The never-changing list of important business cities has been dominated by global icons like New York, London and Paris for years. While they are certainly not anywhere near giving up their position as financial leaders, there are some contending cities out there who are working on developing themselves to become business cities. Not surprisingly, most of the cities are located in Asia.

Shenzhen, China

Located near Hong Kong, this Chinese city has more than 11 million inhabitants. While you may have never heard of it, the city is definitely booming. Called the “Silicon Valley of China”, Shenzhen produces most of the electronic devices in the world. It is the home of IT giant Huawei, and chances are the iPhone you’ve been using has been assembled in factories in Shenzhen. The city is working hard to become a strategic location for technology, and we will certainly hear more about it in the future.

 

Beijing, China

The famous capital of China is home to more than 20 million people. For China to become a world player, the business climate must be easily accessible. Hence the recently enforced regulations by the government to advance the business climate in the city. In the West, China is known as the secretive, perhaps even an isolated country, but China itself is working on developing its business and aiming for leadership. And what city could better serve as the starting point for development and leadership than the capital?

Seoul, South-Korea

The birthplace of tech giant Samsung, South-Korea, has the fourth largest economy of Asia and is only surpassed by China, Japan and India. Its capital, Seoul, has over 9 million inhabitants. While not as well-known as cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong, Seoul has a lot to offer. Many famous companies have their headquarters in Seoul, like Hyundai, LG, and KIA. The citizens of Seoul are used to being among the first users of newly developed technology and have access to many technological resources. Seoul is definitely a city to watch.

 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, is the wealthiest emirate in the UAE. The government of the UAE is aiming its attention to improving the business climate and making it more attractive for investors. Just like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is home to very luxurious hotels, apartments and affluent residents. The Emirates pride themselves for having a fairly stable, safe and wealthy country in a not so stable region.

Sao Paolo, Brazil

Sao Paolo is home to over 12 million people and is the biggest city in Brazil. Sao Paolo is the most innovative city of the country and is respected for its technological advances and its performance in the agriculture sector (Secretaria de Relações Internacionais, 2019). Major international companies are based in Sao Paolo, varying from financial companies to IT and other sectors. The Port of Santos is the biggest harbour in South-America. Sao Paolo has a lot of potentials and is already established as a major business city in its own region.

Tokyo, Japan

With a population of 13 million people, the ever-vibrant capital of Japan definitely deserves a spot on this list. Did you know that Tokyo is home to over 600 companies surpassing New York and London? (Sawe, 2018). This includes hugely successful, multinational (Japanese) companies, like Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Toshiba and Mitsubishi. Tokyo is known for its excellent schools and institutions, but also for its exceptional IT industry (Invest Tokyo, sd). Not only that, Japanese customers expect goods to exceed their expectations, so improvement is key, making research important to the country.

Doha, Qatar

Doha is the capital of the wealthiest country in the world, Qatar. With a population of only 2.6 million, of which 900.000 live in Doha, the small, but immensely rich country, has access to many oil reserves and natural gas. 99% of the population live in cities, and, fun fact, Qatar does not have forests! Oil was not discovered in Qatar until 1939, after which it became the main source of income (BBC, 2018). Did you know that Qatar used to be a British protectorate? Qatar actually gained independence in 1971, not so long ago. Doha is the economic heart of the country, and the government is investing heavily to make the non-oil sectors also attractive to investors.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

There’s more to Dubai than just the Burj Al Arab and the popular shopping malls. In fact, Dubai wants to become a global leader. The second biggest emirate of the United Arab Emirates, only surpassed by Abu Dhabi, is home to over 2 million people and prides itself for its great infrastructure, its excellent business environment, and its research facilities. It turns out that Dubai is not just the city of perfect Instagram pictures and excellent retail therapy.

 

By Melisa Kirdi

 

Sources

Lin, 2018

Bajpai, 2019

Downey, 2012

Workman, 2018

Invest in Tokyo

Smith, 2017