“Inertia and smart use of it is a key theme that emerged in our
evaluation of the top global cities,” it said.
“No city better exemplifies this than London, which after more than a
century of imperial decline still ranks No. 1 in our survey.
“The United Kingdom may now be a second-rate power, but the City’s
unparalleled legacy as a global financial capital still underpins its
Forbes based its city rankings on eight factors, including the level of
foreign direct investment, the number of corporate headquarters, the amount
of business types it dominates, ease of air travel to other global cities,
the strength of financial services, technology and media power, and racial
Using those factors, Forbes found London and New York held a “hegemony”
over the rest of the world, standing far ahead of their nearest rivals,
Paris and Tokyo.
Rising stars were named as Singapore, currently in fifth place, Dubai in
seventh and San Francisco, which is in equal 10th.
Cities which could leap into the top 10 in future include Soul, currently
number 16, Abu Dhabi, now in 20th, and Sao Paulo in 23rd.
Despite being among the world’s most populous cities, in countries which are
seen as being on the cusp of an economic breakthrough, cities elsewhere in
the developing world are considered lacking in influence.
Forbes said: “The Indian megacities Delhi and Mumbai rank in the low 30s
along with Johannesburg in South Africa.
“Until these areas can develop adequate infrastructure – from roads,
transit and bridges to relatively non-corrupt judicial systems – none can be
expected to crack the top 10, or even 20, for at least a decade.
“For the time being, the future of the global city belongs not to the
biggest or fastest growing but the most efficient and savvy, and those with
a strong historical pedigree. This raises the bar for all cities that wish
to break into this elite club.”
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
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
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
= 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.