Friday, 22 May 2015

Singapore top in Asia, third globally in JLL-Business of Cities ranking

By Ann Williams, The Straits Times, 21 May 2015

SINGAPORE is Asia's top-ranked city across a broad range of indicators, beating Hong Kong and Tokyo, according to a report by real estate firm JLL and The Business of Cities, a London-based intelligence and strategy group.

The report, which analyses over 200 globally recognised city performance studies, shows that Singapore has overtaken Tokyo, Asia's leader, in higher education, mobility, science, broadband and technology.

The Business of Cities study ranks Singapore in third place worldwide, behind New York and London, and also names it the No. 1 city globally for business friendliness.

The report also revealed that Singapore is beginning to shake off its reputation for a lack of vibrancy among expatriates and tourists.

"The result of the survey confirms that Singapore has all the infrastructure needed to be an Asia-Pacific headquarters for companies," said Mr Chris Fossick, JLL's managing director for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Among the world's top 15 cities, five are in the Asia-Pacific, seven are in Europe, and three are in North America.

While the top spots on the global indices have been broadly stable, certain lower-ranked cities have seen an upswing in their fortunes: Mumbai and Seoul are Asia's most improved cities since 2010.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee said Singapore remains at the forefront for investors and business people because of the ease of doing business, but added that cost can be an issue.

Economist Song Seng Wun noted that one needs to be careful with such comparisons as London and Tokyo have a hinterland, unlike Singapore.

However, he noted that as a city-state, Singapore "has stayed very relevant in the global landscape... the one most important resource it has is talent to manage what it has, to make sure it stays relevant".

The report, the fourth so far, analysed data on indicators including business and finance, economic growth, quality of life, and the city's brand, reputation and influence.

The top five in the region are Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney.

Additional reporting by Rachael Boon

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