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Redefining Global Cities

The world’s largest metropolitan areas concentrate the drivers of global prosperity, but there isn’t one way to be a global city—this report defines seven types of global cities, providing a valuable lens through which to understand an evolving global economy.

As societies and economies around the world have urbanized, they have upended the classic notion of a global city. No longer is the global economy driven by a select few major financial centers like New York, London, and Tokyo. Today, members of a vast and complex network of cities participate in international flows of goods, services, people, capital, and ideas, and thus make distinctive contributions to global growth and opportunity. And as the global economy continues to suffer from what the IMF terms “too slow growth for too long,” efforts to understand and enhance cities’ contributions to growth and prosperity become even more important.

Seven types of global cities

In view of these trends and challenges, this report redefines global cities. It introduces a new typology that builds from a first-of-its-kind database of dozens of indicators, standardized across the world’s 123 largest metro economies, to examine what really defines a global city—its economic characteristics, industrial structure, and key competitiveness factors.

The typology reveals that there is no one way to be a global city. Grouped into seven metropolitan clusters, the distinct competitive positions of the world’s largest metro economies become sharper, as do the peers metropolitan areas can look to for common solutions and investments to enhance economic growth.

Remapping the 123 largest global cities

Factory China

Knowledge Capitals

Emerging gateways

Asian Anchors

Global Giants

American Middleweights

International Middleweights

Economic characteristics

Economic growth

Tradable clusters

Innovation

Talent

Connectivity

Metro area Global city type GDP (millions PPP$), 2015 GDP per capita (PPP$), 2015 GDP per worker (PPP$), 2015
1.Ankara, Turkey Emerging gateways $133,934 $25,630 $72,881
2.Athens, Greece International Middleweights $138,715 $36,082 $89,488
3.Atlanta, USA Knowledge Capitals $310,822 $54,427 $118,944
4.Austin, USA Knowledge Capitals $119,234 $59,591 $122,251
5.Baltimore, USA Knowledge Capitals $178,121 $63,673 $127,375
6.Barcelona, Spain International Middleweights $197,889 $42,010 $92,191
7.Beijing, China Asian Anchors $663,590 $30,335 $55,142
8.Berlin, Germany International Middleweights $185,910 $43,100 $84,031
9.Birmingham (UK), United Kingdom International Middleweights $132,439 $34,233 $70,770
10.Boston, USA Knowledge Capitals $370,731 $77,651 $139,160
11.Brasilia, Brazil Emerging gateways $159,587 $39,150 $75,047
12.Brussels, Belgium International Middleweights $290,522 $52,445 $117,979
13.Busan-Ulsan, South Korea Emerging gateways $305,931 $39,160 $78,771
14.Cape Town, South Africa Emerging gateways $66,599 $16,750 $45,103
15.Changchun, China Factory China $162,933 $21,435 $88,460
16.Changsha, China Factory China $245,571 $33,604 $114,963
17.Changzhou, China Factory China $147,281 $31,155 $66,988
18.Charlotte, USA American Middleweights $131,636 $54,253 $117,332
19.Chengdu, China Factory China $306,458 $21,272 $61,480
20.Chicago, USA Knowledge Capitals $582,496 $60,988 $125,817
21.Chongqing, China Emerging gateways $425,472 $14,108 $24,540
22.Cincinnati, USA American Middleweights $115,552 $53,553 $107,232
23.Cleveland, USA American Middleweights $117,493 $57,013 $111,133
24.Columbus, USA American Middleweights $113,875 $56,328 $107,702
25.Copenhagen-Malmö, Denmark International Middleweights $151,041 $49,610 $96,469
26.Dalian, China Factory China $245,161 $35,317 $76,067
27.Dallas, USA Knowledge Capitals $458,043 $64,488 $132,630
28.Delhi, India Emerging gateways $396,449 $16,861 $58,516
29.Denver, USA Knowledge Capitals $179,882 $63,916 $127,270
30.Detroit, USA American Middleweights $218,080 $50,692 $111,675
31.Dongguan, China Factory China $186,042 $21,976 $149,831
32.East Rand, South Africa Emerging gateways $62,492 $18,904 $49,982
33.Foshan, China Factory China $234,737 $31,620 $91,582
34.Frankfurt am Main, Germany International Middleweights $270,396 $60,321 $106,745
35.Fuzhou, China Factory China $159,572 $21,437 $67,360
36.Guangzhou, China Emerging gateways $523,554 $39,800 $78,646
37.Haerbin, China Factory China $159,238 $14,926 $66,270
38.Hamburg, Germany International Middleweights $186,506 $58,499 $104,205
39.Hangzhou, China Emerging gateways $274,969 $30,820 $53,465
40.Hartford, USA Knowledge Capitals $101,787 $84,029 $158,428
41.Hefei, China Factory China $156,989 $25,979 $62,274
42.Hong Kong, Hong Kong Asian Anchors $413,999 $56,751 $109,004
43.Houston, USA Knowledge Capitals $505,218 $75,893 $166,808
44.Indianapolis, USA American Middleweights $114,936 $57,791 $111,291
45.Istanbul, Turkey Emerging gateways $449,388 $30,723 $85,137
46.Jinan, China Emerging gateways $174,317 $24,671 $47,607
47.Johannesburg, South Africa Emerging gateways $94,096 $19,913 $47,869
48.Kansas City, USA American Middleweights $110,456 $52,914 $103,550
49.Karlsruhe, Germany International Middleweights $159,066 $52,050 $95,708
50.Katowice-Ostrava, Poland Emerging gateways $136,218 $27,200 $66,260
51.Kitakyushu-Fukuoka, Japan International Middleweights $194,550 $34,970 $73,368
52.Köln- Düsseldorf, Germany International Middleweights $548,379 $47,735 $92,483
53.London, United Kingdom Global Giants $831,100 $55,947 $94,847
54.Los Angeles, USA Global Giants $927,562 $69,532 $158,165
55.Madrid, Spain International Middleweights $315,507 $47,905 $98,405
56.Melbourne, Australia International Middleweights $197,774 $43,690 $86,534
57.Mexico City, Mexico Emerging gateways $485,621 $23,017 $52,807
58.Miami, USA American Middleweights $282,514 $46,989 $110,888
59.Milan, Italy International Middleweights $380,609 $49,286 $105,382
60.Minneapolis, USA Knowledge Capitals $227,417 $64,523 $115,982
61.Monterrey, Mexico Emerging gateways $140,512 $31,906 $72,213
62.Montreal, Canada International Middleweights $157,734 $38,872 $77,370
63.Moscow, Russia Asian Anchors $749,686 $61,482 $105,975
64.Mumbai, India Emerging gateways $221,192 $10,147 $26,527
65.Munich, Germany International Middleweights $265,693 $66,739 $111,975
66.Nagoya, Japan International Middleweights $377,075 $41,672 $81,200
67.Nanjing, China Emerging gateways $271,934 $32,983 $78,121
68.Nantong, China Factory China $169,781 $23,079 $109,576
69.New York, USA Global Giants $1,492,242 $73,938 $158,339
70.Ningbo, China Emerging gateways $233,000 $30,166 $46,770
71.Orlando, USA American Middleweights $125,898 $52,740 $107,691
72.Osaka-Kobe, Japan Global Giants $680,997 $36,535 $76,562
73.Paris, France Global Giants $818,522 $65,354 $125,287
74.Perth, Australia International Middleweights $139,282 $66,959 $131,039
75.Philadelphia, USA Knowledge Capitals $363,644 $59,910 $126,815
76.Phoenix, USA American Middleweights $214,809 $46,958 $110,757
77.Pittsburgh, USA American Middleweights $141,339 $60,066 $120,040
78.Portland, USA Knowledge Capitals $159,219 $66,640 $139,429
79.Pretoria, South Africa Emerging gateways $61,240 $19,141 $49,951
80.Qingdao, China Factory China $265,789 $29,357 $93,504
81.Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Emerging gateways $233,238 $19,162 $41,806
82.Riverside, USA American Middleweights $167,864 $37,393 $121,006
83.Rome, Italy International Middleweights $207,502 $46,444 $97,574
84.Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Netherlands International Middleweights $397,399 $55,610 $98,463
85.Sacramento, USA American Middleweights $126,103 $55,449 $134,843
86.Saint Petersburg, Russia Emerging gateways $158,084 $30,459 $54,291
87.San Antonio, USA American Middleweights $113,910 $47,779 $110,480
88.San Diego, USA Knowledge Capitals $217,562 $65,938 $144,668
89.San Francisco, USA Knowledge Capitals $375,055 $80,551 $164,521
90.San Jose, USA Knowledge Capitals $180,757 $91,437 $171,288
91.Santiago, Chile Emerging gateways $213,908 $29,303 $64,809
92.Sao Paulo, Brazil Emerging gateways $579,473 $27,366 $57,018
93.Seattle, USA Knowledge Capitals $285,634 $76,504 $146,310
94.Seoul-Incheon, South Korea Asian Anchors $903,466 $36,002 $69,533
95.Shanghai, China Asian Anchors $809,507 $32,684 $69,782
96.Shenyang, China Factory China $230,103 $27,869 $87,934
97.Shenzhen, China Emerging gateways $490,761 $45,374 $63,476
98.Shijiazhuang, China Factory China $156,264 $14,681 $106,620
99.Singapore, Singapore Asian Anchors $468,087 $84,399 $128,493
100.St. Louis, USA American Middleweights $146,024 $51,937 $106,565
101.Stockholm, Sweden Knowledge Capitals $167,911 $64,223 $116,662
102.Stuttgart, Germany International Middleweights $193,143 $61,013 $106,768
103.Suzhou, China Factory China $440,255 $41,306 $102,776
104.Sydney, Australia International Middleweights $251,254 $51,115 $100,856
105.Tampa, USA American Middleweights $140,263 $47,144 $109,678
106.Tangshan, China Factory China $190,743 $24,446 $130,944
107.Tel Aviv, Israel International Middleweights $144,875 $39,162 $78,912
108.Tianjin, China Emerging gateways $477,808 $30,538 $53,942
109.Tokyo, Japan Global Giants $1,623,904 $43,884 $83,263
110.Toronto, Canada International Middleweights $292,432 $47,750 $92,413
111.Vancouver, Canada International Middleweights $114,447 $45,738 $88,499
112.Vienna-Bratislava, Austria International Middleweights $200,062 $52,341 $99,961
113.Warsaw, Poland Emerging gateways $164,068 $56,564 $95,975
114.Washington, USA Knowledge Capitals $454,088 $74,469 $139,109
115.Wenzhou, China Factory China $131,441 $14,172 $42,837
116.Wuhan, China Emerging gateways $323,517 $31,529 $75,061
117.Wuxi, China Factory China $269,957 $41,368 $95,183
118.Xi'an, China Emerging gateways $160,578 $18,658 $62,986
119.Xuzhou, China Factory China $149,682 $17,284 $85,697
120.Yantai, China Factory China $183,501 $26,003 $94,358
121.Zhengzhou, China Factory China $209,690 $22,784 $76,961
122.Zibo, China Factory China $123,273 $26,608 $107,580
123.Zurich, Switzerland Knowledge Capitals $135,596 $68,761 $105,121
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Summary | 3 Annotations
Remapping the 123 largest global cities
2016/10/14 13:49
Competitiveness profile: Global Giants by the numbers
2016/10/14 13:50
Asian Anchors include five Pacific-oriented metro areas—Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai, and Singapore
2016/10/14 13:50