Singapore Climbs to Third in PwC’s Cities of Opportunity Study of Global Centres of Business, Finance and Culture

  • London Posts the Highest Score; New York takes second
  • Competition for talent, capital and economic clout drives cities to build and maintain resilient urban communities

SINGAPORE, 2 June 2014 - Singapore advances to number three among the 30 cities studied by PwC in the sixth edition of its Cities of Opportunity report, released officially today in Singapore. Singapore ranked highest among Asian cities, and is one of only four cities, along with London, Stockholm and Sydney, to finish first in more than one indicator, taking the top spot in the ease of doing business and transportation and infrastructure categories. The city also ranked in the top 10 in seven of the study’s indicator categories.

With policies that attract and retain business investment, Singapore performed quite consistently across the eight variables within the ease of doing business indicator. The city-state also repeats its top ranking from the previous Cities of Opportunity study for the quality of its transport and infrastructure, leading the ranking for housing, which is arguably the most important variable within the indicator, as well as tying for third with Paris, Stockholm and Berlin in terms of public transport systems. Notably, Singapore also improved six places to number three out of the 30 cities measured in the city gateway indicator, demonstrating its importance as a global gateway, just after London and Beijing. Singapore is also listed as the only Asian city in the top 10 in health, safety and security.

Said Hazem Galal, Global Leader for Cities and Local Government Network, PwC:

“Urbanisation is an influential mega trend that is reshaping how we think about cities around the world, especially in Asia. Cities are increasingly competing for talent, investment and visitors and in their quest to differentiate themselves, they aim to adopt a holistic approach to sustainable development that balances economic development with quality of life. In this year’s study, we explore how the performance of leading cities around the world has been impacted by their policy choices and their ability to implement their strategic visions."

Said Yee Chen Fah, Partner & Government and Public Services Leader, PwC Singapore:

“Singapore’s performance is remarkable, leaping ahead by four places to be ranked third. This indicates that the government’s pro-business strategy and policies are working out well. Singapore is ranked top 5 in 7 of the 8 indicators – quite a remarkable achievement. Our consistent high scores are indicative that we have matured as a global contender and a true global city.”

Meanwhile, London, the only city to finish first in three of the 10 indicators—economic clout, city gateway and technology readiness, a category it ties with Seoul—posts the highest score for the first time, with New York coming in second. In addition, London finishes a narrow second to Paris in intellectual capital and innovation and a narrow second to Sydney in demographics and liveability, both key areas for future urban prosperity.

Despite not having a top rank in any indicator, New York continues to show strong consistency across most of the categories. Rounding out the top five cities are Singapore, Toronto and San Francisco. The study shows that top ranked cities most embody the energy, opportunity and hope that draw people to city life. High performing cities also find the right balance between social and economic strengths in a world being quickly shaped by inescapable global trends.

Cities of Opportunity 6 also highlights the increasing competitiveness of emerging cities across several key indicators. Beijing, which ranked 19th, finishes in the top three in both the city gateway and economic clout categories, while Seoul is top in technology readiness and is the only emerging city to reach the top 10 in the ease of doing business indicator. Seoul and Buenos Aires also break into the top three for transportation and infrastructure, while Johannesburg is in the top three for cost.

The Cities of Opportunity key indicators and top three cities within each are:

  • Intellectual capital and innovation: Paris, London, San Francisco
  • Technology readiness: London and Seoul tied for first place, Stockholm
  • City gateway: London, Beijing, Singapore
  • Transportation and infrastructure: Singapore, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Seoul tied for third
  • Health, safety and security: Stockholm, Sydney and Toronto tied for second
  • Sustainability and the natural environment: Stockholm and Sydney tied for first, Paris and Berlin tied for third
  • Demographics and livability: Sydney, London, San Francisco
  • Economic clout: London, Beijing, New York
  • Ease of doing business: Singapore, Hong Kong, New York
  • Cost: Los Angeles, Chicago, Johannesburg

The full report is available at The site also features in-depth video interviews with leaders including Bob Moritz, PwC’s US Chairman and Senior Partner, Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT’s center for digital business, and Ulla Hamilton, Deputy Mayor of Stockholm for entrepreneurism.



1. Methodology

Cities of Opportunity is based on publicly available data, using three main sources: global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; national statistics organizations, such as National Statistics in the UK and the Census Bureau in the US; and commercial data providers. The data was collected during the third and fourth quarters of 2013. Besides adding Jakarta, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro to the study, PwC also replaced Abu Dhabi with Dubai, which brought the study to 30 cities total, the largest to date. The scoring methodology was developed to facilitate transparency and simplicity for readers, as well as comparability across cities.

2. Cities of Opportunity 6: We, the urban people

In June, PwC will release Cities of Opportunity 6: We, the urban people, which will include findings from a global survey of 15,000 PwC professional staff—comprised of an average of 20 percent of staff in each of the 30 cities. The study, which was used to enrich the data of the main Cities of Opportunity 6 report, will provide an in-depth look at demographics and quality of urban life, including responses on commuting, urban priorities, likelihood of remaining in the city, preferences for relocation, and spending patterns, among other revealing points. Key finds - Singapore can be found here.


Media Contacts
Candy Li, PwC LLP Singapore (Tel: +65 6236 7429 Email: or