position as a global transport hub with a high number of company headquarters, loose regulatory environment and judicial and political systems which have proved a model for the rest of the world.
But Forbes was somewhat damning in its praise, adding that London’s status as the world’s most influential city was largely a hangover from its past glories.
The world’s top 10 most influential cities:
A history and tradition which cannot be rivalled have left London with all the economic benefits of the City of London, and a language, judiciary and legal system which are models for the rest of the world.
The super-rich have long been comfortable there, and its cultural, media and advertising sectors are dominant.
Spared the regulation and red tape which ties up business in the US and Europe, London’s time zones are manageable for business travellers commuting east or west and it has the second best global air connections in the world after Dubai.
London has the most start-up Internet firms in Europe and is host to 68 of the world’s top 2,000 companies.
2. New York
Hard on the heels of London, New York only narrowly missed out to its British rival in the Forbes list. The Big Apple is home to most of the world’s top investment banks and hedge funds. Its stock market trade levels are 10 times that of London and four times that of Tokyo. It is a global leader in media, advertising and the music industry and dominates in the realms of fashion and luxury. Visitors spend more money in New York than any city in the world thanks, Forbes suggests, to its iconic landmarks.
A distant third, Paris claims its place only thanks to its domination of the still-important French market with virtually all of the country’s home-grown companies basing their headquarters there.
The most influential city in Asia, Singapore has a population of just five million but an infrastructure which is the envy of the world. With a colonial legacy of British governance and law, it has been named as the best place in the world to do business. As a result, it has the highest level of foreign direct investment and is the top location for European companies with an Asia-Pacific HQ.
Despite being the world’s largest city in terms of gross domestic product, Tokyo has fallen behind Singapore as Asia’s most influential, according to Forbes. Like Paris, the magazine said, it gains most of its ranking due to its domination of its own domestic markets. But it will continue to suffer thanks to an ageing population and declining birth rate, a lack of ethnic diversity and stiff competition from regional rivals.
6. Hong Kong
More free than the rest of China, Hong Kong is the largest financial centre in Asia and the third largest in the world. Most of the world’s banks, asset managers and insurance companies have Asia-Pacific headquarters there.
Dubai has put itself the centre of the world thanks to an airport which boasts the largest terminal on the globe which makes it the most well-connected city in terms of air travel.
Coupled with an environment described by Forbes as “business-friendly,” it is the destination of choice for companies seeking a Middle East presence.
It is also the most racially-diverse city on the list, with 83 per cent of residents having been born elsewhere.
As the capital of the emerging economic superpower that is China, Beijing is growing importance all the time. As well as hosting the HQs of most of China’s state-owned companies Forbes said it is “home to the country’s elite educational institutions and its most innovative companies.”
Australia’s largest city is dominant in a country that has seen a resources-fuelled boom in the last two decades.
10. San Francisco Bay Area
Has leapt from relatively obscurity to become hugely “necessary” thanks largely to its domination of the tech field. Companies outside the sector are now also seeing San Fran as the place to be, moving their businesses there.
= Los Angeles
No longer the force it was when it sought to rival New York as America’s most important city, LA’s position is just about secured thanks to Hollywood and its domination of the entertainment industry. It remains the second-largest city in the US, but it is losing influence in business terms, with several major companies departing in recent years, and could soon trail its neighbour San Francisco .
Gains its position as the economic capital of the rich and stable country that is Canada. Nearly half of its population is foreign born.